It's the 13th October, Christmas is on the horizon and we are all feeling the temperature drop! As the days become shorter and darkness takes over our lives, we start thinking about our beds more than ever. We can't wait to get snuggled up in them at the end of the day and it certainly becomes a lot more difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
At RESTED, we say 'don't be so gloomy!' Winter is the season where we most appreciate the wonder of our beds. Achieving really good sleep is the perfect antidote to leave us refreshed, happy and ready to bound out of bed in the morning. Especially when the day is cold and dark.....
From a sleep perspective, the first thing to enter most people's mind is their duvet. Are you warm enough at night?
In practice, most of us live in well insulated, double glazed homes and control the internal temperature with central heating and accurate thermostats, even during the night. With the rise of the smart home and intelligent thermostats, we have never been more toasty. In fact many people find that it is in the winter with the heating cooking and having overcompensated with high tog duvets, that we end up with our sleep interrupted by excessive heat. The differences in temperature preferences between partners really comes to the forefront, with arguments about heating levels resounding across the nation. We all know that feeling of throwing off the duvet in disgust as we bake in our beds and the opposite sensation of sensing our freezing extremities as we try to steal the duvet back when we are too cold.
In Sleep Engineering we always come back to the same point; that good sleep is about taking temperature out of the equation. Sleep is optimised when we find a median temperature appropriate for your personal sleep for the whole night. For us this means utilising those products that are dynamic in keeping us at that median point, irrespective of how cold the night is or how far up we turn the thermostat. The aforementioned arguments with your partner can be addressed directly. A duvet, if it is to be shared, has to be dynamic so as to react to the person under it, otherwise we will forever be battling both our thermostat and our partner.
Did you know that it is entirely 'the norm' across large parts of Europe (and especially northern Europe and Scandinavia) for couples to sleep with individual duvets, even in a shared double bed? They think we British are crazy for even contemplating sharing a duvet with another person. Hmmmmm...Indeed it does seem a little strange that we would have the same duvet, but I guess we British just love to cuddle more than our frosty European neighbours. Where's the love? Thus we uncover the true reason for Brexit.....bedtime cuddles.
Most average duvets are insulators, rated by Tog as to how warm they keep you. Tog is the scale of the duvet filling's heat trapping insulative performance. There's nothing wrong with snuggling up under a really warm powerfully insulating duvet. Especially if you happen to live in a draughty barn, or are economic with your use of the heating. Somewhere there is an obvious trade off between heating costs and the cost of extra thick pyjamas or a really warm duvet. There is majesty and performance in insulating Feather and Down duvets, which is why they are so highly prized in Britain. Of course there is now an entire sub-industry as to which type of Duck or Goose to choose to adorn your bed, but we shall leave that for another day.....
Oppositely, a thermoregulating duvet (Feather and Down is only an insulator) can not be tog rated, because its ability to trap heat and insulate you is dynamic. Its tog rating would be constantly changing. Which makes a lot of sense to us at RESTED. With our erratic climate, nightly temperatures fluctuate throughout the winter season as well as overnight. As does our own core temperature and that of our partners whilst we move through the different phases of sleep.
There are some natural thermoregulators, such as Merino Wool and Silk, and there are also some very advanced man-made thermoregulators such as Outlast (developed by NASA). Duvets that have moisture wicking abilities (Lyocell) can also improve sleep by keeping you drier and reducing humidity at your skin surface level. Well ventilated mattresses and bed frames are also a key part of temperature control.
Our conclusion? You won't sleep well if you are cold, so it definitely pays to think about what the right duvet to get you through the winter is. What should influence your decision is how well insulated your house is, how much you like to use the heating (many people don't want their central heating on at all during the night), how closely aligned your personal temperature preference is to that of your partner, and whether performance for you means outright warmth, or if the Sleep Engineering theory of dynamic thermoregulation (reactive duvets that produce a median temperature) is the way to go. If you are serious about sleep quality, well you have our answer......
Once you know the type of duvet you want and the type of performance you want out of it, then you can hone the finer details such as feel, drape, washability, allergens etc. All of which are important factors.
Beyond the duvet, the breathability of your mattress and airflow of your bed are important considerations. Your fitted sheet and duvet cover are always going to have an impact on how you feel when you get into bed and there is much to be said for considering what physical feel and colour are going to inspire you for winter. Floaty summer cotton is evidently going to feel out of place in winter. There is a natural tendency to seek out heavy fabrics and darker colours. We wonder though, whether once you have solved the temperature equation with your duvet if we can offer a different perspective?
How about leaving the dark and gloom of winter to the weather (rather than your sheets) and shape your bedroom sanctuary into a revitalising, rejuvenating space that refreshes you with healthy sleep, thus lifting your mood during the winter months?
You can learn more about our quilts range and some of the specific technologies mentioned above by following the attached links.