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Sleeping Well: What You Should Know About Silk

June 29, 2020

Everywhere you look these days, you see celebrities from Victoria Beckham to Cindy Crawford, touting the benefits of sleeping on silk pillowcases. So, what is all the buzz about, anyway? Is sleeping on silk as good as they claim? And you are already loving the luxurious feel of your percale bedding, so could it get any better? If you could make a small addition to your bedding that may offer health and beauty benefits, you would probably do it. Well, that just might be possible. Though we feel our sheets are the most comfortable, beautiful, and luxurious sheets that your body will ever know, by adding a silk pillowcase, you may up your game a bit.

For centuries, silk has been an opulent, royal fabric, used in the finest garments and ornaments of the elite few who could afford it. An old story tells of a Chinese empress sitting beneath a white mulberry tree when a cocoon dropped into her hot tea. As the cocoon slowly began to unwind, the empress pulled the fiber from the unraveling, producing a mile of precious silken filament. She later wove this into the first silken fabric. We certainly do not know if this is fact or legend, but we do know that China developed the first silk fabric and monopolized its production for many years. As it became more popular and available, it did not lose its reputation for being luxurious and opulent. However, today, we recognize that there is more to this lustrous fabric than just beauty. There are also health and beauty benefits.

Health and Beauty Benefits

  • Many companies tout the anti-aging benefits of silk pillowcases. Anti-aging benefits come from the fact that silk is smooth and slippery, thus reducing friction. It reduces the creasing of your facial skin and in the long term, it may actually deter wrinkles. Some companies claim that silk contains a natural protein and amino acids that have been shown to counter the effects of aging. The jury is still out on this claim, so use caution if buying for this reason. Silk also contains natural cellular albumen, which by speeding up your skin’s metabolism, is said to produce less wrinkling. If true, the effect may be minimal.
  • Some companies advertise that silk pillowcases are beneficial to your hair.  And we all want to wake up without “bed-head.”  A silk pillowcase will certainly help with that. The smooth, shiny surface of a silk pillowcase reduces frizzing, tangling, and may even retain styling better.   We have even heard that a regular pillowcase can cause enough friction to damage the hair follicle, but the data to back that up just isn’t available.
  • Both skin and hair will be more hydrated. It is easy to see that because silk is so smooth, it is less porous and less able to absorb moisture from the skin and hair.  Dry hair and scalp sufferers may suffer less with a silk pillowcase. The claims that there are fewer split ends, however, remain unproven.
  • A silk pillowcase feels cool. This goes back to the fact that instead of absorbing moisture from your skin, it wicks it away. However, in the realm of cooling bedding, silk may not be at the top of the list. For anyone going through menopause or who is prone to night sweats, a cool pillowcase can be a must! But be aware that silk is not the only cooling option. Cotton bedding has actually been tested and remains at the top of the “cooling bedding” list.
  • Silk is naturally hypoallergenic. Silk is resistant to dust mites, molds, fungus, and other allergens. This makes it the ideal choice for asthma patients and allergy sufferers. People who suffer from eczema choose it for helping their sensitive, itchy skin. Since many hotel linens are commercially cleaned and treated with harsh chemicals, many people choose to travel with silk pillowcases to avoid those sensitivities in their hotel rooms. This is another reason that so many celebrities endorse sleeping on silk.

How to Choose a Silk Pillowcase

sleeping on a silk pillowcase
A woman sleeping on a silk pillowcase.

If you are looking for a silk pillowcase, there are several things to consider:

Price

The cost of purchasing silk pillowcases is all over the board, ranging from around $20 to over $100. Try to get the best value, which is primarily the best quality for the lowest amount of money. If you are sacrificing quality, you may be losing out on some of the benefits that are behind your purchase.

Quality

The highest quality silk is 100% mulberry. It will have a momme count, for example, 25 momme. What’s momme? It’s a unit used to measure the quality or weight of silk. Like some thread counts, the higher the number, the better. Steer clear of silk mixed with satin or polyester if you want to optimize its effectiveness.

Variations

Like other beddings, there are different manufacturers that offer variations from the standard. In addition to traditional sizes (standard, queen), you can also choose cases that are cotton on one side and silk on the other.

You may want a zippered case that will totally enclose the pillow if you have acute sensitivities or allergies. This is a recommended style for travelling.

If you want something a bit more decorative, some companies offer printed or colored versions of 100% silk cases.

Care

Unlike your favorite dress that must be dry cleaned, silk pillowcases are normally of a higher momme count and can be laundered in cool water and line dried. Always pay attention to the manufacturer’s care label.

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