Is Sleeping on a Mattress Without Sheets Okay?

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 8 minLast updated on July 7, 2022

Sleeping without bed sheets is becoming quite popular these days, especially among the younger generation.

But is sleeping on a mattress without sheets such a good idea?

That’s what readers are going to find out today. They will learn why some people choose to sleep without bed sheets and what consequences this may lead to.

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Reasons Why Some People Try Sleeping on a Mattress Without Sheets 

Before figuring out whether sleeping on a mattress without sheets is bad or not, readers might wonder: “What makes people adopt this habit?”

After all, we are taught to make the bed since childhood, and the top sheet is in the equation for most households.

So, here are the most common reasons why more and more people choose to sleep without sheets these days:

  • Chronic tiredness. The modern life rhythm can be exhausting, and many sleepers simply don’t have the energy to make their beds and add a top sheet. Instead, they simply crawl under the duvet and sleep on a bare mattress. In some cases, sleepers may throw a duvet on top of the mattress instead of bed sheets as it’s easier and faster than putting a flat (or a fitted) sheet on.
  • Depression. One of the symptoms of this condition is fatigue and low energy levels. Naturally, it’s hard to keep one’s bed neat when dealing with depression. That’s why many people with depression ditch the bed sheets – they simply don’t have the energy to put one on the bed.
  • Trends. As social creatures, we tend to follow others, and the habit of sleeping without bed sheets is not an exception. People may switch to this sleeping style because their friends sleep without sheets or simply because they saw someone do that on social media.
  • Laundry. Sometimes, people are doomed to wear their ugliest underwear on laundry day, as everything else is dirty. Well, this applies to bed sheets as well. When all the sheets are dirty, sleepers have no other choice but lay down on their bare mattresses or duvets. Often, they get used to this habit and ditch the top sheet for good.

Is It Bad to Sleep with No Sheets on the Bed?

The short answer is yes. Even though certain circumstances (sometimes not the most pleasant ones, like depression) can make sleepers forget about the top sheet, this habit is not good. And here’s what it can lead to:

  • Bacteria growth. One’s mattress can become a home for lots of stuff, including dust, dead skin cells, hair, pet fur, body oils, sweat, and many other things. Naturally, they accumulate every night and cause bacteria to grow, which means sleepers end up lying in all that nasty stuff. Now, when using bed sheets, that’s not such a big problem. Sleepers can simply wash the sheets regularly and get rid of the bacteria. But when sleeping without the top sheet, it’s hard to imagine how much stuff builds up in one’s sleeping environment. After all, users can’t just wash the mattress as easily. And even if they place a duvet between the mattress and their body, things won’t get better. Why? Because no one washes their duvet that often. So, the bacteria keeps growing, and users keep sleeping in it.  And let’s not forget that there are different mattress types. For instance, readers can try to picture how much stuff is accumulating on RV mattresses (even the top models we’ve gathered here) that don’t have the same conditions as regular mattresses do. Therefore, sleeping without bed sheets should raise serious hygiene concerns. By the way, dirty mattresses often develop fungus and mold, not just armies of bacteria.
  • Dust mites. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells, hairs, and pet fur. Additionally, they love moisture, which means they are attracted to sweat stains and body oils on mattresses. Naturally, sleeping on the mattress’s surface or duvet instead of sheets can create favorable conditions for dust mites (again, due to mattress cleaning challenges). As a result, dust mites spread and can cause allergic reactions in sleepers, which is a serious health concern.
  • Decreased lifespan of the mattress. Stains, moisture, dust mites, and bacteria can cause the mattress to wear out faster. Additionally, sleeping directly on the mattress leads to more friction and can cause premature tearing. Now, an average Queen size mattress costs around $700-800. Top-quality models can reach $1,500 and more. Needless to say, it’s better to use bed sheets instead of spending this much money on a new mattress every few years.
  • Discomfort. Even the most comfortable mattress (like the ones we’ve reviewed here) can ruin one’s sleep when used without sheets. First of all, it can start to smell due to the bacteria growth described above. Secondly, many mattresses use polyester covers. They aren’t that breathable and can cause skin irritation and even breakouts. Sleeping directly on a polyester cover may also lead to overheating at night.

So, to sum up, sleeping on a mattress without any sheets typically raises hygiene and health concerns, can affect one’s budget, and may even ruin one’s sleep due to discomfort. 

How Often Should Sleepers Change Their Bed Sheets?

Now when readers know why it’s important to sleep on bed sheets instead of the mattress or the duvet, they also need to remember that washing those sheets is crucial. After all, sleeping on dirty sheets is pretty much the same as lying on a dirty mattress (which can lead to all the unpleasant consequences described above).

Now, it is recommended to wash and change bedsheets every 1-2 weeks. This should be enough to keep the bacteria at bay without spending too much time on laundry.

Also read here: How to Find a Truly Extra-Firm Mattress


Is it okay to just sleep on a mattress?

No. Sleeping on the mattress without sheets can lead to bacteria growth, moisture accumulation, dust mites, bed bugs, allergic reactions, and other unpleasant outcomes.

Why do you need sheets on a bed?

Using bed sheets can create a barrier between the mattress and the sleeper. This can help sleepers keep their mattresses clean. It’s much easier to wash the bed sheets than the mattress, keeping the sleeping environment safe.


Sleeping without sheets seems to be trendy these days, especially among younger sleepers. However, trendy doesn’t always mean good

It is much safer and more comfortable to sleep using clean bed sheets than to lay directly on the mattress. Yes, making the bed will require more effort in this case. But it’s most certainly worth it.

Have you ever tried sleeping on a mattress without bed sheets? What was the reason behind this experiment? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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