What is Merino Wool?
Merino Wool is Soft, Luxurious & Comfortable
We know, we know... wool is not the normal fabric associated with soft and comfortable sleepwear, or for getting an improved night’s sleep! Won’t wool pajamas be itchy? Nope. Not Chill Angel's Merino Dreamwear™.
There are many different types of wool, which come from thousands of different breeds of sheep and each variety of wool has its own unique benefits and qualities. There is course and sturdy wool that is very well suited for making beautiful carpets and upholstery. There is rugged wool that is ideal for knitting heavy weight fishermen’s sweaters. And at the other end of the spectrum, there is merino wool.
The merino sheep grow an exceptionally elegant and soft wool, which is luxurious and fine, similar to cashmere. Merino wool is the best wool to wear next to the skin for sleepwear, base layer garments, underwear and socks. However, it is important to know that not all merino wool is created equal, either. There are various grades and qualities of merino wool. The finer and softer the fiber, the lower the micron count, which measures the diameter of the fiber. 1 micron = 1 millionth of a meter. Most base layer fabrics measuring less than 20.5 micron count. This is the typical threshold for most people to start feeling a little bit of discomfort or itch. To put this in perspective, the average human hair measures between 60 and 120 micron. So, merino fibers are 1/4th - 1/10th the diameter of a human hair!
Below are some of the most common micron counts that most merino wool brands use in next-to-skinwear garments.
Fine Medium: 19.6 – 20.5
Fine: 18.6 – 19.5
Superfine: 17.6 – 18.5
Ultra Fine: 16.1 – 17.5
Chill Angel uses both Superfine and Ultrafine merino in our fabrics. Our "Angel Light" fabric is ultrafine, 16.5 micron merino. This fabric is so luxuriously soft, you won’t believe it is wool. Yet, it still has all the same technical performance benefits as higher micron count merino.
Merino Wool is Natural & Biodegradable
Wool is naturally grown by living animals – sheep. All that is needed for the animals to thrive is water, sunshine, air and grass. It doesn’t get more natural and sustainable than that!
Wool is a complex fiber that is predominately made up of keratin, a protein that is present in our own skin and hair, which naturally complements the human body's own heating and cooling processes. The interlocking protein molecules within the individual fibers gives wool its strength, stretch and resilience.
Unlike synthetics which are industrially produced from non-renewable fossil energy, wool fibers are a created through natural process using a simple blend of natural ingredients. Of the major apparel fibers wool is the most reusable and recyclable fiber on the planet.
The earth-friendly quality of wool is bolstered by the fact that it is totally biodegradable and will break down rapidly and add nutrients back into the soil, like nitrogen, carbon and sulfur. As an added bonus, there are no micro-plastics to end up in the world’s waterways from wool.
Why Merino Wool?
Merino Wool is Breathable
The breathability of the sleepwear fabric a person is wearing is an important component to sleeping comfortably through the night. The human body experiences temperature changes during various stages of sleep and the fabric that is next to the body during sleep will react to fluctuating body temperatures and sweat. The ideal fabric to wear should be highly breathable and transports excess heat and humidity away from the body, keeping you dry and comfortable. Additionally, the breathability of the bedding fabric can also affect the quality of sleep and overall comfort of the sleep environment. Bedding and clothing should be natural, breathable and be able to manage sweat for the optimal sleep results.
Studies have proven that sleeping in or under wool improves quality of sleep. Merino wool fibers are made of very complex interlocking molecular structures that are porous and breathable. Merino fibers also have an outer layer of overlapping scales which allow air, moisture and humidity to pass through the fiber in response to changes in body temperature or external environmental temperature. Due to the high level of breathability, merino wool feels comfortable in hot or cold temperatures as well as in humid or dry conditions.
Merino wool sleepwear actively and efficiently regulates body temperature fluctuations, and keeps the wearer comfortable. Excess body heat is readily released and transported from the body. Night sweat is immediately wicked away, keeping the body dry and prevents the chill that often results from the body cooling too quickly. Under cold conditions, merino wool is the most effective insulating fabric which keeps the body warm and cozy and sleep-ready.
Other typical sleepwear fibers like Modal, Tencel or Polyester do not breathe with the body and can actually trap heat and humidity within the sleepwear, making the wearer feel clammy and uncomfortable. Retaining too much heat can cause the body to overreact and induce a sweat episode, which often cools the body too rapidly. Synthetic fabrics are often the culprits that wake you up because your body is overheating. Hot flashes and night sweats can be intensified if the sleepwear fabric is not breathable and trap the heat next to the skin. Often in these hot flashes or night sweat episodes, the sleepwear is literally ripped off and the body is left cold and sweaty and needs to dry and warm back up to a comfortable temperature before sleep can be resumed.
Merino Wool Provides Temperature Control
Chill Angel's Temperature Balancing Sleepwear® uses merino wool that works with your body's natural heating and cooling mechanisms to maintain a stable body temperature. The unique characteristics and structure of merino wool works to constantly maintain equilibrium between your body and the outside environment. This amazing fiber can instantly release excess heat when your body temperature increases beyond normal, and can also insulate you when you start to cool down. There is simply no other fiber that is better at regulating a constantly changing body temperature than wool.
In the extreme situations of hot flashes and night sweats, Chill Angel's merino wool can offer true relief to these debilitating conditions which can have a detrimental effect on sleep. When wearing Chill Angel, temperature spikes and valleys will be tamed into minimal distractions that no longer interrupt sleep. There will be no need to throw back the covers and rip clothing off to manually regulate the body temperature swings. Let Chill Angel manage temperature swings instead.
Wool is the only fiber that retains its thermal qualities when it is wet and this is a very important point. If your body does get wet from sweat you will not experience any chill from the wetness. From a sleep perspective, if you experience night sweats while wearing Chill Angel, you will not feel cold or clamminess that typically follows a sweat episode.
Flocks of merino sheep are comfortable living in varying extremes of outside temperatures, from very hot and dry summers to cold and wet winters. These sheep remain comfortable and thrive in these varying conditions, so it is no wonder that apparel made from merino wool has the same effect on the human body. Chill Angel is just as comfortable to wear in cold conditions or in hot conditions.
Merino Wool is Dry & Sweat-Free
During sleep, the body often shifts through changes in temperature and humidity levels. In fact, the human body constantly gives off a minimal amount of perspiration in the form of vapor which usually simply evaporates from the skin and is never really noticed; that is, unless this vapor becomes trapped through non-breathable clothing. Then, a personal sauna can begin forming in the microclimate under the clothing.
Wool fibers have a unique structure which results in it being both internally hydrophilic (water loving) and externally hydrophobic water hating) so as the body's humidity level rises, the wool can attract and remove the moisture vapor off the body and out of the microclimate that is next to the skin before the body even starts to sweat. However, if sweat does occur, wool can actually hold up to 30% of its own weight in moisture. This moisture is bonded internally within the molecular structure and is not detectable from the outside. The absorbed moisture is then released as vapor, which keeps your skin dry throughout the entire process.
Merino wool is the ultimate super-hero of moisture-wicking fabric! With the ability to remove humidity off of your body in the vapor state, and additionally be able to absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture means that merino does a lot MORE than simply wick moisture. It keep your skin dry, your clothing dry and your bedding dry.
Merino Wool is Odor Free
Since merino wool keeps your skin dry and sweat-free, an added benefit of that dry skin and dry fabric is that these optimal conditions prevent the build-up of bacteria, which is the source of bad odor. Bacteria thrives in warm, moist conditions and our merino wool removes the moisture so voila – NO moisture = NO bacteria = NO odor!
Alternatively, synthetic fabrics trap moisture next to the skin and this provide a ripe environment for bacteria to thrive. So, this is one reason that synthetic fabrics often get smelly quickly and they need to be washed frequently.
Merino wool does not need to be washed frequently and it will remain fresh and odor-free for weeks without washing. This benefit makes Chill Angel a great apparel choice to take when traveling. When you want to pack lightly for a trip, and don't want to hassle with washing stinky clothing while away from home, make merino garments a staple of your travel wardrobe.
Merino Wool is Reassuring & Comfortable
The superfine and ultra-fine fibers used in Chill Angel's fabrics not only make the garment extremely soft, but they also have a natural stretch that results from the rippled crimp of each individual fiber. This inherent stretch allows the garment to move with your body and not restrict any motion. No spandex or lycra is needed to aid in the natural stretch of merino. Merino fibers also hold their shape which prevents sagging or bagging out over time.
The natural breathability, temperature management qualities and moisture wicking abilities make Chill Angel sleepwear and loungewear incredibly comfortable. When you wear Chill Angel, it's like getting a hug from Mother Nature.