When you think about luxury beds, does wool pop into your mind? Probably not and that’s because of the common myths about wool fibers such as –
- It’s itchy and scratchy.
- Causes allergic reactions.
- Can only be used in winter.
- Is too hard to wash.
- Is too darned hot to use in the summer!
Well, each of these is simply NOT TRUE!
Let’s take a look under the covers to learn why.
1. Wool is renewable.
Sheep form protein fibers in their skin which become the fleece that we use as wool. Every year, the sheep produce a new fleece making it a renewable source for clothing, blankets, and bedding. Companies like SAMINA insist on ethically sourced wool. We exclusively use suppliers committed to ethical practices like hand-shearing to ensure there is no harm to the animal. This helps change practices across the entire industry for the better and that helps us sleep better at night.
“I love working with wool. It’s reusable, sustainable, and biodegradable. You can shave it off the sheep’s back and grow it out the next year without killing any animal.”
– Clothing Designer, Jayson Brunsdon in The Daily Telegraph
2. Wool is hypoallergenic.
Although commonly believed to cause allergies, wool is not a common allergen. The wool fibers can be scratchy and irritate the skin causing people to think they are allergic. However, studies have shown this is more likely a reaction to the lanolin or the chemicals used to process wool. A recent medical study reviewed 100 years of research and concluded that contact allergy from processed wool is “highly unlikely with modern wool garments”. SAMINA, for example, uses superfine brushed wool which does not cause skin irritation and then takes it a step further by encasing all wool filled products within certified organic cotton cases preventing direct contact with the wool.
3. Absorb moisture better with wool bedding.
The quick-drying feature of wool fibers is why wool is so popular for outdoor wear and athletic wear and why it makes sense to use in bedding, too. When you sweat like we all do in bed, the wool fibers wick away the moisture and can hold up to 30% of their own weight. This moisture then evaporates into the surrounding air. In contrast, other bedding materials pale in comparison. Take down which comes from water fowl and is water-resistant and although cotton absorbs moisture almost as well, it becomes wet in doing so. SAMINA enhances the evaporation of moisture in its sleep system with a mattress design that encourages air flow for quicker, more efficient evaporation. The result is a dry and cozy bed.
4. Breathable and odor-resistant wool.
Wool fibers are natural and very breathable making it a good choice for bedding. Outdoor retailer REI recommends merino wool as one of the most breathable fabrics they offer describing the benefits as “breathes well, wicks moisture…and doesn’t retain odors like synthetic fabrics do.” Many people consider wool’s odor-resistance one of its best benefits, too.
5. Naturally flame-resistant.
According to the International Wool Textile Organisation, wool has inherent fire-retardant properties from its composition as well as a high ignition temperature causing it to smolder instead of burn. When exposed to flame, wool will produce less smoke and toxic gas than when synthetic fibers burn. That’s the reason garments and protective equipment for firemen and military personnel are often made with wool.
6. Bendable, durable, flexible.
Wool fibers are shaped like corkscrews making them flexible and springy so they can maintain their shape. Materials made with wool are less likely to wrinkle and last longer. American Wool compares the flexibility of different fibers and found out the following:
You can bend a wool fiber 20,000 times without breaking it compared to 3,000 times for cotton and 2,000 for silk.
Since wool outlasts other natural fibers like down, replacement costs are also less for wool bedding. The wool-filled duvets by SAMINA, for example, should last 10 to 12 years per the manufacturer yet in our experience customers many don’t replace until after 18 years or more.
7. Wool fibers help regulate the temperature in bed.
Like your Thermos keeps both coffee hot and lemonade cold, wool fibers are a natural insulator that helps control the bed temperature even in every climate and every season. The very reason sheep developed wool was to keep them warm when it is cold outside and cooler in summertime. Published research comparing wool-filled duvets with feather, down, and polyester bed covers conducted by the University of Leeds concluded that wool helps individuals maintain their own body temperatures even when they are sharing a duvet! This is the same benefit people get from sleeping in the climate-regulating wool pad mattress toppers by SAMINA, too.
“People produce heat and perspire at different rates, but wool can control the microclimate around each body allowing people to remain comfortable under the same duvet.” – The Daily Mail
8. Wool has no VOCs.
Medical doctors practicing environmental medicine have suspected the cause of some patient’s symptoms to be related to VOCs in their memory foam mattresses. VOCs are volatile organic compounds that can vaporize as air pollutants and are one reason that informed people avoid memory foam and other synthetic mattresses. People who care about their health sleep on organic mattresses and wool is a natural fiber without VOCs making it a safe, non-toxic bedding option.
9. Anti-microbial or anti-bacterial.
Wool wicks away sweat while we sleep at night and evaporates while we are away during the day. A dry environment prohibits mold, bacteria, and dust mites from multiplying. Furthermore, the lanolin also called “sheep’s wool fat” is a waxy substance on the exterior of wool fibers that also prevents the growth of microbes and deters dust mites. This anti-microbial feature of wool contribute to its self-cleaning properties; airing it out is how to best keep it clean and free from dust.
10. Wool is completely biodegradable.
When something is biodegradable, it can be broken down by natural micro-organisms in the soil without causing any ecological harm. Wool is biodegradable because when it is returned to the earth, it breaks down naturally, efficiently, and quickly. Man-made materials, on the other hand, are not very biodegradable. Just one global example of this is the crisis of plastic pollution, especially in our oceans. For eco-conscious consumers and because nothing is more powerful than nature, wool is the choice for SAMINA in its organic line of wool filled duvets, pillows, and mattress toppers.
Sleep better with wool bedding
Ethically sourced wool is better at promoting sleep than many other textiles. A University of Sydney study in 2019, for example, resulted in the following conclusion:
“Small, but statistically significant sleep benefits were observed for wool over cotton and polyester sleepwear for multiple sleep parameters, while neither cotton nor polyester was responsible for any statistically significant sleep benefit over the 11 sleep parameters examined.”