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
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.