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MINNEAPOLIS - Remember when the only thing most people did when they went to sleep was to count sheep? These days, some are counting something else -- thread count.

Let's start with a definition. Thread count is the amount of threads per square inch in the fabric.

Macy's personal shopper Jennifer Horan says her store sells all kinds of sheets. Their highest thread count is 900.

"Look for your best thread count and touch that feels really soft for you," she said with a smile.

But that's not the only thing to consider. Over at Edina's Euro Am Bed and Bath, Diane Hilbert explained, "What's more important to me is to know that they are buying 100 percent Egyptian cotton. You only need 1 percent to call it Egyptian cotton."

That explains the huge difference in both quality and price. Making pure cotton sheets is very expensive and labor intensive. Egyptian cotton sheets are considered the best and carry a price tag to match. They typically cost about $500 per sheet. One consolation, they last for years.

Instead of thread count, Star Tribune consumer reporter, John Ewoldt advises shoppers to focus on the feel and the finish.

"One of the things that is really important is don't count on that feeling staying the same after you have washed and dried it," he cautioned.

Some high thread count sheets may wrinkle more, be heavier when wet and take longer to dry.

Ewoldt thinks it's a smart idea to shop at stores that allow returns.

"You want to be able to return it if you aren't satisfied," he said.

Not a problem at Macy's.

"Bring them on back. We want you to be happy," Horan said.

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