To use a top sheet or not: Who knew this was a point of such contention?
Apparently, there are two types of people in the world: Those who abhor top sheets and those who shudder at the thought of doing without. Across Europe, beds are gloriously free of the leg-tangling mayhem of top sheets (yes, I'm the first kind of person), but here in the states most sheets are sold in sets, which always includes the dreaded top one. Is the top sheet a waste of money and resources? Or does it serve a purpose?
To be fair, I can (kind of) understand why people would choose the extra layer. (You know, the one that ends up wadded up at the bottom of the bed.) And believe it or not, I have actually spent a lot of time thinking about the pros and cons of both approaches. (Some people ponder deep questions and the mysteries of life, I think about sheets.)
So in this civil war of sheets, in an effort to heal the great divide, I offer both sides of the story.
Why shunning a top sheet is great
Freedom of the legs
For anyone who likes their feet to have breathing room and who might toss and turn, a tightly tucked top sheets feels like sleeping in restraints. But if said top sheet is not tightly tucked in, for the tosser-turner it quickly twists into giant snakes that wrap around one's legs, leading to nightmares of being attacked by sea serpents.
Ease of bed making
This is how I make my bed: Straighten pillows, fluff the duvet in the air and let it fall back on the bed with the corners more or less lined up. It literally takes less than 15 seconds and looks great.
The benefits of a duvet
Part of the no-top-sheet glory relies on using a duvet and its cover. I love my duvet because it's like a cloud that sits lightly atop the body, keeping just the right amount of heat in without suffocating me. In the warmer months, I slip the duvet out and just use the cover. I like to make reversible duvet covers by sewing two tops sheets together (since one is always included in a sheet set). It all leads to a lot of versatility in look and temperature control.
The sanitation factor
When using a top sheet and a quilt, there is opportunity for the sheet to slide away and let the body dirty the quilt, meaning that both require washing. That can't happen with a covered duvet. I also find that since duvets sit on the body more lightly, that the cover need slightly less frequent laundering than a sheet weighted down with a quilt. Also, this: There are many benefits of a nighttime shower – one them being less laundering of bedding.
Why using a top sheet is great
The protective layer
If you prefer quits and/or blankets to duvets, then a top sheet is likely a must as it theoretically allows you to launder the blanket or quilt less frequently. And aside from adding a hygienic layer, a top sheet provides a soft barrier between your body and a rough blanket.
Helps mix-matched couples
When an easily chilled person shares a bad with an easily overheated person, simmering resentment ensues. Just kidding. Kind of. But fear not, because a top sheet provides for two temperatures in one: The warm person can push the blankets to the cold person's side and just use the top sheet.
Good for warm summer nights
Many a top-sheet lover say that in their warm climes, a top sheet alone is the perfect amount of cover for warm nights. Hard to deny that ... even though as mentioned above, I solve that by removing the duvet from its cover.
Alleviates duvet cover wrestle-mania
If one needs a covered duvet in order to ditch the top sheet, then one must contend with the "putting the duvet cover back on" issue, a talent generally reserved for people with unique superpowers. It seems like such a simple task, but without special know-how, it can be about as maddening as, I don't know, neatly folding a fitted sheet? Two issues I've tackled here: How to care for sheets and bedding: 8 mysteries solved
OK, what have I left out? I trust you will share your thoughts in the comments ... remember to play nicely.