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What Is a Flat Sheet - And Why Do You Need One?

What Is a Flat Sheet - And Why Do You Need One?

We're here to answer all of your questions about flat sheets.

What are they? How do you use them? Do you need them? Are they the same as top sheets? And where do bottom sheets come into the equation? Read on and all shall be revealed!

What Is A Flat Sheet?

Let’s get started with the big question - just what is a flat sheet? What other kind of sheet might you want on your bed? For example, a lumpy sheet? A spherical sheet? No - that’s been widely disproven. Quite simply, a flat sheet is a sheet designed to either:

  1. Act as a cover for you in bed, either between you and a blanket, or, during the warmer summer months, on its own; or
  2. Line and protect your mattress and to help make your sleep more comfortable by creating a smooth surface to lie on (however this is also sometimes referred to as a bottom sheet, which we’ll cover later).
a woman's legs under sheets

What’s The Difference Between a Flat Sheet and a Fitted Sheet?

An alternative to a flat sheet on your mattress is a fitted sheet. The main difference between the two is that a flat sheet is easier to fold when not in use, as it is a regular rectangular shape, whereas a fitted sheet has elasticated corners and is impossible to fold.

Flat sheets are more versatile as they can be used on the mattress OR as a cover, whereas fitted sheets are designed exclusively for the mattress.

Do You Sleep Under a Flat Sheet?

As mentioned, people do sleep under a flat sheet and this was the original use for them. These days they can be placed either on top of the mattress, or on top of the sleeping person - it completely depends on your preference. Heck, put one on your mattress, and one on you!

a couple in bed laughing at the ceiling

How Do You Use A Flat Sheet?

When flat sheets originally came into use, they were actually placed between the sleeping person and their blanket. (However, as duvet covers and comforters are much more prevalent nowadays, flat sheets are more commonly used to make bedding feel more welcoming.)

A flat sheet also protects the duvet cover or comforter from getting dirty - and it’s easier to wash a flat sheet than a blanket or duvet, so it makes sense to protect the other, more heavy-duty bedding using a flat sheet. On warmer nights people often discard the blanket and use the flat sheet by itself.

You don’t need to know the exact size of a flat sheet when purchasing, you just need to make sure it’s large enough to cover the bed and can be draped over the sides of the mattress. Our flat sheets are available in Queen or King size so can be left draped over the sides of the bed if you’re planning on sleeping under it, or tucked under the mattress if you’re going to be using it as a mattress protector.

What’s The Difference Between a Flat Sheet and a Top Sheet?

The flat sheet is also sometimes known as the top sheet, so they’re actually the same thing. (Although if you use your flat sheet on your mattress, it actually becomes a bottom sheet. Mind-blowing, right?)

The flat sheet is a versatile item that can be used on top of the bed as a thin cover, between the sleeping person and the blanket to help keep the blanket clean, or to line the mattress. The beauty of our flat sheets is their versatility, and  that they are comfortable in whichever scenario you decide to use them: on top of you, between you and your blanket, or lining your mattress.

So in summary: a top sheet and a flat sheet are the same thing - they originally acted as an additional layer underneath a blanket.

A bottom sheet is what you use to line your mattress - however, a top sheet can be used for this purpose just as easily as long as it is big enough to be tucked around the mattress.

And finally, a fitted sheet is also used to line a mattress, except it has elasticated corners so can’t be used as a sheet to sleep underneath...unless you're extremely adventurous in bed.

a bed with a white sheet set

How To Put A Flat Sheet On The Bed

When using the flat sheet on your mattress, you should tuck it in so it fits snugly over the mattress. If using it as a cover, simply drape it over your mattress and then put your blanket over the top, if you’re using one.

Do You Need a Flat Sheet / Top Sheet?

So should you use a flat sheet? This all comes down to personal preference. You may find having an extra layer as well as your blanket or duvet is too warm, in which case, sleeping under just a top sheet might be the perfect solution. Using the top sheet to protect your mattress is of course another option to add comfort to your sleep routine.

Our Eucalyptus Lyocell top sheets are perfect for sleeping under, on top of, or as an extra layer between you and your duvet. They’re versatile, comfortable, and are OEKO-TEX® and FKT® certified, which means our sheets are "harmless without exception" and cause no bodily reactions. As well as all of this, they’re great for the environment as they are made using sustainably grown materials.

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