Looking to get new sheets? There are few small pleasures in life quite like sliding into incredibly soft and cooling sheets after a long day. With comfortable bed sheets, relaxation washes over you instantaneously and dreamland follows close behind.
But chances are, you’ve probably also had the displeasure of sleeping in uncomfortable sheet fabric: the stiff, scratchy, and itchy bedding that can ruin a night’s sleep on even the most deluxe king size mattress.
So, what are the softest sheets? You can ensure a comfy and luxurious night’s rest by sticking to the right materials, like high-quality organic cotton and Tencel®.
At Casper, you can find the softest sheets for a dreamy night’s sleep. We use organic cotton or Tencel® to create cozy, breathable sheets you’ll look forward to every night.
Read on to discover which sheet fabric makes for the softest bed sheets, as well as to learn the ins and outs of thread count and weaves.
One of the most overwhelming aspects of shopping for bed sheets is knowing which materials are the softest. These days, you can find a variety of sheet fibers ranging from natural fiber to synthetic, all with their own advantages.
Let’s slide into each type of bed sheet material for a closer look.
Natural fiber materials are derived directly from either plants or animals. When it comes to softness, however, 100% cotton is the clear winner.
Regular cotton is perhaps the most well-known of the natural fibers used to make cotton sheet products, dominating the market thanks to its feel and breathability. Regular cotton fabric is made from the cotton plant, and two factors determine cotton’s softness potential:
The little white ball on a long staple cotton plant is called a “boll,” and every boll has thousands of individual staples or cotton fibers. When the boll is spun and woven, a long staple cotton will result in fewer exposed fiber ends (kind of like split ends on hair), resulting in a softer feel.
This means that staple length and cotton quality can greatly impact the feel of the cotton sheet fabric.1
Let’s take a look at how these factors affect these three types of cotton bed sheets:
At Casper, we pride ourselves on using 100% organic cotton in both our Percale sheets and Sateen sheets so that you can wrap yourself up in softness at bedtime. You’ll sleep soundly knowing that you not only have exceptionally soft sheets, but also fabric sourced from cotton plants that were grown under organic conditions (without GMO seeds or chemicals).
More and more, fabric manufacturers are coming up with new ways to use natural ingredients to make things like bedding. These fabrics don’t typically classify as natural since their plant fibers cannot be directly transformed into fabric the way cotton and flax stem can.
Instead, these natural materials are transformed into what’s known as regenerated or extracted manufactured fibers.
Derived from bamboo fibers and then transformed into rayon fabrics, bamboo sheet fibers end up rivaling cotton in:
In fact, rayon was originally created as a way to manufacture an alternative to silk sheets. However, the sustainability of this naturally-derived fiber is often offset by its production. The chemical processes typically used to extract the plant cellulose needed to spin bamboo into fibers are harmful to the environment.
So, although bamboo is a solid alternative to cotton, it may not be worth the switch.
Curious about tencel vs cotton? Tencel® is a branded fiber made from wood pulp. A truly eco-conscious choice, Tencel® materials are taken from sustainably sourced wood and spun into fibers in environmentally responsible processes.2 These fabrics are also biodegradable, meaning that all aspects of the production of this product are sustainable.
The result is a surprisingly soft fabric that can also be blended with other fabrics for added comfort. And its supreme softness is nothing to scoff at.
At Casper, we use 100% Tencel® in our Hyperlite® Sheets, meant to give you a cool, light, and breathable feel night after night. You’ll also go to sleep at night with the comfort of knowing that you’re tucked into a truly sustainable mattress sheet fabric.
In addition to fabrics made from natural materials, there are also fabrics made from synthetic, man-made materials. While synthetics tend to be notoriously warmer and less breathable than cotton, bamboo, or Tencel®, they can also be wonderfully soft.
Created by spinning together man-made polyester fibers through both traditional machinery and chemical binding agents, polyester is a new staple in the market of bedding. Advancements in technology have allowed polyester to be manufactured with better comfort and durability in mind, making it an attractive option for soft yet affordable sheets.
If you’re the type of person who values feel over all other qualities (including breathability), you might consider:
In the end, cotton and Tencel® fabrics provide superb softness as well as breathability and overall comfort that’s unmatched by synthetic sheets.
Although the material is probably the most important indicator of sheet softness, how this material is crafted into fabric can also play a role in determining its softness. Sheets fall into two categories: knits and weaves.
A knit fabric refers to a single yarn or thread looped on itself to create a braid-like pattern. A popular type of knit fabric Jersey. Originally made from wool, Jersey has a long tradition and is one of the most common types of knits for casual, everyday fabrics. The stretchy knit pattern makes it breathable, comfortable, and soft.
As opposed to knits, weaves incorporate multiple yarns or threads woven together. Some common weaves include:
Although you might hear about thread count from a friend who just spent a lot of money on a new set of bed sheets, it’s probably the least important factor in determining what are the softest bed sheets. In fact, studies have shown that higher thread count does not necessarily correlate to higher quality or softness when it comes to sheets.3
Thread count refers to the number of threads (both horizontal and vertical) per square inch of the fabric. Thread count, therefore, at least in theory, refers to the tightness of the weave of any given fabric: the higher the thread count, the more threads per square inch, and the higher the durability and softness of fabric. But today, companies are marketing fabrics with absurdly high thread counts that are feasibly impossible to attain on a loom.
Our advice? If you’re looking for the best thread count for sheets, aim for thread counts around 400 for high-quality, closely-woven fabrics. Any higher and the thread count is largely meaningless (and definitely not worth the upcharge).
Finding the softest bed sheet materials, knits, and weaves, and thread count may sound like hard work, but it doesn’t have to be. At Casper, all of our sheets are soft and comfortable, and made from high-quality materials and weaves. So no matter which Casper sheets you choose, you can rest assured that you’re choosing quality and sleep-inducing softness.
At Casper, we’re in the business of bringing quality sleep right to your door (or rather, to your bed). That begins with sheets so soft, you’ll keep dreaming about them even after you wake up.