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Planning Retirement Online

Snug as a bug in a rug                 

                                    January 2011  

Snug as a bug in a rug

duvetsAfter a long day, especially in the middle of winter, there is nothing nicer than snuggling down into a soft warm bed. In my youth the word duvet hadn’t appeared in the local language, instead we had eiderdowns - big, soft, unwieldy covers that often did contain what they said, the down from the eider bird. The eider is the name for four species of sea duck that are only found in the northern hemisphere. The female eider lines her nest with soft downy feathers from her breast, and these feathers have long been recognised for their extraordinarily softness and incredible insulating capacities. The feathers are gathered commercially and are still used for eiderdown duvets, pillows and quilts.

Being natural and also labour intensive to collect, eider down is expensive, but along with alternative natural fillings from other breeds of duck and goose feathers, it can still be found in duvets and are popular for people who like natural products. Natural down duvets are breathable as well as providing excellent insulation, but they are not as easy to look after as synthetic fibres.

Duvets with synthetic fillings are a lot less expensive and also offer a number of different benefits. They are of course excellent for anyone suffering with an allergy to feathers, down or even dust when the duvet will need to be washed regularly. Synthetic duvets are usually made from polyester or polyester microfibres which makes them much lighter on the bed. A major advantage is that synthetic duvets can be put into a washing machine for regular cleaning while naturally filled duvets have to be taken to professional cleaners.

However, generally duvets with natural fillings tend to last longer than synthetic duvets – a naturally filled duvet can last up to 30 years or more, whereas a synthetic duvet that is washed regularly will last only around 10 years before it begins to lose its shape, bulk and insulating properties.

Here in the UK duvets are often given a tog rating which indicates the level of insulation they will provide. A higher tog rating means a warmer duvet although it isn’t necessarily heavier as different fillings can offer different levels of warmth for the same weight. Togs generally run from around 4.5 which offers less insulation and is generally for the summer months right up to 13.5 tog which is perfect for icy winter nights.

Some people choose to buy a lightweight summer duvet and then an additional 9 or 10.5 tog duvet for spring and autumn. When winter arrives, they use both duvets together for serious warmth. Others, whose partners require a different level of warmth at night, find it works best to have two single duvets of different togs so each can obtain the ideal level of insulation they need for a good night’s sleep.

The liberation that duvets offered when they first came into vogue around 30 years ago was dramatic. Before then, “making the bed” was a regular morning chore that could be long and tedious as you tucked in the over sheets and blankets and then added the eiderdown and probably a final quilt as well. Today many people who rely on duvets simply get up, shake the duvet and that is it. Also a duvet means considerable less washing as you simply take off the outer cover, wash it, and pop it back on again. Fitting the duvet into its cover is probably the one big challenge of modern bed making, but thanks to a new idea from a British woman, duvet covers are now being introduced with side as well as end openings to make the whole job a lot easier.

Today, with the options available, there is no reason for anyone not to be warm and comfortable in bed.


Nutricentre Discount for laterlife visitors If in any doubt about any of the information covered in health and nutrition related articles and it's relevance for you, consult your GP.




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