whitney sheets

Eli and Elm Whitney Collection

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Eli & Elm, a new upstart sleep brand, sent me their Whitney Collection to review, which consists of two pillowcases, a flat sheet, and a fitted sheet. The set came in a shipping box along with their Wharf Collection, which I will review soon. The shipping box weighed a little under a ton, and 20% of that was tape.

After I cut through the ubiquitous adhesive, I was met with my favorite color—cyan—and the word “COOL.” printed across the top of the matte blue box. The box style, build, and structure was very reminiscent of Layla’s packaging, but when the clamshell opened, it did not remain open. This made it a bit challenging to remove the plastic-wrapped sheets, but with some prodding and pushing, they came out smoothly.

The sheets themselves weighed quite a bit, and after removing the plastic wrap I could see… and feel why. The fabric strangely reminded me of that used for thermal curtains, but thinner and smoother. This is because Eli & Elm’s Whitney sheets are made of a composite Phase Changing Material (PCM). This is where the “COOL.” comes in.

Whitney Collection Construction

PCM technology was initially created in the late ‘80s by NASA to make spacesuit temperature control more comfortable for the astronauts. A little over a decade later in the early 2000s, fabric manufacturers began working on an everyday, practical version of the material for commercialization.

Phase Changing Materials act as a kind of heat sink for beds and clothing, meaning that they absorb heat that is imparted on them to regulate temperature. Fabrics that use PCM technology incorporate a temperature sensitive ingredient into their composition that will change from solid to liquid and back with the application of heat. The chemical phase change from solid to liquid traps the heat from the source and later releases it during the opposite reaction. Temperature sensitive ingredients often used to create commercial PCMs include paraffin, fatty acids, and polyglycols because they are safe, non-reactive, and can be easily incorporated into fabrics. Eli & Elm chose to use a composition of 70% cotton, 20% lyocell, and 10% paraffin, which makes these sheets really impressive.

First off, lyocell is a fabric that serves as an alternative to the environmentally controversial textile rayon. Lyocell is comprised of dissolved wood pulp that has been reconstituted as a fiber that can then be spun. The great thing about lyocell is that unlike most rayon, no toxic solvents are used to dissolve the cellulose. This makes the production process much safer for the environment and those working with it; the fabric is also 100% biodegradable and recyclable. Lyocell not only is great for the environment, it’s also great for the sleep-lover because it exhibits natural thermal regulative properties along with a high quality feel. Eli & Elm uses long-staple cotton, which makes for a more durable cotton textile. When you combine the sustainability of lyocell, with the durability of long staple cotton, and the temperature regulative properties of paraffin PCM technology, it’s clear that Eli & Elm is entering the bedding world with a bang.

My Whitney Collection Findings

I washed the sheets as directed, in cold water followed by a low heat tumble dry, and they came out much different than they went in, but they didn’t shrink. They started with a matte sheen that reminded me of Heavenluxe’s 3-piece set, but less reflective. The sheets lost that stiff thermal curtain feel and matte sheen, and came out feeling like any old set of cotton sheets—same texture and same weight. The main tangible difference between regular cotton sheets and Eli & Elm’s cooling sheets is that when I pulled the sheets out of the dryer, they were actually a bit cold.

I made my bed with high hopes for a set of sheets that could usurp the throne for top sheet on my list, and I wasn’t disappointed. I slipped between the two sheets and I was caught aback by their texture. They were a bit rougher than I expected, but what really surprised me was how perfectly they modulated heat. Obviously I knew they were supposed to, but part of me didn’t actually expect it to work. Sleeping on Eli & Elm cooling sheets is like experiencing those first few minutes under slightly chilled covers, but for the entire night. As someone who gets too hot at night, my feet are the prospectors of the elusive bed sheet cold rush—constantly relocating in search of a respite from the heat. On these Eli & Elm sheets, I never have to move my feet to stay comfortable, nor do I have to roll over on a chilly spot to fall back to sleep. The Phase Change Materials work like a charm—it may be basic thermodynamics to a scientist, but to me it’s like witchcraft.

My Whitney Collection Recommendation

It’s been a few days now and there’s only one issue I can find with these sheets: the price. These magical sheets command a hefty $300 price tag, which is mostly expected considering the amount of advanced technology that went into developing them. From the point of view of someone who is quite conservative when it comes to spending money, and doesn’t have much cash to throw around in the first place, there aren’t many sets of $300 sheets that I see as worth the price. If I were going to spend that kind of money on a set of sheets, I would want to make 100% sure that I like them before committing. Luckily, most of these high quality bedding businesses understand this, and like Eli & Elm, offer a trial period. Aside from that, I would want to read every review under the sun and weigh the pros and cons. So If you’re doing that now, and you have trouble with temperature regulation when you sleep, buy these sheets. Right now. You won’t regret it.

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