Monday, January 31, 2005

Luxury Bedding is More Than Just Thread Count

Luxury Bedding

Thread count is the most widely referred to term when searching for those “perfect sheets.” Generally, the higher the thread count, the more costly you’ll find the sheets. But is thread count the real measure of luxury bedding?

Thread count is only one factor in the equation of luxury bedding. The qualities of the fabric are what put the luxury in your sheets. There are, however, two main types of fabrics and they are natural and manufactured. Luxury bedding is almost exclusively made from high-quality natural fabrics such as Egyptian cotton.

Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric. A higher count usually indicates a finer thread. It is the finer thread that gives a sheet its softer feel, unless chemical finishers are used. These chemical finishes, which are often used on cheaper sheets, will make the sheets initially appear to be silky smooth, but after a couple washings the finish will wear off. Chemical finishes are also detrimental to those who have sensitive skin or suffer from allergies. In reality thread count is mostly a measure of a sheet’s softness and not necessarily its quality. For example a 340 thread count sheet made with Egyptian cotton can feel as smooth as a 400 thread count sheet made with cheaper cotton. Does this mean that a low grade cotton sheet with 800 TC fabric feels twice as smooth as 400?

Not necessarily. If you have been shopping for luxury bedding you may have seen advertisements for 800 + TC sheets. This number can be misleading. These sheets achieve a super high thread count by adding multiple plies of fabric together. While these sheets are smooth, they are not as proportionally smooth as the high number would lead one to believe. The added plies increase the durability of the sheet which may be necessary if the bedding is made from low quality materials. High quality fabrics will be made with high quality fibers which are strong and tightly weaved. The best fabrics are generally going to have a thread count between 300 and 350.

Natural materials, such as Egyptian or Pima cotton, are preferred over manufactured materials for bedding. This is because cotton will allow the body to breathe while at rest. But if one prefers a silk-like feel then Lyocell is a good alternative. It is a manufactured material that is made from natural biodegradable materials.

So remember, when shopping for high quality sheets keep in mind that thread count is more an indicator of the smoothness of a sheet and not as much an indicator of quality. If a bedding set claims to have a high thread count check to see if it is made of a high quality fabric. One should seriously consider an investment in quality bedding materials such as Egyptian cotton for longevity, comfort, and especially if you have sensitive skin or suffer from allergies.

Article Source:

Luxury Bedding

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Lack of sleep linked to obesity in national studies

Lack of Sleep

by Jeane Chapin

Published Friday, January 21, 2005

Lack of sleep linked to obesity in national studies
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(U-WIRE) - Losing sleep? According to several recent studies, a correlation has been found between being overweight and getting fewer hours of sleep at night.

Two new studies showed that people deprived of sleep had hormonal imbalances.

Those who slept less had more of the hormone ghrelin, which produces hunger, and less of the hormone leptin, which produces a feeling of fullness.

They also craved more high-calorie foods than they did with adequate sleep.

One study done at the University of Chicago showed that a group of men in their twenties who only slept four hours a night for two nights had a 24 percent increase in appetite.

Another study done at Stanford University analyzed the sleep patterns of more than 1,000 people. Those who slept less than eight hours a night were heavier than those who got enough sleep.

In November, Columbia University researchers found that people who slept less than four hours a night were 73 percent more likely to be obese than people who had seven to nine hours of sleep.

There was a 50 percent risk of obesity for those who slept five hours a night, and a 23 percent risk for those who slept six hours.

"Most people think that if you're sleeping less, that means you would actually lose weight because you have more hours of activity," said Ruth Litchfield, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition.

However, people usually eat more to compensate for sleep loss, Litchfield said.

"Your brain doesn't recognize that your body's full," said Jessica Steinitz, program manager for the National Sleep Foundation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 37 percent of young adults sleep less than seven hours a night.

"Eight to nine hours is what they really need," said Marc Shulman, staff physician for the Thielen Student Health Center.

"College students tend to vary their sleep depending on the day."

Having a sleep routine is important to getting enough sleep every night, Shulman said.

"Good sleep habits would include going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends," he said. For college students, this isn't always possible. But without enough sleep, weight gain isn't the only potential problem. Difficulty concentrating, memory problems, irritability and fatigue are other problems associated with sleep loss.

"Since the body does not 'learn' to function on less sleep, it is important to clear time for sleep even if your schedule is insanely busy," Steinitz said.

"Any studying or learning that occurs during the day will be retained much better if you get a good night's sleep afterwards."

Occasional sleep deprivation isn't a problem, Litchfield said.

The problem occurs when students are frequently functioning on little sleep.

This could increase their risk for weight gain, she said.

"It comes back to just trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a regular basis," Litchfield said.

Bedding Information

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Marriot Hotels too Upgrade 628,000 Beds Worldwide during 2005

Marriott Hotel

Marriott is Creating More Luxurious Bedding With Plusher Mattresses, Softer Sheets, More Pillows, and a New, Fresh, White Look

Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) today announced that by year-end, 628,000 beds at approximately 2,400 hotels worldwide, across eight brands, will have a new, more luxurious look and feel. The global bedding makeover will utilize over 30 million yards of fabric -- enough to stretch more than two-thirds of the way around the world -- creating softer sheets, plusher mattresses, stylish duvets, more pillows -- and a new fresh, white look.

J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International, said, "Together with our hotel owners and franchisees, we are launching an unprecedented bedding makeover, continuing our invitation to guests to experience the new look and feel of Marriott. This initiative draws on the finest designs and service traditions at our best hotels worldwide to position each of our brands as the most luxurious in their segment. And our new bedding is already getting rave reviews."

The company said its owners and franchisees are investing nearly $190 million in the new bedding. And, to speed the makeover, Marriott is offering owners and franchisees a one-time incentive, to ensure that guests can enjoy the comfort and luxury of the new bedding by year-end.

The company conducted extensive consumer research on the new bedding for all its brands. More than four out of five of the 1,000 guests surveyed preferred the new bedding and said they liked the stylish design and appearance, calling it fresh, inviting and comfortable. They also said the new bedding would increase their preference for a Marriott brand.

The more luxurious bedding is the new brand standard for the JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, TownePlace Suites and SpringHill Suites brands. As part of the makeover, the company is replacing traditional bedspreads with freshly laundered linens, making Marriott's new bedding the cleanest and freshest of any major hotel chain.

JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts

Luxury Hotel Bedding

Full-service JW Marriott, Marriott and Renaissance hotels and resorts will replace the traditional bedspread with down comforters nestled inside sheeted duvets. The duvet covers will be freshly laundered for each new guest. The bedding will feature 300-thread-count, cotton-rich, white top and fitted bottom sheets, making them among the finest and softest sheets of any global hotel chain. The new JW Marriott, Marriott and Renaissance bedding will also offer thicker, more comfortable mattresses with the addition of a two- to four-inch mattress topper and more pillows. The stylized bedding will be accented with euroshams, a decorative bed scarf and an optional bolster. This spring, the new Marriott Hotels & Resorts bedding will be available for purchase.

Courtyard, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn and TownePlace Suites

The company's select-service and extended-stay brands will feature comforters snuggly fit between triple sheeting, including 200-thread-count, cotton-rich top and fitted bottom sheets that will be "mercerized," a process that elevates the softness of the linens. The bedspread will be replaced by triple sheeting, which is commonly found at luxury hotels and resorts, including a decorative top sheet with colorful trim. All linens will be laundered daily. Comforters will fit neatly between the new triple sheeting. The new bedding also features more pillows, enhancing its home-like appeal. Thicker mattresses will become standardized across these brands. Courtyard hotels outside North America will also feature elements of the upgraded full- service bedding in some markets.

Marriott ExecuStay

Marriott ExecuStay, the company's corporate and temporary housing brand, will offer the Elite Dreamer(TM) bedding package, offering featherbed comfort with a mattress topper wrapped in luxurious Tru Val(TM) sheets and a climate- customized blanket. On top is a deluxe goose down comforter with a cover and skirt designed exclusively for ExecuStay. Five pillows of two varieties, both Down Surround and fiber-filled, will also be offered. Marriott ExecuStay is the first corporate housing provider to offer deluxe bedding nationwide.

Under Marriott's "Spirit To Serve Our Communities" program, participating hotels will have the opportunity to make charitable contributions of the replaced bed linens, including sheets, bedspreads, blankets and pillows. Marriott, on behalf of its owners and franchisees, is working through United Way of America and Gifts in Kind International to identify nonprofits serving local communities, as well as the tsunami-affected region of Southeast Asia. Beginning in February, nonprofit organizations interested in receiving a Marriott bedding donation can link to, courtesy of United Way of America's online tool called United eWay, to access linens from participating Marriott hotels as they become available throughout the year.

Luxury Bedding

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

How to choose a Duvet Cover

Duvet Cover

To protect your new down comforter and allow it to coordinate with your bedroom decor, you will want to buy a duvet cover. Here's what you need to know before you choose one, and pointers on how to sew your own duvet cover.

What is a Duvet Cover?
A duvet cover is a bag of fabric made to encase your comforter and coordinate with your decor. They are as easy to care for as sheets and keep your less-easy-to-launder comforter clean and protected.

Be Careful About Size
In a recent review found that comforters labelled "queen" can vary as much as 10" in size. For this reason, you need to be careful when buying a duvet cover to look at the size in inches and make sure it matches the size (in inches) of your comforter. Purchasing a duvet cover from the manufacturer of your comforter is one way to ensure that it will fit.

Color and Quality
Your duvet cover will likely be one of the most noticeable things in your bedroom, so it should coordinate with your decor. As with sheets, fiber composition (cotton or cotton-poly blend) and thread count (the number of threads per inch) are the best measures of quality. Look for a high thread count 260 or above, and a high cotton content or silk.

Duvet Cover Care
Your duvet cover should be laundered at least seasonally or when it is dirty. Most are as easily laundered as sheets -- wash in your home machine and dry until just dry. Iron if needed. If you have a silk duvet cover it is recommended that you only dry clean it by a trusted professional.

Sweet Dreams

Duvet Cover

Friday, January 14, 2005

Insulating Properties of Down

Down Bedding Info

1. Types of Down and Feather Bedding
Down mainly comes from underneath the feathers of geese and ducks, but other waterfowl also produce down. Down grows against the skin and keeps the geese warm. Luxury down comforters are available to fit all sizes of beds and are priced accordingly. Luxury down comforters can be found at discount bedding prices online.

2. Feather Fill for Comforters
Genuine goose down is three-dimensional, with clusters that interlock through millions of filaments. Down clusters in your down comforter create a fluffy air trap that keeps you warm, even when air in the bedroom is exceptionally cold. If you’re anticipating a frigid winter, choose a winter fill down comforters from Biltmore Estate Bedding Collection. High quality down comforters won't wear out easily.

3. Goose Down Comforters
A Goose down comforter make amazingly light and very comfortable to sleep under. Since goose down allows moisture, such as perspiration, to escape (a process called wicking), a goose down comforter is more pleasant to sleep under than one with synthetic filling. You’ll never feel clammy under quality goose down comforters. Down comforters are more suitable for a variety of temperatures and climates than other types of bedding.

4. Feather Bedding
Down is the soft, inner plumage of waterfowl, such as geese and ducks. Down has abundant, light, fluffy filaments extending in all directions but does not have a feather’s quill shaft. Down comforters keep humans warm, providing breathable comfort. Down comforters spring back to their original shape because of loft. Always look for down comforters made of white goose down.

5. Luxury Down Comforters
Down is Mother Nature’s lightest and most insulating nature product too keep your warm at night. Nature has designed down to help maintain optimum, core body temperature. Goose down transfers heat away from the body when the air outside the down layer is hot and holds in heat when the air outside is cold. Some luxury down comforters use 90-100% white goose down fill, with 700+ fill power. Instead of large feathers, luxury down comforters boast a high quality, superior insulating down that can achieve the same level of insulation as thicker, heavier comforters. These quality cozy down comforters are lighter and fluffier to give you a good night’s sleep.

6. White Goose Down Comforters
The loft of the goose down filling will determine the physical size of a goose down comforter as well as its insulating ability. The more goose down inside a down comforter, the warmer it will be. Many white goose down comforters manufacturers offer a variety of fillings: “Warm" comforters have fewer ounces of filling than do the "warmest" down comforters. Winter weight luxury down comforters as well as down comforters in summer and year-round weights are available from Luxury Sleep.

7. Down Fill Comforter
Geese and ducks are insulated from extreme temperatures by their down. Down is the soft, fluffy growth found under their outer layer of breast feathers. Down is lighter and more flexible than the goose’s feathers. Goose down comforters are highly sought after because they offer the ultimate in comfort and insulation. Luxury down comforters have up to 90% Down and 700+ fill power.

8. Down Filled Comforters
Soft down spreads warmth evenly. Down comforters—especially those that are top of the line—are more expensive than ordinary types of bedding and are usually considered a luxury purchase.

9. Types of Comforters
Down is the lightest, most effective insulator known to man. Down’s light, fluffy filaments expand and intertwine to form air pockets in your down comforter. A natural product, down regulates warmth and allows you to maintain your natural body temperature. Down comforters offer year-round comfort, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You can find summer fill down comforters, winter fill down comforters or year-round power fill down at

Luxury Bedding

Thursday, January 13, 2005

How to choose a Down Comforter?

Down Comforter

We have been finding out recently that not all down comforters are created equal. Intuitively, we have always known that but the criteria for distinguishing between them were more complicated than I realized. Here are the different variables when going to choose a new down comforter.

Fill Power
In common terms this means how fluffy/puffy is the fill. Fluffy down occupies more space inside a down comforter. A higher number on the 600-800 scale means it is fluffier. Higher fill power means it also keeps you warmer and lasts longer.

Thread Count/Barrier Weave fabric
The thread count is the number of threads that are contained in one square inch of fabric. Higher thread counts in a fabric mean it is lighter and softer. The tightness of the weave also prevents leakage of the fill inside the comforter to the outside air. The lightness also helps the fill to " loft"- puff up in common terms. Down-proofness is measure in millimeters .Lower numbers mean better down proofing. The industry standard in '10'. An air porosity test (how much air can pass through a fabric) is a measure of "down-proofness". Higher thread counts are obviously better for down comforter covers. In other words, no little feathers poking through the fabric.

There are acceptable government standards for the cleanliness of feathers and down. This cleanliness is a primary variable in determining the hypoallergenic nature of some down comforters. Some comforter fills are washed as many as fifteen times to get rid of dust, dirt and organic matter. There are two "cleanliness" tests in the industry.

1. Oxygen test: determines the amount of organic matter left in the material being tested. The industry acceptable standard is 10. Better products have lower numbers than that.

2. Turbidity test: Turbidity is a measure of suspended solids, dust, dirt etc suspended in the material. The scale goes from about 60(unwashed feathers )to 550 best.

Types of Down
These are in order of quality. Please note that in some down comforters labeled "pure down" or 100% down are not pure, as some feathers remain in the fill. As long as the down comforter is 75% down it can be labeled 100% in many state's:

Clustered White Goose Down
Clustered Goose Down
White Goose Down
Goose Down
Duck Down
Goose Feather
Duck Feather

A down comforter can be made warmer in two ways. Fill Power and weight. Clearly the aim is to get the maximum warmth at the lightest weight. To get this you would choose a higher fill power number. Feathers are a great deal less warm than high grade down. Once you have selected the Fill Power then add weight for extra warmth

A. Sewing Quality. Better sewing means more durability, less tendency for sewing to break. Down comforters are generally sewn through or baffled. The baffling is an internal fabric wall which allows the fill to "loft" more. It also adds strength to the down comforter. Comforters which are sewn through are generally better for lighter weight comforters only.

A Warmer Night's Sleep

Down Comforter

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Silk Comforter Review - Biltmore Dupioni Silk Baffle-Box Comforter

Silk Comforter

The Biltmore Dupioni Silk Baffle-Box Comforter is the gorgeous down comforter we will be reviewing today. The essential difference between the Biltmore Dupioni Silk Baffle-Box Comforter and most other baffle-box construction is the quality. It uses a Baffle-Box construction and Silk shell too keep it smooth on you skin. Filled in this comforter is some 42-50 oz. of White Goose Down. So it keeps you warmer through the fall season in the Northeast.


Workmanship: We were impressed by the workmanship and liked the construction into squares. We liked the Baffle-Box construction.

Luxurious Fabric: The Biltmore Dupioni Silk Baffle-Box Comforter lives up to its name and delighted us. This silk comforter felt soft, drapeable and unbelievably luxurious.

Weight Warmth: The weight of this down filled comforter will work well for all year round use in moderate to cold climates. A generous amount a fill was used in this over-sized comforter.

Best Value: Given the weight of down fill, this down filled comforter got our vote for the best buy for the money.

Quality of Down Fill: At 650 Fill Power this comforter came with all the warmth we needed. Even with the higher Fill Power it was still light on our body.

Not so Good:

Silk Comforter Care: A good silk comforter will last about 5 and up to 10 years if proper care is taken to treat it right. This includes always having a duvet cover on it and never trying to wash it yourself which would invalidate the warranty. A silk comforter needs professional dry cleaning.

Duvet Cover: We believe that a duvet cover is absolutely essential. This is need too protect your investment.

Warmth: This comforter is definitely for a warmer sleeper. If you like it toasty at night this comforter is for you.

Summary: The Biltmore Dupioni Silk Baffle-Box Comforter is the best value for a luxurious silk comforter.

Silk Comforter
Biltmore Estate Collection

Monday, January 10, 2005

Pillows - Testing to see if they Need Replacing

Down Pillow

I found some information the other day about how to test whether your pillows needs replacing. Here is the essence of the advice:

For all natural pillows:
Fold the pillow in half (a king size pillow in thirds) then release it. A "good pillow" will release and bounce back into shape.

For all synthetic pillows:
Follow directions as above but put a 10 ounce weight on top. A clean tennis shoe is about the right weight. Then take the shoe off the pillow. If the pillow is OK it will release.

Sleep Tight

Down Pillows

Friday, January 07, 2005

Primaloft Alternative Down Comforter and Pillow


Primaloft is a hypoallergenic fiber which mimics down in comforters and pillows. As such, it is perfect for the allergy sufferer and what's more it is a fraction of the price of real down bedding. It is very soft and lofty. So as you can imagine, it is very popular with our website visitors. In theory, you can also wash it, and the label on the comforter gives precise instructions as to how to go about doing that.

A Primaloft comforter will give you good honest wear, as long as you put it inside a duvet cover to minimize the need to clean it. What's more when you clean it DO NOT wash it in your washing machine at home. Most home washing machines are too small and the comforter will come out lumpy (read "ruined"). The same advice applies to Primaloft pillows. While a Primaloft comforter could give you several years wear if treated with care, a Primaloft pillow will last 18 months to 2 years before losing its loft and going completely flat. Primaloft is delightfully soft and is very reasonably priced, but do not make the mistake of thinking it either has the lasting power of a top quality down comforter or indeed the warmth of an artic weight down comforter. We believe that many people in the Northeast would not find that Primaloft comforters are warm enough in winter.

Keep Warm

Primaloft Comforter
Primaloft Pillow

Thursday, January 06, 2005

9 Tips on Getting a Better Nights Sleep

Sleeping Tips

Having a quality nights sleep is something we all strive for. Rather than just popping a pill which can be habit forming and lead to more sleep problems in the long term, try some of these sleeping tips.

1. Make a hot bath

Not hot enough to make you uncomfortable though. The heat of the water relaxes the muscles and also causes the core body temperature to drop afterwards which sends a sleep signal to the brain. This is great for children too. It only works for baths though, not showers!

2. Get more light during the day

This sounds strange, but its vital for good sleep at night. Our brains are hard wired to go to sleep when it's dark and wake when its light. Not getting enough light during the day will deprogram our biological clock. Once our circadian rhythm has been upset, our brain won't receive the sleep signal when we're ready to go to sleep.

Even if you are working long hours try to get outside into the sunshine for a while at lunchtime. If you live in a part of the world which has short days in winter, install a bright light at home and sit under it for at least 30 minutes. This should be enough to keep that biological clock ticking!

This is a good reason not to watch TV in bed. Even if the program is dull, the bright flickering light of the TV screen will be working against your natural sleep patterns!

3. Don't lie in bed and think about not sleeping

This will only cause stress and make quality sleep even harder to achieve. If you find yourself becoming concerned about not sleeping, get up and make yourself a drink (no caffine) Find something to read. Stay up until you feel sleepy again and only then go back to bed.

4. Set a consistent sleeping pattern

This reinforces the natural biological rhythm and helps your brain send a sleep signal. It also reinforces a habit. Habits are an important part of better sleep. Obviously you won't be able to do this every single night, there will be nights where you might go out to a show or out on the town with friends! However if you manage most nights, this will still work well.

5. Go to bed when you are tired.

This sounds like a direct contradiction of the previous tip. The logic behind this is that is you are not sleepy you will lie in bed awake and will start worrying about not being able to go to sleep. The most important part of all this is to get up at the same time every morning no matter what time you went to bed the night before. Eventually you will feel very sleepy at your normal bedtime. Getting up in the morning when you are still tired is not easy to do but it will help in the longer term. Stick with it!

6. Develop an evening routine.

Do the same things at the same time each night. This programs the unconscious mind that you are preparing for sleep. Brush you teeth, let the cat in, check the locks on the doors. Do each step in the same order. It may sound simplistic but it can work really well.

7. Exercise more during the day.

Exercise relaxes the body and mind as well as being good for your health and helping with weight loss. Even walking just 20-40 minutes a day will help. If walking’s not your thing try Yoga or Qigong. Both are soothing and will relax you totally. If there are no classes near you, videos or CDs are easily available.

8. Practice muscle relaxation.

You can do this during the day or after going to bed. Practice tensing and relaxing each muscle group in turn, starting at the top of the head and gradually working down to the toes. This relaxes the body and also distracts you from any worrying thoughts while you are performing it. Visit the page on relaxation techniques for some easy to follow techniques.

9. Write down worries before going to bed.

There’s always something to worry about isn’t there? These are the things that can keep you awake when your mind won’t let go. Solution? Have a worry time before going to bed. Think of all the problems that are currently in your life and write them down. Make a decision to do something about them the following day.

If you are tempted to think about any of those things while you are trying to sleep simply tell yourself, “its ok, I’ve made a note of it and I’ll handle it tomorrow”

Sweet dreams!

Luxury Linen

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Down Bedding Care & Maintenance

Bedding Maintenance

-Preventative Maintenance
-Miscellaneous Facts

Preventative Maintnenance
Generally, down comforters and pillows should be shaken out daily to restore their loft. With fixed construction comforters (i.e., baffle box and sewn-through boxes), the down will not move from outside its respective box during the shaking.

When stripping the sheets off the bed, the consumer also may wish to fluff out the featherbed to give its loft back. Consumers can also tumble dry their down products to get some extra loft.

It is a great idea to protect a comforter, pillow, or feather bed with a fabric
cover of some sort. Duvet covers for comforters, pillow protectors, and featherbed protectors are worthwhile investments that extend the life of down bedding significantly. Additionally, by using a duvet cover, the consumer is able to change the look of their bed, simply by changing the cover but keeping the same comforter.

Most consumers chose to have their down bedding professionally dry cleaned, but most fabrics allow gentle machine washing, if the washer is large enough to accommodate the product. Using a small amount of mild dish detergent is a good way to clean the bedding (avoid using laundry detergent as it leaves a phosphate coating on the down clusters and reduces the ability for the down to regain its loft).

Miscellaneous Facts
-Moths usually do not attack the down or feather filling - only the shells are
susceptible (As all linens are).
-Down and feathers have no preset time for spoilage - well treated they can last dozens of years.


Down Bedding Information

Can You Believe the Thread Count?

Thread Count

Ten years ago, who knew thread counts for sheets? (Thread count is the number of threads in a square inch of advertisement fabric.) Now there's thread-count inflation: 300 threads per inch used to be sheer indulgence, but today brands are boasting numbers as high as 800 at prices as low as $169.99 for a set of sheets. Don't believe it. The Good Housekeeping Institute tested nine brands of sheets sold at national linen chains and discovered that several -- including Synergy and Rainbow Linens -- don't have anywhere near the 400, 600, even 800 counts listed on their labels. They inflate the numbers by counting individual plies within a thread rather than the threads themselves. How can you spot the imposters? Beware of high numbers coupled with low prices. Sheets with true 500 counts (like Frette and Pratesi) cost about $175 each. The other name brands tested -- Wamsutta, Charisma and Waverly by Divatex -- also lived up to their claims, give or take a thread.

If you do buy a faux luxury sheet, you'll realize it soon enough. Some of the sketchy sheets felt lush in the store but all too ordinary after they were washed five times. A sheet with a true high thread count should increase in softness while maintaining luster after a few trips through the laundry.

Have a Good Nights Sleep

Luxury Linens

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Types of Natural Bedding

Down Bedding

Introduction - Types of Bedding

This first posting is designed to showcase the many types of bedding products that contain down and feathers. There really are few things in life that make a consumer feel as pampered as luxurious down bedding. Although we include many of the more popular uses of down and feathers in bedding, this list is certainly not all-inclusive.

Down Pillow - Although pillows may seem simple, there are actually many variables involved in making a pillow. The three basic parameters of a pillow are:-The fill -The fabric type -The pillow construction The fill can be a blend of down or feathers all the way from 5% down / 95% feathers to 90% down / 10% feathers. The general rule of thumb is that the more down, the softer the pillow. A pillow with a 10/90 fill is 10% down and 90% feathers - this type of pillow is firm with a bit of give (This pillow is less expensive due to the lower down quantity). The 50/50 pillow likewise has 50% down and 50% feathers and is softer then the 10/90 pillow. Some consumers find that the 50/50 product is firm enough for support and soft enough for comfort. Although choosing the most comfortable pillow is completely subjective to the sleeper, often pillows are sold as 3 distinct densities: soft, medium, and firm. Unlike foam pillows, down pillows surround the sleeper's head with luxury and don't lose their loftiness or softness. Pillows can be made from a variety of fabric and finishes. Although cotton is the most popular fabric type, pillow shells can be made of cotton, silk, tensile, etc. Generally, as the thread count of the pillow fabric increases, the price of the pillow will also rise. A thread count of 230 or higher means that the pillow is "down proof" (a measure of air permeability), but often lower thread count pillows are specially treated with starch sizing to prevent feather and down leakage. Pillows may have gussets(side walls), piping, or embroidery to embellish their appearance.

Down Comforter - When evaluating naturally filled comforters, there are 5 major considerations:

-Comforter construction and size
-Shell fabric -Fill type
-Quality of fill
-Fill weight Comforter construction can include anything from a wide-open 'bag' filled with down and feathers to an inner-locking baffle box that traps the fill from moving within the comforter.

Here are the basic construction types that you will most likely see:
-Channel: Horizontal or vertical 'columns' that are either sewn through the top and bottom layers of the comforter shell or baffled.
-Karo-Step: Either baffled or sewn-through crosses that limit the down movement within the comforter.
-Ring Stitch: Small dots that are sewn through the top and bottom layers of the comforter.
-Sewn Thru Box: Sewing the top and bottom layers of the comforter in horizontal and vertical lines, to form boxes that can range from 4" - 18" in size. One of the ultimate constructions in eliminating down shifting in the comforter.
-Baffle Box: a thin fabric connects the top and bottom layers of the comforter shell, allowing the fill to touch along the sew lines, providing more loftiness than sewn-through comforters.
-Framed Baffle Box: The same as a baffle box, but with 1 or 2 "frames" along the four sides of the comforter.

Comforters generally are sold in three or four sizes (twin, full, queen, full/queen, king), although there is no real 'standard' size for a given bed size. Some customers prefer an 'over-hung' look, and as mattresses are getting thicker, this requires a larger comforter for the bed. Most consumers do not tuck the comforter below their mattresses, they simply allow it to hang over on the sides and foot of the bed. Like pillows, comforters can come in a variety of fabric types that can be finished in different methods. They also may be accented with specialized piping, embroidery, color, scalloped edges, sateen gussets, etc. Generally, as thread count increases, so does the price of the product. As discussed in the Down and Feather 2004 above, the fill type, fill quality and fill weight all dramatically effect the quality, functionality, appearance, and price of the comforter. Roughly 60-70% of the cost of a finished down comforter is in the fill, so this tends to be the most important element. The more weight and the higher the fill power of the down, the more it insulates. Often, these two figures are adjusted in tandem to make the desired warmth level of the comforter.

Featherbed - Although in Europe featherbeds are sometimes used instead of mattresses, here in the United States, many people love to place them on top of their mattresses as an extra layer of cushion and loft to sleep on top of. Featherbeds also come in a variety of shell constructions, including: bag style, channel construction (vertical or horizontal), baffle-box, and down-topped. They can be filled with a feather and down blend or synthetic clusters. The fabric is usually down proof cotton twill and some featherbeds have gusseted side walls. One important note to remember is that by adding a featherbed, the sleeper will now have a new layer of insulation under her. This will make the bed feel warmer, and may warrant a lighter comforter to compensate for the bottom layer of insulation.

Down Blanket - Down blankets are used atop a bed for when a consumer wants to have less warmth - typically during the summer months, or in hotter climates. Most down blankets utilize a sewn-through box construction, and some have sateen edges to add to the esthetics of the blanket. Although less down is used in filling blankets, they are becoming much more popular among consumers as a substitute for a comforter.

Down Throw - Down throws are smaller in size and weight than down blankets. Down throws typically measure 50"x50" and feature just 3-4 ounces of down. Down throws are great for using while relaxing on the couch, or for bringing to a cold football game.

Decorative Pillow - Decorative pillows, often called 'pillow inserts,' are mainly used by consumers to put into decorative fabrics and place on beds, couches, etc. Decorative pillows come in dozens of shapes and sizes allowing tremendous flexibility to the end user.


Luxury Sleep