Go ahead, hit the snooze button.
Buying new sheets is one of those things that seems like it would be easy, but it can actually be quite the challenge. Between different brands, materials, and even just all the different types of cotton out there, it's hard to know what will be the right fit for you (unless you've already found sheets you love, of course.) Before you dive in to shopping, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.
You've likely been taught that thread count is super important when you're shopping for sheets, but that's not actually true. Per Katie Elks, director of design and product development at Brooklinen, thread count refers to the number of horizontal or weft and vertical or warp yarns in a square inch of fabric. And it's definitely not the end-all, be-all of factors that go into sheet shopping.
According to Parachute founder Ariel Kaye, thread count is "largely a marketing gimmick." This is because in many cases, manufacturers will weave multiple strands together to create threads, and then use that to inflate the thread count. "It ultimately takes away from their durability and softness," she says. Elks adds that typically those threads are made from short-staple cotton fibers, and what you want when you're looking for high-quality cotton sheets is actually long-staple fibers. (Long-staple fibers, Kaye explains, "result in a crisp, smooth finish"—and they're also more durable. You're better off looking up what kind of fibers your sheets are made with than going off of thread count alone.
The weave of your sheets will affect how they feel much more than thread count will, so factor that in to your decision-making process. Commonly, you'll find sheets in a sateen or percale weave. Sateen has a signature buttery-soft, silky feel, but it also traps heat so it's not a good pick for hot sleepers. Kaye says this is due to their "four-under-over weave." Percale, on the other hand, is crisp and cool with a matte finish. "Think of [percale] like fresh hotel sheets," Elks says. Other weaves like flannel (a type of brushed cotton) and jersey (stretchy and soft, like you're favorite worn-in t-shirt!) have a particularly warm, cozy feel, since they tend to hold in warmth.
Cotton isn't the only material out there, even if it is the most popular option for sheets. There's also linen (which, by the way, get softer with every wash and only get better with age), Tencel (a cellulose fiber made with sustainably-sourced wood), Silk (the ultimate in luxury), microfiber (hello, affordable softness!), and more.
Below, you'll find some of the best sheets you can buy online, in all different weaves and materials—not to mention, price ranges—so you're sure to find a set you'll love sleeping on for years to come.