What is a top sheet and should you have one?

What is a top sheet and should you have one?

Author: James Higgins

If you’re on the lookout for new bedding, chances are you’ve heard the term top sheet. You may have even found yourself wondering ‘what is the point of a top sheet?’, with limited clarity as to what one actually is. 

So, what exactly does it mean, and how does a top sheet differ to regular bed sheets?

In this article, we’ve explained what a top sheet is, well as the pros and cons of investing in one, and how to find high-quality bedding that guarantees comfort. 

What is a top sheet?


ethical bedding top sheet close up in white


You may have some confusion as to what a top sheet is, and what it’s purpose is. In simple terms, it’s a type of flat sheet that lays between your body and your duvet cover or blanket – not to be confused with a fitted sheet that protects your mattress. 

The main aim of a top sheet is to keep your blanket or duvet cleaner for longer, by introducing an additional material layer. With this extra layer, while you’ll still need to wash your sheets regularly, you’re not required to wash your duvet cover quite as often. 

What are the benefits of sleeping with a top sheet?

Now you know what a top sheet actually is, it’s time to explore some of the reasons you might choose to invest in one. We’ve outlined five of the most useful benefits of sleeping with a top sheet to help you decide. 


1. Help to regulate temperature

Whether you’re struggling with overheating or finding it hard to keep warm on chilly evenings, introducing a top sheet could improve overall temperature regulation all year round. 

In the summer months, consider ditching the duvet in place of a thin, breathable top sheet layer that allows air to comfortably circulate and keep you cool, while in winter, add an additional cosy layer that protects you from the cold. 


2. Prolong duvet life


close up of ethical bedding bed sheets on bed in white


One of the main benefits of sleeping with a top sheet vs no top sheet is the protective layer it offers between your body and your duvet cover or blanket.

At night, we shed untold amounts of skin cells and bacteria, which, without a top sheet, would nestle onto each of our duvets. As a result, this can lead to expediated deterioration. 

Instead, sleeping with a top sheet protects your bulky bedding items like duvets and blankets from accumulating dirt and grime, and greatly improves sleeping hygiene.


3. Improved comfort


couple sitting on ethical bedding top sheet on bed


As well as improved temperature regulation and helping to extend the life of your duvet, there’s one obvious benefit of sleeping with a top sheet that can’t be overlooked: increased comfort. 

Not only does a top sheet help to keep you warmer in the chillier months, but it can also provide a soft touch that makes it easier to fall into a cosy slumber – especially if your duvet is a little old and beginning to feel increasingly less comfortable. 


4. Improves cleanliness in guest rooms

Even if you choose not to sleep with a top sheet in your own bedroom, it can be beneficial to have one to hand for whenever you make up the spare bed in the guest room. 

This is especially important if you regularly host different people, from friends and family to bed and breakfast guests, as your bedding will likely need to be cared for even more frequently than usual, to mirror the cycle of new guests. 

You’ll still be washing your duvet covers, of course, but the top sheets continue to protect and prolong your duvet’s life.


5. Save time and money on washing

Your duvet cover should be washed as often as your sheets, with once a week the typically-recommended frequency. 

However, because sleeping with a top sheet (vs no top sheet) protects your blankets and duvet from dirt and grime, you’ll find they don’t require washing quite as frequently. In fact, you’ll only have to clean your bigger, thicker items twice as often – perhaps every two to four weeks.

Not only does this save on time, with bulky bedding more difficult and consuming to negotiate through the washer, but it also cuts down on the costs associated with high-energy washing cycles. 

And finally, it also benefits sleepers who struggle to maintain a regular washing routine, and may regularly find themselves sleeping on older bedding; with a cleaner duvet, you can get away with using the same bedding for extended periods. 

What are the drawbacks of sleeping with a top sheet?

While there are a series of benefits to buying a top sheet, it’s also important to understand the potential drawbacks too. We’ve picked out five reasons you might want to weigh up whether top sheets are worth it.  


1. Extra bedding to contend with

It might not seem like the worst thing in the world, and in reality it’s not (it’s more of an eye-rolling frustration), but sleeping with a top sheet means you have an additional layer of bedding to think about when making your bed in the morning.

Of course, the reality is that having a single extra layer of bedding isn’t overly hard to manage, and if you do enjoy sleeping with a top sheet, don’t be too quick to let the increased morning workload be the reason to get rid. 


2. Extra bedding to wash


lady holding laundry basket with sheet inside it


Just as having a top sheet means you have an additional layer of bedding to contend with when making your bed, you also have to remember to wash it regularly with your fitted sheet. With this in mind, it’s important to have multiple top sheets, so you can rotate as you wash.


3. An additional investment

Choosing to make an investment in a set of top sheets might feel like a big decision. After all, you might wonder whether the money would be better-spent on other types of bedding, such as improved pillowcases, or elsewhere in the home. 

However, fortunately, buying a top sheet needn’t cost the world. In fact, you can find high-quality eucalyptus sheets at an affordable rate from Ethical Bedding, with each sheet offering temperature-regulation, sustainability, and gentleness on all skin types. 


4. Miss out on enjoying your duvet

A top sheet nestles between you and your duvet, and they’re excellent at protecting your duvet from dirt and grime. Of course, this is an overwhelming benefit of having a top sheet, but it can also be a drawback. 

If you’ve invested in a high-quality duvet, you’d be forgiven for wanting to enjoy its luxurious comfort each night, which you don’t necessarily get when sleeping with a top sheet.

ethical bedding bed sheets on bed in grey

Shop Ethical Bedding's luxurious Organic Eucalyptus Silk Duvet (various colours)


5. Challenging for restless sleepers

Finally, while some people love the feeling of being tucked in under a series of bedding layers, and enjoying the cosiness that comes with a top sheet, it’s not for everyone. 

In fact, top sheets can even be a source of discomfort for some, particularly restless sleepers who might prefer to enjoy the freedom to move and fidget in bed. If this sounds like you, you might be better off sleeping with just your duvet for an unrestricted night’s sleep.

Where can I shop for high quality top sheets?

If you’ve weighed up the benefits and drawbacks and decided to invest in a set of high-quality top sheets, you’re in the right place. 

At Ethical Bedding, we’re the sleep experts, with each piece from our bedding collection designed for ultimate comfort and luxury. 

Enjoy total temperature regulation, a gentle softness that complements all skin types, and hypoallergenic fabric sourced from sustainable eucalyptus trees, when you choose quality top sheets. 

ethical bedding bed sheets on bed including flat sheet in wheat

Shop Ethical Bedding's multi-beneficial top sheet (various colours)

Hopefully you’re a little clearer on the top sheet debate, and ready to either invest in long-lasting sheets or a luxury duvet. In the meantime, why not check out even more useful articles like this over on the Ethical Bedding blog.