To Top Sheet or Not To Top Sheet: Pros & Cons of Top Sheets

To Top Sheet or Not To Top Sheet: Pros & Cons of Top Sheets

To top sheet or not to top sheet—it’s a common question. While you may have thought that most of us make our beds the same way, that’s not necessarily the case. The answer to the top sheet question is not as simple as you think.

Some people swear by using a top sheet, while others find it unnecessary. Who is right? We dive right into trying to find some clarity.

What is a top sheet? 

A top sheet, sometimes referred to as a flat sheet, is the bedding item that goes between the sleeper and a duvet, comforter, or blanket. Top sheets are generally oversized compared to the size of your bed. Unlike a fitted sheet, top sheets do not include elastic edges.  

Top sheets/flat sheets are sometimes included as part of a set but may also be sold separately. They can be made from a variety of fabrics. 

Why is there a top-sheet debate? 

For such a simple bedding item, it may seem bizarre that there are so many questions about whether a top sheet should be included in a well-made bed. And yet, to this day, the debate rages on. 

Some sleepers feel that a top sheet is an essential bedding layer, while others find it completely unnecessary, if not uncomfortable.

The biggest argument against using a top sheet on the bed is that it's a redundant layer when paired with a duvet cover. But avid top sheet users have solid arguments in the other direction.

What about warmer weather when bulkier bedding is too much? And what about those that change their bedding frequently and want to avoid going through the awkward process of changing out the duvet cover every time?

In truth, there are good pros and cons on both sides.

A duvet cover vs. a top sheet: are they the same?

Duvet covers and top sheets can serve the same purpose: as a protective barrier between the sleeper and the difficult-to-care-for duvet, blanket, or comforter.

As we sleep, we shed dead skin cells, hair, and dirt that soil our bed linens. Bedding does more than just provide comfort and warmth—it also protects our mattresses, pillows, and blankets from dirt and dust mites.

The primary purpose of a duvet cover is to protect your duvet or comforter. A duvet cover is an essential bedding item if you have a duvet. A comforter can also be covered, although some people do not. Blankets and quilts are almost always placed on the bed.

Top sheets are a thin layer of fabric that can provide a protective barrier between the sleeper and a regular blanket or quilt. For those with a duvet or comforter with a cover, a top sheet can also be placed as an added layer for temperature regulation because it's easier to wash frequently or because it's part of the normal bed-making process passed down through generations.

Top sheets are often found as part of a bedding set with a bottom sheet and pillowcases, although they are occasionally sold separately.

A duvet cover is almost always sold separately, although it sometimes comes in a set with pillow shams or a bed skirt. 

Top sheet materials 

Like many bedding items, top sheets can be made from various fabrics. 


Cotton is one of the most common materials used in bedding. Cotton bed linens are versatile, and cotton top sheets are an excellent choice for hot sleepers as cotton is a very breathable fabric.

Cotton is also an excellent choice for sensitive skin, especially organically sourced cotton.


Linen is another popular bedding material for bedding, including fitted sheets, top sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers. Linen is a great material for the summer season or for warmer climates.

Linen sheets are incredibly lightweight and breathable, meaning they are perfect for keeping you cool on a hot night. 


Microfiber is a popular synthetic material used in bedding. Microfiber tends to be easy to care for, making them a perfect low-maintenance option. 

Microfiber sheets also come in a variety of colors, perfect for any decor.


Silk sheets have a reputation for being luxurious, and for a good reason. Silk sheets are smooth to the touch, breathable, and soft to sleep in. 

Silk sheets tend to be more expensive and difficult to care for, so if you opt for silk this season, be sure you have the time to follow their careful care instructions.

Can you find duvet covers in the same materials as a top sheet?

Yes! The base of duvet covers (the part that touches your skin) is often made from the same materials as other types of bed linen.

The top part of the cover (the part that faces upwards) may also include design details made from a variety of other fabrics, such as velvet, faux fur, and even lace.

Mellanni offers a variety of exceptional duvet covers made from various materials and with every interior design style in mind. Our favorite this season? The 100% Organic Cotton Flannel Duvet Cover Set.

Pros and cons of a top sheet 

If top sheets and duvet covers serve a similar purpose and can be found in the same materials, why is there a top sheet debate?

At the end of the day, there are a few pros to using a top sheet/flat sheet and a few cons, and, believe it or not, whether to use one or not to use one mostly comes down to preference.

Pros of using a top sheet

  • Top sheets are easy to remove from the bed and wash. For proper hygiene, bed sheets should be washed every week. A top sheet can be easily moved from the bed to the washing machine, while a duvet cover can be cumbersome to remove. 

  • A top sheet is an extra layer for temperature control. If you tend to get too hot or too cold during the night, a top sheet can give you extra options for temperature control. Hot sleepers can fold back their duvet during the night and sleep only with the top sheet. Cold sleepers have an additional layer to keep cozy through a chilly night. Without a top sheet, sleepers only have a duvet to cover them or nothing.

Cons of using a top sheet

  • An extra layer leads to a bulkier bedding experience. A top sheet means an extra piece of fabric to consider when going through the bed-making routine. This means an extra layer to tuck into the mattress, smooth down, and fold back. It means extra time and effort to make the bed in the morning. 

  • A top sheet may end up crumpled at the bottom of the bed. Restless sleepers may find their feet tangled in their top sheet in the middle of the night, as the top sheet sometimes slips down to the bottom of the bed, especially if a person tends to move around a lot at night. This can cause frustration and discomfort. 

Is it better to use a top sheet? 

The definitive answer: it depends. What do you value most about a perfectly made bed? Are you a hot sleeper or a cold sleeper? Do you like more bedding layers or fewer? Are you using a duvet, a comforter, or a blanket on your bed?

If you sleep with a duvet (that is covered, hopefully), then it's certain that a top sheet isn't necessary.

During the warmer months, or if you don't use a duvet cover, a top sheet might be your best bet for covering yourself or keeping your blankets or quilts clean. Some use a (lightweight) duvet all year round and therefore continue to opt out of a top sheet no matter the season. That's fine too.

The most important thing to getting a good night’s sleep is comfort.

To conclude 

When it comes to sleeping, do whatever leads to the best night’s sleep. Top sheet or no top sheet, we have fantastic bedding to offer you. 

  • Check out our 1800 Collection sheet set for sheets that look and feel crisp and clean, like straight out of a hotel catalog. Not a flat-sheet person? Find the equivalent fitted sheet and pillowcases

  • Feel comfortable and eco-friendly with our 100% Organic Cotton 400 Thread Count sheet set. With a sateen weave and a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification, these sheets are perfect for sensitive skin.

  • If you opt out of using a top sheet, ensure your duvet cover is well-made and easy to care for. Check out our selection of elegant duvet covers.

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