A question we hear a lot is: but won’t a wool mattress make me hot?
This question comes up a lot because so many of us know firsthand how wonderfully warming wool is in cold environments. How could you get through winter without your favorite cable-knit wool sweater? Wool sweaters keep you warm, and somehow, no matter how much you wear it, never gets smelly.
But not many of us know why wool helps to keep us warm. You may be surprised to discover that the explanation also clarifies how wool helps to keep us cool!
The Wicking Power of Wool
One of the many wonders of wool is its ability to take up moisture in vapor form. This quality makes wool a unique fiber in that it’s able to absorb moisture from the air. Wool has tiny pores on the outer layer of the fiber that allow vapor to pass through to the heart of the fiber.
Because wool is able to absorb perspiration into the heart of its fiber, it keeps a layer of dry air next to the skin. This capacity to internalize moisture while maintaining a dry exterior is what makes wool an excellent temperature regulator.
Wool absorbs moisture from the atmosphere of greater humidity to create a drier environment as a way of maintaining balance. This means in the winter wool helps to hold in your body heat, while in the summer wool helps your body cool off.
Another way to look at this is to observe the creatures that produce this natural fiber: the sheep.
Much like how we benefit from seasonal haircuts and nail trims, sheep also benefit from a spring cleaning. Shearing, the act of harvesting the wool from a sheep, generally takes place in the spring. This allows the sheep to begin growing their wool in time to have a full coat by winter.
Shearing in spring also allows the sheep to have at least one inch of wool on their coats in summer. That inch of wool helps keep sheep comfortable during the hottest periods of the year in much the same way it does for us humans: by wicking moisture away from the surface skin to help dissipate body heat more rapidly.
That’s why wool is an excellent choice for natural bedding. It helps keep us cool during those blistering days and warm on those chilly nights!