Do You Need a Top Sheet?

Read about the pros and cons of making your bed with a top sheet to decide if you need one.

By Alesandra Woolley

Aug 24th, 2022

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Recently there’s been a pretty heated debate about the importance of sleeping with a top sheet on your bed.

Those who took a stance were very passionate about their perspective on the importance or the triviality of using a top sheet on your bed.

So now you may be wondering, do you need a top sheet? But first, you may not even know what a top sheet is. Let’s get into it. 

By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Advisor may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read full disclosure statement.

What is a Top Sheet

A top sheet refers to the flat sheet in a bedding set that people sleep under, placed between themselves and the comforter, duvet, or quilt. The purpose of a top sheet is to keep the covers away from touching your actual body. 

Why would you want a top sheet between you and the covers? For one thing, it adds an extra layer of warmth, but its main purpose is to keep your covers clean. 

Humans perspire around 26 gallons of sweat into their sheets each year and constantly shed dead skin cells. If you use a top sheet, that layer of protection is helping keep your comforter, quilt, or duvet more clean. It’s difficult to wash a comforter or a quilt frequently, but washing a top sheet in your laundry once a week is a breeze. 

Do You Need to Use a Top Sheet

You’re not required to use any bedding items if you really don’t want to, but additional layers of protection can help keep your bedding clean and even prolong the life of your mattress. 

We’ll weigh out the pros and cons of top sheets to help you decide.

Pros of Using a Top Sheet

There are many advantages to actually using the top sheet along with the fitted sheet in your bed-making process

  • Added Warmth: If you’re generally cold at night, a top sheet can provide an added layer of warmth to your bed. 
  • Preserve Your Covers: Instead of shedding your dead skin cells and sweating all over your covers, the top sheet takes all the damage. 
  • Easier Maintenance of Bedding: Your top cover will stay cleaner if your body isn’t physically touching it. You can wash your top sheet regularly to keep your bedding clean and prevent the build up of bacteria. 
  • Added Comfort: Quilts, comforters, and duvets aren’t always the most soft, comfortable textures. A top sheet, in the material of your choosing, allows you to feel the extra layer of comfort you’re looking for when you sleep.
  • Comes in Sheet Sets: If you’ve purchased a sheet set, you probably have one anyways that came in the package! Why let it go to waste? 

Cons of Using a Top Sheet

Using a top sheet isn’t all glamor. There are a few issues that come into play when you add a top sheet to your bedding routine. 

  • More Bedding to Make Up: Using a top sheet just gives you one more bedding item to have to use to make the bed. Dealing with hospital corners and properly tucking in a top sheet may be an added annoyance to you.
  • Entanglement: More sheets means more bedding to get tangled up in. This particularly becomes an issue for those who toss and turn at night or sleep with a partner who moves around a lot. 
  • Less Temperature Regulation: Your duvet can disperse your body heat and wick moisture more effectively with fewer layers between you and the covers. So using a top sheet may trap your body heat in the bed, causing you to sweat even more in your sleep.

Who Should Use A Top Sheet

Generally, Americans use top sheets, but Europeans use duvet covers instead and skip the top sheet. A duvet cover has the same advantage–you can easily slip it off of your duvet and frequently wash it. Since Americans typically use comforters and quilts instead of duvets, it makes sense that they are using top sheets more often. 

But apparently, all Americans didn’t get the memo since some are refusing to use it. Specifically, millennials have been called out for this so-called disgusting habit.

What if I Don’t Want to Use a Top Sheet?

The truth is that using a top sheet is simply a matter of style and personal preference. Forty percent of Americans choose to join most of their European counterparts and sleep without a top sheet. Many people let the weather dictate their bedding style using a duvet in the winter and switching to a top sheet and lightweight blanket in the summer.

Most bedding manufacturers sell bed linens in sheet sets with a fitted sheet, a flat top sheet, and pillowcases. But you don’t need that flat sheet when you make your bed the European way. Here’s where you can find bedding sets that cater to your need for simplicity.


Parachute offers high quality, European style bedding sets made of organically grown and processed linen and 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton. Here you’ll find sets that include fitted sheets and pillowcases for use with your own duvet as well as sets that also include a matching duvet cover for a totally coordinated look.

Fabric Weave Sizes Price
100% long-staple Egyptian cotton

100% European flax




Twin XL




Cal King

Without duvet cover: $109-$189

With duvet cover: $239-$439

Visit Parachute

Crane & Canopy

Crane & Canopy features quality bedding at an affordable price. Their no-top-sheet sets are made of 100% long-staple cotton in 300 – 400 thread count. An array of colors and patterns offers you a variety of choices to suit your style.

Fabric Weave Sizes Price
100% long-staple cotton Sateen Twin

Twin XL




Cal King


Visit Crane & Canopy

Boll & Branch

Boll & Branch gives you the option to buy each piece of bedding separately, so you can easily switch between American style bedding (with top sheet) and European style. Boll & Branch sheets and duvet covers are made certified organic, single-ply, 100% long-staple cotton. Sheets are 300-thread count and dyed using non-toxic formulas.

Fabric Weave Sizes Price
100% long-staple cotton Sateen Twin

Twin XL



Split king


Cal King

Fitted sheet: $100-$120

Pillowcases: $45-$55

Duvet cover: $225-$250

Visit Boll & Branch

How to Make Your Bed Without a Top Sheet

No need to worry about hospital corners when you do away with the top sheet. A fitted sheet, duvet, and pillow cases are the only linens you’ll need to make your bed Euro style, and assembling your bed is easy.

1. Do the fitted sheet first

Attach the fitted sheet to your mattress over a mattress cover.

Pro tip: Secure the corners of the fitted sheet progressing in an X pattern to ensure even distribution.

2. Lay down the duvet

Lay the duvet on top. Optional: Fold the top down towards the foot of the bed so that the fold reaches the edge of your pillows when propped (see Step #3).

Pro tip: Make sure the duvet cover’s closed opening is at the foot of the bed or on the side according to the design.

3. Add pillows

Insert pillows into pillow cases and prop them against your headboard.

Pro tip: The openings of the pillowcases go on the outside edge of the bed.

4. Add pillow shams

For a little extra style, add pillow shams to complete the look.

No more excuses for not making your bed in the morning. Just hop out of bed, straighten the duvet, fluff and prop your pillows, and you’re done!

Summary: Are You Team Top Sheet?

So what’s the answer to the great bedding debate: Should you sleep with or without a top sheet? This sheet debate will have to go unsettled for now. 

Using a top sheet can help preserve your bedding and make it easier to keep all your bedding items clean, but it also can add extra heat in the bed and another layer of complication in your bed-making process

So it’s up to you whether you use a top sheet or not, but if you forgo it, we suggest you try out the European style of using a duvet with a duvet cover. If you’re #teamtopsheet, check out our picks for the best sheets of 2021.