Better your sleep with mattress accessories
The right mattress is the perfect foundation for a great night of sleep, but mattress accessories can help take it to the next level. From mattress toppers to bedding and pillows, there are a lot of different ways to accessorize your mattress to make it completely your own.
A new mattress is a major purchase and it's only natural to want to protect it. But with how much of our lives is spent in bed, mattresses can get a lot of wear and tear. Spills and stains happen, and you certainly don't want things like allergens or dust mites to make themselves at home in your new mattress. That's where mattress protectors can help.
Do I Need a Mattress Protector?
If you want to help keep your mattress in good shape for as long as possible, using a mattress protector offers you an added line of defense against damage from general use, water damage, and can even help make sleep healthier. Using a mattress protector can also prevent stains that could potentially void the warranty on your mattress.
Types of Mattress Protectors
Waterproof mattress protectors are an excellent option to consider if you have small children, share a bed with pets, or tend to eat or drink while in bed. Even if none of those situations apply to you, it's important to remember that even something as simple as moisture from sweat can make its way into a mattress and cause the foam to break down sooner than it should. Once moisture makes its way into a mattress, it can be very difficult to fully remove and can lead to mold and mildew growth inside the mattress.
If you suffer from allergies, a hypoallergenic mattress protector could help you sleep easier. Hypoallergenic mattress protectors are made of materials designed to prevent things like dust mites and pet dander from building up inside a mattress.
Styles of Mattress Protectors
Mattress protectors come in two main styles. Some mattress protectors resemble fitted sheets, leaving the bottom side of the mattress exposed and making them easy to remove when they need to be washed. If you prefer extra protection, there are mattress encasements, which surround all sides of the mattress and are sealed with a zipper.
While mattress protectors shield a mattress from damage, mattress toppers are all about comfort. If your mattress isn't quite as comfortable as you'd like it to be, a mattress topper can be placed on top of your mattress to give you the comfort you need and help extend the life of your mattress. Since mattress toppers can be used to make one side of a bed feel firmer or softer, they're a great option to consider if you share a bed with a partner who has different preferences for mattress firmness.
Mattress toppers are available in a wide range of materials, such as latex, memory foam, down, wool, and cotton. Each type of mattress topper has its own unique benefits to offer. For example, if you have problems with back or hip pain, a firm latex or memory foam mattress topper with a density of 4-5 pounds per cubic foot could help. On the other hand, a down mattress topper can be helpful if you want to add softness to your mattress.
Bed pillows play a vital role in helping people sleep comfortably, but with so many different types of pillows available, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all of your options. Some of the most popular types of pillows include cotton pillows, down pillows, and memory foam pillows. Each pillow material has its benefits and you'll need to consider what would make you most comfortable. For example, if you suffer from allergies, memory foam pillows or down alternative pillows would be good options for you. But if you tend to sleep hot, you might prefer a pillow made with a breathable, natural material or a cooling, gel memory foam pillow.
The position you sleep in will play an important role in figuring out which pillow is a good fit for you. If you are a side sleeper, firm pillows offer extra support for your head, neck, and shoulders and help keep your body properly aligned. For back sleepers, medium firm pillows help support the upper spine while also supporting the head, neck, and shoulders. If you sleep on your stomach, soft pillows will cushion you head and neck without pushing your head to either side.
If you struggle with neck or back pain, the right pillow can help you sleep more comfortably. For those with neck pain, it's important to find a pillow that is neither too thin nor too thick since either extreme can place strain on the neck and shoulders. In the case of back pain, you'll want to look for a pillow that is firm enough to keep your spine aligned and is neither too thin or too thick. You may also want to consider a contoured pillow for extra support. For both neck and back pain, down pillows, latex pillows, and memory foam pillows are all great options.
How Long Do Pillows Last?
How long a pillow lasts varies depending on the type of pillow you choose. Basic polyester pillows should be swapped out every 6 months. Higher-end foam pillows can last between 2 and 3 years.
However, it's generally a good idea to consider replacing your pillows if you're waking up feeling sore and groggy, getting tension headaches, finding lumps in your pillow, or you've been having problems with allergies. It can also be a good idea to change your pillow if you've started sleeping in a different position so that your pillow can better support you throughout the night.
Just as mattress protectors can help extend the life of your mattress, pillow protectors are an excellent way to help you get the most out of your pillows. Pillow protectors go a step beyond a standard pillow case by offering a stronger line of defense against things that can shorten the lifespan of a pillow. With a waterproof pillow protector, things like spilled water or sweat won't be able to make their way inside the pillow where they can damage the pillow filling. Many pillow protectors are also hypoallergenic and are designed to keep dust mites and bed bugs away from your pillows.
Choosing the right bed sheets is much more than a matter of finding some sheets that match your bedroom's decor. Since bed sheets come in close contact with your body, it's important to find ones that are comfortable, durable, and fit your budget.
Bed Sheet Materials
When it comes to finding the perfect bed sheets, material is one of the biggest things you'll have to consider. Bed sheets come in a very wide range of materials and each type of material has its benefits.
Soft and breathable, cotton is by far one of the most popular materials used for bed sheets. But as you shop for cotton bed sheets, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the different types of cotton sheets on the market. Egyptian cotton sheets and pima/Supima sheets have extra-long fibers and are known for their softness and durability but are more expensive than many other types of bed sheets. Cotton blend bed sheets combine natural cotton with synthetic fibers, so they're a more budget-friendly option than Egyptian or pima cotton sheets at the cost of durability.
Since polyester sheets are made of synthetic fibers, they're more affordable than sheets made of natural fibers. They're also very durable, low-maintenance, stain-resistant, and hypoallergenic, but they're also not as breathable as bed sheets made from natural fibers.
If you tend to sleep hot or want to switch out your sheets when the weather warms up, linen sheets are a great choice. Linen sheets are made with fibers from the flax plant which are larger than cotton fibers, making linen a very breathable fabric. Linen sheets also help absorb and wick moisture away to help you sleep more comfortably. Compared to other materials used for bed sheets, linen sheets can wrinkle more easily and are one of the more expensive materials available.
Microfiber sheets are made with extremely thin, tightly woven threads of synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester. While not as breathable as sheets made with natural fibers, microfiber sheets have the benefits of being very durable, affordable, and low-maintenance while having a nice, smooth texture.
If you tend to sleep hot or are looking for sheets to use during the summer, bamboo sheets could be a good fit for you. Bamboo sheets are lightweight and breathable with a very soft texture. While more expensive than some other bed sheet materials, the extra cost may be worthwhile if you have allergies since bamboo sheets are naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial.
Made of fibers from eucalyptus trees called lyocell, many people see Tencel sheets as being a more environmentally friendly alternative to cotton sheets. Tencel sheets have a very soft texture and are very breathable with good moisture-wicking abilities.
For a luxurious touch, it's hard to beat silk sheets. Not only do many people love their smooth texture, silk sheets are also excellent at helping people stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Compared to other types of bed sheet materials, silk sheets are one of the more expensive options available and aren't as low-maintenance as other options, but they are very durable, resist mold and mildew, and naturally repel dust mites.
Bed Sheet Weave Styles
When you touch your sheets, what kind of texture do you want them to have? The weave of a bed sheet refers to the way threads are woven together, which impacts the sheet's texture, appearance, and breathability. Some of the most common types of bed sheet weaves include:
Percale sheets have a tight weave, making them strong and durable, but also lightweight and breathable with a matte appearance. Many people like the crisp feel percale sheets have. Compared to other sheet weaves, percale sheets can wrinkle easier.
If you like your bed sheets to have a luxurious feel, sateen sheets are a good option to consider. Sateen sheets have a very soft, smooth texture and a subtle shine. While they don't wrinkle as easily as percale, they can be a little less durable.
Twill sheets have a diagonal weave that creates a visible diagonal pattern, similar to what you see on denim. This style of weave creates sheets that are durable and pretty wrinkle resistant, but twill sheets are heavier and have more of a texture when compared to some other weave styles.
Flannel sheets are a very popular choice for use during the winter months. With a brushed weave, flannel sheets have a very soft texture and are very effective at helping people stay warm.
While most other types of sheets are woven, jersey sheets are knitted to create sheets with a lot of stretch. Jersey knit sheets are typically made from cotton or a cotton blend and often remind people of their favorite worn-in T-shirt.
Bed Sheet Thread Counts
Thread counts are one of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of bed sheets. Thread count refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads in one square inch of material. Thread count is often used to judge the overall quality of sheets, but this is not always the most accurate indicator of quality.
It's widely thought that sheets with a higher thread count are made from a larger number of fine fibers, creating sheets that are softer and more durable, while lower thread count sheets will have fewer but thicker fibers, so the sheets won't be as soft. But it's very important to remember that there are many ways bedding manufacturers can artificially inflate thread counts without improving the quality of the sheets. In fact, some types of materials can actually become less durable if thread counts are too high.
Since the different types of materials used to make bed sheets can have differently sized fibers, thread count can be a particularly difficult benchmark to use if you're trying to choose between sheets made of different materials. For example, the fibers in linen sheets are larger than the fibers in cotton sheets, so you can find high-quality linen sheets with a lower thread count than high-quality cotton sheets. The type of weave used on a sheet can also influence thread count. Here are some general thread count guidelines to look for in different types of bed sheets:
- Linen: 100-200 thread count
- Cotton: 250-400 thread count
- Percale: 250-300 thread count
- Sateen: 300-600 thread count
- Bamboo: 300 or higher thread count
While many types of bed sheets have thread count measurements, not all of them do. Jersey sheets, for example, don't use thread counts since they are knitted instead of woven. Many other types of sheets are measured by weight. Flannel sheets are rated either in grams per square meter (GSM) or in ounces. For long-lasting, warm flannel sheets, look for ones with a 170 GSM or higher or are at least 5 ounces. Microfiber sheets are also measured by GSM with 90-120 GSM generally considered a good quality weight. For silk sheets, look for ones with a 14-19 pound weight.
Fitted Bed Sheet Sizes
One thing people often forget to consider when shopping for bed sheets is the depth of their mattress. A fitted sheet that isn't quite the right size for your mattress can be very frustrating to deal with, so be sure to measure how thick your mattress is, including any mattress toppers or mattress pads that you use. Many fitted sheets are designed to fit the depth of standard mattress sizes, but if you use something like a mattress topper or a pillow top mattress pad, you may need a fitted sheet that's marked as having a deep or extra deep pocket size.
A fitted sheet should ideally have a pocket depth 2-3 inches greater than the depth of your mattress. This leaves a little extra fabric to fit underneath the mattress corners to help the fitted sheet stay in place.
Once you've found your perfect sheets, you'll need some other bedding to go with them. Not sure where to begin with duvets, shams, comforters, and pillowcases? Here's what you need to know.
Duvets vs. Comforters
As people shop for bedding, one common question they have is, "What is the difference between a duvet and a comforter?" A duvet is a soft, plainly colored bag that contains filling material. Duvets are meant to have a more decorative duvet cover placed over it and when you need to wash it, you can simply take the duvet cover off and put it in the washing machine. Comforters, on the other hand, are an "all-in-one" type of bed topper. They have a built-in cover so they can be put on a bed as they are without having to take any extra steps. Many comforters can easily be washed at home, but some types of comforters might have special cleaning instructions depending on what materials they're made out of.
Pillowcases vs. Shams
Another thing people often wonder about is the difference between a pillowcase and a pillow sham. Both options will protect your pillow from getting dirty, but they are slightly different. A pillowcase opens at one end while a pillow sham has an opening in the back to insert the pillow. Pillow shams can also be a little more decorative than a standard pillowcase, often featuring extra design touches like fabric along the borders.
Looking for more than one type of sleep accessory? Be sure to ask about sleep bundles. We carry special sleep bundles that offer a more convenient way to buy pillows, protectors, sheets, and more while saving money at the same time.