Does Sheet Size Matter?
Post dated 2007-12-12

You bet it does! Unfortunately, finding sheets that will fit your bed properly is not as easy as it once was. We’ll talk more about the importance of a proper fit in a moment, but first a brief discussion about why most sheets don’t fit as well as they should. There are two primary reasons for this growing problem, and as with many things in life, there’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news is that consumers today have a wider array of sleeping and mattress choices than at other time in history! Bedding and mattress manufacturers are producing a staggering selection of mattress sizes and styles to choose from. Pillow tops, double pillow tops, memory foam toppers, featherbeds and adjustable beds are just a few of the choices we have today. While just a few years ago most of us were sleeping on mattresses that were 7-9 inches thick, today it is common to find deep and extra deep mattresses that range from 15-20 inches thick! With all these added bells and whistles, even Goldilocks should be able to find a bed that is “just right”.

So what’s the bad news? The bad news is that regardless of the size (and depth) of the mattress you sleep on, you’ll need to work a little harder to find sheets that fit right. Here’s why. First, most bedding manufacturers don’t want to go through the trouble of tailoring and producing a variety of different sizes of sheets to accommodate today’s wide range of mattress choices. Producing more sizes disrupts the mass production process, decreasing worker productivity and increasing costs. Fabrics need to be cut and sewn according to different specifications, and packaging and labeling need to be altered to accommodate the different sizes. In short, it’s much easier for the bedding manufacturers to live by the “one size fits all” mentality.

Which brings us to the other reason why it’s so difficult to find sheets that actually fit your bed. It’s all about limited shelf space at your local bedding retailer. Think about it. Sheets are already available in different fabrics, thread counts, colors and bed sizes, and traditional retailers want to give you as many of these choices as possible. But now throw in one more variable – the depth of the mattress – and suddenly retailers would need to find shelf and warehouse space to accommodate up to 3 or 4 times as many products. So what is their solution to this dilemma? Just like the manufacturers, most retailers have adopted the “one size fits all” strategy.

Does One Size Fit All?

Hardly, but don’t take our word for it. Here’s an experiment you can try the next time you visit the sheet department of your local bedding retailer. Browse through their entire sheet selection and find a set of sheets that has your preferred combination of fabric, thread count, color and bed size. Then examine the package closely to see what size (depth) mattress the sheets will fit. In most cases, you’ll see something like “Fits mattresses up to 18 inches deep”. This is the “one size fits all” approach that most manufacturers and retailers have adopted, and unfortunately, the result is a set of sheets that will fit poorly on most beds. If you have a traditional 8-10” mattress, these sheets will be loose and baggy on your bed. If you have a deep mattress with a featherbed or foam topper, these sheets will most likely be too small to achieve a proper fit. Only if you happen to have a mattress that is 13-15 inches deep will these sheets give you a proper, snug fit with sufficient fabric to tuck in under the sides and foot of the bed.

Why is Proper Fit Important?

Sheets that are too large will look baggy on the bed and will slide too and fro on the mattress. Not only does this result in sloppy appearance, but poorly fitting sheets can also disrupt the quality of your sleep by bunching up and creating an uncomfortable, lumpy feel. Sheets that are too small can wear prematurely. The seams of fitted sheet tend to tear at the corners from the strain of being stretched too taut over the bed. One of the most common frustrations caused by undersized sheets is when the fitted sheets pop off the corner of the mattress while you’re trying to sleep. No one likes to get their feet or face tangled up in the elasticized corners of their sheets at night! Undersized flat sheets refuse to stay properly tucked in, and even worse, often cause accusations of “you’re hogging all the covers” from your sleep mate. In short, proper fitting sheets will ensure a neat, attractive appearing bed while maximizing your comfort and the quality of your rest. Considering how much time we spend in bed, it’s worth the effort to find sheets that will fit your bed and your lifestyle.

In our next article, we'll tell you the best way to measure your mattress, and armed with that information, how to determine the right size sheets for your bed.

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Posted on 2007-12-12
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