Are top sheets necessary, or are they ‘the most useless consumer good of the 21st century’?

Group Chat is In The Know’s advice column, where our editors respond to your questions about dating, friendships, family, social media, wellness, shopping, beauty and beyond. Have a question for the chat? Submit it here and we’ll do our best to reply.

Hey, Group Chat,

Please help me finally settle this — are top sheets necessary? 

Sincerely, Holy Sheet

Dear Holy Sheet,

Dillon Thompson, who gave up on top sheets before he could walk, says…

Top sheets are, and I don’t say this lightly, the most useless consumer good of the 21st century. If you think I’m exaggerating, consider this: Our current idea of bedding traces all the way back to the 1400s! Top sheets are from a time when you’d hang a crossbow by your bed before settling in for the night. 

Regardless of what climate you live in — be it a desert, a rainforest or the polar ice caps — there is always (always!) a more comfortable option than sleeping under a useless, thin, inconvenient sheet. How about a nice fleece blanket? Or a light, breezy duvet? Or how about this: Sleep directly under your comforter (ˈkəmfərt-êr), a word that literally means “more comfort.”

Kelsey Weekman, a staunch anti-top-sheeter married to a pro-top-sheeter, says…

Top sheets are an excellent example of something that is standard in society just because no one wants to break the mold and say, “Hey, this is utterly useless.” Big Top Sheet may want you to think that without one you’re unhygienic, cold or incomplete, but I’m here to assure you that you are none of those things. Wash your bedding regularly, make it cold enough in your room to use the Big Blanket and stop letting a thin piece of fabric inconvenience you.

My main beef with top sheets is that they are always bunched up. My husband loves them, and I love my husband, and loving someone means you make sacrifices for them, so I allow a top sheet into my domain for that reason alone. It gets crumpled every night, he complains about it, and I say this would not happen if we simply got rid of it. Repeat the next day.

The only reason I could sympathize with top-sheeters is if they live in truly warm places and need a blanket to cover them when they sleep. I understand the fear of someone grabbing your leg in the night when you stick it out from under the blanket, so I get it. I recommend learning to sleep with nothing covering you (i.e. raw), but I recognize this is a process. Think of all the money you’d save if Big Top Sheet didn’t demand you receive one in every packet of necessary, mattress-covering sheets. You could be several dozens of dollars richer. 

Katie Mather, a civilized human being, says…

I will help you settle this: Top sheets are necessary. End of discussion. 

They are great when it’s cold because they offer more warmth — and, when it’s hot and humid and unbearable, they are the perfect option to sleep under (because everyone knows if you sleep fully exposed on top of a bed, the burglar underneath will grab your foot). Dillon is going to try and show you some fancy chart and you may think, “Hmm, maybe this guy is onto something.” But he’s not onto anything — you are merely fooled because of his mustache and drawings. What he is in fact describing in his hoax of an argument is an inverse top sheet. 

To those who call me “brainwashed” or accuse me of being a narc who follows arbitrary rules, I say this: Do you use pillowcases on your pillows? Why not just wash the whole pillow à la your psychotic argument of washing the whole comforter? Why even use a pillow if you’re sleeping on a mattress? Why even have a fitted sheet when you can just wash the mattress? Why even sleep? Why even do anything?

Nick Rudzewick, a very pragmatic individual, says…

I believe top sheets are necessary only for decorative purposes, but they are not practical.  When I make my bed in the morning, the top sheet is folded over the top of the comforter.

When it’s time to sleep, it gets pushed to one side of the bed and never touched again. The sheet is just an uncomfortable buffer between me and the soft comforter. It could be possible that I am just buying terrible sheets, but in an ideal world, top sheets would no longer be purchased or used.

TL;DR … The consensus is clear — three out of four editors agree top sheets are useless.

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