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  • Microfiber vs Cotton sheets Your Ultimate Guide

    12 min read

    Tabby Cat lying on a white bed with white sheets looking out the window

    Cotton vs Microfiber Sheets Everything You Need To Know To Get The Best Sleep

    Did you know? Sleep is your body’s recharging station where your emotions are reset, your brain restores the ability to make logical decisions, and learning is enhanced through improved memory. Creativity also improves through our ability to dream. It's no wonder your bedding is so important to good sleep.

    Cotton vs microfiber cotton plant on white background

    Your bed is your recharging station as it provides you with the restful sleep you need on a nightly basis. How you dress your bed determines the quality of your sleep; the better your sleep environment, the more relaxed and enjoyable your sleep will be.

    Cotton and microfiber sheets both offer sleep benefits; however, each should be matched to the individual. Cotton sheets are made from natural organic cotton, while microfiber sheets are made from synthetic man-made fibers. 

    Personal preference is usually what inspires most people to buy a specific sheet type, but little thought goes into the practical experience of actually sleeping between the sheets.

    We will explore why better consideration is necessary when purchasing your next set of cotton or microfiber sheets.

    Your Sleep Health: Sleep like a baby

    Quality sleep is not only measured by the number of hours we sleep, with 8 hours being the yardstick. When considering what quality sleep means, we need to look at what sleep means to us, and the way to do this is through measuring sleep to determine its health benefits.

    Mathew Walker, a Neuroscientist, recently authored a book titled “Why We Sleep”. In the book, he details sleep as your body’s recharging station where your emotions are reset, your brain restores the ability to make logical decisions, and learning is enhanced through improved memory. Creativity also improves through our ability to dream.

    Walker stresses the importance of sleep on health, both physical and mental. Quality sleep is an essential ingredient for good health. Sleep allows us to regulate hormones, improve our immune system, and offer us the time for focused restoration and healing. 

    Sleep slows down the aging process and revitalizes all of our internal functions that have proved beneficial in cancer prevention, the onset of Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Most of the medical conditions we faced will include rest or sleep as part of the treatment program.

    Getting regular “quality sleep” depends greatly on your sleep environment, including your choice of bedding. In order to reach the quality sleep level, interrupted sleep must practically be eliminated. Here are a few pointers to consider:

    microfiber vs cotton sheets koala sleeping soundly on a tree branch

    • Room temperature: The best bedroom temperature for sleep is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) 
    • TV screens: We all love to watch TV in bed but falling asleep with the TV on will result in interrupted sleep, and you will still feel tired in the morning.
    • Ventilation: Fresh air is important, so keep your home well ventilated and avoid smoking in your home.
    • Bedding: Select the right bedding to suit your sleep climate. Sleep posture is also a health factor, and the right mattress and pillows will keep your spine aligned with the rest of your body.
    • Pre-sleep: Introduce a wind-down period into your routine where you relax with a book or some soft background music. Avoid eating or snacking just before you go to sleep.

    Cotton Sheets and how they affect your sleep

    Cotton is a naturally sustainable product that has been in use for centuries. Cotton sheets promote quality sleep as the material is soft and breathable. However, cotton sheets come in various grades, and some are more prone to wear and tear than others.

    Measured by thread count, which is the number of threads per square inch, inferior quality cotton sheets will have a lower thread count, and luxurious sheets will have a higher thread count. Lower thread-count sheets tend to be coarse, scratchy and are prone to ruffling or creating small balls on the surface.

    Sheets that include Egyptian cotton or Supima cotton usually have a high thread count. The range will be anywhere between 300 and 700, but 200 thread-count sheets are still considered good quality. Pima cotton sheets can go as high as 1000 thread count.

    Both Egyptian and Pima (Supima, which means Superior Pima) sheets are made from long strands of cotton. Egyptian cotton is grown on the banks of the Nile River, while Pima cotton is grown in the United States. These two cotton types account for a mere 10% of the world’s cotton production, explaining the rather hefty price tag of products made with these two cotton types. 

    microfiber vs cotton sheets - Two children sitting on beach under cotton blankets

    a collection of our favorite cotton and cotton blend blankets

    Pros of Cotton Sheets

    • Made from natural cotton plants.
    • Breathable.
    • Wicks away humidity and moisture.
    • Cool
    • Soft
    • Becomes softer with age.
    • Hypoallergenic. Cotton sheets create a cool, breathable environment that makes it difficult for mold and bacteria to thrive.
    • Most common sheet material and widely available in different colors, sizes, and styles.

    Cons of Cotton Sheets

    • Not durable compared to synthetic fiber sheets.
    • Tend to be more expensive as the thread count increases.
    • Tend to wrinkle.
    • May shrink when washed incorrectly.

    Microfiber Sheets and how the affect your sleep

    Microfiber sheets are commonly made from acrylic, polyester, and nylon polymers. The thickness or linear density of an individual fiber is measured using the denier unit. 

    The silk fiber is approximately 1.25 deniers, whereas a microfiber is about half that measurement at about 0.9 deniers. To be classified as microfiber, the threads must measure less than one denier. This results in microfiber sheets not having a thread count on their label.

    Softness is associated with microfiber sheets which have a fine silky finish. This fine texture and aesthetic appearance may not be conducive to better sleep because although some advertisements claim moisture-wicking properties, overheating is a common experience among many users.

    Soft, lightweight sheets do have appeal, and microfiber sheets fit the bill. Besides this, they are also wrinkle-resistant and are strong and durable. Microfiber sheets absorb and retain heat which is great during the colder months, but in the warmer months, they may just work too well at keeping you snug. 

    Microfiber sheets are definitely more affordable than conventional cotton sheets, and although not great in high heat situations, they will not shrink as natural fabrics do. A too high drying heat may scorch or glaze microfiber, but as long as you stick to the manufacturer's instructions, this shouldn’t be an issue.

    The weave of microfiber sheets is either a flat weave or a waffle weave. A flatweave is more durable, stain-resistant, and repels moisture, making it ideal for younger children who may wet the bed from time to time. The waffle weave is more absorbent and retains heat which makes it a poor choice. 

    family lying under brown and white cotton blend microfiber cloth

    Pros of Microfiber Sheets

    • Durable.
    • Low maintenance. Easy to clean.
    • Affordable.
    • Soft.
    • Lightweight.
    • Wrinkle resistant.
    • Stain-resistant.
    • Resistant to tears if the weave is tight.

    Cons of Microfiber Sheets

    • Flammable.
    • Some types can be very thin.
    • Made from petroleum waste which is not environment friendly.
    • The build-up of static electricity, which can be unpleasant.
    • Can cause skin irritation if you have an allergy to synthetic materials.
    • Must be washed in cool water to prevent linting.
    • Heat retention may result in overheating.
    • Not breathable.

    Choosing the right sheets

    From the pros and cons of cotton and microfiber sheets mentioned above, you will be able to decide which of the two will improve your sleep environment and promote quality sleep. After all, a good night’s rest is what you should use to weigh up your decision.

    If you have temperature control in your home, you could overlook the heat retention of microfiber sheets and find more value in the aesthetics, durability, and low maintenance.

    Night sweating is something that affects many people, and here microfiber sheets will interrupt your sleep and may even exacerbate the problem. If you suffer from night sweats, cotton sheets are the better choice because they are breathable and cool.

    Cotton sheets being a natural fabric, is environmentally friendly and offer more benefits than synthetic fabrics like microfiber sheets. When it comes to sleep health, cotton should be your first choice. For night sweating or bedwetting, a simple remedy would be to use a mattress protector and to change your bedding as often as necessary.

    Consider the fact that purchasing bedding isn’t a weekly or monthly event. On the contrary, most bedding will last for years before replacement. This will allow you to save or budget for that expense and make an educated choice about maintaining or improving your quality of sleep.

    microfiber vs cotton sheets you girl and mother embrace under cotton blankets

    Conclusion on microfiber vs cotton sheets

    Cotton and microfiber sheets both have their place in promoting quality sleep, and each may be better suited to particular individuals. However, it is extremely important to work on your entire sleep environment that will give you a pleasing bedroom to walk into and be practical from an improved sleep perspective. 

    If you take care of your bedding, sheets, in particular, you will be able to use them for years. To improve the longevity of your sheets, follow the washing instructions and rotate your bedding while taking care to store your fresh bedding in a cupboard free of moths and other insects.

    Purchase within your means, but if you plan purchases that occur once every few years, you will be able to invest a great deal more into creating the ultimate sleep environment that will complement your healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Good health rests on the foundation of a healthy sleep environment.  

    Shop our Cotton Microfiber mix blankets

    Cotton Microfiber African made blanket

    FAQ - The Questions You want Answered

    Is it good to sleep on microfiber sheets?

    Microfiber sheets can be a good option for some people, as they offer several benefits.

    Whether or not it's good to sleep on microfiber sheets depends on your preferences and needs.

    If you tend to sleep hot or live in a humid environment, microfiber sheets may not be your best choice.

    However, if you're looking for a soft, durable, and affordable option, microfiber sheets could be significant.

    Which is better cotton or microfiber?

    Both cotton and microfiber have advantages and disadvantages, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

    Cotton is a natural fiber that is soft and breathable. It is absorbent and can hold up to 27 times its weight in water.

    Cotton is durable and can withstand high temperatures and frequent washing. Cotton sheets and towels are comfortable and luxurious to the touch.

    Microfiber is a synthetic material that is made from polyester and nylon. It is incredibly lightweight, durable, and has excellent wicking properties.

     Microfiber can absorb up to 7 times its weight in water and dries quickly, making it ideal for cleaning cloths and sports towels.

    Microfiber is also hypoallergenic and resistant to mold and mildew.

    Regarding cleaning, microfiber is more effective than cotton at picking up dirt and debris. Microfiber cleaning cloths can remove up to 99% of bacteria without harsh chemicals.

    Overall, cotton may be the better choice if you are looking for a soft and luxurious feel.

    If you need something lightweight, durable, and effective at cleaning, microfiber may be the better choice.

    What are the disadvantages of microfiber?

    While microfiber has many advantages, it also has a few potential disadvantages to consider:

    1. More breathable than natural fibers: Microfiber is a synthetic material that doesn't breathe as well as natural fibers like cotton. This means it may not regulate temperature as effectively and could cause you to feel hot or sweaty at night.
    2. Can retain odors: Because microfiber is so tightly woven, it can be more prone to trapping odors than natural fibers. This means that it may require more frequent washing to keep it smelling fresh.
    3. Can be prone to static: Microfiber can generate static electricity, which can cause it to cling to skin or other fabrics. This can be uncomfortable and make putting on or taking off bedding more challenging.
    4. Not as environmentally friendly: Microfiber is a synthetic material that is not biodegradable, so there may be better choices for eco-friendly options.
    5. Potential for shedding: Some lower-quality microfiber fabrics may shed fibers, which can be uncomfortable or irritating to the skin.

    Overall, the disadvantages of microfiber are relatively minor, and it remains a popular and practical choice for many people.

    Is microfiber as soft as cotton?

    Microfiber can be very soft and smooth to the touch, but whether it is as soft as cotton depends on the specific microfiber fabric and the type of cotton being compared to.

    Cotton is generally known for its softness and natural breathability, and high-quality cotton sheets can have a luxurious and silky feel.

    However, some microfiber fabrics are designed to mimic the softness and feel of cotton, and many people find them equally as comfortable.

    It's worth noting that the softness of a fabric depends on several factors, including thread count, weave, and fiber type. Higher thread counts generally result in softer, smoother fabrics, regardless of the fiber type.

    Some microfiber sheets are made with a high thread count and have a silky feel comparable to high-quality cotton.

    Whether microfiber is as soft as cotton depends on personal preference and the products being compared.

    Why do people use microfiber?

    People use microfiber for various reasons, including its durability, absorbency, and cleaning properties.

    Here are some of the most common reasons people choose microfiber:

    1. Cleaning: Microfiber is a highly effective material for cleaning, as its fine fibers can pick up and hold onto dirt, dust, and other debris more effectively than traditional cleaning cloths. Microfiber cleaning cloths can be wet or dry and often do not require additional cleaning chemicals.
    2. Absorbency: Microfiber is highly absorbent, meaning it can hold large amounts of moisture without becoming saturated. This makes it a popular material for towels and other absorbent products.
    3. Durability: Microfiber is a highly durable synthetic material that is resistant to wear and tear. It can withstand frequent washing and maintain its shape and color over time.
    4. Softness: Microfiber is often made with fine fibers that create a soft and smooth texture. This makes it a popular material for bedding and other soft goods.
    5. Hypoallergenic: Microfiber is often hypoallergenic, meaning it does not contain common allergens like dust mites and pollen. This makes it a good choice for people with allergies or asthma.

    Overall, microfiber is a versatile and practical material used in many products, from cleaning cloths and towels to bedding and clothing.

     Its durability, absorbency, and cleaning properties make it a popular choice.

    Does microfiber make you hot?

    Microfiber fabric itself is not known for causing heat, but whether or not it makes you hot depends on other factors, such as the weave of the fabric and your personal preferences.

    Microfiber is a synthetic material that doesn't breathe as well as natural fibers like cotton or linen.

    If the microfiber fabric is tightly woven, it may not allow for airflow and ventilation, causing you to feel hot or sweaty.

    However, if the microfiber fabric is designed with a looser weave or is mixed with other breathable fibers, it can be more comfortable and cool.

    In addition, some microfiber products, like bedding or towels, may be designed with moisture-wicking properties that help regulate body temperature and prevent overheating.

    Whether microfiber makes you hot depends on the specific product and how it is designed, your preferences, and body temperature.

    It's a good idea to read product reviews and pay attention to the fabric's properties to determine whether it will be comfortable.

    Is microfiber better than silk?

    Whether microfiber is better than silk depends on what you look for in a fabric. Both microfiber and silk have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

    Microfiber is a synthetic material that is highly durable, affordable, and easy to care for. It is also hypoallergenic and wrinkle-resistant, making it a popular choice for bedding, clothing, and other soft goods.

    Microfiber is also highly absorbent and effective at cleaning, making it a popular material for cleaning cloths and towels.

    On the other hand, silk is a natural material known for its luxurious feel, softness, and shine.

    Silk is highly breathable, hypoallergenic, and can regulate body temperature, making it a popular choice for bedding and clothing. Silk is also highly absorbent and moisturizing for the skin and hair.

    Whether microfiber is better than silk depends on your preferences and needs.

    If you're looking for a highly durable, affordable, and easy-to-care-for fabric, microfiber may be a better choice.

    If you're looking for a luxurious and natural, highly breathable, and moisturizing material, silk may be a better choice.

    Is microfiber better for your skin?

    Microfiber can be better for your skin than other materials in some cases, depending on the specific product and your skin type.

    Microfiber is a synthetic material often used to clean cloths, towels, and bedding.

    Its fine fibers can pick up dirt and oil more effectively than other materials, which can help to prevent breakouts and other skin issues.

    Additionally, some microfiber products, like towels or bedding, may be designed with moisture-wicking properties that help regulate body temperature and prevent overheating, which can also benefit your skin.

    However, it's worth noting that not all microfiber products are created equal.

    Some microfiber fabrics may contain chemicals or synthetic dyes that can irritate sensitive skin, so choosing high-quality products free from harsh chemicals and irritants is essential.

    Whether microfiber is better for your skin depends on the specific product and your skin type and needs. It's always a good idea to research and choose products designed to be gentle and non-irritating for your skin.

    What are luxury hotel sheets made of?

    Luxury hotel sheets are typically made from high-quality, natural fibers such as Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton, or Supima cotton.

    These materials are known for their softness, durability, and breathability, making them a popular choice for luxury bedding.

    Thanks to its long fibers and soft, luxurious feel, Egyptian cotton is considered one of the highest-quality cotton available.

    Pima cotton, also known as "Supima" cotton, is another high-quality cotton known for its durability and softness.

    In addition to cotton, luxury hotel sheets may also be made from other natural fibers like linen, silk, or bamboo.

    Linen is a breathable and durable material known for its relaxed feel and natural texture.

    At the same time, silk is a luxurious and soft material that can help regulate body temperature and keep you cool.

    Overall, luxury hotel sheets are typically made from high-quality natural fibers that are soft, durable, and breathable, ensuring a comfortable and luxurious sleeping experience.

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