New York Times: Sheets are the undergarments of the bed: You won’t see much of them when the bed is fully dressed, but they have a noticeable effect on comfort.
High-quality sheets are most frequently offered in different cotton weaves, usually percale or sateen, or in linen, and no choice is better than the others. It all depends on personal preference.
Cotton percale is a plain weave with a relatively matte look and feel. “It’s a very breathable fabric, and kind of crisp and cool to the touch,” said Anki Spets, the founder of the bedding company Area. “You can even put your hand on it in the store, and the percale will feel cooler than the sateen.” Percale is popular with people who often feel too hot under the covers.
Choose sheets by feel and appearance rather than thread count. An extremely high thread count, once seen as a sign of quality, doesn’t count for much anymore because it’s possible to inflate the number while using lower-quality fibers.
“Thread count is more of a marketing tool that was brought out in the early 2000s,” said Jenifer Foley, the lead stylist at Frette, adding that higher thread counts can sometimes result in thicker, less breathable sheets.