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Top sheets: What are their purpose & should you buy one?

Top sheets: What are their purpose & should you buy one?

What are top sheets?

To top sheet or not to top sheet? That is the question. 

As you make your bed in the morning or prepare it at night, you may not give the different elements that make up your bed a second thought. You have your staples; pillows, duvet, duvet cover, fitted sheet, and top sheet. The truth is every layer, sheet, blanket, and comforter has a purpose. But, while everyone agrees a comfortable bed is crucial to a good night’s sleep, there’s hot debate on whether you should use a top sheet. 

So, what are top sheets, and what are they for? Well, they’re not just a sheet that gets tangled at the end of your bed. Believe it or not, these flat sheets are an important part of your bedding setup. 

What is a top sheet?

Top sheets, which are also referred to as flat sheets, are similar to their fitted counterparts. However, rather than going beneath you, they go between your body and the duvet or comforter. Top sheets typically come in packs with fitted sheets and sheet sets. But, many people don’t use the top sheet because they don’t think it has a purpose. While flat sheets were once an important part of bedding, fewer and fewer people seem to use them even though they’re essential (looking at you, Millennials). 

Top sheets Vs. flat sheets

Top sheets and flat sheets are the same. Depending on where you live or the brand you purchase, they may be called a top sheet or a flat sheet. So, if you’re confused looking at the packaging or on a company’s website you should know that they mean the exact same thing. Your top sheets and flat sheets will keep you warm while ensuring your comforter stays fresh and hygienic. 

What is the purpose of a top sheet?

The top sheet keeps your comforter, blanket, or duvet cleaner by protecting them from any dirt, grime, and oils (gross, we know). You might think your pajamas would have the same effect, but your top sheet completely covers your body, ultimately prolonging how long you can go between washes—aka less laundry for you to do. It also extends the lifespan of your comforter, which is often the most expensive piece of bedding. 

In addition, using top sheets is more hygienic because it prevents you from shedding bacteria and oils onto your comforter. If you have a comforter that requires dry cleaning or is difficult to wash, you may want to clean it less often. Therefore, a top sheet can save you time, money, and aggravation if you use one. 

The flat sheet on a bed also improves temperature regulation. While you might not think a thin flat sheet can keep you warm, it can. If your duvet or comforter is too warm, you can take it off in the middle of the night and sleep with the top sheet. Plus, using a flat sheet can be beneficial when you layer your bed in the summer and winter.


Is a top sheet necessary?

A top sheet for your bed isn’t necessary. If your goal is to fall sound asleep, your bedding setup is a matter of preference. 

While some people prefer not to use them, others can’t go a night’s sleep without one. Many people find top sheets inconvenient because it’s just another sheet to fix in the morning. They also tend to fall off the bed in the middle of the night if they’re not properly secured. 

Here are a few pros and cons to keep in mind if you’re considering using a flat sheet. 

Pros of using a top sheet

Sleeping with top sheets have many benefits compared to sleeping without one. 

  • Hygienic: As we’ve mentioned, they keep your comforter cleaner for longer. This prevents germs, bacteria, dirt, and your natural oils from shedding onto your comforter in the middle of the night. Sweat in your sleep? Sleeping with a flat sheet can help prevent the sweat from making its way onto your comforter, keeping it fresh for longer.
  • Temperature regulation: In the winter, you need more layers to stay warm, but in the summer, you need fewer layers. If you love sleeping with blankets, you can use a top sheet to keep you warm or cool, depending on your preferences. For example, if you’re cold in the winter, you can use a flat sheet as an added cozy layer. Meanwhile, in the hot summer, you can sleep with just your flat sheet when your comforter gets too warm.

Of course, these benefits depend on the quality of your top sheets. For example, bamboo bedding has several advantages over top sheets made from cotton and other materials, including temperature regulation, softness, and comfort. 

A top sheet can even refresh your guest bedroom by adding another luxuriously soft layer and color contrast. In addition, it can help keep the comforter or duvet of the guest bedroom bed cleaner for longer, so you don’t have to do laundry during their stay. 

Cons of using a top sheet

Of course, there are also cons to using a top sheet. The most common complaint is that flat sheets are inconvenient. They’re an extra layer of bedding that can be a hassle to position in the morning or when you sleep at night. Plus, top sheets can roll down and get tangled at the end of the bed if they’re not tucked under the mattress. 

See Also

Top sheets: Frequently asked questions

Is sleeping under a top sheet comfortable? 

Yes, sleeping under a top sheet is comfortable, especially if you use a high-quality flat sheet. If your top sheet is made of low-quality fabric, it can affect your sleep by making you uncomfortable or too hot at night. However, you can amp up the comfort levels by using a sheet that’s breathable and soft like ettitude’s CleanBamboo®.

Where can I buy a high-quality top sheet?

You can buy a high-quality bamboo top sheet from ettitude. We specialize in bamboo sateen bed sheets and bamboo bed sheet sets, including fitted sheets, top sheets, and pillowcases. 

Want to protect your comforter and your mattress? We’ve got you covered there, too. We have bamboo mattress protectors, designed to shield your mattress from dirt, oils, and bacteria you shed in your sleep.

Can I use a top sheet with a duvet?

Yes, you can and should use a top sheet with a duvet. The primary purpose of a flat sheet is to keep your duvet clean and reduce how often you need to wash it. Of course, it’s important to wash your duvet, comforter, and blankets regularly to keep them fresh and clean. Since washing a large, fluffy duvet can be difficult, a top sheet can help keep it clean between washes (and help you avoid laundry day). 

Should you buy a flat sheet?

In our humble opinion, flat sheets are a bedding staple. But not everyone agrees on their usefulness. 

If you’re someone who wants to prolong the life of your duvet and wash it less often, then you’ll enjoy having a flat sheet between you and your comforter. However, if you’re someone who prefers function over fashion and you’re willing to wash your duvet more often, you may want to avoid a flat sheet. We get it; it may seem like just another blanket you need to care for. 

Of course, the pros outweigh the cons. A cleaner bed promotes better quality sleep by reducing allergy symptoms and letting you wake up fresh. And, the added softness, coziness, and temperature regulation of a top sheet can’t be beaten.

At ettitude, you’ll find a great selection of bamboo bedding that’s cooling, breathable, soft, and comfortable. From silky flat sheets and pillowcases to luxuriously soft sateen duvet covers, get your best night’s rest with our bedding collection. 

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