Here are our top 5 reasons why organic wool bedding should feature in your bedroom.
1. Organic wool bedding is naturally hypoallergenic
It is sometimes claimed that wool causes allergies. However, the truth is that organic wool is actually hypoallergenic. Non-organic commercial wool is indeed highly processed with a cocktail of toxic chemicals and the resultant damaged fibres feel brittle and can cause irritation to the skin, particularly those with sensitive skin or conditions such as eczema. This is not the case for truly organic (i.e. GOTS-certified) wool which completely avoids toxic chemical treatment. Organic wool is softer - you can literally feel the difference. A waxy material called lanolin which protects wool fibres in nature can cause skin irritation in some, but it is largely removed in the scouring process of wool preparation. In addition, at Sleep Organic, our organic wool duvets and pillows are encased in sumptuously soft organic cotton, so the wool fibres don’t come into direct contact with your skin.
In fact, the major sources of allergens in your bedding are actually dust mites, bacteria and fungal spores. It’s typically not even the microorganisms themselves, but certain proteins they produce that are present in their waste products that actually cause an allergic response. Not a pleasant thought, but the good news is that these nasties hate organic wool! More accurately, the microorganisms need a moist environment to multiply thrive and natural wool, unlike synthetic fibres or feather and down just doesn’t provide them with one. Amazingly, wool can hold up to a third of it weigh as moisture and yet quickly evaporate said moisture due to the inherent properties of its fibres. The resultant dry and fresh environment is indeed a result for you, and a bummer for those pesky moisture-loving, allergy-inducing parasites!
2. Organic wool bedding helps regulate your body temperature and improves your sleep
Every night while lying in bed our bodies lose water at a rate of approximately 40 grams an hour, on average. This is natural and is predominantly in the form of water vapour loss through perspiration (sweating) and expiration (breathing out), and does not include any toilet trips. That’s one third of a kilo very night! Wool bedding helps greatly by efficiently absorbing this moisture from your skin and then allowing it to evaporate rapidly due to the unique wicking properties of its fibres. Importantly this helps to regulate your body temperature throughout the night. If moisture builds up, as it does with less breathable synthetic bedding and with feather and down bedding, then we perspire still further. When this happens we feel clammy and overheated (even in winter). We push away the bedding but this leads to rapid evaporation which then leaves us feeling cold. We pull the bedding back on and overheat again…We can go through many cycles of this during the night and it’s our body’s attempt to maintain a stable core temperature. We’re all familiar with this and how it disturbs our sleep. Wool works with your body not just by removing moisture and keeping you dry but by its unique thermal insulation properties. Wool fibres are naturally crimped and because of this they form a myriad of minuscule air pockets that efficiently trap air, helping to provide an excellent thermal barrier. Thus wool keeps you cozy and dry all night long and all year long.
3. Organic wool bedding is best for baby and is fire retardant
In addition to the aforementioned benefits of being hypoallergenic and helping to regulate body temperature and promote better sleep, GOTS-certified organic wool bedding contains none of the toxic chemicals (including formaldehyde, pesticide residues, harmful heavy metal ions and dioxins) standard in ‘conventional’ bedding. While this is important for all of us, the rapidly developing systems of babies are particularly sensitive to such toxic compounds.
A further advantage when considering safety is that wool is naturally fire retardant. Indeed, a temperature of over 560°C is required for it to burn. In fact, it is practically the only fibre that naturally resists flaming, and in tests, upon removal of a flame, wool self-extinguishes. Just as importantly, organic wool releases no deadly toxic chemical fumes unlike its non-organic counterpart, or worse still synthetic alternatives.
4. Organic wool ensures better animal welfare
GOTS-certified wool (audited in the UK by the Soil Association) ensures that the sheep are treated with care for their wellbeing throughout their life and that sheep shearing is conducted in a painless manner (in stark contrast to feather and down collection). Organic sheep are only fed organic feed and graze on organic land, where they are free to roam with ample outdoor space, leading a completely free-range life.
5. Using organic wool is better for the environment
Using organic wool bedding benefits the environment too. GOTS certification ensures strict environmental criteria are met both in the farming (e.g. no chemical pesticide use) and processing stages (no toxic chemicals in water run-off). Finally, at the end of its life an organic wool duvet or pillow can be recycled or it can be composted where it will decompose and return to Nature causing no environmental contamination.
Dr Chris Murphy, co-founder Sleep Organic