Sunday, 10 May 2009

Wool: The stuff of dreams

How much time do we spend in bed? Not enough, I know. But it's remarkable how little time we spend thinking about what we're sleeping in and what we're sleeping under.

So, by way of experiment, I'm testing a different type of duvet. I've been trying out a duvet filled with wool. Although wool has been a staple of keeping people warm for thousands of years, I'd never had a duvet with wool inside before.

At first glance, it looks flatter than the duvets I've usually used. And in terms of getting into bed, the warmth feels more intense. It is extremely cosy, there is a definite fleece-factor. I'm an enthusiastic sleeper and I like to be warm, so this was very much to my taste. It's big on comfort, in a wrap-around kind of way.

The Woolroom ( which sells these wool duvets, says that wool is better at helping the sleeper to maintain an even temperature. "It initially raises skin temperature so that you are warm, it insulates you from the cold but also stops you overheating while you sleep."

This ability of the wool to adapt to body temperature is claimed as making the sleeper less likely to feel "clammy". Such quilts are meant to be particularly good at absorbing moisture. Wool quilts also can boast a natural, eco-friendly status.

In the end, regardless of the science, the question the sleeper will want answered is: Was it a good sleep? And the answer is a positive one, it's seriously snug.

But it also occurs to me that we don't have much of a language for comparing sleeps. How do we describe the different sleeps below types of quilt or using types of pillows? How do we distinguish between the sleeps on different beds?

What does a sleep below a wool quilt feel like? If it was a wine, it would be a velvety red. The word that keeps coming back is "intense". I dreamt more, which could have been a coincidence, but it was that kind of rich, snug sleep.

How do you review sleep? For something we do so often, maybe we should be thinking about it more seriously.

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