There is no mythical, hallowed set of the best bed sheets for sleeping.
Wait! Don’t close this tab! Allow us to explain.
What we mean is that there is no singular set of sheets that are perfect for anyone and everyone. Some people sleep hot, some people sleep cold. Some people love flannel sheets, other, more reasonable people, think they should be tossed into the back of your hamper and forgotten about. Some people care what their bedsheets look like, others clearly don’t. Whoever you are, we here at GQ have got you covered, though if you’re here hoping to find one of those weird quilts made out of T-shirts, we’re afraid we can’t help you.
If you’re in the market for the best bed sheets for a good night’s sleep, your timing couldn’t be better. We’re in somewhat of a sheets revolution. The era of direct-to consumer goods—where the only thing between you and $5 million venture capital dollars is a Futura logo, a pastel subway ad, and some product reverse-engineered from an insecurity—has sufficiently “disrupted” (ugh) the textile industry. The same kind of manufacturers who make some of our favorite mattresses, toothbrushes, and meal kits are now making some excellent sheets.
That said, some of our favorite bedding manufacturers are exactly what you’d expect—seasoned companies that sold sheets to your parents and their parents. But we tend to prefer those that don’t try to trick you with jargon-y specifications like thread count, which is easy to inflate with techniques that don’t result in a softer sheet. We looked for sheets made with many different materials, so that we could have tons of different options for anyone with a bed of any size. Rest assured, any of these sheets we include in this list, even the ones that aren’t our top favorites, will help you get the rest you need.
The Best Sateen Sheets
Sateen is an extremely common fabric type for sheets. It’s cotton, but with a silky, more luxe, finish. They’re great for someone that tends to sleep cold. Our favorite sateen sheet set is the Amora set from Cloudten. The company’s sheets don’t come in tons of colors or with particularly fancy stitching, they are made well, and hold up well to a bunch of washes. Wash after wash, they held up as the softest sheets through many a blind feel test. They’re extremely soft with a light sheen; smooth and silky, but not so much you were sliding around in them or felt like a guy who calls his apartment a “Bachelor Pad.” Plus, the “smoke” color just looks like an instant bedroom upgrade—bold enough to be interesting, but without having to worry if it’ll match any of your other linens. They’re made sustainably, they’re simple, they feel great.
The Best Percale Sheets
Percale is another common sheet fabric type. It’s also cotton, but without the silky finish. They’re a little bit lighter than sateen, often described as “crisp.” If you sleep cold, but you want something more breathable and with a coarse texture that’ll hug you as you sleep, you should try percale. Out of the percale sheets we’ve tested, Snowe’s luxury sheets struck the best balance of lightness, sturdiness, and softness. These have that classic “luxury hotel” feel, like you’re sleeping in a pile of Ralph Lauren oxfords. After a dozen or so washes, they’ll be your favorite sheets, and they’ll stay that way for years to come. They come in a few lovely tinted colors.
The Best Linen Sheets
The old adage of summer clothing—all linen everything—applies equally well to bedding. If you tend to sleep hot and would like to save on your energy bill during the sweaty summer months, you should seriously consider investing in a few sets of linen sheets. Linen is made from a completely different plant than cotton. Linen fibers are a bit sturdier and harder to work with than cotton fibers, which means that a linen sheet will be more loosely woven and feel a bit rougher to the touch than a cotton sheet. This is excellent for breathability, since your body heat can escape more easily through that weave. It is a mixed bag in terms of “handfeel,” however. Before several softening cycles in the wash, some linen sheets might make you feel like you’re being constantly licked by an uncharacteristically affectionate cat.
We like the Riley sheet set because it felt soft to the touch the moment we took it out of the package. During testing, it quickly became the benchmark for any other linen sheet set. Getting a complete sheet set is pricey—though the company offers the sheets without a top sheet for you monsters who don’t use them—but about on par with other 100% linen sheet sets. Plus, you’ll quickly make that money up by not having to keep your AC on full blast overnight. Best of all, the Riley sheet set comes in a ton of lovely muted colors, which’ll help bring a little bit of energy into your bedroom each time the warmer months roll around.
The Best Flannel Sheets
L.L. Bean has been in the sheets game for a long time, and most of their sheet sets are excellent. But it’s the company’s flannel sheets that truly shine. Not everyone loves flannel sheets (detractors often point to their lack of breathability), but if you’re in a truly glacial environment (s/o Canada) they can be a godsend. These sheets are cozy and comfortable, really warm, and sturdy enough to last through many a winter. Plus, as you’d expect from the Bean, they come in the flannel-iest patterns known to man, which in itself provides a lot of coziness.