Satin Sheets are Back and as Titillating As Ever
If you hear the word satin sheets and immediately think of a cheesy scene in a B-list movie with a hot-blooded Lothario seducing a damsel, dressed in centuries-ago corsetry surrounded by lots of dripping candles and billowing curtains, you are not alone. However, this isn’t the only image satin, or silk for that matter, sheets can elicit. Today’s softest and most sinuous sheets can be a part of any uber-chic bedroom.
The History of Satin Bed Sheets
From the earliest days of bed linens, silk was considered a fine luxury. Bed sheets were initially put into common use around the 15th century. They generally were made from cotton, linen, and of course, silk. Obviously, as hygiene for most during the Renaissance was questionable at best, fine households discovered the ability to keep the mattress, blankets, and quilts clean and free from odor by using bed sheets that could be removed and laundered.
As the Middle Ages gave way to advances in looms, such as the treadle and drawloom, weaving the fine textiles became easier. Subsequently, the luxurious fabrics of the silk weavers of the Italian peninsula were exported across Europe and to the Ottoman Empire. But silk fibers, of course, were much harder to come by. Thus, silk sheets were typically only found in the homes of royals and the wealthier elite. Meanwhile, their linen and cotton counterparts were still mainly reserved for the upper-middle-class or emerging merchant or bourgeoisie class.
Silk Vs. Satin Sheets
While easy to confuse the two terms, accordingly, sheets can be silk satin, pure silk, or satin. Chiefly that is because silk is a fiber, and satin is the weave or finishing treatment applied to that fiber. Satin itself dates back to medieval China, originating in Quanzhou, which became Zaitun in ancient Arabic and later evolved into its present-day name. At that time, the fabric was made exclusively from silk.
But it’s important to realize that satin can be made from several materials to include polyester and nylon. Another point is that the weave itself can have many finishes, such as Duchesse, Charmeuse, and Baronet. These styles tend to be the popular finishes in modern satin bed sheets.
The Benefits of Satin Sheets
Silk sheets may be more than luxurious looking. They may be healthier for your skin and hair, as well as factor into how well you sleep. For one, silk is known to help retain moisture in the skin and hair, preventing wrinkles and hair damage as you lay your head on them through the night. Thus sleeping encased in silk sheets (and pajamas too!) helps keep the skin hydrated. In this case, the more silk you can caress your body with the better! In fact, start your silk sheet journey by trying a pillowcase or sham in silk satin.
Even better news regarding sleep and silk is the beneficial thermoregulatory properties of cool silk. According to Sleep.org, the best temperature to sleep is at about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The science behind this indicates that our body temperature needs to lower to achieve the best REM. For this reason, it's important to not overheat while sleeping. Better REM sleep has been proven to be associated with better health and satin sheets have been proven to help keep your bed cool and crisp, as opposed to the more stifling properties inherent to the grain of a heavier cotton or linen sheet.
Editor’s Picks for Best Satin Sheets and Accessories
To The Max - In seven wonderful colors, these 25 momme-weight silk sets optimize your duvet search.
Nature’s Rainbow - With so many colors to choose from and accessible pricepoints, choosing just one color of these silk sheet sets will be tough!