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Health

A better night's sleep


Today, the bedroom is much more than a place for sleeping. It is a quiet haven, a retreat from the stresses of day-to-day life. Wool bedding provides the perfect mix of strength and softness that gives powerful feelings of safety, security and comfort – and most importantly a great night’s sleep.

There is pre-existing research that shows that wool as a fibre has a great story to tell. In addition, there is also active research under way promoting the health and wellbeing benefits of wool, strengthening the fibre’s environmental credentials. A three-year study on Merino wool and its benefits builds on decades of research and points to the positive role of wool bedding and sleepwear in ensuring better sleep outcomes. The study, conducted by the University of Sydney, Australia, and funded by The Woolmark Company, explored the impact of wool bedding and sleepwear on sleep quality and quantity in adults. The three-year study measured total sleep time and sleep efficiency - the portion of time spent asleep compared to the total time in bed - across 17 participants, and found that wool bedding and wool sleepwear are beneficial to a good night’s sleep.

In warm conditions – set at 29ºC – participants wearing wool slept significantly longer, which reflected faster sleep onset and deeper sleep, as they woke up less frequently. They achieved an average total sleep time of 7 hours and 30 minutes, compared with 7 hours 15 minutes when using cotton, and 7 hours 10 minutes when using synthetic fibres. In both neutral (22ºC) and cold (17ºC) conditions, participants using a combination of wool sleepwear and wool bedding reached an average sleep efficiency of 91.25% in neutral conditions and 92% in cold conditions. In comparison, participants using non-wool bedding and sleepwear achieved sleep efficiency of 88.5% and 91% in neutral and cold conditions, respectively.

Earlier studies have also revealed that underweight newborns were able to gain weight 61% more effectively when sleeping on a wool underlay compared to babies using a cotton sheet, which was linked to the quality of sleep the wool bedding helped to achieve. The results are most likely linked to the unique natural properties of wool, which include temperature regulation, moisture management and the fibre’s exceptionally soft feel on the skin. Other inherent benefits include fire resistance, odour resistance, improved wrinkle resistance and UV protection, making it a compelling choice for the home and for every member of the family. Wool is also natural, renewable and biodegradable, making it gentle on the planet. Some of the brands utilising the natural properties of wool to create superior bedding products include Aumore, MiniJumbuk, Bambi, Jaspa Herington and Woolstar.

In early 2016, Heimtextil confirmed a strong showing of wool in interior textiles, with exhibitors welcoming strong growth and interest in their products. Frankfurt’s Heimtextil is one of the world’s most important trade fairs for the interiors, with 69,000 visitors and more than 2700 exhibitors – a strong increase from 2015. The Woolmark Company once again led the way with the Wool Arena, co-hosting the hub with Woolmark licensees and the International Wool Trade Organisation [IWTO] presenting the latest in wool bedding, wool carpets and wool furnishings. Bringing together Woolmark partners Baur Vliesstoffe, Bönning + Sommer, DBCwool and Jaspa Herington, Wool Arena was the epicentre for all things wool and attracted tens of thousands of trade visitors.

“Underlays have been a stronger offering than normal, particularly with European customers,” said Jaspa Herington national sales and marketing manager Janine Bisset. “We also produced a baby quilt, which we haven’t had before. We’ve always had a comprehensive offering for adults about the perfect bedding solution, but we’ve always left out children, and customers have embraced this great opportunity really well. We are also expanding our quilt range to include a beautiful lightweight wool quilt, suitable for warmer months and climates.”

DBCwool sales and marketing director Dominique Blandiaux agrees that innovation is imperative to continue to attract new customers. She said this year saw an increase in visitors to their stand, with new countries showing an interest in wool bedding. “In Europe, we’ve had a lot of interest in wool balls – balls made from washed wool,” said Blandiaux. “This innovation is helping many people who have never used wool before. It’s very easy to process, even without special machines so it’s a good way to introduce wool into products.”

Lisa Griplas has more than ten years experience in the media and communications industry. A journalist by trade, she spent a number of years working at a daily newspaper before moving to The Woolmark Company to take up the role of Global Editor, a title she holds today.