The irony of where I am as I write this post is not lost on me. It is 4am and I am having a few sleepovers with my youngest at the local hospital’s Children’s Ward. So as I start to tell you how I get my best nights sleep ….. I am in a bed that is both wipeable and plastic …. and having anything but a good night sleep.
Why do we need sleep?
Plain and simple, sleep is when the body and mind restores itself. A time to recharge those overused batteries and get us ready for the next day. I was amongst about 2/3 of the population who were not getting enough sleep. My sleep was restless, sporadic and frustrating. Most people, if they are trying to improve their sleeping patterns would reduce their caffeine intake, alter their pre-bedtime routine and make sure they were not using any electrical devices in the hours up until bedtime. It struck me that you can do all of this and still not have a great sleep. After a little bit of research I read that by changing your bedding you could in fact sleep longer and better. Hello people …. where do I sign up?
Up until I had children, sleep was never really high on my priority list. I enjoyed going out several nights a week and still managed to go to work the next morning. I always bought good beds and mattresses but my bed was never somewhere I was excited about sleeping in … well unless it was for a weekend long lie. My bed was somewhere I went for a disco nap or to lay my head in the evening.
7 years ago my sleep started to be disturbed …. around about the same time as my kids came into the world. For the first time in my life I craved getting a good night sleep. A solid sleep …. one where I was not woken up by a baby monitor and where I felt truly restored the next day. I was probably getting as much sleep as I did when I would have previously have strolled in at 3am! Then, in the last year and a bit I started to notice that I was getting less and less sleep. I was running on fumes. I was eating healthier and exercising more that I had ever done but I started to realise how much my lack of sleep was effecting my health.
Around about the same time my daughter started to experience health issues which included some allergies. She is a restless sleeper and as she was always hot in bed, she would quite frequently sleep with just a sheet on top of her. It was around about this time that my mum started to sing the praises of her wool bedding. She had recently moved to a better insulated house and hated sleeping when she was too warm…. until she changed her bedding from regular synthetic bedding to natural wool bedding. Eventually I started to research wool bedding for myself.
Is there honestly that much of a difference, I mean apart from the price? Well …. yes! Hands up if you have ever been along to your local Ikea or department store and bought your pillows based on price …. then followed by if they are firm or soft? Yes these man-made products are often cheaper but they are also man-made and therefore have toxins or chemicals in them. Down bedding isn’t better either because it doesn’t breathe and there is nothing worse than waking up with your hair stuck to the back of your head with sweat….. hmmm attractive. Feather pillows and duvets make me sneeze and I have always avoided these like the plague. I had always used synthetic anti-allergy pillows and duvets as a result and felt that this was my only option. I was wrong.
Traditionally, if you had said wool bedding to me, I would immediately have a memory of being tucked into bed at my grandparent’s house. I loved staying there but hated the sheets and wool blankets they had on the beds. Although they were wonderfully natural they never felt comfortable and would quite often feel scratchy! Safe to say I never got my best night sleep back then. Wool bedding is making a comeback though and there are so many great reasons why.
Thermo- regulates. Say what now? Simply …… Wool has the ability to help you maintain a comfortable and ultimately sleep aiding temperature. It helps draw sweat away from the body if you are too warm and it helps insulate the body in cooler conditions. How does this help you sleep better? If you are too hot or too cold in bed your body will spend more energy trying to maintain a comfortable temperature. You will most likely toss and turn, have a more restless sleep and you will not be getting the full benefit of sleeping. I need all the benefits of sleep I can get!!! With your body maintaining a comfortable temperature you will have a sounder sleep and benefit from a period longer in the restful REM state….. this is when the body recharges the most.
Wool is great for children and babies too. As we grow our body learns how to regulate its temperature, but babies and young children are not able to do that yet. I remember my stepfather telling me that when he lived in Iran my brother would sleep on a sheepskin. My mind kind of boggled at this because I always viewed Iran as being warm and wool also being warm. It now makes a lot of sense.
House dust mites are tiny and you will never spot one with the naked eye. I was shocked by how many house dust mite faeces can be found in regular bedding ….. seriously gross. Mites adore warm and damp areas as much as they adore our dead skin cells. Don’t they sound delightful! If I then told you now that each night the average person will sweat out a litre of moisture! It doesn’t take a scientist to work out why they love our beds so much! They especially love moisture storing synthetic or down bedding which make the perfect home for mildew and dust mites.
Wool bedding on the other hand is naturally inhospitable environment for those little allergy inducing and asthma provoking mites, mildew, moulds and bacteria Wool is naturally breathable and it absorbs body sweat to keep the skin dry and comfortable. It is easy to see why breathable wool bedding is great for those who have allergies, eczema or other sensitive skin conditions. Wool also does not decompose like man-made bedding fillers. When the fillers break down they will invariably cause dust which can irritate breathing conditions including asthma. Plain and simple wool bedding is anti-bacterial, anti-dust mite and great for allergy and asthma sufferers.
How many of you have a higher tog duvet for winter and a lower tog duvet for summer? Wool bedding is suitable all year round thanks to its thermo-regulating properties. Cooling in the warmth of summer and warming in the cold of winter. No need to change your bedding in winter and summer. Wool bedding is also fantastic if you have a bed partner that loves to be warm in bed and you are a cooler sleeper?
Wool bedding is super comfortable. As soon as I moved our bedding to include a wool mattress topper, pillow and duvets our beds were transformed to have the kind of comfort I had only previously experienced at a plush fancy hotel!! Wool mattress toppers are AMAZING! I have always found my bed comfortable, but my wool mattress topper takes it to the sublime. Wool mattress toppers provide extra cushioning and have more of a therapeutic warmth which alleviates some symptoms for those with back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and rheumatism. Wool bedding has also been proven to lower your heart rate! I wish I had known more of the benefits of wool bedding before now and especially when my children were babies. The kids have really taken to them too. I have also found we have to use less persuasion to get them to go to bed each night…. bonus.
Unlike man-made or some duck down bedding, wool bedding does not contain harsh chemical or toxins and is naturally flame resistant. I was surprised to read about the flame retardant chemicals that are used in man-made or down bedding and that did not sit to well with me, Wool naturally self-extinguishes! Wool is also really easy to care for with bouncy fibres that naturally reform back to shape – goodbye to those head shaped dents in your pillow. I was not expecting my wool bedding by Urban Wool to be so bouncy and fluffy. I always remembered those old woollen blankets being so hard and itchy. Each morning I now like to put my pillow up on its side and it will be back to its normal shape within no time. I also love that wool bedding is washable and does not need to be dry cleaned. We have tested this out when one of the little people had a accident in the night.
In short untreated wool …. is very Eco- friendly. Wool is recyclable, natural and sheep farmers help maintain much of our country landscape. It is also sustainable and renewable as the sheep go on living their lives after they have been sheered for their wool. My kids took the recycling to the next level and recycled our boxes as below.
It might have taken a long time and lots of sleepless nights for me to appreciate sleep and more importantly my bed. I love how my wool bedding works with my body throughout the night to create the right temperature for me to sleep well. The wool bedding I chose is organic wool bedding by Urban Wool. I thoroughly recommend Urban Wool and want to thank them for helping the Fifi Friendly household get our sleep back on track. We started with their organic wool bedding for me and my daughter and no sooner had I made my daughter’s new bed and my son was asking for some too. Urban Wool do a great next day delivery service and the following day my son’s bedding arrived. He was so delighted that he put his Star Wars figures out beside his new bedding to protect it from …. well I am not sure who from but he was clearly feeling protective over it.
I get my best nights sleep in my organic wool bedding. There are so many great things I could tell you about Urban Wool and how much of a change I noticed moving over to organic wool bedding. To be honest I really wish we had made this change sooner. Our beds are now one of my family’s favourite places to go each night. Do you sleep well? Have you tried wool bedding?
Thanks to the kids for setting up the props for the photos. Also not so much thanks to the dog for trying to photobomb so much!!!! Still to come ….. a blog that looks at how wool bedding can help give better sleep to those on the cancer journey, experiencing night sweats and also those with bad circulation.