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  1. Why we have been snuggling into duvets for 5000 years

    Why we have been snuggling into duvets for 5000 years

    Duvets have been around a lot longer than most of us realise. This is probably because it took a while for them to become popular in the UK and they have been through various transformations throughout their history.

    Some archaeological digs have suggested that an early form of duvet was used in China, as far back as 3,000BCE. In Ancient Rome, patrician Romans used both blankets and quilts on their beds (lecti cubicidates) but the first documented use of a duvet dates back to the Viking era. Many of the largest and most richly equipped Viking burial mounds discovered contained beds with several types of bird feathers and down from pillows and duvets. This has included down from the Eider duck and feathers from the Eurasian Eagle Owl, the largest owl in northern Europe. The luxury of owning a pillow and duvet was reserved for the wealthiest in Norse society.

    In the mid 18th century, Thomas Nugent, an Englishman on a tour of Europe, passed through Germany and remarked that there was one very peculiar thing about the people there: “They do not cover themselves with bed-clothes but lay one feather bed over and another under. This is comfortable enough in winter, but how can they bear their feather-beds over them in summer, as is generally practised, I cannot conceive.”  Of course, if they had used wool then this wouldn’t have been so surprising perhaps… but more on that later!

    By the early to mid 1800s, eiderdowns were popular with affluent Victorians and continued to be so until well into the 20th century. These tend to be heavier than duvets and balance on top of the bed, without any overhang. They were used to add warmth to sheets and blankets in the coldest months, and older generations in the UK today will remember these still being popular in their childhood. In Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy story ‘The Princess and the Pea’ (published in 1835), the princess has to lie on 10 eiderdown quilts to avoid being b

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  2. Why we sometimes feel more tired in the Winter

    Why we sometimes feel more tired in the Winter

    Winter is a wonderful time of the year – cosy nights in front of the fire, hot chocolate, comfort food and frosty days with bright blue skies.  We can also feel a bit more tired and less energetic - and there’s a reason for this change. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are tilted away from the sun as part of the Earth’s natural orbit, and this is what makes the daylight hours shorter and darker hours longer. It’s colder too, as a result, making it harder to leave your cosy bed! All of this makes us want to sleep longer.

    Sunlight helps our bodies to make vitamin D, which is essential for good health, so we notice a difference when we don't get enough. Less sunlight also causes our brain to produce more of the hormone melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy. These changes in daylight and melatonin levels have an impact on our internal clock, also known as our circadian rhythm. As a result of the darkness our brain tells us that we should be tucked up and sleeping more. Although it’s nice to have extra time in bed, and whilst we sometimes wish we could stay in bed and not have to get up for work or get the kids to school we all have our busy daily lives. So, it’s all about managing that – and here’s some ideas to help:

    • Let there be light! Firstly, make sure you are letting in as much light as possible throughout the day. Open your curtains as soon as you wake up and maybe even the window to let some fresh air in. You could even wrap up and try some meditation or yoga in the sun to allow your body to relax and soak it all up. The more sunlight you get, the better you will feel!
    • Step up! Exercise is good for you and helps you feel fresh and revitalised. It’s so easy to slip into bad habits and practically hibernate during the cold weather but push yourself and you will feel much better for it. Why not try getting sunlight and exercise all within the same hour? Go for a light early morning jog – even a brisk walk will set you for th
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  3. Things you might not know about Alpacas

    Things you might not know about Alpacas

    Although we’ve been famous for our individually handcrafted 100% British wool duvets for over 11 years, more recently we’ve developed our range of alpaca duvets. We only ever use high grade, natural white 100% British alpaca wool that’s been approved by the British Alpaca Society and we receive a limited amount each year, so once it’s gone, it’s gone – until next year’s shearing!

    Alpacas are from South America, and it is thought they were originally domesticated in the Puna region of Peru around 6,000 years ago. They are a member of the camel (Camelidae) family, although they are not strong enough to be ridden. They were first imported into the UK in the mid 1800s but did not arrive in larger numbers until the early 1990s, when they became popular for their appealing looks and luxuriously soft wool.

    Ellie, one of our customer services team, has done some research and has found some facts that are less well known about Alpacas.

    • Just your type: There are two types – Huacaya (Wah-ki-ah) and Suri (Soo-ree). Huacaya are most common and make up 90% of Alpacas. They can be crossbred and are then called Huarizo. Their fleece has long, soft fibres, comes in 22 colours and it is naturally breathable, hypoallergenic (dust mite resistant) and fire retardant. We choose white alpaca wool as it does not show through the duvet casing in the same way as the darker colours can – and, as mentioned above, we only use natural white alpaca wool, so that we don’t have to use bleach or chemicals to make it white.
    • No Alpaca is an island: they are very social animals that don’t like to live alone but are best kept in groups of three or more.
    • Within spitting distance: Alpacas have no teeth in the top front of their mouths, but they can spit up to 10 feet, although spitting at humans is generally rare.
    • Alpaca talk: They hum, haw and ‘orgle’ sounds, but they can also screech loudly if they feel threatened.
    • Alpaca love: Fe
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  4. Going to the mattresses

    Going to the mattresses

    Having a great night’s sleep is very important for health and wellbeing – and, of course, we know that 100% wool filled bedding will aid a better night’s sleep. Wool’s temperature regulating properties, combined with its resistance to dust mites and the build-up of micro bacteria means that it not only helps you to maintain a balanced core body temperature whilst you sleep, but it’s also more hygienic - and great for asthma sufferers.

    However, we often forget that investing in a good mattress is also a vitally important part of creating the right environment for a restful sleep. There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning all night because you just can’t get comfy or waking up with backache because your mattress sags and dips, so doesn’t give you the right support whilst you sleep. There’s also the hygiene aspect to consider too. A mattress used over an 8-year period can accumulate 23,000 hours’ worth of sweat, dead skin…and dust mites. It makes us all feel a bit squeamish to read the cold, hard facts - but this is why the general guideline for mattress replacement is every 8 years.

    So, how do you go about finding the ideal mattress for you and your needs? Here’s some top tips.

    1. Research the different types of mattresses:

    • Innerspring – these mattresses use coils, which provide a traditional ‘bounce’ feel and offer support. Many are made with natural materials so they are breathable and can help to regulate temperature - this is particularly so with mattresses containing wool.
    • Latex – latex comes from rubber trees. Mattresses made from latex can offer ‘bounce’ and responsiveness but are more effective at temperature regulation if they have air-circulating innerspring coils.
    • Memory foam – these mattresses are designed to contour to the body, but some users find that memory foam can ‘sleep warm’ as they can trap heat.
    • Hybrid – these combine memory foam or latex layers on top of an innerspring mattr
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  5. Eco-friendly ways to get creative at Christmas

    Eco-friendly ways to get creative at Christmas

    We are all increasingly aware of the importance of doing what we can to help protect our beautiful planet. So, in the spirit of building a more sustainable life, we can all do our bit to be more eco-friendly this Christmas season. With that in mind, we’ve found some great ideas to share - all of which will help give planet Earth a gift this Christmas.

    Wrap your presents with recycled paper or fabric

    While we all love glittery wrapping paper (although not the vacuuming after using it!), most of it isn't biodegradable or recyclable, so you can probably imagine how much is left to sit in landfill after every Christmas. Try the scrunch test to see if your paper is recyclable or not: scrunch the paper in your hands and let it go - if it stays scrunched, it's recyclable, if it unfolds, it's not. You could re-use old wrapping paper (iron it out on the reverse side if it’s looking a bit crumpled!) or use plain brown paper that you can decorate yourself and then tie up with string. You could ask the kids or grandchildren to help to add a really personal touch. Fabric can look pretty too, especially if tied with reused ribbons and you can tuck in a sprig of rosemary. 

    Collect your own natural Christmas decorations

    So many Christmas decorations are made of plastic, and while they glisten in the firelight and look lovely, they are often not environmentally friendly. Taking advantage of frosty winter walks is one way to go greener this Christmas and you can turn it into a treasure hunt for the kids. Keep an eye out for berries, conkers, mossy twigs, branches or pine cones that have fallen to the ground - and, of course, holly and mistletoe! Make a festive wreath or garland out of dried oranges, cinamon sticks, holly and twigs. Most garden centres will sell twine and biodegradable garden string for making your wreath. Twool is another Devon company (li

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  6. How we can prepare for Perimenopause

    How we can prepare for Perimenopause

    We are now discussing menopause openly at last and bringing the discussion into the mainframe, but there’s a part of it that is often misunderstood – and that’s perimenopause. Perimenopause is the first stage of the menopause process and can start several months, or as much as 8 – 10 years, before menopause. Symptoms of perimenopause start before your periods stop - and can begin earlier than you would expect. For most women this starts in their 40s, although it can be earlier. Menopause is the point where a woman no longer has menstrual periods for at least 12 months.

    Because perimenopause can start several years in the lead up to menopause, many of us don’t realise or recognise that our symptoms are associated with perimenopause, and instead attribute what we are feeling to ageing, stress, anxiety or depression.  Some of the symptoms, like ‘brain fog’ can leave us feeling as if we aren’t coping at work (concentration can be tricky on some days!) and so we start to lose confidence in ourselves. Tiredness and weight gain can lead to feeling exhausted and uncomfortable in our day to day lives.

    No two women’s experience of the perimenopause is the same and so being aware of it and being able to recognise that your symptoms might be down to fluctuating hormones, is the first step to managing them. Many of us almost feel as if we’re losing the plot and we can’t explain why we are feeling so disjointed and just ‘not ourselves’. We may even have concerns that something is seriously wrong with our health.

    The symptoms can include (but are not limited to) irregular periods, hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes, sleep changes, vaginal dryness and changes in sexual function, weight gain, headaches, a fuzzy head, giddy spells, itchy skin, heart palpitations and joint pain. Most of us know about the hot flushes but suddenly bursting into tears whilst watching a cute puppy on a television advert or forgetting a name or a simple everyday word can leave u

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  7. How wool bedding can help alleviate dust mite allergies

    How wool bedding can help alleviate dust mite allergies

    One of the biggest causes of allergies are dust mites, those tiny insects found in household dust. According to a report by the charity Allergy UK, they are the UK’s most common indoor allergen. The report has also revealed that there could be as many as 12 million of us who have a reaction to them, in varying degrees. Signs of an allergic reaction to dust mites include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, itchy eyes and congestion. Dust mite allergies can also aggravate the symptoms of asthma. What’s more, if you also have eczema, a severe allergy reaction can cause a flare-up of the condition. 

    The report has also found that over half of indoor allergy sufferers said their symptoms were worse in the bedroom, with allergic reactions leading to disrupted sleep, which in turn will exacerbate the symptoms. Continued disruption to sleep patterns will eventually impact on daily life. It’s hard to concentrate on those all-important tasks at home or work if you are feeling tired and generally run down.

    Of course, there are a number of things you can do on a day to day basis to help limit the number of dust mites in your home. As advised by the NHS website these include regular cleaning with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter, cleaning cushions, soft toys, curtains and upholstered furniture, and choosing wood or hard vinyl floor coverings instead of carpet.

    In addition to keeping your bedroom clear of as much dust as possible, your choice of bedding will also impact on your sleep. It’s not just about duvets and pillows but the report also found that 13% of allergy sufferers had used their mattress for 11 years or more and 3% has kept theirs for 20 years or longer. This leads to a huge accumulation of dust mites and (yes, we must say it!) their droppings – not often something that we really want to think about!

    When considering soft bedding, if you have a dust mite alle

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  8. Sleep Myths versus Sleep Facts

    Sleep Myths versus Sleep Facts

    We’re all aware of ‘fake news’ and so-called ‘experts’ giving advice on social media. There are quite a few myths about sleep – and we’ve found eight common ones that we’ve tackled below!

    Myth One: You Swallow Spiders While You Sleep

    This myth claims that you will swallow about 8 spiders a year whilst you sleep! This is very unlikely, as spiders are very wary critters and the noise and vibrations you give off whilst you sleep are more likely to keep spiders away.

    Myth Two: Sleeping On Your Front Is Bad For You

    This is often blamed for increasing facial wrinkles and contributing to neck aches. According to research, there is no significant difference between sleeping on your back, side or front. A slide sleeping position is best for snorers though. Whichever way you prefer to sleep, it’s important to ensure that you have the right pillow to provide support for your head and neck. At Devon Duvets, we do a range of pillows, including lower pillows for front sleepers and higher firmer pillows for those who need a bit of extra support.  If you’d like advice on which of our pillows is likely to be the best for you, just get in touch and the team will be happy to help!

    Myth Three: The Older You Get, The Less Sleep You Need

    It is true that sleep patterns change as we get older, this doesn’t necessarily mean we sleep less. Sleep experts recommend 7 – 9 hours sleep for the average adult. Older people may wake up more during the night (especially for trips to the bathroom!) or wake up early but they also tend to nap during the day, so the amount of sleep they have overall in a 24-hour period tends to stay the same. If you are having trouble sleeping, then perhaps take a look at your bedtime habits – such as watching TV in bed or eating late – and see if altering these will

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  9. Why a good night's sleep is so important

    Why a good night's sleep is so important

    When we were small, bedtime tended to be a well organised routine! Bathtime, maybe a glass of warm milk…then 7pm, up to bed! Brush teeth, wash face and if you were lucky, being read to for half an hour.

    However we get older, those routines change and certain habits creep in, such as checking your mobile in bed, bingeing on the latest box set or eating late. Not ‘winding down’ before bedtime can lead to sleep problems like insomnia, which in turn affects our ability to perform our daily and/or work tasks. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly, impairing your abilities  to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories. Over time, lack of sleep leads to anxiety, and stress, whereas sleeping well helps you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

    Sleep is also an essential function to keep physically healthy. This is the time that your body goes into ‘repair’ mode, as well as keeping your immune system in good shape. Lack of sleep makes us more vulnerable to illness.

    But how much sleep do you need?

    The table below sets out the generally recommended hours of sleep for each age. It’s also worth bearing in mind that keeping regular sleeping hours will help your brain and internal body clock to get used to a routine.

     

    Age Group Age Range Recommended Amount of Sleep per Day
    Newborn 0 - 3 months 14 - 17 hours
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  10. How our used pallets are turned into fabulous furniture

    How our used pallets are turned into fabulous furniture

    Here at Devon Duvets, we’ve always been committed to a Zero Waste policy and we’re very close to achieving it! We wrote a blog last year about how some of our fabric ‘waste’ is used by other companies to create products -  and now we’ve found a wonderful local business who can turn our old pallets into fabulous garden furniture and a range of useful household items.

    Keith & Keith Restoration was founded just down the road from us in Devon by Alan O’Livey, just before the pandemic in 2020. Having always enjoyed watching programmes about furniture restoration and upcycling, he was inspired to start his own business doing the same thing. He started out small, working from home, and using old pallets to make garden furniture, coffee tables and benches.

    The business has grown rapidly in the past 18 months, and so Alan now has a workshop based in Plympton, where he is also now making commissions to order. He tells us that some customers have their own ideas about what sort of furniture they would like and so contact him to discuss these ideas. “I enjoy discussing creative ideas with my customers”, he says. “As a new business, it’s always good to keep moving forward and developing my skills.”

    Branching out from old pallets, Alan now tracks down all kinds of old wood and other materials for his workshops and this means he has been able to expand on the types of products he makes. This includes coat hooks (with some great Dinosaur themed clothes hooks for children), mug rags, toy chests, cabinets and garden planters of all sizes.

    Needless to say, we’re delighted that we’re able to work with another local busines in such a creative way. It means that Alan is helping us to achieve our Zero Waste policy and he won’t be short of old pallets that he can skilfully turn into beautiful and useful products.

    If you wa

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