By Alterra Pure   |  


Lately, there seems to be a debate circulating as to whether or not it’s necessary to include a flat “top sheet” in making the perfect bed.  Those on either side of this conversation, hold strong opinions, based on long-standing traditions, personal preference or an economy of means.

Some people appreciate top sheets as a layer of bedding that keeps their cotton duvet cover clean, while others see it as an unnecessary expense that just ends up tangled at the end of the bed.  I’m not exactly sure what people are doing during their slumber to get their sheets wadded up at the foot of the their bed, since I’ve never experienced that phenomenon myself, but there you have it, the great debate.

But this does give me pause, have I been doing it wrong all this time?  Do I really need a top sheet, which has been my personal preference?  In an age of simplification and less is more, I consider the question, “does this bring me joy?” 

To figure this dilemma out, lets unpack this a little more and see what all the divisiveness is all about.

 alterra pure offers both top sheet and no top sheet options for our sheets and duvet cover bedding bundles



  1. EUROPEAN–STYLE BEDDING = no flat “top sheet." 
    According to traditional European-style bedding, a duvet and a fitted sheet is all a well-made bed needs.

  2. AMERICAN–STYLE BEDDING = includes a flat / top sheet. 
    American style bedding adds flat sheets (the “top sheet”) in between the fitted sheet and the topper, whether that’s a blanket, bedspread or duvet.

  3.  THE MODERN, MINIMALIST BED = definitely no flat or top sheets. 
    Favoring low maintenance, because, who has the time?  What is a top sheet?  Today's minimalist prefers the basics of a fitted sheet and duvet.  Done.  Anything beyond that is unnecessary clutter.


“TOP SHEETS. I don’t know a single millennial who uses one.  Top sheets are archaic. This is just the truth.” 
- Jesse Lynn on Twitter




This may require a bit of self reflection on your part, because while one option may seem like the clear winner in terms of ease of use and low maintenance – it’s worth looking at the bigger picture to see if your assumptions ring true with your lifestyle and housecleaning habits.

Scientifically speaking, we should all wash our bedding weekly.

According to New York University School of Medicine’s Ingrid Johnson:  “your bed is a literal hotbed ripe for the growth of microscopic organisms. “You have spores of fungi, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, soil, lint, finishing agents of whatever the sheets are made from, coloring material, all sorts of excrements from the body including sweat, & skin cells” 

The average person sweats 23 gallons of moisture per year, creating the “ideal fungal culture medium”.  If you don’t wash your bedding regularly, these spores get pulled by gravity into your mattress and pillow’s.  And . . . don't think you can avoid this fungal culture medium by using silver thread in your sheets, that's just a registered pesticide and opposite of the wellness brought by organic cotton.  (seriously, silver yarn in your sheets requires registration as a pesticide with the EPA).

If you tend to wash your bedding weekly – regardless of top sheet preference, you are doing great, however, if you are a minimalist, and forgo the top sheet in favor of just the duvet (covered we hope), then you need to consider taking the time and effort to clean the duvet cover every week, along with your other bedding.

Since we all know how tedious it can be to change a duvet cover, it would seem that a top sheet would ease that burden considerably, leaving your weekly wash to sheets only – with the recommended, monthly laundering of the duvet cover for good measure.




When it comes to your bed, and how you decide to outfit it there is consideration for the seasons, who your sleeping with and your internal temp which can all have a huge impact on what works best for you.

Hot summers and cool winters inherently determine more or less layering for our beds.  Whether your bedding base-layer remains the same throughout the years is a personal preference – and leaving the heating and cooling system of your top layers that would likely include blankets, quilts and duvets.

Do you run hot and your partner runs cold?  This is one case where a top sheet can be the very thing successful relationships are made of.  Both options are available.  The lightweight – cooling top sheet for the one who runs hot and the added benefit of having an additional layer for one who runs cool.



If you are 100% in the camp of “no top sheet” and diligent about regular laundry care for your bedding then the option of purchasing a sheet set without the top sheet would likely be a high priority for you and you are not alone.  According to some polls, it appears nearly 40% of all bedding shoppers like to sleep the European way.  





 The great top sheet debate boils down to this: 

  • Some folks are hot sleepers
  • Some folks are cool sleepers
  • And some lucky sleepers, are able to sleep somewhere, comfortably in the middle.

For each type of sleep their needs to be options for the type of bedding that makes the most sense to you, so along with our Classic Sheet Bundle, we now offer the Minimalist Bundle – no flat sheet, just the essentials.

Just be sure that what ever sheet set makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle that you wash regularly, for a clean, healthy nights sleep.


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