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What is Best: Fitted VS Flat Bed Sheets?

Updated August 30, 2019

Do you find yourself pursuing the shelves when shopping at your local retailer trying to decide what type of sheets to purchase for you bed? Maybe you sleep hot or can’t stand to have your feet bound by a set of tightly tucked sheets. Whatever your preference, it can generally come down to an age-old debate. Fitted or flat bed sheets? What is the difference? Can you use both? Can you use only one of the two?

When it comes to deciding what type of bed sheets to use on your mattress, it can get a little overwhelming when faced with the variety of styles, numerous types and varying fits for all sizes of mattresses. It becomes even more confusing when trying to decide what exactly you need to purchase to outfit your bed not only in comfort, but in style! Let’s take a look at what importance a fitted bed sheet has on the mattress and how can a flat sheet help or hinder your comfort level because both of these styles have the same purpose: protect your mattress against stains or rips and protect your skin from common irritants often found in fabrics.

Check our related article about What Can You Do with Old Bed Sheets?

Fitted Bed Sheets

Fitted bed sheets are large pieces of material are designed to fit snugly over your mattress. They will not come off the mattress during slumber, thanks to its stretchy, elastic band that is sewed into the seam of the material. The elastic allows the sheet to hug the corners of your mattress so while you are naturally moving during slumber; the sheet does not detach itself from the mattress.

Some of the selling points for a fitted bed sheet are

  • Protection for your mattress
  • Snug fit for a smooth sleeping surface
  • Easily removed for cleaning

Protection

A fitted sheet offers protection for your mattress from normal wear and tear. Normal wear and tear can come in the form of stains (bodily fluids, liquids, food etc.), rips or tears. Mattresses are easily the most expensive part of your bed and when treated properly, should last anywhere from 10 to 12 years.

Snug fit for a Smooth Sleeping Surface

When fitted correctly for your mattress, the fitted sheet should not be easily dislodged from each corner but instead fit snugly without wrinkles. Using the correct measurements for your fitted sheet, you should be able to pull the sheet snugly over each corner of the mattress to create a flat but smooth sleeping surface.

Easily Removed

A fitted sheet might fit snugly on your mattress but all it takes for removal is a simple pluck of one of those corners from its hold to loosen and remove the sheet. This easy removal is perfect for laundry day and a lot easier than trying to remove a quilted mattress cover – which usually tends to be bulky and hard to remove; especially if it covers the entire mattress. Most fitted sheets can be laundered right at home, so there are no trips to expensive dry-cleaners for cleaning but instead a simple following of cleaning instructions!

Flat Bed Sheets

Flat bed sheets are large pieces of material that can be spread out over your mattress to rest against the surface. These sheets will not have elastic to fit down over the corners of the mattress but instead have just a stitched seam around the edges to stop the material from unraveling during use. Most bed sheets are made from threads that have been woven together to create a large panel of fabric – hence the need for a seam on the edges.

Flat bed sheets can be left loose on the bed or tucked underneath the mattress for a snug fit. Movement during sleep however, can untuck the sheet, leaving it tangled around your legs and feet. This can create discomfort for light sleepers and a struggle to get out of bed in the morning! Some of the advantages of using a flat sheet are:

  • Protection for both the fitted sheet and comforters
  • Barrier for skin against common irritants or skin ailments
  • Offers temperature control

Protection

Flat sheets should rest directly underneath the comforter or blanket of your bed, and is the material that will cover the body while sleeping. It offers your fitted sheet (if applicable), protection from stains or rips. A flat sheet can also offer protection for your main covering on your bed, regardless if it is a comforter, duvet or blanket. The protection the flat sheet offers the top covering is one from the body. If you are injured or you suffer from skin ailments that cause discharge, a flat sheet can protect the most expensive top covering from stains or rips.

Barrier

A flat sheet can act as a barrier for your skin against common irritants such as dust, mites, bacteria or parasites that can live up to five years in the dark corners of your mattress. Certain irritants can aggravate your skin to the point of itchy, rash-covered sections or even threaten your respiratory system. If you suffer from common skin ailments, such as eczema or psoriasis, a flat sheet made from a soothing material (cotton or linen or silk) can help cool the skin with its natural moisture repellants. When the material is one that will repel nighttime moisture caused by night sweats or whatnot; a flat sheet can keep symptoms to a minimal and offer protection against dust or dry air that can cause flare-ups.

Temperature Control

A flat sheet can offer the sleeper the benefit of temperature control. The use of a flat sheet during the warmer summer months can allow the body to naturally adjust its core temperature to a cooler one. Depending on the climate you live in, a flat sheet could be the only thing protecting you from irritants on humid, hot nights. With certain materials offering natural moisture repellent; a flat sheet can be a lifesaver and save you from waking up soaked in sweat. During cold winter months, flat sheet can not only add warming and comforting layers to your bed, but also add a layer of protection for your sensitive skin when coming in direct contact with a heavier blanket or comforter.

Conclusion

Now that you know the difference between fitted and flat bed sheets, you are more equipped to make the decision about what style you would prefer on your mattress. It honestly comes down to personal preference and comfort levels for both yourself and your partner (if applicable). If you prefer to tuck flat sheets into your bedframe and mattress to leave a smooth surface for sleeping on; then go ahead and purchase just flat sheets and matching pillowcases!

If you prefer to use a fitted and flat sheet for sleeping, then you can purchase a bedsheet set; which should come with a fitted sheet, flat sheet and at least one pillowcase. Maybe you want to sleep directly on your mattress due to its quilted and stuffed cover, use only a flat sheet to cover your body during slumber. Whatever you prefer, go for it! When the average human spends approximately 33% of their time on this planet sleeping or resting, shouldn’t it be done in comfort, style, and an ease financially? It should, hence the reason you choose whatever set of sheets suits you! If this article was helpful in any way or you would like to leave a comment on your particular preference, then please feel free to do so down below.