Wool Bedding, recommendations and uses
August 6, 2017 7:34 AM   Subscribe

I have a bit of disturbed sleep and i get very hot no matter how I sleep. Until I can get a sleep study done, I'd like to shift some of my bedding to wool materials. Help!

Do wool pillows or pillow covers make a difference? If i get a wool blanket, can I use it with my standard cotton duvet (comforter) cover? I think getting a wool bed cover might be going overboard, but is it?

I live in the DC area, and I hate sleeping with thin sheets, and love heavy weight stuff on top of me even in full summer. Any affordable (<$150) recommendations appreciated.
posted by tedious to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm having a difficult time understanding your concerns here. Wool is generally hot. You are too hot when you are sleeping. Are you looking for something that is heavy? I am a never-too-hot sleeper and I do sleep with a sheepswool comforter as well as a down comforter and it's GREAT, but it's also hot as hell. There are some really great very-heavy cotton blankets (that one is spendy but they aren't all - and not the ones made for people with sensory issues, but just standard ones) which can be great if you just need/want that weight on you. Get one that is too big, double it and sleep under it. You'll be less hot than with wool.
posted by jessamyn at 8:06 AM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

All natural fibers really help--cotton, wool. If you are using anything with 'fleece' getting rid of it will help. LL Bean's wool blankets are warm but breathable -- if find the lack of airflow in synthetics to be more of a problem than anything.

I've heard sleeping on a wool blanket beneath a sheet is helpful; haven't tried it though.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 8:18 AM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I slept with a wool comforter all through Australian summers with no airconditioning. They breath very well & absorb sweat so you don't get as sticky, having said that it was in a very dry Australian desert climate. Not sure how they would work in DC. Having seen the price of wool comforters now I've moved to the USA I switched to a cotton blanket similar to the sort jessamyn suggested. It works very well for me in Indianas muggy humid heat at about a 10th of the price. I put mine inside a duvet cover no worries. The only thing you need to be aware of is they shrink a little the first time they are washed and it gets softer the more you use it.

I get that snuggly weight sensation I like for sleeping but it still breathes nicely like wool.
posted by wwax at 8:21 AM on August 6, 2017

I think wool would be bad news in DC weather, but as another person who has trouble sleeping in the heat and prefers a thicker layer on top, my best bet has been lightweight cotton quilts--I like the ones from Fabindia a lot.
posted by karayel at 8:41 AM on August 6, 2017

Hello fellow DC person with sleep issues. Me too, and between thyroid problems and menopause I get hot when I sleep, and then sometimes I get cold ... sigh.

I've tried wool, but it does not work for me in the summer, unfortunately.

A note about indoor temperature: we do having air conditioning (via a heat pump), though Mr. gudrun likes it warmer than I do, so when the outdoor temperature is in the 90s we have it set at 75. If it is cooler outside (but still humid) we might have it set as high as 78.

What I currently do is use cotton sheets, a quilt like this cotton one on top of that, and a medium weight down comforter in a cotton duvet cover on top of that. Depending on what is going on during the night, I may throw off the down comforter, at least partially, during the night. I also use the trick of sticking one foot out of all covers at certain times to help with temperature regulation.
posted by gudrun at 8:45 AM on August 6, 2017

Wool does have better temperature-regulating properties than synthetic materials, so if you're replacing polyester blankets and mattress pads, wool will likely feel cooler. But a heavy-enough wool blanket may be more insulating than you want, and also more expensive than a similarly heavy cotton blanket, like the ones linked above.

If you want to experiment with wool, I've had some luck finding vintage wool blankets from Pendleton or the UK on Ebay or ShopGoodwill for under $50. I wash and dry them on hot to felt them a bit and kill any creatures. I'll use them under the sheet as a mattress topper, or as a blanket. Putting one inside a duvet cover would work great if it's the right size.

Do you like linen? The material against your skin makes the most difference, try a linen duvet cover if you can find a nice one. I have purchased vintage linen sheets on Ebay/Etsy because they're heavier and more durable than modern ones. Plus sometimes they have cool monograms. They are pricey though, your $150 budget would maybe get you one good-sized sheet.
posted by doift at 8:49 AM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I find that a big box fan pointed directly toward the bed helps.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:59 AM on August 6, 2017

A wool mattress topper should help keep you a bit cooler.
posted by drunkonthemoon at 9:18 AM on August 6, 2017

I live in Maine and underheat my house in winter. Wool is quite warm. Down, fleece and synthetic down often warm up faster. Wool is great at staying warm even when damp, and is very durable. Actual wool fleece, where the wool is still attached to the sheepskin, is touted as being good at allowing some air to circulate under a sleeper. I have a small sheepskin fleece in my dog's bed; he seems to like it but is terrible at articulating why.

If you get hot while sleeping, wool doesn't sound like a useful addition to your bedding. Either a real sheepskin fleece or synthetic fleece under you might allow better air movement. Foam mattress toppers seem to keep body heat in, so putting something between you and a foam mattress might be a good idea.

Linen sheet might be a great idea. I have picked up quite large linen tablecloths at Goodwill, cheap, that might be usable as a sheet. I've also picked up a great vintage heavy wool blanket.

I would not enjoy a wool pillow cover as too scratchy on my face. If I wanted weight, I'd go with cotton because it has relatively low insulation power but is great for wicking moisture and breathability. You can use a wool blanket in a duvet cover, but most wool blankets will be the wrong size. You can pin it in place with big safety pins. Very big safety pins, like kilt safety pins, might look more like a fashion statement.
posted by theora55 at 9:20 AM on August 6, 2017

Wool keeps you cool because it is breathable. A lightweight wool comforter would be perfect but probably not heavy enough for you. Could you try using two lightweight blankets?
posted by drunkonthemoon at 9:24 AM on August 6, 2017

I have no experience with wool, but I just wanted to pop in to recommend the Bedfan for cooling off and dealing with night sweats. It's even allowed us to add another blanket back for the weight. I see they're still on back order-- it took about six weeks to get ours.
posted by Gable Oak at 10:22 AM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hello, I am you. I used to always overheat in the middle of the night no matter how cold it was, because I always had to have my comforter on top of me. I got a weighted blanket and it's seriously improved my sleep. They're designed to be cool and breathable but still give you the feeling of a heavy comforter. I got mine custom order from Dreams4Aidan but there's lots of different places to get them (Etsy is overflowing with them). They're usually about $100-$200. Dreams4Aidan is actually having a 40% off sale now so you can get a twin size for $85, or a queen size for $150.

They are heavier than a comforter, though. You might find that too heavy. I love it, though. Maybe try out a couple of comforters/heavy blankets layered on you for 10-15 minutes and see if the extra weight is uncomfortable.
posted by brook horse at 10:25 AM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I asked a question about my perfect-weight, but constantly shedding, wool comforter last year. Wound up ditching it, and springing ($200) for a great "summer-weight" light-fill comforter from Cuddledown.
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 12:29 PM on August 6, 2017

Thanks for all the data points! I didn't expect this many responses.

I will definitely visit some thrifts to see if i can find a wool bed-anything as a first option.

The first thing I'm going to do is see how much cooler I feel with a wool something between me and my mattress.

Any opinions on wool pillows for removing heat from my head area, but putting a more comfy cover?
posted by tedious at 1:08 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I recently bought a comforter that is filled with silk. it is amazing! it has a nice weight to it, I don't overheat, but I'm never cold
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:40 PM on August 6, 2017

I have a wool bolus pillow that I love--stuffed with wool, covered in cotton. Not cheap, but very nice. I also sometime sleep on a buckwheat pillow (also in a cotton pillowcase) and it does not heat up.
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:30 AM on August 7, 2017

I see that for an inexpensive start, Military Camping Blankets are available for < $30 and are >70% wool. Would this be something to try putting on top of my foam mattress first, or is it not worth it?
posted by tedious at 6:58 PM on August 7, 2017

I tried sleeping with a military camping blanket as a mattress pad a couple summers ago. (Northeast US apartment, no air conditioning). If anything, I found it warmer than the mattress alone, though my mattress wasn't foam.

Have you tried looking for mattress pads made of wicking materials like Coolmax?
posted by Owlcat at 7:27 PM on August 7, 2017

Coolmax seems a bit steep than trying something like this first.. I will be running this experiment first.
posted by tedious at 5:13 AM on August 9, 2017

I will repeat that for overheating issues, nothing is better than linen. The flat sheet is more important than the fitted. And they become wonderfully soft with time (though you may not like them the first couple of months).

As long as your not looking for fitted, you can buy linen sheets on Etsy and eBay, and I have also purchased from Cuddledown.
posted by timepiece at 11:38 AM on August 10, 2017

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