8 Bed-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them

well-made bed

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

It's 3:00 in the morning, and you've been trying to get some much-needed shut-eye for hours. But instead, you're tossing and turning, playing tug-of-war with the covers, or untangling the flat sheet bunched around your ankles. The reason you can't get comfy could be that you made your bed wrong—or not at all. Next time, follow a few simple bed-making tricks to ensure you have a cozy and inviting bed that lets you sleep easy.

  • 01 of 08

    Putting On Your Fitted Sheet Incorrectly

    putting on a fitted sheet incorrectly

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

    It's one of life's little mysteries: Your pesky fitted sheet never stays put. Worse, it disrupts your sleep every time it pops off. What's the deal? It usually boils down to one of two things:

    • You're putting it on wrong: Look at the reverse side of your fitted sheet. One of the four corner pockets will have a tag sewn into the inside seam. For the perfect no-slip fit, the pocket with the tag belongs over the bottom left corner of the mattress. "Left" is based on your view when you're lying in bed on your back.
    • The sheet's pocket depth is wrong: These days, mattresses come in a wide range of thicknesses, and the pocket depths of fitted sheets vary accordingly. When a fitted sheet does not have the right pocket depth for your bed, the corners will slip off easily (because the pockets are too shallow for your mattress) or they won't hold the sheet taut (because they're too deep). The solution here is to measure your bed for the right size of bottom sheet and get a new fitted sheet that actually fits.
  • 02 of 08

    Buying Low-Quality Sheets

    woman putting sheets on a bed

    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh 

    Sheets have the power to improve or ruin your quality of sleep. Here's what you need to know so you can rest easy:

    • Cotton sheets rule: And they have to be 100-percent cotton. Cotton sheets let your skin breathe and are less likely to stain than synthetic fabrics. They also get softer with time. Sheets with a sateen finish usually feel the softest.
    • Thread, not thread count: A high thread count doesn't necessarily mean the cotton used is good quality. Cotton type is a better indicator. The best bets are Pima, long-staple Egyptian, and Supima.
    • Overheated or sweaty? Whether you sleep on a foam mattress that retains heat or you are prone to night sweats, cotton sheets will keep you cooler because they're naturally moisture-wicking. However, if your cotton sheets aren't keeping you dry, try sheets with a cotton blended with Lyocell, an eco-friendly fiber that's known to absorb moisture (one example is IKEA's NATTJASMIN collection).
    • Change your sheets weekly: Dirty sheets feel yucky. Changing them every seven days is a must for comfort. The rest of your bedding should be cleaned every 2 to 3 months.
  • 03 of 08

    Making Your Bed First Thing

    unmade bed

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

    If you're tossing and turning at night is fueled by an allergic reaction to dust mites, then the best time to make your bed is not right after you wake up. Dust mites need two things to survive: your skin flakes to munch on and a moist atmosphere for hydration. Making the bed first thing promotes the latter because it seals in the sweat you left on the bedding. Alternatively, if you leave your bed unmade for an hour or two, air and light will dry up the moisture, which sucks the life out of dust mites.

  • 04 of 08

    Making Your Bed Like a Soldier

    tightly-made bed

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

    After you make your bed, you can bounce a quarter off of it. The problem is, your bedding is so tightly tucked that your feet get squished when you're under the covers. Primary Goods carries a line of bedding that offers a solution to this problem. They developed a unique snap system that attaches the top sheet to a duvet cover. The result is bedding that never needs tucking. Not only does this unique design prevent sensitive toes from being smushed, it also stops covers from slipping off or around the mattress.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Wasting Time Ironing Sheets

    wrinkled bed sheets

    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh

    There's no chore most people dislike more than ironing. But what if you think crinkled sheets look messy? Consider the following:

    • If you hate wrinkled sheets, don't let them get creased. Putting them on while they're still hot from the dryer should solve the problem.
    • Embrace wrinkles. Crinkled bedding is trendy. Stores like West Elm and Restoration Hardware suggest creating beautiful creases by twisting up freshly washed and wet cotton and linen sheets before they're tossed in the dryer.
  • 06 of 08

    Sharing Covers

    mismatched duvet and pillowcases

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    You and your partner are both blanket hogs. When it's freezing, the tug-of-war drama over the covers goes on all night long. Wouldn't it be better if you both slept like a Swede? That is, with individual sheet sets and blankets or duvets that match.

  • 07 of 08

    Sleeping With Just a Duvet

    just a duvet on a bed

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

    Two ingredients make up your bed: A fitted sheet and a duvet. The problem is you often wake up at night because you're either too hot or cold. Consider layering instead. First, add a top sheet to the mix, so it's in between you and the duvet. Just remember to tuck the sheet in so it doesn't slip around while you sleep. The sheet allows you to ditch the duvet without freezing. Next, keep an extra blanket at the end of your bed, folding it neatly in half so it is easy to unfurl.

  • 08 of 08

    Ignoring That Pile of Pillows

    pile of bed pillows

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

    You may love that pile of pillows on your bed, but if you never wash them they can be bad news for your skin and health. Not only do they trap dirt, oil, and bacteria, which can cause acne, they also trap allergens that trigger sneezing, asthma, and bloodshot eyes. Here's how you can clean up the mess:

    • Wash pillowcases every week.
    • Keep all of your pillows protected with dust mite covers that you wash every three weeks. Pillowcases go over the dust mite covers.
    • Wash pillows every two months. If you have decorative pillows that can't be washed, ditch them.
    • Consider replacing your regularly cleaned pillows every three years.
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Allergies and Sleep. The Better Sleep Council.

  2. Can Dirty Pillows Make You Sick? Cleveland Clinic.