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WHY USE WOOL

Why is it better to sleep under wool than goosedown or man-made fibre?

It's not just about the insulation!

What we humans need to ensure a good night's sleep is homeostasis (remaining at a stable temperature). It has been scientifically proven by the University of Sydney that under most normal conditions people sleep deeper and better under wool.

Man-made Fibre


(e.g. Hollow Fibre)

Goose Down

Wool

Excellent Insulator

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Traps lots of air

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Petrochemical free

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Slightly breathable

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Highly breathable

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Absorbs moisture readily

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Excellent desorption qualities
(gets rid of moisture quickly)

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Transfers moisture away from the skin

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Allows for different temperature sleeping partners

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Regulates body temperature for each body

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Designed to insulate mammals

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Scientifically proven more restful sleep

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Cool in Summer, Warm in Winter

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Extremely painful for the animal!

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Sustainable Resource

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With so many fabric choices available, it can be difficult to decide what’s best for bedding, clothing and general household textiles. While certain synthetic fabrics might offer functionality, it’s worth considering what’s been the material of choice for keeping warm (and cool) for thousands of years. The answer to this is wool, and here’s why:

 

As a naturally-occurirng fibre, wool has been keeping animals dry and comfortable for millions of years. While you might be inclined to believe that scientific advancements would mean that synthetic garments and bedding now outperform natural wool, you might want to think again.

 

Wool versus man-made synthetic fibres

 

Wool is known as an “active fibre”, in that it can react to how your body is currently feeling or behaving. On colder days, wool will actually help to keep you warmer, and vice-versa. This is largely due to wool’s ability to “breathe”.

 

The natural fibre wool allows water vapour and air to easily pass through each individual strand, which means you can always expect optimal breathability. If you’re overheating to the point where the body begins to sweat, the vapour released by the body is allowed to easily pass through the wool but also - very importantly - to be absorbed by the wool, without condensing on the skin and then cooling again to make you feel sweaty or clammy, thus helping to keep your body dry.  Man-made synthetic (plastic) fibres allow some water vapour through but they cannot absorb water. (This is why they are excellent for base layers but less good for thick insulating layers like duvets)

 

What about goose down? Isn’t that natural too?

 

Down is the layer of extremely fine feathers which grows beneath tougher exterior guard feathers on a bird. It’s used in a lot of bedding and clothing and can be combined with duck feathers. It’s excellent for insulating the body against heat loss and helps to maintain stable body temperature.

 

However, while these properties might offer advantages for water-wading birds, goose down is not always ideal for humans. Due to goose down being water resistant, it prevents perspiration from escaping from the garment or bedspread. Birds don’t sweat and they need their feathers as light as possible for flight so it’s really important they don’t absorb water and that they act as a raincoat. Humans, on the other hand, perspire approximately, an average of a pint of sweat every night, and this liquid has to go somewhere. With goose down, much more of it remains trapped against your skin, which can leave you feeling cold, sweaty, clammy, and in some instances can be unhygienic. Warm damp sleeping conditions are the favourite climate for parasites including house dust mite and mould. Additionally, house dust mite find feathers a comfortable home.

 

The Science

There are many studies that have been conducted which demonstrate how wool can be beneficial for sleeping. For example, a study by the University of Sydney shows how wool sleepwear and bedding can be more beneficial to sleepers than cotton sleepwear. The study shows that wool sleepwear can help individuals fall asleep faster.

 

The university study also shows that sleep quality can be improved even further by combining both wool sleepwear and wool bedding. Participants of the study slept under wool, polyester, or cotton duvets under cold, neutral, and hot temperatures. The research concludes that under lower temperatures, wool proves to be an efficient insulator. Results show that by combining both wool bedding and wool sleepwear, participants of the study woke less frequently and also experienced a longer and deeper sleep.

 

In another study, research shows that participants experienced a more restful sleep when sleeping with an under-blanket made from fleecy wool. Similar to these findings, other studies have also found that those who slept on sheepskin underlays experienced better sleep. Findings show that wool can help to relieve pressure points, can absorb perspiration better, and also provide better insulation.

 

The Absorption and Desorbtion Factor

 

The key to helping to improve sleep is that, uniquely, wool has excellent absorption. Wool has the ability to absorb sweat produced during the night, so it is a great material to help keep your skin dry throughout your sleep. At the Holstein Institute, a study has shown that wool blankets are able to absorb sweat during sleep far better than acrylic blankets. The German study shows that over 50% more perspiration was absorbed by wool blankets. As shown by research participants whose pyjamas stayed drier than others, sleeping under wool blankets helped to maintain a comfortable (optimal) level of humidity.  This means that you could even be warmer under wool whilst still feeling dry and comfortable and so sleeping more restfully than under other insulators.

 

The interesting way in which wool absorbs water is that molecules in the wool fibres create hydrogen bonds with water. This means that the water can become immobilised and be incorporated into the fibre until it is 'desorbed' or released later. Whether you have wool pyjamas or wool bedding, wool is able to absorb approximately 30% moisture to its weight without feeling wet.

 

For breathability and comfort it makes sense to choose wool, whatever the weather. Invest in wool duvets and wool pillows today for maximum comfort, breathability and 100% luxury.

 

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