Why Linen Sheets are the Best for Sleep
July 8, 2019 • 4 min read
Taking a glimpse into the armoires of the past, a fabric that has been forever present is now making a reappearance as we move into sustainable living: linen
One of the oldest textiles in the world, dyed flax fibres have been found in prehistoric caves in Georgia, giving way to evidence that woven fabric from wild flax was used 34,000 years ago. Widely known as an 8000-year-old fabric, linen was the textile of choice in ancient Egypt, used often for mummification and burial shrouds as it symbolized light and purity, as well as wealth. Pharaohs wore tunics made of linen, as the white fabric kept them cool, yet conveyed luxury. Because of its associated symbolism, it was often used as a form of currency, being so highly valued.
This exquisite fabric made its way forward in history, with Romans using them for their togas, and everyone from nobility to sailors using it for bedding and clothing.
When it comes to our bedding, linen sheets are the best for sleep. We’ll be explaining all the ways in which linen is wonderful, and why linen bedsheets evoke warm feelings of comfort, peace and relaxation, the perfect blend to lull you into a deep slumber.
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Why is Linen Sustainable?
Linen is one of the most sustainable textiles because of its production method. Using the entirety of the flax plant, linen production ensures nothing is wasted, a sustainable process built right into its manufacturing. Linen is often hand-harvested by pulling up the entire plant, as this is how to ensure the longest possible fibres are gathered. The production of linen is labour-intensive, and cultivation of the crop can be quite expensive, which accounts for the higher price of this textile.
The flax plant is hardy, can easily be grown, and is quickly replenishable. Using 20x less water than cotton, linen also doesn’t require chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Because this fibre is natural and chemical-free, microfibres that are released when washed are harmless to the environment and ocean, as they will naturally biodegrade. Linen pieces that are left undyed or that have been naturally dyed will biodegrade 100% with time, leaving no trace and going back to where they came from – the soil.
Quality is very important in linen manufacturing, as poor fibres from a sub-par plant or a blend, can diminish the integrity of the fabric. Keep an eye out for linen blends with polyester or any non-natural material. It might feel like linen, but the fabric will not live up to the very high standards that real linen provides.
Photo courtesy of Flax Linen
What are the Benefits of Linen?
- Long Lifespan: Linen is one of the most durable fabrics out there, with a very long lifespan, having 2-3 times the strength of cotton. When you buy linen sheets, dish cloths and clothing, expect them to be heirloom pieces, passed down for generations.
- Stronger When Wet: Linen is the only fabric that is stronger when wet.
- Softer with Wash: Other fabrics like cotton begin to break down and disintegrate over time, but linen gets softer and more pliable with each wash.
- Hypoallergenic: Linen is naturally hypoallergenic. Rashes, allergies and respiratory issues that are common with non-natural materials aren’t a concern with linen.
- Antibacterial: Linen is naturally antibacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal, with natural bacteria-fighting powers. It is resistant to dust mites and is naturally insect repellent. This means our linen textiles remain clean and fresh, requiring less washes and keeping us healthier and cleaner.
- Reduces Gamma Radiation: An excellent textile for the sun, linen reduces gamma radiation by almost half, protecting us from solar rays and radiation.
- Breathable, durable, lightweight, and absorbent
- Naturally Moth-Resistant: Being naturally moth-resistant, this fabric lasts longer and requires less maintenance and care than others.
- Warm Yet Cool: Linen is naturally a good conductor of heat, helping keep us warm inside. It remains cool to the touch however, and is naturally cooling during the summer months.
- Less Static: Linen is static-resistant, so shocks and zaps won’t occur as you get into bed.
- Absorbent and Moisture-Wicking: Linen absorbs up to 20% of its weight in moisture before feeling damp, releasing moisture into the air, allowing your sheets to remain cool and dry. Night sweats and soaked sheets can be a thing of the past.
Why Choose Linen Bedsheets?
Aside from the many above-mentioned benefits, linen bedsheets evoke feelings, something that cotton blends or non-natural materials lack. We are intrinsically connected to nature, so when we surround ourselves with something that has been directly derived from plants, our bodies ground themselves. Non-natural materials like polyesters and synthetics don’t evoke deep emotional responses within us, thus we remain unconnected. Taking a cue from the pages of the universe’s slow living handbook, linen bedsheets provide us with feelings of comfort, peace, and a shared connection to the generations before us who valued craftsmanship and things that were meant to last. The texture of linen, its natural, non-smooth surface, the creases and wrinkles are reminiscent of times past – farmhouses and fresh baked bread, waking with the sun, and sleeping with the scent of grass around you. It’s like being tucked in by grandma and knowing you would sleep soundly, cocooned in a nest of cozy.
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