The Great Sheet Debate - Have Millennials Toppled the Top Sheet?

White sheets pegged on a clothesline against a blue sky.

It seems bizarre to debate bedding.

After all, it’s something we use every day, yet it’s become a bit of a hot topic that’s more than small talk. Indeed, The Huffington Post, USA Today and even Twitter are discussing the top sheet debate (yes, there really is a #teamtopsheet) and it looks like it won’t be easily put to bed.

Where did it start? Fingers point at millennials. The majority of this generation is supposed to see what was once a bedding essential as completely irrelevant, whether because it is one more thing to buy, to wash and dry, to store, to make the bed or to get tangled up in.

Many also believe that in addition to the extraneous efforts of caring for a top sheet, it can be simply replaced by a duvet cover. But experts say it isn’t as simple as that. If sleeping without a top or flat sheet seems to make good sense, hold your judgment until you consider two key factors, namely germs and a good night’s rest.

Better Sleep

Flat sheets offer flexibility when it comes to temperature control. They regulate heat or cold throughout the seasons and hold the ideal temperature close to the body – sleepers are better off covered with a light sheet when it’s warm out as it actually holds cooler air in.


It doesn’t matter how clean someone is when they get into bed because, regardless of a pre-bedtime bath or shower, they will still shed skin cells, sweat, cough – basically create microscopic life forms in their bedding, and that’s without the addition of pet dander. Flat sheets act as a shield that protects blankets, quilts and duvet covers from the build-up of such bacteria. It’s easier to throw a flat sheet in the weekly wash than it is to launder heavy wool blankets or even remove and wash a duvet cover (honestly, who washes their duvet cover consistently every week?)

While we don’t like to be prescriptive, we’re definitely leaning toward Team Top Sheet (we’re also a little biased as we love making the bed properly). We like that a flat sheet is an easy-to-wash germ barrier that prevents bacteria from getting into blankets and covers. So, millennial or not, would you agree?