Dear Dave: What’s the Warmest Bedding for Winter?
Scranton, PA – As a connoiseur of sleeping, I get all kinds of questions. Dee in Durham wants to know the best blanket for winter. Flannel sheets or electric blanket? Woolen comforter, silk or polar fleece?
Winter is here and I want to stay warm at night. Can you recommend the best bedding for wintertime?
1. Are flannel sheets the best for winter?
2. Are electric blankets dangerous?
3. Which is the best – the classic wool blanket, a silk comforter or a polar fleece ?
You’ve come to the right place. My favorite winter sport is climbing into bed and snuggling under the blanket with a good book.
Of course, there is no best blanket. But there are many good choices and it just depends what makes you comfortable.
Fabric experts say cotton flannel bedding is an especially good choice in cold weather or for extra softness and warmth, but that inexpensive flannel is prone to pilling and roughness after a few washings. Unfortunately, flannel sheets don’t receive attention in professional reviews, so we rely on what owners have to say about flannel sheets they have purchased.
L.L.Bean Premium Supima Flannel sheets (*Est. $150 for a queen set) are made of fabric with a weight of 6 ounces per square yard, making the sheets durable and heavy. Experts say high-quality flannel should have a weight of at least 4 ounces per square yard. Although no expert reviews are available, about 60 customer reviews at LLBean.com mostly rave about the Premium Supima Flannel’s soft, snuggly texture and the extreme durability. The sheets come in six colors and the standard four mattress sizes.
A nice set of flannel sheets makes a great Christmas gift, even if you live in a “warm” climate like Scranton.
Electric blankets have some great advantages but precautions must be taken. Most electric blankets feature adjustable heat, which allows you tailor yours to your comfort level. Some models also include dual controls, allowing couples to adjust each half as they wish. Using an electric blanket may allow you to turn down the heat at night to save energy and money. They also eliminate the need for layer upon layer of bed coverings, resulting in lighter bed coverings that some may find more comfortable than heavy comforters or quilts.
However, investigate the ramifications of electric blankets before you buy. Electric blankets are tested for safety, but there’s always the risk of an electrical short, particularly in old or used blankets. An electrical short poses a fire hazard. If you have a waterbed, then you should not use an electric blanket. Also, most manufacturers recommend against using them with adjustable beds and pull-out sofas. You must find another way to keep warm at night. A fleece blanket will serve as a good substitute.
Wool verses silk verses fleece
Classic wool blankets
Wickipedia says that “Wool is the fiber derived from the hair of domesticated animals, usually sheep.” The hair is shorn from the sheep, spun into threads, and woven into a variety of grades, weights, and qualities of fabric.
Because wool has natural lanolin, it is both fire -and water resistant. A resulting unique quality of wool is that it retains its warmth even when wet.
Moths love to chew away at good wool blankets, so when not in use, the blanket should be stored in a cedar-lined chest or closet.
Wool blankets must be dry cleaned to retain their size and feel.
A silk-filled, silk covered comforter has one half the weight of a comparably-sized down comforter. The sense of luxury and softness cannot be surpassed.
Silk fibers are breathable, lightweight, very supple, and constantly equalize temperature. A comforter of silk conforms to the body and is not as puffy as down. All silk products are naturally hypoallergenic.
A silk comforter needs to be dry cleaned, so we recommend that you use a duvet cover to protect the comforter and prolong its life.
Polar fleece is a man-made fiber of polyester. By trapping air in the hollow core fibers, polar fleece provides optimum warmth and softness.
A polar fleece blanket is very lightweight and can fold up into a small space when not in use. It washes up beautifully and does not pill.
Personally, I like to layer my bedding. Regular sheets and a silk comforter for cool night. Flannel and the comforter for cold night. I add a quilt made by my grandmother for really cold nights.
Whatever your preference, once you discover the perfect combination that keeps you comfortable and warm, you’ll want to stay in bed on these cold winter mornings.
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Related Buyer’s Guide:
Dave E. McCord
The Better Sleep Store
Photo by Karen D.