Sleeping is a basic need of the human body, sleep is also a basic need of the human mind. Without enough sleep, our bodies and minds cannot function properly and we cannot achieve the goals we set out to do. The average human will spend approximately 26 years of their life sleeping. Therefore choosing the correct bedding, ensuring you have the most comfortable nights sleep possible has to be a high priority for everybody.
This guide is to help explain the various types of bedding products available to enable you to have a restful nights sleep.
Duvets and Quilts
The weight, softness and warmth of a duvet depends on its tog rating and filling. Duvets come in a range of tog ratings and in natural and synthetic materials, so you can choose to meet your needs and price range and ensure maximum comfort.
Below is a list of standard bed sizes and their dimensions.
• Single fits bed W90 x L190cm (3’ x 6’3”)
• Double fits bed W135 x L190cm (4’6” x 6’3”)
• Kingsize fits bed W150 x L200cm (5’ x 6’6”)
• Super Kingsize fits bed W180 x L200cm (6’ x 6’6”)
Clearly you can choose a duvet that relates directly to your bed size. However many people choose a duvet that is one size larger than their bed. This can help reduce any midnight battles over the duvet that you may experience with your partner. It also gives a fuller appearance to your bed when it is made.
In technical terms, tog ratings measure thermal resistance. This in effect refers to how good an item is at keeping you warm on a cold night. Duvets with a higher tog value are more suited to colder winter nights whereas low tog values are usually best for warmer summer nights.
The tog was invented by workers at the Shirley Institute, Manchester, in the 1940s. The name comes from the informal word “togs” for clothing. Tog values are used to measure the potential warmth of many products, not just duvets.
Note that the tog rating does not necessarily relate directly to the thickness of the duvet. Different materials have different thermal resistance characteristics and different thicknesses will be required to achieve the same tog rating.
Natural filled duvets have better thermal properties than synthetic, and need less filling to achieve the same level of warmth, so their weight can be deceptive. You just need to remember that the higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet.
For people in the UK where our climate is extremely variable, All Seasons duvets offer the greatest flexibility and quite often the best value. They consist of two separate duvets – usually a lightweight 4.5 tog for summer and a warmer 9 tog for autumn and spring. During winter, you simply put the two duvets together for a cosy 13.5 tog duvet.
Duvets with natural fillings (feathers and down) are soft, light and comfortable and help your skin ‘breathe’ more effectively. They are also highly resilient and tend to last longer than those with synthetic fillings. However, synthetic duvets are now lighter than ever – giving the same warmth for less weight. They’re also a practical choice if you’re allergic to feathers and down, or if your duvet is likely to require frequent washing. Many duvets can be washed in a large capacity machine at 60ºC, the temperature at which house dust mites are killed. Natural filled duvets must be dried correctly in order maintain their effectiveness and prevent the down and feathers sticking together, which is why professional cleaning is highly recommended with most natural fill duvets.
A top quality natural-filled duvet could last as long as 30 years, whereas the average lifespan of a good quality synthetic will be up to 10 years. However, the number of times a duvet is laundered will have an impact on its lifespan, as will repeatedly lying or sitting on top of it as this has the effect of compressing the filling and eventually diminishing its ability to trap air – especially with a synthetic duvet.
Duck and Goose down and feathers are the most common type of natural filling in duvets. Duck feather and down duvets are heavier than goose down, which many people prefer. Goose down duvets are lighter in weight than duck down, but still offer the same level of warmth.
It’s important to note that when choosing a full-sized duvet for a child, unless their bedroom is very cold, it’s best to stick with a lighter weight duvet between 4.5 and 9 tog. As children are smaller it means that their duvet traps more air and increases the level of warmth over and above that experienced by most adults.
Our heads are rather heavy, and it is due to this that over the years the level of support that is provided by your pillow will deteriorate. As with duvets, pillows come with either a natural filling or a synthetic one. Natural filled pillows will tend to keep their shape and level of support for longer than synthetic. To ensure you get the maximum life out of your pillows try to plump them up on a daily basis. The use of a pillow protector to prevent staining and help prolong the life of a pillow is always recommended as they reduce the necessity to wash the pillows as often.
Mattress Protectors and Toppers
Mattress protectors not only help to prolong the life of mattresses by protecting against soiling and general wear and tear, but create an extra layer of softness and warmth. They can also keep your bedding fresh and revitalise tired mattresses. Mattress toppers are a means of softening the feel of your mattress and providing extra support by having a little extra padding than mattress protectors.