New bedding can mean warmer, cozier sleeptime

The California King Channel Silk Quilt ($239-$299 at

The California King Channel Silk Quilt ($239-$299 at potterybarn.com) is woven from a silk-cotton blend. (Credit: Handout, 2013)

In the winter, the prospect of a warm, cozy bed creates a cocooning response. The problem is, when your bed or linens are tired, your long winter's nap is never as comfortable or enjoyable as you might like. But it only takes a few changes to make your slumber more sound, more warm and much more enjoyable.

ELIMINATE SAGS

Replacing a mattress is not inexpensive, but the fix for an overly hard or sagging mattress can be as simple as adding a memory foam topper. These toppers create a new-feeling foundation that instantly adds more comfort to your bed -- and in the winter, warmth. Available in a range of prices from $100 and up for queen size, a memory foam topper makes your bed both warm and comfortable when temps outside plummet.

SHEETS FOR WARMTH

The winter standby for comfort has always been the flannel sheet, but there are more options today. Jersey is popular. Made from the same fabric used for T-shirts, jersey sheets are lightweight and soft and don't give you sheet shock -- that cold feeling of a crisp percale sheets. Because they're soft, jersey sheets also warm up faster than percale sheets.

For a completely cozy and luxurious feel, you can't beat fleece, a staple for bathrobes, windbreakers and winter pullovers. Now, imagine that fuzzy feel against your skin in bed. Fleece warms up in a snap on the coldest nights. On less frosty evenings, fleece makes for cozy, lightweight bedding without a heavy blanket or comforter. Fleece is a bit more costly than flannel, but the cost is offset by its fabulous feel.

BLANKET OF WARMTH

Everyone has an opinion about blankets. Some like old-fashioned quilts, while others favor cotton throws. For some, weight is the goal, while others crave a cloudlike, billowy feel.

The new microplush blankets are thick and soft, almost as comfortable to lie on as they are warm to sleep under. That fluffy texture is what makes them so warm and lightweight. For around $40, you can get a luscious microplush blanket, and for about $10 more, an extra- fluffy blanket for those who can't get enough plush.

HEAVENLY SOFTNESS

If money is no object and luxury is the goal, there are options besides the gold-standard goose down comforter. One is the silk blanket or silk comforter.

Silk is extremely warm and lightweight and, for many, a good option because it's hypoallergenic. Silk blankets and comforters are popular in China, the home of silk production. Even local and online stores carry comforter sets. But if you're buying silk, it's costly. A queen set can cost upward of $500.

If you want more heft in your blanket and a sumptuous feel, alpaca is the go-to fiber. Alpaca blankets are warm and soft as cashmere. They're so soft that they're often made into baby blankets. A bed-sized blanket runs around $200 and up.

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