By Rachel King from Cambridge Baby
My two young children sleep in merino wool Pyjamas, simply because I love sleeping in my Merino wool vest and think its the comfiest night wear there is. When our daughter was born we had to rely on german friends to send us Merino wool clothes for her. We wanted to make this wonderful clothing available to families in the UK so we set up www.cambridgebaby.co.uk. Merino wool’s comfort is quite literally a gift from nature, so I thought I’d tell you a bit more about the properties of this amazing sheep’s wool and why we are so in love with it.
Soft and Stretchy
It’s so soft and stretchy that it hugs you in a really gentle way because merino wool fibres can bend up to 20,000 times more and can be extended 5 times further than cotton! This makes it way more comfy to sleep in than cotton as it moves with your body and is still soft on your skin – cotton bedclothes tend to get scrunched up around you. It’s fibres bend so easily they don’t scratch, preventing the itchiness traditionally associated with wool.
Insulating and breathable
Merino wool works in the same way as down.The small fibres allow air to be held in a pocket form, and merino wool retains the heat you create when moving for warmth and insulation. In addition, because Merino Wool is a breathable fibre, it can release this heat when needed by wicking moisture away from your skin so you don’t overheat, helping your body cope with temperature changes. Which if you live in an old house can be extreme at night.
Moisture wicking, repellent and absorbent
Another amazing thing about Merino is that although it has liquid repellent qualities, it can also absorb up to 35% of its own weight in liquid without feeling wet and soggy like cotton. Making it perfect for dribbly teething children! .Merino wool – a very fine kind of wool – has fibres so fine that they bend easily and so don’t scratch, preventing the itchiness traditionally associated with wool.
Merino wool is one of the least flammable fibres.
Naturally resistant to odour and dirt
This means that as long as you put a big bib on messy porridge eaters you don’t need to wash them very often, you just hang them up to air.
All our woolies have been handed down through at least four children but if they do eventually become unwearable you could even put them in your compost bin to rot down.
Knowing and experiencing the wonders of merino, I wasn’t surprised that a new study shows Merino wool beats cotton for sleep quality. A study by the University of Sydney shows that wool bed clothes help us sleep even when its hot. Participants who slept in wool bedding and clothes fell asleep quicker, slept more efficiently and slept longer than those in cotton or synthetics. In all temperatures, sleeping in wool results in higher “sleep efficiency” than cotton or synthetics. This is a measure of how long you’re actually asleep when you’re in bed trying to be asleep – and so takes into account how easily you fall asleep, how restful your night is and so on.
Closer to home studies in Cambridge also say that sleeping on Merino Wool sheepskins helps premature babies gain weight.
It’s not really surprising that wool works so well as clothing. Sheep have developed fleeces that keep them warm in freezing winters but cool in scorching summers so wool is designed to work with the body and keep skin and body comfortable at all times. What is surprising is that as a culture we have been so taken away by synthetics and plant-based cotton.
Now I know my family and I are all wearing a natural high-performance fabric – and yet joining ancient tribes in doing so. Ancient Britons wore finely woven wool, and Bedouins have worn wool to keep them cool in the sun and warm in chilly desert nights for centuries.
In our temperate climate, wool works just as well, and now I know when I put my children in fine Merino wool pyjamas, I’m part of a great world-wide tradition – and I’m helping them sleep.