Sheepskin: More Than Hygge
Sunday, January 21 2018.
Snow, Snow, snow ....again!
But this time nothing like what we had at the beginning of last December. I cast my memory back to that day ...
What a joy it was to see my girls' excitement at the snow. Nothing could dampen their delight at the flurry of snowflakes, not even the power cut at 9:30am. Unlike schooldays, they needed no encouragement to get dressed to play outside.
After several hours, we all came indoors rosy cheeked and freezing cold, in high spirits at the prospect of a steaming hot chocolate with melted marshmallows. Only to find the microwave wasn't working and the temperature indoors wasn't much higher than outside. We still had a power cut. Never mind, we'll warm the milk up the old fashioned way, build a fire in the front room and get warm and cosy on the sheepskin. As the afternoon turned to evening and word of the electricity being restored that December night was very slim (read virtually non-existent), we all wanted to snuggle up with a sheepskin.
Thankfully our house is adorned with several sheepskin, so there were plenty to go around and we each took one to bed. As temperatures plummeted, despite the cold, we all slept beautifully. These sheepskin saved our skins (pardon the pun) as we went without electricity for 36 hours!
So there I was Sunday morning looking at the flurry of snow and wondering whether a similar fate was in store for us. Luckily the snow was short-lived and power remained. Now that the traditional English weather has returned and the kids have gone back to school, I have a moment to research why those sheepskin kept us warm and allowed us to sleep like a baby.
I was amazed to discover that they are not just a luxury accessory providing that scandinavian "hygge" feel, but very much a practical item with health benefits as well.
It sounds odd but as much as the sheepskin keeps you warm in the winter it also keeps you cool in summer. They are naturally designed to maintain a stable body temperature. This is due to the "breathable" properties of the wool which contains keratin - a moisture loving protein. When temperature increases (outside or because a person becomes more active ) the pores allow moisture to pass through to the keratin which absorbs it and wicks it out to the surface where it is released into the air. A similar method occurs when temperatures are cold - these fibers will trap cold air and warm it, acting as an insulator of warmth.
The attribute of acting as a natural source of insulation is beneficial to both young and old. To newborns since their ability to regulate body temperature is immature and only develops at the end of their first year. To adults because it can aid the blood circulation in the body. And let's not forget the athletes!
Hospitals use sheepskin with patients to help soothe the discomforts caused by arthritis, hip displacement, slipped disks, stiffness and other ailments. Why? According to scientists the wool hair contains a 3 dimensional spiralling crimp that acts like a miniature spring.
These naturally crimped fibres form a cushioning support for your body, absorbing pressure and distributing weight evenly over the body. So sheepskin take pressure off limbs and helps relieve aches and pains providing ultimate softness and support. A study has even shown that sheepskin seat and bed covers more than halved the incidence of lower back pressure ulcers.
Several studies have described that the incidence of allergies to wool are "uncommon" or "rare". A possible explanation for this is again due the properties of the sheepskin hair. The outer layer of sheepskin has a scaly covering - the hairs are like tiny overlapping scales that rub against each other and push of dirt, giving it that naturally "self-cleaning" attribute. Sheepskin also contains a substance or oil called Lanolin which when moist converts to lanolin-soap, keeping the fabric hygienically clean and free of bacteria.
Natural Sleeping Aid
I think it is safe to say, we, as a human race are obsessed by sleep - that is obtaining good quality sleep. It is thought that 1/3 of people in the UK have insomnia, a serious medical condition. Sleep is so important for recovery & growth, brain function & learning and our overall mood! So it is only natural we spend time searching for that magic remedy to help us sleep better. Luckily one possible solution is rather simple and scientifically proven. Studies suggest that sleeping in or under (sheepskin) wool improves sleep quality due to the temperature and moisture management properties, and texture. A 3-year study conducted at the University of Sydney shows that wool sleeping apparel and bedding increases total sleep time and improves sleep efficiency.
Mind blowing isn't it?! A sheepskin rug is mainly seen by most as simply stylish and luxurious. Something you just want to wiggle your toes in and grab a handful of in your fingers just to enjoy that super soft velvet touch. It is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye but has functional and health benefits as well!
Who would have thought that sheepskin ARE
so much more than just hygge?!?!