Natural fiber bed linens give sleepers a better night’s rest. Ella Mullins Flickr
Why should you choose natural fiber bed linens instead of polyester blend sheets? Recently while shopping a wedding gift, I learned why my cotton-poly sheets may contribute to my insomnia and why natural fiber bed linens are better. Proper bed linens made with 100 percent natural fiber sheets are important for a good night’s sleep.
Why Choose Natural Fibers
Natural fibers are absorbent, and even a small percentage of synthetic fibers can reduce this absorbency. On average, a person can lose almost 2 quarts of moisture nightly. Having your bed linens wick this moisture away from your body is important for your comfort. Cotton, linen, and bamboo sheets tend to keep you cooler on hot nights and warmer on cold ones. Synthetic fibers lack the breath-ability that allows air in and body moisture out.
Choose long-lasting, comfortable bed linens for a good night’s sleep. RubyGoes Flickr
You may think that you are restricted to white cotton sheets. However, thread-dyed sheets retain all the good characteristics of white cotton sheets and are colorfast. Don’t feel guilty when you splurge on colored cotton bed linens!
Manufacturers classify cotton by its staple length: short, medium, long, and extra-long. Most sheets have American cotton, which has medium to long (1 – 1 1/4 inch long) fibers. Better linens feature Egyptian cotton, which has 1 1/2 inch long fibers. The longer fibers are why European and Egyptian cottons makes finer threads.
Smoother, more comfortable linens have higher thread counts. Most cotton sheets have a weave of 200 threads per inch, but since the finer threads allow higher thread counts, European and Egyptian linens usually have a 320-thread weave.
Choose your bed linens carefully and they will last longer and be more comfortable. Didriks Flickr
Linen is a product of the flax plant and features a hollow fiber. Like Egyptian cottons, linen allows weavers to use a higher thread count per inch. Linen sheets are more expensive, but typically, they outlast cotton fabric.
The salesman told me that a couple are still using the linen bed sheets they received as a wedding gift 30 years ago! The couple’s bed linens were high quality sheets from Europe. In fact, some Egyptian mummies’ linen bindings are still in good condition! In linen cloth, the country of origin is important. Belgian, Irish, and Italian linens are of a higher quality than the Chinese ones. Generally, linen sheets from Belgium and Madeira are superior to others.
Manufacturers do not classify linen fabrics by thread count. Use the weight listed to compare linen bed sheets. For example, 5 ounces per square yard is “very fine” quality.
You do need to use extra care when laundering linen fabric. Wash linen sheets on a delicate cycle and do not dry in a dryer. Hang them to dry. If you cannot hang them, machine dry the linen sheets on air dry setting; remove them before they completely dry to prevent wrinkling. Front load washers are gentler for natural sheets and help them last longer.
Wrap yourself in natural fiber bed linens for a restful night. Paul Wicks Flickr
This opulent fabric invokes exotic images, especially when used in bed linens. It may be the ultimate bed linen.
However, luxury has its price: silk fibers have the shortest life. The fibers are delicate, causing them to snag and run easily. Reserve your luscious silk sheets for special occasions. As with linen, silk needs careful laundering.
One of the newest fibers is bamboo. Although it is a natural fiber, manufacturers process bamboo using a viscose process that is similar to the process of making man-made fibers. The bamboo plant has many advantages over cotton, especially since it is better for the environment. Some people worry that the bamboo used for fabric deprives pandas from their food sources. There are over 1000 species of bamboo in the bamboo be used for fabric is not one that pandas eat.
The lustrous bamboo linens are stronger than cotton, softer, and three times more absorbent. Bamboo linens are excellent choices for people with allergies because they are naturally hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial, and resist odors. Growers need less fertilizer, pesticides, and water to grow bamboo than to grow cotton.
Another advantage to bamboo is that it is environmentally friendly. As mentioned previously, it requires less chemicals and water. Bamboo plant has release valuable oxygen into the air, prevents erosion, and improves soil conditions. Some people argue that the process of making viscose is polluting, but it is not as polluting as the process to make other man made fibers, such as nylon and polyester.
Even the beagle enjoys natural fiber bed linens. Emma Larkins Flickr
When choosing your bed sheets, consider natural fiber bed linens. If, like me, you need to buy a wedding gift, choose natural fiber bed linens. Maybe 30 years from now your gift will still make the “young” couple’s nights more comfortable.
Before writing for Internet sites, Terrie wrote for print magazines, including "Cricket" and several Dell puzzle magazines. Her repertoire covers several subjects, such as camping, writing, and Life's Experiences. As a daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother, she often writes about family issues.