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Published: Thursday, 1/26/2006

Get sheet savvy for bedtime bliss

Thread count? Weave? Not familiar with these terms? Well, your understanding of them plays a big role in how you sleep, which impacts your performance at work and at play.

How many sets do I need?

You ll need at least three sets of flat and fitted sheets on hand. While one set is being laundered, you ll have one set for the bed and one extra set in storage in case of an emergency.

What is thread count?

Thread count is the number of threads per square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the softer the sheet. The higher the count, the more comfort you ll feel.

What are sheets made of?

Sheets are made of all different types of fabrics, either a cotton/polyester blend or 100 percent cotton. A cotton/polyester blend does not wrinkle much and is more moderately priced. One hundred percent cotton sheets generally are the most comfortable but tend to wrinkle. To keep wrinkles to a minimum, take sheets out of the dryer immediately, fold them or put them on the bed.

What is a weave?

The weave of a sheet is how it is stitched together. A standard weave is alternating one stitch over, one stitch under. A sateen weave is four stitches over, one under, making it softer though less durable than other weaves. A more durable weave type is the pinpoint, which is a stitch of one over and one under.

How should I cover my sheets?

A bed covering, such as a comforter, duvet or bedspread, sets the tone of your room. Consider a bed covering that matches more than one set of sheets. You can even buy a reversible covering so you can change the look based on your mood or the season.

What else do I need for my bed?

You ll also need three pillowcases for each pillow, one sham per pillow, a lightweight summer blanket, a wool blanket for the winter, a dust ruffle, and a mattress pad. You also might want one set of ivory or white sheets as well as a set of solid color sheets that coordinate with your comforter.

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