In a world where we are all craving more cozy, flannel sheets are morphing from old-cabin staples to luxury items that turn your bed into a haven. Here are three of our favorites to cozy up to this winter in Northern Michigan.

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So, what is flannel and what makes it so cozy and warm?

Flannel can be made from wool, cotton or synthetic fiber—though wool flannel is often used for clothing (think: “Mad Men” gray flannel suits). Flannel sheets are generally made from cotton or synthetic fiber. Whatever the fabric, flannel gets its softness by being brushed on either or both sides to raise its fibers—a process called napping. Not only does this nap make it soft, but it also creates tiny, insulating pockets of air that help keep you warm. Portuguese flannel is widely considered as the softest, highest quality in the world. Flannel warmth is also gauged by its weight in either ounces or grams per square meter, GSM. The heavier the weight, the warmer it is, with most flannels running from three to six ounces or 85 to 170 grams.

Why is flannel so often plaid?

The association of plaid and flannel dates back to 17th-century Europe, where flannel originated in Wales and then spread to Scotland with its famous tartans. In America, plaid flannel was made famous by none other than Hamilton Carhartt, founder of the eponymous Michigan work-wear company. Carhartt brilliantly fabricated his work shirts from plaid flannel and the look simply took.

Do flannel sheets have health benefits?

Yes and no. If you have eczema or other skin conditions, the softness of flannel will be soothing. Another plus is that because flannel is naturally wrinkle free, it isn’t treated with formaldehyde, the carcinogenic chemical used to keep wrinkles out of most sheets.That said, flannel made from cotton is healthier than flannel made with synthetic fibers as it doesn’t contain the nasty soup of chemicals used in synthetics. And the healthiest flannel sheets of all, certainly for the planet and the people who produce them from farm to factory, are woven from organic cotton.

3 Flannel Sheets We Love

No. 1 | Cloud Brushed Organic Flannel from Coyuchi

Coyuchi textiles excel in farm-to-factory- to-consumer healthy goodness and these sheets are no exception. Made from 100-percent organic cotton grown in Turkey, woven in Portugal and extra-brushed for softness, they carry a hefty six-ounce weight. Slip between them and you won’t want to come out until the spring thaw. 4-piece King set: $308.

Flannel sheets

Photo by Coyuchi

No. 2 | Portuguese Flannel from Costco

Leave it to Costco to give us a home luxury we can afford. Their 100 percent American cotton flannel sheets are woven in Portugal and brushed on both sides for extra softness. 4-piece King set: $54.99.

Winter themed sheets

Photo by Costco

No. 3 | Coastal Landscape by L.L. Bean

It’s no surprise that the legendary outfitter of cabins knows its way around a flannel sheet. Made from 100 percent cotton and woven in Portugal, these sheets more than get the job done on a cold night. The Maine-based company might have been imagining the ocean when they came up with their Coastal Landscape design, but we think it looks like our freshwater shorelines. 4-piece King set: $149.

Winter sheets

Photo by L.L. Bean