Is It Bad To Sleep On a Mattress Without Sheets?

topless woman lying on a mattress without sheets

After waking up unscathed from a 7-hour sleep on my bare mattress. Now, I’m beginning to wonder if bed sheets are as important as they’ve been made to be.

If you’ve been contemplating the same thing, you’re not alone. Millennials view skipping bed sheets in favor of sleeping on the bare mattress as the trendy thing to do. 

This is in sharp contrast to older folks who usually find the act of sleeping with no sheets disgusting.

So, Is sleeping on a mattress without sheets bad? The short answer is yes. Because almost all of us sweat while sleeping and bedsheets protect the mattress from making contact with your sweat.

Also, sleeping on a mattress with no sheets exposes the mattress to grime, dust mites, dirt, and dead skin cells. This can lead to several issues, the least of which is an off-putting mattress stench.

After extensive research, it is obvious that the disadvantages far outweigh any benefits you may be enjoying from resting on a sheet-free mattress.

I have a few buddies who swear by sleeping on their bare mattresses. And they all claim that bed sheets are not that big of a deal. 

I can’t wait to show them this post so they can see everything that is wrong with skipping bed sheets on your mattress.

History of Bed Sheets

Bedsheets have been around for hundreds of years. With the oldest bed found to be 77,000 years old, it is safe to assume that sheets have been in use for ages.

According to Wikipedia, the term “bedsheets” was coined in the 15th Century. Since then, these sheets have evolved from a predominantly cotton base to other materials. 

Bamboo, silk, and polyester are a few of the common raw materials you can find in the latest bed sheets. Whatever the material used, a bed sheet should serve as a protective layer between the bare mattress and the sleeper’s skin.

Other types of sheets are designed for wrapping around the sleeper’s body. They provide warmth during cold weather and several other benefits.

Duvets, quilts, and comforters are a few of the most popular types used around the world. 

Our ancestors found the importance of laying bed sheets on mattresses before sleeping. This was in spite of their limited knowledge and absence of technology during medieval times.

Why would you, with the benefit of technology choose to forgo them when their drawbacks seem to outweigh any benefits?

Reasons Why People Sleep On Mattresses Without Bed Sheets

Those who sleep on sheet-free mattresses cite several reasons why they do so. A few of the most popular excuses include the following:

  • Tiredness: This is the number one reason why people ditch bed sheets. After a long day of work, you may feel too lazy to make your bed with fresh sheets and choose to forego them altogether. 
  • Dirty Sheets: Prolonged use of particular sheets without washing can lead to dirt and unbearable stench. If you own a single pair of sheets or find all your sheets dirty at the same time, sleeping on the bare mattress can seem an attractive choice.
  • Pop Culture: Many teens and young adults start sleeping on mattresses with no sheets because of depictions on TV. They may also copy the practice from their friends who sleep on bare mattresses.

Reasons Why Ditching Bed Sheets is A Bad Idea

You may find yourself sleeping on your bare mattress once in a while. That may be due to an unforeseen circumstance. However, making that a habit is sure not to end well for you.

Here are a few reasons why you should never sleep on a mattress without bedsheets.

Bacteria and Dust Mites

image of bacteria under a microscope

Skipping bed sheets means a considerable amount of sweat hits your mattress. We all sweat regularly while asleep. This is regardless of your race, age, body weight, or bank account.

The absence of bed sheets means there’s no protective barrier to absorb the sweat. And this turns your mattress into fertile grounds for breeding bacteria, dust mites, and allergens.

Does the thought of literally swimming in millions of bacteria and dust mite feces for 7-8 hours every night sound interesting to you? If yes, then go ahead and skip laying sheets on your mattress before sleeping.

Unbearable Stench That Keeps You Awake

Do you know why nobody wears the same clothes for several days or weeks straight even during the coldest times of the year when there’s no visible sweating? It’s the revolting stench.

Sure, lying on your bare mattress can breed millions of bacteria which may be invisible to the eyes. But, the combination of bacteria and millions of dust mites leads to a revolting stench that cannot be ignored.

Now, you’re sure to breathe in the smell of a mattress while sleeping on it. This is why getting much sleep on a stinking mattress is so hard.

The New York State Department of Health reports that exposure to bad odors can lead to nausea, dizziness, coughing, and several breathing problems. 

And this can interrupt your ability to fall and remain asleep whether day or night.

Sacrifice The Coziness of Bed Sheets 

The right sheets can be cozy to sleep on. Fortunately, there are so many types on the market ranging from the super plush Egyptian cotton sheets to the ultra-cool bamboo sheets and many others.

Here’s an article we wrote detailing everything you need to know about finding the best Egyptian cotton sheets.

Sure, the latest mattresses available feature covers from different materials. The majority of these models may feel okay to sleep on without bedsheets.

But, doing so means you miss the genuine warmth sheets provide especially during chilly nights.

Additionally, mattress brands focus on making the covers exceptionally breathable to prevent heat. Hence, your bare mattress may feel extra cold when temperatures plummet.

Skin Shedding

Did you know that the outermost layer of the skin gets completely replaced every 2-4 weeks? The American Chemical Society reports that the average human sheds about 500 million dead cells daily.

Sleeping on a bedsheet protects your mattress from the enormous dead skin cells the body sheds.

These dead skin cells cause the funky smell you start to experience when you sleep on the same bedsheets continuously for days without washing.

Have you noticed that unwashed bedsheets start to feel rough after several days of use even when you cannot identify any sand or dirt? 

This is thanks to the presence of dead skin cells, sweat, and body oils.

Sex Becomes Less Pleasurable

It is no secret that sex happens on most adult beds. Sex leads to the release of sweat and other bodily fluids we cannot reveal.

The good news is that the majority of us get intimate on bedsheets which can be quickly replaced when necessary.

If you go to bed on a mattress with no sheets then the chances of having sex on the bare mattress increase. And this can be downright uncomfortable for most people.

I recommend reading this article we wrote that reveals the best sex mattresses to fulfill your fantasies.

Any form of discomfort can be a huge turn off for couples during sex. Nothing kills the mood quicker than that.

Bare mattress sex often leads to sweat and other bodily fluids making direct contact with the mattress. This can lead to long-lasting odors which may be difficult and more time consuming to get rid of.

Click here to read this article we wrote about freshening things up in the bedroom with sex pillows.

Missing The Smell and Touch of Newly Washed Sheets

After going through a long day, nothing feels more heavenly than the feel and smell of newly washed bed sheets. Lying on a pair of fresh sheets can feel so good that even an insomniac drifts off to sleep in no time.

Choosing to ditch sheets from your bed robs you of that feeling. If you’ve had trouble sleeping lately, why not fetch a fresh pair of sheets to make your bed?

Itching, Discomfort, and Acne Break Outs

teenager sitting in public with facial acne

Do you have sensitive skin? Or are you suffering from severe acne and other skin problems? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, sleeping on a mattress with no sheets is one of the worst moves you can make.

Bedsheets do not by themselves cast a magic spell to erase your skin problems. But they can at least protect your skin condition from deteriorating.

No wonder experts recommend choosing the right sheets for your skin type. Additionally, make sure your sheets are clean all the time. This is because changing your bed sheets daily keeps acne breakouts at bay.

Sleeping on a mattress with no sheets does not only expose the skin to dirt, oils, sweat, and allergens. It can also lead to acne breakouts and other skin flare-ups.

Thus, sleeping without bedsheets can be a terrible idea for those with delicate skins.

Shortens The Lifespan Of Your Mattress

The average lifespan of a mattress is 10 years. Experts recommend changing your mattress after a decade of use even if it is in a fairly mint condition.

Sleeping on a bare mattress is a surefire way to reduce its lifespan. This is because it exposes the mattress to body oils, sweat, dead skin cells, and bacteria which gain the necessary room to thrive.

Also, the nightly exposure to dirt, grime, dust mites, and allergens can cause significant wear and tear to your mattress. 

The result of ditching bedsheets regularly only ends one way: a beat-up mattress emanating a stale odor that can make you dread going to sleep.

The majority of mattress models available today come with several years of warranty. So can you get a free replacement mattress when your current one gets damaged?

Well, stains are inevitable when you sleep on your bare mattress without sheets.

Unfortunately, the presence of stains voids any warranty on your mattress. This means your chances of getting a new mattress for free is next to zero.

Are you prepared to spend a considerable amount on a new mattress every couple of years? If no, then you should reconsider the decision to sleep on your bare mattress.


To say that sleeping on a mattress without sheets is bad is an understatement. It is a terrible practice that offers no real benefits. 

It exposes your mattress to all manner of fluids and harmful organisms. This can range from bacteria and fungus to allergens, dirt, grime, sweat, and other bodily fluids.

Additionally, It can lead to a myriad of health problems ranging from coughing and wheezing to acne breakouts and skin rashes.

Skipping bed sheets before sleeping can also stain the mattress beyond recognition, reducing its value and lifespan significantly.

This can lead to avoidable expenditure on a new mattress and all the inconveniences associated with it. With all of these issues outlined above, why would you choose to sleep on a mattress with no sheets in the first place?




Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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