What's the difference between fitted and flat sheets?

Making a decision on what type of bedding you should purchase for your home can be a difficult decision. Getting quality sleep is extremely important and the type of bedding you purchase can directly affect your quality of sleep.

Also important is what style you would like your bedroom to have. More important is the level of comfort you will have when sleeping. Many factors can go into this decision including whether you get hot or cold while sleeping and whether you like to be tucked in to bed or prefer linens that loosely cover you.

This leads you to the question: should you buy flat sheets, fitted sheets, or both?

What is a Fitted Sheet?

Fitted sheets are used to cover and protect the mattress. Fitted sheets are typically made with an elastic band that holds them in place over the mattress.

As stated before, fitted sheets protect the mattress, while also providing a soft and smooth surface for you to lie on while sleeping.

Buying Fitted Sheets

When purchasing fitted sheets you should know the size (e.g., length, width, and thickness) of your mattress. Knowing the size of your mattress is important as the fitted sheet must be able to pull over the mattress snugly so they are not easily pulled off.

If you purchase the wrong size fitted sheet it will most likely move out of place while you are sleeping, leaving the mattress unprotected. 

Making Sure Fitted Sheets Fit

When fitted sheets are fitted appropriately for your mattress, the sheet should not be able to move from the corners of your bed and should fit snugly without leaving wrinkles.

Having the correct mattress measurements for your fitted sheet should allow for the sheet to be pulled snugly around each corner of the mattress that produces a flat and smooth surface to sleep on.

Best Selling Fitted Sheets

Bestseller No. 1
Mellanni Fitted Sheet Queen White - Brushed Microfiber 1800 Bedding - Wrinkle, Fade, Stain Resistant - Hypoallergenic - 1 Fitted Sheet Only (Queen, White)
  • FEEL THE DIFFERENCE - Sleep better and wake up each morning feeling refreshed and full of energy. Silky soft, most comfortable and luxurious fitted sheet you can find. Best for any room in your house - bedroom, guest room, kids room, RV, vacation home. Great gift idea for men and women, Moms and Dads, Valentine's - Mother's - Father's Day and Christmas.
  • Queen Size Luxury Fitted Sheet - 80"x60". 1 deep pocket fitted sheet with elastic all around (not just the corners, like other sheets). Fits mattresses up to 16"
SaleBestseller No. 2
California Design Den 400 Thread Count 100% Cotton 1 Fitted Sheet Only, Pure White Queen Fitted Sheet, Long - Staple Combed Pure Natural Cotton Sheet, Soft & Silky Sateen Weave
  • QUEEN Size Luxury Fitted Sheet (NOT A SET) - 1 Fully Elasticized all around Fitted Sheet: 60" W x 80" L + 16" finished deep pocket to fit mattresses from 9" to 18" deep. Our Deep Pocket fitted sheet feature Smart Head/ Foot Tag to indicate the width side of the fitted sheet for ease of use. EASY HOME LAUNDRY & QUICK DRY - Highest quality dye materials are used for fade resistance. Recommended for regular wash & short dry cycles for superior softness
  • CERTIFIED STANDARD 100 BY OEKO-TEX - Your new Fitted Sheets are tested thoroughly to ensure the utmost safety and comfort. Every inch of our fabric meets top performance standards for pilling, shrinkage, color fastness, strength, and thread count. Extensive product checks and ongoing audits ensure sustainability. Each piece of fabric is measured individually and each linen is stitched to perfection. Before packaging, we inspect each piece individually to ensure it is flawless
Bestseller No. 3
Bare Home Fitted Bottom Sheet Queen - Premium 1800 Ultra-Soft Wrinkle Resistant Microfiber - Hypoallergenic - Deep Pocket (Queen, Grey)
  • DIMENSIONS & CONTENTS: 1 Queen Fitted Bottom Sheet: 60" wide by 80" long. Fully elasticized fitted sheet is designed to hug your mattress from 8 inches deep, up to 16 inches deep.
  • HOTEL LUXURY FEEL THE DIFFERENCE: So soft you will be falling asleep in no time... Zzz... Enjoy a deep sleep and rest better with this top quality and affordable bedding collection. Our 1800 Ultra-Soft Collection Bed Sheets are expertly crafted from double brushed microfiber yarns that have superior breathability and softness compared to Egyptian cotton.

What is a Flat Sheet? 

A flat sheet, or the top sheet, is a rectangular sheet of cloth that drapes over the bed.

Why Use a Flat Sheet?

The main function of a flat sheet is to provide protection from the blanket or the comforter you are using from becoming dirty.

Flat sheets also provide a barrier from irritants like bacteria, dust, parasites, or mites that may be present within your mattress.

These irritants may cause issues with your skin including itchiness, rashes, or possible breathing problems. Flat sheets are a good choice for individuals with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.

Why Use a Flat Sheet?

Flat sheets that are made out of soothing materials like cotton or silk will allow for cooler skin through their moisture repelling properties.

The flat sheet can also be used as a blanket alone on nights during the summer when the weather is warmer. Flat sheets allow for you to control your body temperature. Depending on the region you live in, a flat sheet may be the only barrier that protects you from irritants on warm and humid nights. 

Some flat sheets provide materials that wick away moisture and allow for you to not wake up drenched in sweat. During the winter, flat sheets provide increased warmth and protection from cold dry air. The size of a flat sheet is less important than the size of a fitted sheet. A queen size flat sheet can typically be used on a full sized bed.

Best Selling Flat Sheets

Bestseller No. 1
Mellanni Flat Sheet - Brushed Microfiber 1800 Bedding Top Sheet - Wrinkle, Fade, Stain Resistant - Ultra Soft - Hypoallergenic
  • FEEL THE DIFFERENCE - Sleep better and wake up each morning feeling refreshed and full of energy. Silky soft, most comfortable and luxurious flat sheet you can find. Best for any room in your house - bedroom, guest room, kids room, RV, vacation home. Great gift idea for men and women, Moms and Dads, Valentine's - Mother's - Father's Day and Christmas.
  • EASY CARE - Fade, stain, shrink and wrinkle resistant. Machine wash in cold. Dries quick on tumble dry low. More durable than cotton. Hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites
SaleBestseller No. 2
SaleBestseller No. 3
BASIC CHOICE 2-Pack Flat Sheets, Breathable Microfiber 2000 Series Bed Top Sheet, Wrinkle, Fade Resistant -
  • 2-PACK TOP SHEETS ONLY - Twin size flat sheet 66" x 96" / Full size flat sheet 81" x 96" / Queen size flat sheet 102" x 90" / King or California King size flat sheet 108" x 102"
  • FEEL THE DIFFERENCE - Sleep better and wake up each morning feeling refreshed and full of energy. Silky soft, most comfortable and luxurious flat sheet you can find. Best for any room in your house - bedroom, guest room, kids room, RV, vacation home. Great gift idea for men and women, Moms and Dads, Valentine's - Mother's - Father's Day and Christmas.

What's in a Bedsheet Set?

If you decide you would like both a flat and fitted sheet most retailers provide bedsheet sets that contain both. These bedsheet sets typically contain a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and one or two pillowcases. Whatever you prefer, make sure you purchase the sheets in a material that is comfortable for you to sleep on. Also keep in mind any allergies or skin conditions you may have when purchasing sheets.

Best Selling Bed Sheet Sets

Bestseller No. 1
Mellanni Bed Sheet Set - Brushed Microfiber 1800 Bedding - Wrinkle, Fade, Stain Resistant - Hypoallergenic - 4 Piece (Queen, White)
  • FEEL THE DIFFERENCE - Sleep better and wake up each morning feeling refreshed and full of energy. Silky soft, most comfortable and luxurious bed sheets you can find. Best for any room in your house - bedroom, guest room, kids room, RV, vacation home. Great gift idea for men and women, Moms and Dads, Valentine's - Mother's - Father's Day and Christmas.
  • Queen Size Luxury 4pc Bed Sheets Set - 1 flat sheet 102"x90", 1 fitted sheet 80"x60", 2 pillowcases 20"x30". Deep pocket fitted sheet with elastic all around (not just the corners, like other sheets). Fits mattresses up to 16"
Bestseller No. 2
Dreaming Wapiti Queen Sheet Set, Double Brushed Breathable 4pcs Microfiber Bedding, Super Soft Luxury Sheets with 16-inch Deep Pocket, Hypoallergenic, Wrinkle Fade Resistant (Pink Mocha)
  • 【PERFECT FIT FOR YOUR BED】: 4 Piece Queen Sheet Set includes: 1 flat sheet 102"×90", 1 fitted sheet 80"×60", 2 pillowcases 20"×30". Deep pocket fitted sheet with elastic all around (not just the corners like other sheets), fit mattresses up to 16".
  • 【COMBINE TWO IN ONE】: We combine the highest quality Microfiber with the highest quality workmanship. The Microfiber treated by double brushed process is softer than other general Microfiber. Woven tightly, it s extra strength and durability. Smartly tagged to be hassle-free. Comes with Short Side Indicator.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Utopia Bedding 4-Piece Queen Bed Sheets Set (Grey)
  • BED SHEET SET - Queen size 4-piece bed sheet set comprising of 1 flat sheet measuring 90 by 102 inches with a 4 inches self-hem, 1 fitted sheet measuring 60 by 80 inches with a 15 inches box and 2 pillowcases measuring 20 by 30 inches each with a 4 inches hem
  • BRUSHED MICROFIBER - Brushed microfiber fabric makes the sheet set exceptionally soft

Do you really need both flat sheets and fitted sheets?

You may decide that you would like to purchase just a flat sheet and tuck it in underneath the mattress instead of buying a fitted sheet. Here are some points to consider:

Pros

Sleeping with a flat sheet does add an extra step in making your bed and is one extra thing to wash. But, if you don't use a flat sheet you may end up having to wash your comforter or blanket more frequently as there is no barrier between you and the blanket or comforter.

Cons

Many people insist that they have to have a flat sheet to sleep well due to its ability to keep their bodies cool and maintain the cleanliness of their comforter. Others argue that the flat sheet is unnecessary as it is sometimes annoying and often ends up at the bottom of the bed after a night of sleep. 

Do you really need both a flat and fitted sheet? It really depends on your sleep preferences.

Knowing the differences and benefits of flat and fitted sheets should aid you in your decision of whether or not to use both. As mentioned previously, your personal preferences should guide you in whether or not you would like to sleep with both a flat and fitted sheet.

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