The Christmas holiday season is one of those few breaks in the year when we get to spend some extra time in our most personal, nourishing and comfortable spaces – our beds!
We spend up to a third of our lives in bed, but have you thought about how healthy your bedding is for you?
Good sleep quality is a major contributor to good health so this Christmas we suggest gifting yourself some perfect eco and healthy bedding to make your bed the ultimate, restorative retreat from the outside world.
Here’s our guide to the things you need to consider!
1. Natural Materials
We would always recommend 100% natural material for your bedding and that you avoid synthetic or synthetic-mixes. Not only do natural materials connect you to nature but they also help you sleep by naturally regulating your body temperature.
Natural materials tend to be more expensive that synthetic options. Pure organic cotton is the most common textile and comes in different weaves; percale and sateen being two of the different types (more on this later!).
Linen is a more casual alternative with a natural, wrinkled effect that can look and feel very earthy and inviting. It is lightweight and comfortable and particularly helps to regulate your body temperature as you sleep with its breathability and high moisture absorbency. Linen is perfect for every season – fresh in the summer and cool in the winter.
Bamboo is another good sustainable option as long as it hasn’t gone through extensive production processes.
Silk is, as you would expect, the most expensive and luxurious option.
2. Healthy & Eco Production
Look for fabrics labeled as organic, luckily this is becoming more and more common, particularly for cotton. Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world so to be organic means to avoid materials that have been sprayed with toxic pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides during cultivation.
These toxic chemicals leave a residue within the textiles and can be absorbed by your skin or breathed in as you sleep. They also pose a health risk to those farming and cultivating the crops and impact on our planet as they leach into all parts of our ecosystem.
Organic cotton is also a great material for those with allergies; it’s hypoallergenic, reducing microbes and spores that can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.
3. Healthy & Eco Processing
Textile production can also use chemicals, bleaches, dyes and softeners so it’s also important to source bedding that has had limited dyeing and processing, avoiding heavy metals, formaldehyde, flame-retardants and phthalates.
Many of these substances and synthetic dyes also pose a serious risk to the environment. Avoid any ‘easy care’ or ‘no ironing’ fabrics as these labels indicate that extra chemicals and agents have been used to create these finishes.
4. Sustainability & Standards
To help to guide you look out for the following standards when buying your new bedding:
Certified B Corp– This is a certification process that has strict rules on accountability, transparency, performance, availability and cost of the textiles.
GOTS Certified – The Global Organic Textile Standard – is an international organization that ensures environmentally and socially responsible manufacture of textiles throughout the entire supply chain.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 – is a testing certification system that focuses on product safety beyond international standards to ensure the responsible use of harmful chemicals and global sustainability awareness. Sheets are held to a very high safety standard under Oeko-Tex Class II products.
The Textile Exchange – A global nonprofit organization that works to make the textile industry more sustainable. They identify and share best practices regarding farming, materials and processing to reduce the impact on the worlds water, soil, air and human population.
Better Cotton Initiative – Not so high of a standard as GOTS but still represents a step up from conventional cotton, with education and guidelines to help farmers produce cotton more sustainably.
5. Fair Trade
Production of your bedding should not unduly affect workers in other countries The ‘Fair Trade Certified’ seal represents thousands of products, improving millions of lives and protecting land and waterways in 45 countries and counting. They look to create a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and decide on their future.
The UN’s International Labor Organization brings together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member states to set labor standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men.
6. Thread Count
Thread count is a measure of the number of threads running through your sheets, horizontally and vertically, per square inch and tells you how closely woven the fabric is. Often it is thought that the higher the thread count, the better the sheets, and although thread count is an important factor there are other factors at play.
The quality of the fibers that create the yarns is just as important, the longer the length of the fibers the better and more comfortable the sheets. Good quality yarns will also launder and wear really well, lasting for years.
Generally 200 to 400 thread count in your bedding will provide good comfort and softness balanced with durability and laundering.
The texture of your bedding is very much up to personal comfort. The weave of the fabric provides the texture, look and feel of the bedding. The more dense the weave the more comfortable.
Cotton Percale – this is a breathable weave that is often made from cotton or other blended fabrics. This finish is smooth, matte, crisp and cool to the touch. Lightweight and breathable it’s perfect for the summer months. This weave is often used for hotel bed linen. Over time they soften up with each wash and are very durable.
Cotton Sateen – is luxuriously smooth, super soft and smart with an elegant sheen. It’s an all year round option and is said to limit premature aging of the skin, particularly when used for pillow covers. Sateen usually has a higher thread count to percale (because the threads are thinner) and is slightly less hard wearing in terms of durability.
Jacquard – this is smooth, soft and silky against the skin. It is woven on a special loom to produce a matt/sateen self-pattern in the fabric, typically a stripe, check or floral, as with the sateen bed linen the thread used is finer than percale.
Cotton Oxford Weave – This has more texture than percale or sateen and is good in a looser thread count of 150 threads per square inch. Made from luxurious soft cotton yarns that have been doubled and woven into a special weave.
Cotton Flannel – has a very soft texture almost warm to the touch and is perfect for the colder winter months. It is made from high quality cotton thread and is thicker than the one used for percale. The soft texture comes from brushing the fabric after weaving.
Linen – has a more organic looking weave that (close up) looks like loops. Using long fibers, it has more give-and-take in it than cotton and it gets softer with every wear and wash. The production of linen is very sustainable as every part of the flax plant can be used and it is a rotation crop that can be farmed naturally in small batches. It is also naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial. Linen can be more expensive but can last a lifetime as its really durable.
8. Styling Your Bed
Your bed is the dreamy focus of your bedroom and should be really inviting, tranquil and a place of renewal, encouraging you every day to get that early night you desperately need!
Dressing a bed beautifully is a skill that can be mastered to create a cozy and comforting effect in the winter and a cool and fresh feel in summer months.
Although we have styled beds in different colored bedding and loved the results, white bedding is an enduring classic that will never go out of fashion. If you’re confused about what color to choose then go with the timeless option of white! After all the top hotels use white bedding. It helps people unwind and can be styled to be any look you want it to be, be it romantic, sophisticated or masculine. It is also good for small or dark rooms, brightening them up.
For a really tailored look to your bed you can turn the top sheet back taking some of the duvet or blankets with it. Place the pillow openings to the centre of the bed so that you can’t see them from the side.
Extra cushions are where you can bring in some color and personality into your bedroom and link in with the other décor such as paint and blinds. Layer different textures and tones on your bed to create personality.
In winter add some festive cheer with a themed Christmas cushion or some accessories such as blankets in festive colors. Place any decorative cushions square on the bed against the pillows rather than on their corner ends and keep them smaller to the front.
Add a bedspread, a soft blanket or quilt folded at the bottom of the bed will finish off the bed beautifully. Lightweight in summer or heavier weight in winter.
Keep your bedding neatly folded and organized in plain view in a cupboard so you can make sure you can access it easily and that you’re using everything you own. Rotating your bedding will mean none of it wears out too quickly.
9. Creating Comfort With Linen Spray Scent
Scenting your bedding can create another layer of comfort and hominess. You can even create your own bespoke linen spray using essential oils, using one scent you really love or mixing them all together to create a scent that really speaks to you.
This is especially useful if you use an unscented eco washing powder and you don’t wish to add any chemicals from synthetic scents into your bedroom. Essential oils have antimicrobial and soothing properties and this type of fabric refresher can also be used effectively on other areas such as rugs, clothing and furniture. Using a bit of scented spray bottle can also ease out wrinkles.
There are four essential oils we would recommend. Lavender is popular for its calming and uplifting properties. Citrus is fresh and cleansing, White fir is calming and grounding and also has anti-fungal properties and Cypress is a grounding woody smell. They may all have their place through the changing seasons of the year.
Linen Spray Recipe
250ml witch hazel or vodka
250ml cooled boiled water
¼ teaspoon glycerin
80 drops of essential oil – this can be one oil or a combination
500ml glass spray bottle
To create, put all the ingredients into the spray bottle and shake well to combine! To use, shake the bottle well before use, spray liberally on fabric and leave to dry.
10. And Relax!
Yes, get into bed and get cozy! We hope we have given you some ideas for a more healthy approach to your bedding. Good sleep quality is central to a happy and healthy life and helps us to fight diseases and maintain balance in our relationships, productivity and overall mental health.
Giving your body the best possible natural materials to be surrounded by while rejuvenating over night is one of the most important gifts you could give yourself this Christmas. Sleeping in a chemical free environment will also reap the benefits for many years to come.
Wishing you all a lot of blissful and comfortable sleep over the festive period!
Here are some suggestions for you to search out the perfect bed linen for you…
https://www.aizomebedding.com/ – this kickstarter campaign has got us very excited! Thank you to Aizome Bedding for letting us use some of your fantastic photographs 🙂