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Wonderful Wool & Hypnos' Sustainable Sleep Ethos

Creating products that not only provide long-lasting customer satisfaction, but are made responsibly and for the greater benefit of the planet, is a challenge facing interiors brands across the world.

Renowned for producing luxury mattresses, Hypnos is committed to providing comfort with integrity. This pledge has seen Hypnos pioneering sustainable sleep through scrutinization of its suppliers, materials and the product lifecycle.

Hypnos has taken a close look at its wider supply chain and how sourcing these materials impacts the communities around them, in line with the UN’s sustainability goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Indeed, every single part of the business has bought into this plan and initial design is a key component of this.

Wool is a major component in our beds – with over 8 fleeces in some Hypnos mattresses – so it was key to tackle first!

So, how much is known about the wool we are sleeping on? Here, Richard Naylor, Sustainable Development Director of Hypnos Beds, provides some insight on the Hypnos approach to wool.

How has Hypnos adapted its approach to mattress design?

“Creating luxurious comfort is of paramount importance to us as a business and throughout our long history we’ve always sought to be a responsible bedmaker. Right from the start of the process, we consider the lifecycle as well as the qualities of the fibres we use. We also consider the wider impact of our supply chain on the communities we work with so it’s vital our materials aren’t just sustainable but that they come from a socially conscious supplier too. This is what makes a product truly sustainable and ethical.

“It is not enough to state that the wool in the bed is British – this is in effect meaningless for a consumer, no-one knows which farms or sheep have supplied this wool, it is all mixed together and farmers are paid very little for their produce.We’ve been on a long journey as a brand to make sure that we’re going the extra mile to support hard-working British sheep farmers and sourcing ethical wool that’s traceable to Red Tractor assured farms.

“British wool farmers are often custodians of their local countryside contributing to the natural diversity of the environment, some specialise in rearing old native sheep breeds and others are leading the way in new farming methods. Because of the way Hypnos source and buy our wool, farmers get a much higher and fairer price for their wool, without any delays, helping them to plan their cash flow and future projects. Importantly, in 2019, Hypnos paid farmers over 180% more than what they might have received by selling through conventional channels.

“Our ethos hasn’t changed over the years, but our mantra of ‘comfort with integrity’ is the way we approach bed design knowing more than ever about the materials we use.“

Why does Hypnos use wool in its mattresses as opposed to memory foams or gels?

“A key part of our commitment to the environment has been to use 100% sustainable fibres, such as wool, in our beds and mattresses. Natural materials offer a range of comfort and wellbeing benefits but are also biodegradable. Once wool fibres are disposed of in soil, it takes a short amount of time for them to breakdown, unlike synthetic counterparts which are slow to degrade.

“Using ethically-sourced natural wool fibres has many benefits, as it’s breathable, odour-resistant and a true natural insulator and all of this means a great night’s sleep for those who purchase our beds.

“Wool is also, a natural by-product of sheep farming which helps to carefully manage grasslands and our eco-diversity, so we’re proud that this superhero material plays such a key role in our supply chain.

“Using foams have a negative environmental impact and mattresses featuring these foams can produce harmful gases, as compounds within the fibres break down and release into the air through off-gassing. Beyond this, using microplastics within products can be harmful as once they’re broken down at the end of their life, these can release harmful toxins into the world’s oceans.

“When you compare this to natural materials like wool, you can see why we never use any foams in any of our mattresses.”

What benefits does having wool within your mattresses bring to consumers?

“Whether it’s in clothing, household products or in this context, mattresses, there are a huge amount of natural benefits to using wool that cannot be replicated by synthetic, man-made materials.

“For instance, wool fibres are tightly packed together and crimped, forming tiny pockets of air within the material which allow it to absorb and release moisture. This breathable element is what makes wool the perfect material for bed-making as it is ideal for controlling body temperature when sleeping as, thanks to its hygroscopic abilities, wool constantly reacts to changes in body temperature providing comfort in both cold and warm weather. Here at Hypnos, we know how temperature control can make or break a good night’s sleep, so this is really important in our product design considerations.

“Wool’s crimped structure also gives it extra elasticity, meaning it can stretch comfortably before returning to its natural shape. This is important from a mattress perspective - it allows the material to retain its structure in the long term, meaning it’s more resistant to wrinkling or sagging, therefore adding extra peace of mind, durability and lifespan to our products.

“Finally, and importantly, wool is a renewable material, as long as sheep have grass to graze on they will produce a new fleece ready to be shorn.”

What kind of farms do you work with and why?

“We work closely with British farms that align with our ethos of care and responsibility, to make sure that the integrity of our supply chain is protected and that our customers have full traceability and peace of mind.

“We buy the wool in batches from groups of trusted farmers. We know exactly which farms have contributed to which batches, and whilst each of these farms may have their own techniques and passions, they are all held to the highest standards.

“These farming standards ensure the kind and ethical treatment of animals embracing the principles of the Five Freedoms, enshrined in the Animal Welfare Act of 2007. In fact, we’ve become the first bedmaker that can offer this traceability for our customers thanks to our industry-first partnership with Red Tractor for assured wool. This partnership, alongside others, helps to provide an added level of peace of mind for consumers for the perfect night’s sleep.”

Listen to our Sustainable Development Director, Richard Naylor, talk about our partnership with British farmers and how sustainable materials are at the heart of our business.