Buying the right bed is obviously essential for a good night’s sleep, but bed sheets sit next to your skin, and uncomfortable bed linens can thwart your plans for a good snooze.

With the endless choices in the market, choosing bed linen can be an overwhelming process. Here’s a break down of what to look out for when you compare labels, plus tips from an expert, so you get the best sheets for your buck.

Does thread count really matter?

Talk bed sheets and the first thing that comes to mind is thread count, which refers to the total number of threads per square inch of fabric. But is it really that important?

Yes and no. It’s true that thread count influences how soft and smooth your bed linen feels, but don’t rely solely on high thread count. “It’s just one of the many factors that determines a fabric’s quality,” shares Wong Liang Wei, director of Haven Lifestyle, which manages bedding brands such as Grand Atelier, Ralph Lauren and Horgen.

“Two fabrics can each have identical thread count, but can feel different because of the fabric type, as well as manufacturing techniques like the quality of yarn and dye used, weave types and post-weaving processes.”

Where and how do you sleep?

Your surroundings and sleeping habits play a part in the type of bed sheets you should go for, too. “If you prefer natural ventilation or air-conditioning temperatures that are set higher, go for softer, lighter and more absorbent fabrics to keep you feeling hot and bothered in our tropical heat,” Liang Wei advises.

Think natural or manufactured cellulose fibres like cotton, bamboo and Tencel (this feels cool to the touch) that are more breathable, and will wick away sweat and moisture. Cotton is also great for folks with pets and children, since it’s more lasting and durable.

If you’re all about blasting the AC, you can experiment with a variety of materials, including heavier sheets.

Consider the fibre types

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With many bedding materials available right now, they can be generally classified into three types of fibre options. These can be combined to form limitless types of fabrics.

Naturally occurring fibres
Natural fibres like cotton and linen are dependable and common. They come in a variety of qualities but are generally smooth, soft, breathable, durable and make for easy maintenance.

Naturally-sourced regenerated fibres
These are also known as cellulose-based fibres, and include Tencel and bamboo fibres. “Fabrics made from these are as breathable as cotton and can be surpass it in terms of softness and smoothness. However, they are more fragile than naturally-occurring fibres, so it is important to choose thickly woven or or those of a heavier weight fabrics if you prefer these materials,” Liang Wei lets on.

Synthetic fibres
Synthetic fibres do well in terms of durability, and are often used in blends with the first two types of fibres to increase the durability of the resulting fabric. However,they pale in comparison to the natural and cellulose fibres when it comes to comfort and breathability.

Got allergies?

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If you have sensitive skin or are prone to skin allergies, naturally-derived fabrics would be your best bet. Skip the cotton-polyester blends with synthetic base materials that can potentially cause skin irritations.

Silk is great for people with asthma as it is naturally hypoallergenic, and is an antimicrobial fabric that is resistant to dust mites, mildew and pet dander. Bamboo, which is also naturally more hypoallergenic, and 100 per cent cotton are also good choices if you’re worried about allergies.

Test it out

But ultimately, choosing the best bed sheet for you boils down to how it feels against your skin. “Always touch the sheets in person to get a good gauge of not just the material’s softness and smoothness but its thickness and lustre as well,” shares Liang Wei. “You can only decide on what suits you the most and its quality after feeling the fabric.”