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Devon Duvets Blog

  1. Why we use BCI cotton

    Why we use BCI cotton

    Sustainability and responsible sourcing have been at the heart of Devon Duvets, since before we were even making our products, so we wanted to write a bit about the cotton fabric that we use for the casings for our 100% British wool and 100% British alpaca wool duvets.

    Our goal was to find a cotton fabric that was made with cotton grown as sustainably and ethically as possible. As cotton growing techniques and practices vary around the world, we also needed to find cotton that came from growers who were committed to good socio-economic principles and work conditions.

    Our research led us to the Better Cotton initiative, the world’s leading sustainability initiative for cotton. A non- profit organisation that was founded over 17 years ago, its mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment. Education and support for these communities now means that nearly two million farmers, in 23 countries are now licensed to sell their cotton as ‘Better Cotton’.

    Here’s how Better Cotton works:

    Helping cotton farmers become more sustainable: farmers who take part in the Better Cotton initiative are given the knowledge, support and resources to grow cotton more sustainably. This includes improving soil health, better water management, and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.

    Helping farm workers: The Better Cotton programmes and producer organisations make farmers and farm workers a priority, helping to improve working conditions and achieve higher standards of living.

    Helping farming communities: Better Cotton’s education and social programmes help to confront inequalities and empower women.  

    Supporting civil society organisations that are connected to the cotton supply chain: The Better Cotton platform can be used by organisations that serve to continue the drive for more ethical and transpare

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  2. The History of Sleep

    The History of Sleep

    As the lyrics in Bob Dylan’s song states “Times, they are a changing” and throughout time, our sleep patterns have also changed. Historical research shows that there is a huge amount of evidence that people in Western societies used to sleep in two phases (biphasic); known as ‘first sleep’ and ‘second sleep’.

    Although we cannot be sure if this goes way back to prehistory, it has been discovered that from (at the very least) the time of Ancient Greece through to the nineteenth century, most people went to bed at around 9pm or 10am and slept for three to three and a half hours (‘first sleep’) waking after midnight for an hour or so, before settling back down for their second phase of sleep until dawn.

    The earliest written reference to this is in Homer’s Odyessy (written in the late eight/early seventh century BC) but other classical writers, such as Roman historian Livy and the Numidian Latin-language prose writer and philosopher, Apuleius, also refer to it.

    It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that single phases of sleep in Western societies began to evolve, and this was also likely to have been affected by the increase of artificial illumination, starting with gas and followed by electric lighting. By 1823, nearly 40,000 lamps lit more than 200 miles of London’s streets. This expanded into businesses and affluent households, where light from a lone gas light was twelve times as strong as that from a candle – but by the end of the nineteenth century was one hundred times more powerful.

    This slowly led to later bedtimes but did not seem to change the dawn rising time, causing more fatigue and heightening the drive for sleep. This would have encouraged people to make the change to going to bed and staying in bed so they could sleep continuously for a longer duration and get enough sleep, rather than sleeping in two phases. However, it wasn’t until the early twentieth century that one phase of sleeping was considered as normal.

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  3. Diet tweaks that can help you to sleep better

    Diet tweaks that can help you to sleep better

    Wool Wellbeing Tip #2: Foods that can help you to sleep better

    It’s amazing to think that certain types of food and drink can help you to sleep better – but it’s true!  Most of us know that chocolate and other sugary foods are more likely to rev you up, and even more so if you are tucking into them before bedtime. Spicy, fatty and acidic food (such as curry, onions, pickles and strongly flavoured crisps) eaten late at night can also cause sleep issues.

    Caffeine is a well-known stimulant, so if you tend to drink a lot of tea, coffee or energy drinks throughout the day and into the evening, then this can impact on your sleep. It can also increase your blood pressure, which is known to cause problems with sleeping. This also applies to some brands of ‘diet’ drinks, which contain as much caffeine as their regular sugar-loaded counterparts! It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you’re also going through the Peri Menopause or Menopause, these types of food and drink - especially those with caffeine - can exacerbate ‘night sweats’.

    Now for the good news! We’ve put together some suggested diet tweaks that can help to ease your body into a more peaceful sleep.

    High Protein Foods: these contain tryptophan, an amino acid that’s essential for the production of serotonin, which triggers the production of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin. Tryptophan is found in chicken, fish, beans and oats.

    Fermented Foods: these contain GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid – phew that’s a long one!), which soothes the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure and slows brain waves – all of which will help you to relax and sleep. GABA can be found in pickled vegetables, such as kimchi, and also in GABA Oolong teas.

    Magnesium: studies have shown that magnesium can help increase the amount of time we stay asleep. It can also weaken the frequency and intensity of hot flushes. Boost your magn

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  4. Happy Easter from Devon Duvets

    Happy Easter from Devon Duvets

    “Easter is the only time of year when it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket.” Evan Esar, Author and Humourist.

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  5. How a summer duvet can help to keep you cool

    How a summer duvet can help to keep you cool

    As the nights start to get a bit warmer, you may be thinking about a lighter duvet, but with so many options out there, it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees (and speaking of trees, we’ll get to that a little further on in this blog!). So, with keeping cooler in mind, we’ve put some pointers below and if you’d like more information, then we’re here to help.

    Firstly, each one of our duvets is individually handcrafted, here in Devon, by our brilliant seamstresses. We only use natural fibres for our fillings because they are breathable and better for temperature regulation, unlike synthetic fibres, which can trap heat and make you feel hotter. Natural fibres are also sustainable and eco-friendly too, because when it’s time to replace your duvet, it won’t sit in landfill for decades. You can even use the filling for compost in your garden!

    Secondly, we often get asked when the best time is for making the switch to a summer duvet. Although this will depend on when you are starting to feel a bit too warm under your winter duvet, there are other factors to consider, such as the ambient temperature in your bedroom. Natural fibres have the ability to adjust to this, releasing or retaining heat and thereby helping to keep your core body temperature level. The time taken for this adjustment to take place depends on the tog rating of your duvet. For example, with our lightweight 100% British wool duvet, there is one layer of wool, so it can react more quickly to warmer temperatures, releasing heat, whereas our medium (warmer weight) wool duvets, has two layers so the adjustment will take slightly longer in a warm bedroom. The same applies to our other lightweight duvet options. This makes a lightweight natural fibre duvet a great choice for the summer.

    We’ve put some information below about the lighter tog duvets available in our range of natural duvets, together with their features and benefits. However, if you’d like to chat through any opt

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  6. How to create a calm and peaceful environment in your bedroom

    How to create a calm and peaceful environment in your bedroom

    April is Stress Awareness Month and it is now widely recognised that not getting enough uninterrupted sleep each night can have an impact on our stress levels. If we’re not sleeping properly, then we are tired during the day, we find it hard to concentrate and can struggle with our daily jobs and chores. This can then add to the usual stresses of everyday life.

    It’s hard to relax sometimes, with emails pinging back and forth, constant communication available through our mobiles and social media - and distressing news on the radio and TV. Night sweats, experienced by those going through Peri Menopause and Menopause, are also well-known culprits for causing disrupted sleep patterns. However, getting a good night’s sleep is critical and so it’s important to find ways to switch off around bedtime and get the best possible night’s sleep.

    Here’s some tips on how to get ready for cosy slumber and creating a peaceful environment in your bedroom.

    Cool it

    In order for our brain to trigger us into sleep, our body temperature has to drop by 1 – 2 degrees and this also helps us to stay asleep for longer. Hot, stuffy bedrooms that are heated will end up keeping you awake. The ideal bedroom temperature is said to be around 17 degrees centigrade, so turn that radiator down or off (this will help with heating bills too!) and if you can, open a window. Having a warm shower or bath about 30 minutes before bedtime will cause your body temperature to rise slightly and then drop as you cool down and this can also help trigger sleep.

    Colour me beautiful

    Choose calming colour schemes for your bedroom. These include all the natural tones, such as beige, pale greys, off-white, as well as pale blues, soft greens and very light pinks. Try to avoid purple, red and orange as these evoke energy and creativity. Very dark browns and bl

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  7. How Devon Duvets featured on UK wide radio for World Sleep Day

    How Devon Duvets featured on UK wide radio for World Sleep Day
     

     

    Last Friday, 18th March, was World Sleep Day. The focus for this annual event is the importance of sleep for our health and wellbeing. Our founders and owners, Dick and Pauline Beijen were approached by a number of UK radio stations, from Scotland to Cornwall, and as far as the Channel Islands, to talk about sleep and how to create the best environment to help achieve a great sleep when you tuck yourself up each night. They were also featured on Sky News Radio.

    One of the topics discussed was ‘Sleep Divorce. Recent research has revealed that there has been an increase in couples choosing to sleep in separate beds due to their partner’s annoying sleep habits. The study discovered that 51% of Brits prefer to sleep apart from their partners so that they can sleep better. Nearly half of UK adults admit that they don’t get the right amount of sleep, with women (54%) being more likely to agree than men (41%) – with differences in body temperature being one of the main reasons

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  8. Why wool is better than synthetic fibres

    Why wool is better than synthetic fibres

    Wool Wellbeing Tip #1: Wool Clothing

    It can be difficult to know if you are making environmentally-friendly choices when you are shopping for clothes, but one thing is clear – choosing natural fibres over synthetics can make a huge difference in protecting our soils, waterways and oceans.

    Microplastic particles from synthetic clothing and textiles are widespread in aquatic and land-based ecosystems around the world and 35% of those in marine environments are fibres from synthetic clothing. During a recent survey, 44% of people asked did not realise that the synthetic fibres in their clothes (such as polyester, acrylic or nylon) are actually plastic.

    Naturally (excuse the pun!), because we handcraft wool-filled bedding products, we regularly write about how wool is better than synthetic fibres because of its sustainability.  A sheep’s fleece continuously grows and so in the spring and summer needs to be sheared to relieve the sheep from its heavy winter coat. Wool also has temperature regulating properties, as well as a natural resistance to dust mites. But it doesn’t just stop there. When it comes to biodegradability, wool is a lot better for the planet than synthetic materials because it does not cause microplastic pollution.

    So, it's not just about being better for us but also for our beautiful planet too – and we call this ‘wool wellbeing’! Recent studies have shown that wool readily biodegrades, releasing nutrients, and this is better for our soils and, ultimately, our marine environments.  

    When you are next out and about, shopping for new wardrobe items, here are some things to bear in mind:

    • Check the labels: choose garments that are made from natural fibres or, at least, have a high percentage of natural fibres. Examples are wool, cotton, tencel, linen, bamboo and silk. Clothing made from synthetic (plastic) is listed a
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  9. Our award winning toppers are even bigger and better than before

    Our award winning toppers are even bigger and better than before

    Although we have won several awards for our individually handcrafted 100% British wool mattress toppers (including an ‘Indy Best Buy’ from The Independent), we don’t want to rest on our laurels. As more and more people are discovering the joys of sleeping more soundly having purchased one of our wool mattress toppers, we’re constantly looking for ways to maximise the way we build luxury into every stitch.

    Working hand-in-hand with our brilliant seamstresses, here in our workshops on the edge of Dartmoor, we tried a number of new ideas. Through this process, we discovered that if we combined additional layers of wool with hand fluffed wool, this would create an even plumper topper that has a bit more ‘spring’ to it. More wool and more ‘springiness’ means even more comfort!

    If you’re at the stage of thinking about using a mattress topper for the first time, then you might not have considered wool before. We know we’re biased because we love wool - but we have many good reasons for this, which we’ll share with you. Firstly, wool is sustainable and 100% natural. That means it is eco-friendly and we all increasingly want to do our bit to help the planet where we can!

    Wool is also breathable and temperature regulating, so works with your body’s core temperature and the ambient temperature of your bedroom to help keep your temperature consistent, which means less interrupted sleep. This is very different from synthetic fibres, which can trap heat in the warmer months and make you feel even hotter. Being too hot can lead to a very disrupted sleep and that’s not good for anyone. Naturally resistant to dust mites and the build-up of micro bacteria, wool is also hypoallergenic and more hygienic than many other fibres. All of this adds up to what we call ‘wool wellbeing’.

    The really good news is that because we want to support British farmers, we only ever use

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  10. How to help boost your immunity this year

    How to help boost your immunity this year

    Now that we are in to 2022, we all have hopes for a positive year that will bring us happiness and wellbeing. A good immune system is so important for good health and trying to live a healthier lifestyle will help give this a boost.

    We all know that It’s not always easy to stick to our good intentions – and sometimes it can be hard! However, there are some easy changes to make that will help support our own health and that of our family. We’ve come up with a few tips.

    Spend more time outside…

    Vitamin D is essential for helping our immune systems to function and we can get some of this from a small number of foods, such as oily fish. However, it is also created by our body when we are outside. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, the UVB rays interact with a protein called 7-DHC in our skin, converting it into vitamin D3, the active form of vitamin D. From late March to early October, we can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for a short period with our forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered. Obviously, as the sun gets warmer throughout the year, make sure you don’t expose your skin for too long without the protection of a good sun cream - and always take extra care with children’s delicate skin. For the winter months, when our bodies can’t make as much vitamin D by being outside, check with your pharmacist or health shop to see what vitamin D supplements they advise.

    ‘Me’ Time…

    It’s important that we are kind to ourselves because it is a well-known fact that stress can affect the efficiency of our immune system. The everyday stresses of work and busy family lives often don’t leave us much time to relax and do something that makes us feel calmer – but it’s so important that we make the time and not feel guilty about it. So, take time out for that long, relaxing bath in luxurious natural bath oils, book yourself a massage or have an early night with a good book.

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