Sleep is fundamental to our health as humans. In stressful times like this one, it’s paramount that we are taking care of our health. People write ad nauseum about the importance of the exercise we do and the food we eat, but less has been said about our sleep. Worldwide, people spent over $87 billion on new bedding in 2021. It’s time to pick out the best bedding possible for our future rest.
What Does Bedding Consist of?
2 in 3 Americans still use flat sheets. It’s slightly more common for Gen Z to ditch the flat sheet, but not by much. Each generation has at least 60% of respondents keeping a sheet between their body and their comforter.
After all, a comforter is the most common bedding item after sheets and pillows. 58% of people report sleeping with a comforter. A close second is the blanket, popular with 55% of respondents. Quilts, bedspreads and duvets all come in distant third with 11% each. Usage of each item can vary with weather and the time of year. The average American also keeps 3 pillows on their bed.
How Often Should Bedding be Washed?
Now that we’ve defined what bedding includes, it’s important to consider how frequently bedding is washed. This variable depends on both gender and whether or not an individual is in a relationship. 32% of Americans wash their sheets at least once a week, but only 14% of couples do. 56% of American couples change their sheets every 2 weeks. Meanwhile, 51% of single American men wash their sheets every 10 weeks or less. This is in stark contrast with single American women, 73% of which wash once a week.
Well, how often should bedding be washed? Pillowcases and sheets should be washed weekly. Covers can go longer, up to 4 weeks. Blankers are fine going unwashed for up to 3 months, and pillows should be washed every 4-6 months. If these recommendations seem frequent, it’s because most people don’t follow them. 65% of Americans say they don’t have time to change their sheets regularly. 47% simply forget to do so.
A majority of Americans are also skeptical about expert recommendations on changing bedding. The fact is that people who change their sheets more often get better sleep. People who rate their sleep well wash their sheets every 13 days on average. Meanwhile, people who rate their sleep poorly wait an average of 20 days before washing. 68% of Americans struggle to fall asleep at least once a week.
How Do You Pick Out New Bedding?
When is washing bedding no longer enough? You may need new sheets if you see tearing, odor lingers even after a wash, or sleep quality declines. Choosing new sheets is a critical decision that most people don’t know enough about.
What should you look for in sheets? The first thing to think about is material. Polyester is the most affordable and durable option. However, its non-breathable fabric traps heat and moisture. Linen is a breathable fabric that softens with each wash, but it’s more expensive than cotton. Cotton is durable, affordable, and maximizes comfort for all seasons. It’s a classic sheet material for a reason.
Fabric, Color, and Quality
If you do pick cotton sheets, you need to know how to gauge quality. It’s more than just thread count. Any thread count above 250 will ensure durability in a set of sheets. Staple length is the length of fibers used to weave the fabric. Longer is better. Different weaves determine softness and durability of the sheets. Percale is lightweight and wrinkle resistant. Sateen is silky, with a touch like satin. Finally, Twill is a thicker weave used for flannel.
Another thing to consider alongside fabric type is color. Those worried about cleanliness should shoot for a classic white, something easily bleached. Otherwise, dark colors also help hide discoloration and stains. Psychologically, neutral tones are soothing to the eyes and promote restful sleep. Blues are considered the most soothing nighttime colors. Green Earth tones are also good for creating a tranquil bedtime environment.
Now that you know what to look for in bedding and how to care for it, you’re one step closer to a good night’s rest. Sleep is too critical to human health to escape consideration.