They have arrived - our first pure Southdown wool duvets, a project born out of a recognition that wool's time has come again. New to sheep farming, we were struck by the lack of general interest in wool and we set out to find a product that could help re-establish wool and restore to this wonderful fibre the status it deserves. Our research directed us to Southdown wool which has the physical properties necessary to make a fine quilt. Exactly a year later, the project has come to fruition and we offer these duvets which will encourage you to get a decent night’s comfortable sleep.
So what is sleep and why is it so important?
The directory has a really boring definition of sleep - a necessary regular recurring period of rest for the body and mind, during which volition and consciousness are in abeyance and bodily functions are partially suspended. Yawn.
What this definition fails to highlight is that sleep is essential for good health, allowing your body to rest and restore its energy levels. Most adults need between 7 and 8.5 hours of sleep a night, so we spend about 30% of our lives sleeping. Sleep or lack thereof, has a profound effect on both our physical and mental wellbeing. A good night's sleep is often the best way to help you cope with stress, solve problems, or recover from illness. During the stages of deep sleep, the body repairs and regenerates tissues, builds bone and muscle and appears to strengthen the immune system. As you get older, you sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep – not surprising that its older people who tend to complain about disrupted sleep.
But sleep deprivation or poor sleep affects everyone, from children to seniors – irritability, lack of concentration, feelings of depression, impaired memory, increase stress and anxiety, feelings of being unable to cope with daily life are a few symptoms of bad sleeping patterns.
More seriously, lack of sleep contributes to other health problems that may seem unrelated to the most obvious symptoms of sleep deprivation. For children, disrupted sleep can contribute to an inability to concentrate and process new information, making school work more challenging and affecting their academic achievements – something that will impact on the rest of their lives. In adults, lack of sleep has been conclusively linked to increased risk of heart attack, diabetes and strokes not mention increased risk of accidents on the roads and when operating machinery.
In short - you cannot function without sufficient sleep.
So how can you encourage better sleeping patterns and how can a wool duvet help solve sleep problems?
The key to a good night’s sleep is comfort. A cool well ventilated room is the starting point. Then you need to keep warm enough to feel comfortable without over heating and sweating. Here wool comes to the rescue in a number of ways:
Wool has excellent wicking qualities which means it will help regulate the micro-climate around your body. Wool has the natural ability to draw up to 50% more moisture away from your skin than other duet fillings and therefore will cool you down when you need to without you breaking into a sweat. But conversely, wool will keep you warm as toast so no more waking up needing to grab an extra layer in winter or tossing off the overly hot quilts in summer. Wool can even accommodate thermal differences between sleeping partners; adjusting your warmth needs relative to that of your partner while still keeping your individual micro climate just right for you – great for sharing and no more fighting over the duvet! This is also good news for all those ladies over 50 – wool duvets can really help reduce the night sweats associated with the menopause.
Wool is anti-allergenic – it will help reduce problems associated with skin irritations and will not encourage the presence of dust mites or mould. This is achieved through the scouring of our raw wool. Remove the protein and it’s no longer of interest to the dust mites. Our duvets are also moth-proofed but are not treated with harmful pentachlorophenol (nasty stuff that causes eye infections, breathing difficulties and skin problems among other horrible ailments).
Wool is safe because it is a natural flame retardant. It won’t ignite easily and does not spread flames as synthetics do. There’s good reason why fire fighting gear has a high wool content. Also unlike thermoplastic fibres, wool will not melt into a sticky mass, which can adhere to the skin and cause severe burns. Wool simply smoulders down to an ash that is non-sticking and cool to the touch. Most importantly, it does not generate toxic gases when it burns.
Wool is sustainable and it is obtained without cruelty unlike down and feather duvet fillings. 70% of the down and feathers used in bedding and clothing come from China and you don’t want to know how this down is “collected” – it’s really nasty. Our sheep don’t particularly like being sheared but once they are freed from their heavy fleeces, boy do they feel frisky! Watching a newly shawn sheep leaping about in the fields always makes us smile.
Wool is durable. Wool fibres resist tearing and are much hardier than cotton, silk or rayon. Treat it with respect and your wool duvet will last for years.
Wool is cost effective – over ten years your wool duvet would have cost 4p per night, that’s half the cost of an electric blanket. Yes, our sheep do contribute to carbon emissions (they politely bleat “excuse me” every time they break wind, promise), but their addition to your carbon footprint is minute compared to that of a coal-fired power station that runs your electric blanket.
So how should you look after your duvet?
Very simple – dry clean only. Otherwise it will look after itself.