What Are the Benefits of Sleeping on a Wool Mattress?
Thanks to the unique benefits of sleeping on a wool mattress, many people are switching to this 100% natural material for their mattresses and bedding sets.
Apr 14th, 2022 •
Wool has long been used as a material in clothing, but did you know that wool’s properties make it a highly sought-after material in mattresses too? If you are someone who loves firm mattresses, struggles with temperature regulation, or prefers 100% natural mattress materials, wool may be exactly the mattress material that you’ve been looking for.
The Benefits of Sleeping on a Wool Mattress or Wool Mattress Topper
Many of us in the West are only familiar with the use of wool as a warm fabric during winter time, but in many other countries, wool clothing is worn in both hot and cold weather. Wool’s unique properties make it a great fabric for temperature regulation.
Some people struggle with body temperature while they sleep, either sleeping too hot or too cold. Because wool retains moisture, it absorbs your sweat and expedites the cooling process when you are warm. At the same time, it will retain a small amount of your body heat and feed it back to you when your body temperature drops, helping those who sleep cold to stay warm.
Natural Flame Retardant
Mattresses in the United States must pass strict regulations when it comes to resisting catching on fire. Many of the commonly used fire retardants on mattresses are synthetic chemicals that have been shown to pose hazards for human health. This has led many people to seek safer, synthetic-chemical-free flame retardants in the mattresses that they purchase.
Because wool fibers are capable of holding 30% of their weight in water, a high level of moisture, wool is often used as a natural flame retardant in mattresses. You can find traditional mattresses that use wool rather than synthetic chemical flame retardants or sleep on an organic wool bed to benefit from these natural flame-retardant properties.
In comparison to cotton or silk, wool is far more resilient. Wool fibers are naturally elastic, with the ability to be bent over 20,000 times without breaking. This is 10 times more than cotton. Due to wool’s structure, it is less like to tear and, when treated properly, can last 10 to 20 years.
For people with allergies, sometimes it can be hard to know what materials are best to use. As wool comes from sheep, those with animal allergies may worry that wool could exacerbate their symptoms. Fortunately, wool that is manufactured properly is not only good for those with animal allergies, but it is also resistant to dust mites, mold, and mildew.
Wool’s resistance to mold and mildew growth is thanks to how it retains and releases moisture, reducing mold’s ability to grow. Dust mites also do not do well in a fabric that is highly breathable. Look for organic or eco wool for optimal hypoallergenic properties.
When it comes to the environmental impact of mattress materials, wool is a solid choice as it is one of the few natural bedding options. Not only is wool 100% natural, which makes its manufacturing much less harmful, but it is also biodegradable, meaning that it will break down fairly quickly once it has been disposed of. Look for organic wool mattresses, toppers, or comforters as they are the most eco-friendly options.
What Does Wool Bedding Feel Like?
Sleeping on wool feels firm and supportive, while still relieving pressure on pressure points. Because it is good at regulating temperature, it is a great sleeping surface for those who struggle with sleeping too hot or too cold.
Wool Mattress vs. Wool Topper
For those who would like to experience the unique benefits of wool bedding, there are two options to consider: a wool mattress or a wool mattress topper.
Long ago, people would sleep on thin mattresses made from a variety of natural fibers. This practice is still common in Japan, where you will often find yourself sleeping on a thin Japanese cotton futon. Inspired by Japanese cotton futons, Shepherd’s Dream created an all-natural, synthetic-free 5” wool mattress that is available for people in the United States. This wool mattress is ideal for those who like an extra-firm mattress.
For those who want to experience the hypoallergenic, temperature-regulating benefits of wool without sleeping on a thin, extra-firm mattress, a wool topper may be best. A wool topper can be placed on any other type of bedding to reap the benefits of both types of bedding. This can allow you greater pressure point relief when used with memory foam, responsiveness when used with latex, or bounciness when used with an innerspring mattress.
Caring for a Wool Mattress or Topper
When you purchase a wool mattress or topper, you will want to take care of it properly to ensure its longevity. Because most of us are not yet familiar with wool bedding, there are a couple of factors that you will want to consider.
First, wool will compress over the first 6 months of use. This compression is a good thing as it boosts its resiliency, however, you want to make sure that the compression happens over the full surface to avoid asymmetry. To do this, rotate and flip your mattress or topper often. Additionally, try to sleep on different parts of the mattress.
Next, there are multiple steps that you will want to take to keep your mattress clean and increase its lifespan.
- Sun Your Wool Bedding: Wool bedding should be put outside on a sunny day four times annually, while a wool mattress needs this exposure once per year.
- Allow Wool to Breathe: Each day, take your pillows and blankets off of the mattress for 1-2 hours to allow it to release moisture.
- Remove Topper: If you are using a mattress topper, remove it from your bed once per month to allow any moisture to evaporate. At the same time, rotate or flip your topper.
- Use Wooden Slats: Wool mattresses require wooden slats in order to provide proper support and ventilation.
Wool is a great bedding material for those who want an eco-friendly, firm surface. It can be used as a mattress for those who like extra-firm surfaces or as a topper for anyone who prefers a bit more bounce or give in their mattress.
Best Hybrid Mattresses
Searching the web for the best hybrid mattress? Hybrid beds are some of the most popular bed-in-a-box mattresses. Check out our top picks and shopping tips.
Best Mattresses of 2023
We've reviewed over 150 beds to select our best mattress of 2023. See our top picks for side sleepers, hot sleepers, kids, seniors, and more.