You’ve just bought the bed of your dreams and joined the legions of people who enjoy the contouring comfort of a memory foam mattress. Congratulations! Now, you’ll want to outfit your bed with the best sheets for your new mattress.
Can you simply use the sheets you used on your old mattress? Well, maybe, but only if they can accommodate the two unique characteristics of memory foam that set it apart from all other mattresses.
What makes memory foam mattresses different?
First, let’s look at how and why memory foam was created. Memory foam is the product of a NASA-funded project in the early 1960s to create a seat cushion that would better protect test pilots and astronauts from the tremendous G-forces sustained during training, flights, and lift-offs. The result was “temper foam” that could absorb shock by responding to body heat and pressure and then recover its original shape. Mattress manufacturing is just one of the many industries that have adopted memory foam as their go-to cushioning material.
Memory foam’s superior cushioning ability is at once its greatest asset as well as its greatest challenge for mattress owners. The selling point for a memory foam mattress is its ability to contour precisely to your body, thereby relieving pressure points on your shoulders and hips, and then recovering its original shape. Those features lead to:
- Memory foam’s tendency to retain some of the body heat it is responding to
- A lot of compression and expansion as the mattress responds to your pressure points
It’s these two characteristics that should guide your choice of sheets for your memory foam mattress.
How to choose the best sheets for temperature control
Memory foam can offer you that comforting hug at night because it responds to your body’s heat as well as pressure. Some of that heat can get trapped in the mattress which is why some sleepers find they “sleep hot” on memory foam. Don’t give up on your mattress just yet! Your sheets may be the problem.
The three features of sheets that affect their ability to keep you cool are the fabric, thread count, and weave. Here’s what you should know about each.
1. Select the best fabric: Natural fibers vs. synthetics
Sure, those polyester or microfiber sheets are wrinkle-free and look nice even if you leave them in the dryer overnight, but they underperform in the temperature control department. For a cooler sleep, choose natural fabrics that are more breathable like:
Natural fibers also wick away perspiration better than synthetics, so they will keep you cool and dry at night.
Cariloha Classic Bamboo Sheets
These bamboo sheets are the perfect combination of softness and breathability to keep you both comfy and cool while you sleep. We recommend the Cariloha Classic Bamboo sheets especially for hot sleepers – they’re constructed with viscose and have superior moisture-wicking qualities. These stylish sheets are available in six colors.
2. Consider thread count: Higher vs. lower thread count sheets
Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric in your sheets. Higher thread count sheets are increasingly more expensive as the thread count goes up, suggesting that more threads means better quality. But what’s good for your old innerspring mattress may not be good for your new memory foam.
It’s true that higher thread count sheets may be more durable and offer a smoother, softer feel than sheets with a lower thread count. But you want sheets for memory foam, so breathability matters more than ever. For a more breathable, and, therefore, cooler sheet set, choose a lower thread count – 200 or 300 is a good rule of thumb for memory foam bed sheets.
Pure Linens Exquisite Lavish Sateen Solid Weave by Pure Linens
These 300 thread count sateen sheets are super versatile and seasonally suitable – in the warmer months they will keep you cool, but in colder weather they will still keep you cozy and warm. The texture of these sheets are similar to silk, so you’ll feel like royalty sleeping with Pure Linens. These linens are available in 14 colors and various sizes.
3. Pay attention to the type of weave
The two most popular weave options for sheets are sateen and percale.
- Sateen sheets have a smooth, slick feel and a sheen on the finish.
- Percale sheets feel crisp and cool with a matte finish.
Percale sheets are a good choice for a memory foam mattress because they are lighter weight and more breathable than sateen. This makes them better able to dissipate your body heat and keep you cool at night.
Pinzon 300-Thread Count Percale
These sheets are the perfect combination of everything you need in sheets for your memory foam mattress – they are the ideal thread count and weave, plus they keep you cool. The Pinzon sheets are durable and resistant to piling so your bed will always look great. Affordable and available in a variety of stylish colors, what’s not to love?
Why your sheet size matters for your sleep
Remember earlier when you told you there are two important characteristics to keep in mind when shopping for sheets for a memory foam mattress? We covered temperature control extensively, guiding you through fabric, thread count, and weave considerations. But we haven’t touched on the compression and expansion that you have to consider with a foam bed.
As you move around during the night, your memory foam mattress can relieve pressure on your hips and shoulders because it conforms to the shape of your body, even as you change positions. All that contouring and hugging means the surface of your memory foam mattress actually moves quite a bit throughout the night.
If your sheets don’t move along with your mattress or they are too tight, you may not be getting the best pressure point relief your mattress has to offer. This is why sheet-size matters.
You want to make sure you purchase sheets that fit your mattress just right, both in terms of surface area and depth. Foam mattresses are available in a variety of depths typically ranging from around 6-14″ and you want your sheets to be able to fully cover this area. If you have a mattress pad on top, you’ll need to take those inches into account as well.
Keep the size of your mattress in mind while you shop for sheets so you can find the perfect fit. Deep-pocket sheets are available with these considerations in mind so your sheets aren’t too tight on your bed.
Amazon Extra Deep Pocket Sheets
These extra deep pocket sheets are suited to fit mattresses with pockets that are 18, 20, 21, 22, and 24 inches deep. The stretchable elastic allows these sheets to fully reach around your mattress so you don’t have to worry about your sheets popping off your bed in your sleep. Plus, they’re super soft and light!
Sheet-buying tips from the pros
Natural fiber 300-thread count sheets can get a little pricey, and you may not be totally happy with your selection. Satisfaction with your sheets has a lot to do with personal preference, so you really need to get up close and personal with your bedding before you can know if you like it.
Amanda Mettler, a textile buyer from Gracious Home, recommends trying a new set of sheets by just buying the pillowcases. Sleep on them a few nights, then put them in the wash. Then if you like them, you can buy the complete set with confidence that the return on your investment will be nights of glorious sleep.
We hope we helped you find the sheets of your dreams so you can be one step closer to a comfortable night’s sleep. Didn’t find what you were looking for? Don’t worry – we can help you find the best sheets for any sleep scenario or preference. Check out some of our other useful guides:
Remember you can always check on our regularly-updated Sleep Accessories Directory for the latest and greatest.
Do you have other questions about choosing sheets for memory foam? Leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to get you the information you need to find the best sheets for your memory foam mattress.