What you cover your bed with and what you sleep under will have as much an impact on your sleep quality as what you lie on.
Ever wondered why a bed that feels so luxurious in the showroom feels like a plank when you take it home? Part of the answer lies in the bedware that gets used.
Many give little thought to how a mattress protector will affect the feel and performance of our new mattress and perhaps even less to the sheets that we use. Yet the softer the bed is, the more the effect sheets and mattress protector have.
At Sleep Well, we examined the concept of point elasticity and how point elasticity benefits the sleeper.
When a premium mattress material exhibits good point elasticity, it means that it is able to yield to a contour of the body such as the hips, without reducing the support it provides to the lower back/lumbar and head/neck zones.
To experience all the benefits of your mattress, it is vital that the right kind of sheets and mattress protector are used.
Take a semi inflated leather soccer ball and press your thumb into the ball’s surface until it can't go any further. You can imagine that despite the ball being soft, there is hard pressure against your thumb. This is low point-elasticity.
Now picture doing the same to a semi inflated balloon with your thumb.
You would probably be able to push your thumb completely into the balloon’s skin and not feel much pressure against the tip of your thumb. This is good point-elasticity.
Most latex mattresses and premium foam mattresses exhibit good point-elasticity. Inside the soccer ball is a rubbery bladder. It has good point-elasticity, but the leather outer layer doesn’t. The leather reduces the point-elasticity of the ball’s surface.
Putting the wrong layers on your mattress reduce the point-elasticity of your mattress. The wrong layers are like the leather outer of the soccer ball.
This can create pressure points on hips and shoulders and can reduce the support required for the lumbar and mid back region mitigating the design attributes of the mattress.
In recent years there has been a marketing trend towards very high thread count bed sheets. This can make the sheets feel very smooth while you are awake, but can seriously reduce the breathability of the immediate sleep environment when asleep.
A higher thread count comes from a tighter weave (and thinner threads), meaning there is less space for air to move between the threads of the sheet. And like a canvas tent the sheets can reduce the movement of air and moisture away from the sleeper.
Because most sheets are woven, they also introduce pressure points as they are not designed to stretch at all.
We discovered that fitted sheets that are made from a jersey knit to be superior in the bedding environment.
When you exercise, you probably wear a cotton T-shirt made from a jersey knit, rather than a woven shirt you’d wear at to work.
The jersey knit allows greater freedom of stretch and also allows greater air movement to assist your body regulate its temperature.
We have simply applied this concept to the bedding environment and the result is a highly breathable, extremely comfortable environment that helps facilitate good quality sleep.
We have tried dozens of duvets, specialty blankets, natural sheets, high-tech sheets, natural and synthetic toppers, underlays, overlays and all sorts of novel and traditional approaches to the bedding mix.
One thing we found is that, no matter what it says on the packaging, you can't beat first hand experience.
We have washed, dry-cleaned, used and abused, read the instructions and many times did the opposite to see what happens. What we found was that two similar looking products can yield completely different results and satisfaction.
What we sell, we know by personal experience will yield the results for which they were designed. This gives you the confidence to choose a product that is likely to benefit your sleep.
Early on in our quest for better bedding we quickly came to appreciate the benefits of natural wool duvets. However, we came to discover that most wool duvets available for sale in New Zealand that boast to have New Zealand wool are actually made overseas, use inferior wool (often from the belly), and are sometimes made using wool scouring techniques that are no longer practiced in New Zealand. Yes they are wool filled and the wool has come from New Zealand (we are told), but they don't perform nearly as well nor last as long. Not even the premium brands we had tried.
We also discovered that what constitutes "pure wool" doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't synthetic fibres and other additives in the mix. A bit like fruit juice that claims to have "no added sugar" could quite legally add a certain amount of sugar to "balance out seasonal variations", many New Zealand brands add polyester and a bonding agent to assist in the manufacturing process (up to 25% in some reported cases) and say that the product contains pure wool. They are not breaking the law, its just that with the bonding agent it is cheaper to make a duvet with wool that has been carded and interleaved offsite.
We wanted to provide you with the best possible natural fibre duvets to give you the best possible sleep. In our search, we found a company in New Zealand who prepare the wool and Alpaca fibres onsite and then quilt them directly into duvets. They make the duvets individually for us and they do not need to add any bonding agent or other synthetic fibres. The wool and Alpaca duvets we sell do not just “contain pure wool” but are made entirely from premium 100% pure New Zealand lamb's wool and New Zealand Alpaca fibre.
The benefit of this is that the wool fibre has not been coated with a glue or resinous material and the wool retains all of its moisture absorbency, wicking and temperature regulation that it was designed to achieve. The wool retains its natural crimp, the fibres their ability to absorb moisture thus ensuring that the duvets are more comfortable under a much wider latitude of temperature and humidity levels.
Because our duvets contain no synthetic fibres, they do not need any chemical additives to prevent mold or dust mites. The inherent nature of the wool fibre on its own is a mold and dust mite inhibitor. Moreover, many overseas wool scouring companies still use carbonic cleaning methods to clean and whiten the wool. This might save costs, but it strips the wool of all its protective lanolin and makes the wool fibres brittle. The wool in our duvets have been washed in a gentle wool soap thus ensuring that the wool fibre will keep its strength and integrity for many years.