9 reasons to choose linen for better sleep

20 June 2023

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As stated in the study “The impact of flax-linen on sleep quality: review of the scientific literature and analysis” by the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp, flax fibres provide optimal comfort for high-quality sleep. Here is what you need to know about linen and its properties.

Linen for better sleep
copyright Libeco

1. Linen: a material made from plant fibre

Already present in the daily lives of the ancient world, flax fibres come from the stalks of a herbaceous plant, the flax plant. But flax also plays a key role in the world of sleep by providing comfort from these plant fibres.

2. Linen: an ancient and time-tested material

Linen is the oldest textile in the world. Its use in clothing and other manmade objects can be traced back to ancient times. People have been wearing linen clothing for over 36,000 years, as can be seen from flax fibres discovered in a cave in the Caucasus. Or the Gauls who used linen to make their clothes. 

3. A fabric that regulates temperature

Textile qualities such as moisture and temperature regulation and air circulation make linen a serious contender for the title of best choice for bed covers. Studies show that 100% linen fabrics help improve sleep, especially in the hottest climates.

Ambient temperature and humidity are two factors with the biggest impact on sleep quality.

According to the study(1): The influence of linen on sleep (a review of the scientific literature and analysis), optimal humidity and temperature conditions are necessary to ensure quality sleep. If these conditions are not met, sleep can be disrupted. 

Thermal neutrality corresponds to the temperature and humidity at which the body does not need to be regulated to maintain its normal temperature. In other words, a temperature that is neither too hot, too cold nor too humid. Perspiration is a key mechanism for regulating body temperature, allowing excess heat to be eliminated. When perspiration becomes trapped between the skin and the fabric, natural thermoregulation is disrupted. Linen allows the fabric to evacuate perspiration, thereby promoting the body's natural thermoregulation. Linen fabrics prevent the build-up of moisture between the skin and the fabric during all phases of sleep. Linen offers an ideal solution to promote peaceful sleep, providing a cool sensation in hot climates while retaining sufficient warmth in cooler climates.

The Global Comfort Index (GCI), which takes into account the insulation (RCT) and breathability (RET) of fabrics, is used to assess their comfort. Ranked first in RET and second in RCT, 100% linen comes out on top, which is not surprising given that it is used in nightwear and bed linen. Linen appears to be a great - and even the best - choice(2).

Influence du lin sur le sommeil copyright Libeco

4. Fabric with easy maintenance

Durable flax fibre is used to make fabric with easy maintenance. It can be both machine- and hand-washed, depending on customer preference. Linen fibres soften over time and with each wash thanks to the pectose they contain, which grants the fabric its flexibility. Depending on individual preference, linen ironing is entirely optional: perfect for bed linens!

5. A particularly durable material

Linen sleepwear and household linen can be treated like family heirlooms. Particularly durable, linen is less vulnerable to the effects of time than other textiles. It does not pill and maintains its shape, unlike some synthetic fibres. This is an important advantage for people wishing to keep their clothing in great shape for many years.

Résistance du lin copyright Libeco

6. The multiple uses of flax-linen

The properties of flax have meant that this fabric is used in many sectors and in many different forms.

7. Linen: a fabric of primarily European origin

Today, flax is grown on farms in France (in the North), Belgium, and the Netherlands (intégrer lien vers Culture et savoir-faire lin européen). These parts of Europe account for three-quarters of global flax fibre production due to their humid and temperate maritime climate (1). This allows the plant to be grown in ideal conditions using methods that promote biological activity in the soil. Thousands of farmers grow flax on a total of 145,000 hectares* in Western Europe.

8. Flax farming for better conservation

Linen fabric is a bio-based material made from flax fibre. Moreover, European Flax™ certified linen provides a solution of interest to those committed to more eco-friendly patterns of consumption. Flax fibres have a low environmental footprint. With good reason: the plants grow at their own natural pace, without irrigation*, since rainwater is sufficient, and in sync with the cycle of sunlight. It is also a GMO-free plant. This is why this growing method helps preserve natural resources.
*Except exceptional circumstances.

9. Flax fibres: a material with limited consequences

European Flax™ is grown without generating any waste. Besides textile fibres, all parts of the flax plant are used in other industries: wood , paper, oil, etc.

Sources:
(1) Canelle Vibert Clement - CETELOR - 2022 - The impact of the properties of flax on sleep.
(2) Love Linen (2023).

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