Cotton Bedding and Pillowcases: The Best Option for Sweet Dreams

Cotton Bedding and Pillowcases: The Best Option for Sweet Dreams

Bedding can make all the difference when it comes to sleep quality. Nothing is better than getting into a clean, freshly made bed with top quality bedding, a comfortable mattress, and supportive pillows! You can have a luxury bed at home with high-quality cotton bedding and pillowcases. Spa's and high-end luxury hotels use cotton because of its hypoallergenic nature, luxurious feel, comfort, flexibility, cleanliness, and easy maintenance.  If you are thinking of replacing your bedding, cotton is the way to go!  It has been the preferred choice for bedding for centuries, and there are plenty of reasons why.  There are several benefits of cotton bedding and cotton pillowcases. If you’re looking for luxury and functionality, it should definitely be your preferred choice! I'm going to tell you the top 8 benefits of cotton bedding, and where you can buy some for yourself. But, before I do, let me tell you why your bedding is so important!

Why do we use bedding?

As you make your bed each day, or when you are trying to fold a fitted sheet, do you ever just think – what is the point? What's with all the sheets, blankets, and pillows?  Truthfully, there is a lot that we do and have on our beds for the sole purpose of aesthetics.  No one needs 5 throw pillows to just take off every single night.  It can look good, though!  Aside from these decorative pillows, our bedding is actually quite functional.  Our bedding keeps us and our bed clean.  If you didn't have your fitted sheet, your mattress would be full of dead skin, sweat, and much more. A fitted sheet is much easier to clean than a mattress, so it acts as a comfortable protective barrier between us and our mattress that you can easily toss in the washing machine to remove dust, sweat, and bacteria from.   Bedding is also needed for warmth.  Can you imagine just laying there on your fitted sheet trying to sleep? No thanks! It doesn't seem very comfortable. Proper blankets and sheets can keep us warm and cozy. The same goes for our pillow. A pillow helps keep our back, neck, and head aligned so we can wake up feeling good.  If you have ever slept in a cheap hotel room with a bad mattress and bedding, you know firsthand what a difference bedding makes when it comes to sleep quality.
Have humans always had sheets, supportive pillows, and blankets? Yes and no. Our bedding has evolved with us, but bedding does have an interesting history.

History of bedding

The Egyptians are said to have really finessed bedding and had something similar to what we have today. Pharaohs raised their beds off the ground and used sleep linens.  These sheets were also used to wrap mummies.  With time, bedding evolved.  The Roman Empire stuffed their mattresses with hay, feathers, or wool, and in Japan, they used cotton.   By the 18th century, bed frames were made from iron, and mattresses were made from cotton.  Later, still in the 19th century, we had box springs. As of late, pillows and mattresses have taken a more scientific approach to structure and design.  Cotton is still used, but the filling and structure has improved.   As we can see, cotton has been used in bedding for centuries!   Cotton has consistently been used in bedding because of the unique qualities that make it the perfect material for bedding, among other things.  Just like bedding, cotton has quite a history of its own. There is evidence that cotton was used in 1500 BC, as mentioned in Hindu hymns from this time period.  Throughout history, cotton has been farmed and used around the world and has historically been used in many different cultures. During these early ages, it was primarily used to make cloth and linens. By the middle ages, cotton was more commonly used for bedding, cloths, and clothing.

How is cotton bedding made?

The first step is turning cotton (the plant) into yarn.  The cotton is purchased in bales that contain small tings, branches, seeds, and other items.  These bales need to be cleaned and blended. This is often done by a machine that beats the cotton together and removes these impurities.  After blending, the cotton fibers are transferred to a carding machine.  This machine aligns the fibers in the same direction, using cylinders with millions of teeth to pull and move the fibers. Once they are aligned, they are drawn together strand by stand by a roving frame that twists the fibers and winds the cotton onto a bobbin. These bobbins are then placed on winders that winder the thread onto the beam. This beam holds the cotton yarn. Several of these beams are put into a larger loom beam.  They are tied into knots that are pulled through a machine to be weaved.  Automatic air jet looms weave the cotton, creating the fabric. At this point, the fabric is referred to as greige.  Excess yarn is singed off the surface of the griege, and then the sheet is then bleached. After bleaching, the sheet is dyed. For the last step, the sheet is cut and sewn to clean the edges.  The material can be made and cut specifically for sheets or as a roll of fabric to be used for pillowcases, clothing, and cloths.
Although much of the process is automated and done by high-tech machines, there is still a lot of work that goes into turning this plant into the soft fabric we know and use in our daily lives. It's not the easiest or cheapest material to make, so why has it remained so popular for centuries?

8 Benefits of Cotton Bedding

Cotton is an incredible fabric with unique properties that make it a great option for bedding. Here are just a few of the benefits of cotton bedding:

1. Cotton is a breathable fabric

The structure of the natural fibers and the way it is woven into sheets makes this material very breathable.  This is exactly what you want when you are sleeping.  As we fall asleep, our temperature tends to drop. This is why it is recommended to lower your thermostat to 65 degrees. Lowering your temperature can help you fall asleep. When we sleep, our temperature can continue to fluctuate, and some people can get quite hot and sweat which can cause sleep disruptions.
Light, breathable fabric like cotton will help regulate your temperature.  It is able to absorb heat and moisture, so you stay comfortable.  Other materials like polyester will trap the heat and absorb it, making it extra warm, causing you to sweat and wake up uncomfortable in the night. Cotton is the perfect year-round fabric; it will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

2. Cotton is durable and long lasting

Well-made, quality cotton will last you a long time, which is what we want for our bedding.  We may not wash it daily, but when we do, we expect it to hold up.  The quality of cotton in your bedding can vary and should be considered when purchasing.  The better quality the cotton is, the longer it will last.

3. Cotton is low maintenance

Most cotton bedding is really easy to wash.  You can put all your cotton bedding into the washing machine and dryer on low. You can save yourself time and effort by taking your bedding directly from the dryer and putting it right back on your bed – no need to fight with that folded sheet as you try to fold it neatly.

4. Cotton is good for your skin

Cotton is a safe bet and is good for all skin types.  The fabric is hypoallergenic and soft, making it gentle on the skin.  The fabric's breathable nature also means your face won't get sweaty and be lying in dirt and oil all night.  

5. Cotton is good for your hair

There is a lot of hype about silk pillowcases for hair, and some people swear by them.  That said, silk feels different and doesn't provide the fresh, soft feeling a cotton pillowcase will provide.  A quality cotton pillowcase will also be good for your hair and keep your head cool, which means less sweating and cleaner hair.

7. Cotton is hypoallergenic

For those with skin sensitives, the hypoallergenic fabric is a must. This fabric is all natural and the safest fabric to avoid irritation or discomfort.

8. Feels and looks luxurious

When you go to a really luxurious spa or high-end hotel, they have cotton sheets and pillowcases. It's classic and feels so great and luxurious on your skin.   These spas and hotels often boast of their high thread count bedding.

What does thread count mean?

Thread count is how many cotton threads are woven into one square inch of the fabric.  There are different thicknesses of thread, so the type of cotton can make a difference here. Generally speaking, the thinner the threads, the higher the thread count can be.  Egyptian cotton is a great example of this. Egyptian cotton is a finer, thinner thread, so there is more of it. As a result, it has a higher thread count. The general belief is that the higher the thread count, the better quality the sheets will be. A higher thread count produces a softer, more flexible material. That's not to say lower thread counts are not as good. Many people can't tell the difference between a standard threat count and a higher one.  The average, or standard, thread count is about 150-180. The highest threat count is around 600.  Threat count has become a modern marketing strategy.  Although it can make a difference, it's not the only deciding factor. The type of cotton, along with the material quality and manufacturing process plays an equally important role in the feel of the material.

Where do I buy cotton sheets?

For a comfortable bed and bedding that gives you those sweet dreams, you may have to shop around.  For sheets and bedding, there are many homeware stores or high-end box stores that carry a large selection of cotton sheets, duvets, and covers. 

Where do I buy a cotton mattress?

For a mattress, you should go to a store that specializes in mattresses.  They will have the biggest selection and options that will suit your sleeping position and needs.  Mattresses aren't a one-size-fits-all thing, so you want to spend some time finding the right one. Cotton mattresses continue to grow in popularity, so you will be able to find both softer and firmer options. 

Where do I buy cotton pillowcases?

For cotton pillows, you want to ensure your pillow has a cotton pillowcase, not the filling.  Cotton does not provide enough support or stability to support your head and neck when you sleep.  A cotton pillowcase will provide you the benefits of cotton listed above.  Your best option is finding a pillow with a firmer filling and soft cotton case.
Just as you do for a mattress, you should go with a retailer specializing in pillows when you shop for a pillow.  They will have the greatest selection of quality products that will provide you with the support you need based on your body and sleeping position.  Here are two types of pillows that have a cotton pillow cover with a firmer, supportive filling
Buckwheat pillows provide the benefits of cotton with their super plush and skin-friendly designer cotton pillowcase.  It is extra thick, durable, and machine washable.  The inner cover that carries the filling is also made from cotton. A great option for those with sensitivities or want a more natural pillow; these pillows are filled with 100% organic buckwheat hulls. You can adjust the firmness of your pillow with your filling to ensure a customized fit.  
Millet pillows are similar to the buckwheat pillows, but slightly less firm.  They also come with an out and inner cotton case but are filled with millet hulls instead of buckwheat hulls.  This alternative feels smoother and is less noisy. It's a comfortable, all-natural pillow that will give you the benefits of cotton bedding as well as adjustable support.

How should I wash my cotton bedding?

Experts recommend washing your sheets once a week. However, according to a 2012 survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 91% of Americans wash their sheets every two weeks.  The frequency in which you wash your bedding may depend on whether you or your partner sweats, someone is sick, has a dust allergy, or if a pet sleeps with you. Certain items should be washed more frequently than others; items that are in direct contact with your skin should be washed more often.  For cotton bedding, follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer.  You should also use gentle detergents, free from harsh chemicals. Repeated use of harsh chemicals can eat away at the fabric.  It is also recommended that you wash your cotton sheets and cotton pillowcases separate from other laundry and materials.  To ensure a good clean, don't overload your washing machine.  When your machine is filled to the max, they won't be cleaned as thoroughly as they don't move around as much.
We use our bedding every single day. If we sleep 7 hours a night, that means we spend 2555 hours with our face on our pillowcase!  Because of this, you want to make sure you use quality material that will help you sleep, keep you comfortable, and benefit your skin and hair!  Cotton provides so many benefits and is has been used for bedding and pillowcases for centuries as well in upscale hotels and spas. For sweet dreams, snuggle up to the cotton pillowcase on your Buckwheat Pillow and crawl between super soft cotton sheets.


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