How to refresh your bed for better sleep

Many of us blame our mattresses for a less than stellar night’s sleep. But maybe it’s what’s on top that’s causing all that tossing and turning. The experts at Consumer Reports snuggled up with popular comforters and sheet sets to offer recommendations for a bedding refresh.

A good mattress isn’t going to make up for the fact that your linens aren’t comfortable or breathable or, if you have allergies, they’re not hypoallergenic.

Consumer Reports’ Tanya Christian spent four months trying out half a dozen popular duvets, some made from down, others from down alternatives. Down comforters are made from the underside of waterfowl. They tend to be breathable and lightweight, and they’re great if you tend to sleep hot. They’re also very durable. But some people are allergic to them, so if you are, or you simply want a down alternative, you can go for one that’s maybe made of cotton, polyester, or a microfiber.

You can spend hundreds on a luxury favorite like the down comforter from Brooklinen for $500. But CR also found some lower-priced options, like the Buffy Cloud Comforter that costs $235 for a king-sized version. It’s made from recycled plastic bottles and was a favorite for its smooth, silky feel. It’s also nice to put into a duvet cover.

For something a bit more lightweight and breathable, the king-sized Quince Premium Down Alternative Comforter for $150 is also a good option.

The Utopia Bedding Comforter Duvet Insert that costs $39 for a king-sized version doesn’t offer the breathability and softness of the others, but it’s lightweight and airy, and the price makes it a great option for a guest room.

The right sheets also help. In CR’s labs, testers check them for shrinkage, strength, and how well a fitted sheet fits on a queen-sized mattress. Two top-scoring, low-cost microfiber sets are the Mellanni Brushed Microfiber 1800 for $35 and Mainstays (Walmart) Ultra Soft High Quality Microfiber for about $19. They offer the strength of sheets that cost more than double the price. But you might be disappointed by their breathability and fit.

Natural fabrics like cotton and linen breathe well. The L.L.Bean Pima Cotton Percale set (280 thread count) that costs $169 earned top marks in CR’s tests and costs less than many other luxury sheet sets. But the natural fabric makes them prone to wrinkling more, so keep that in mind if you think that will keep you awake at night.

CR says finding the perfect bedding may be a matter of trial and error. So consider a flexible return policy in case you don’t choose right the first time. You can watch a video on our website to get more buying advice from CR.

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