Scientific studies abound on how many hours we Americans spend in bed sleeping, having sex, or lying awake wondering when we’ll get to sleep or have sex. The level of scrutiny is somewhat mystifying, given the fairly obvious findings. (In round figures: not enough, not nearly enough, and is it any wonder Ambien sales have skyrocketed?) Bottom line: on average, we’re between the sheets for more than a third of our lives.Any place you spend that much time should make you happy, and never more so than when it’s 60 by 80 inches and there are two of you. Your bed should be supremely, beckoningly comfortable, so you can rest. And as cohabitable and conflict free as possible, to help you nest.
In the last couple of years, thread counts—the number of threads in one square inch of fabric—have crept into the four digits. But do higher numbers indicate softer sheets? Only to a point. After about 500, what you’re paying for are the salaries of those tricky folks in the marketing department who realized they could describe a 500-thread-count sheet as a 1,000— if it’s woven with two-ply thread.
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Truth is, you’re likely to find 300- or 400- count sheets plenty luxurious (and easier on the checkbook). Guests staying in the presidential suite at the Four Seasons in New York City, one of the priciest hotel rooms in the country, pay $15,000 a night—and they’re resting their weary, wealthy bodies on 220-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Egyptian is key here—that variety is acknowledged to have the longest fiber, another contributor to softness.
Once you’ve selected sheets, of course, you have to share them. And there, the troubles too often begin. One couple we know disagrees on how to tuck in the top sheet. He likes to anchor a generous swath so his feet don’t poke out. She likes enough covers to form a turtleneck at the top. The solution is simple, though it took them a while to figure it out: they tuck in the sheet at an angle.