Are you hot in bed? Choosing duvets
As the summer months approach, the thick, snuggly duvet or blankets that have been keeping out the winter chill become redundant. It’s not yet warm enough to abandon them forever, so a lightweight duvet is a sensible option. Pillows and duvets have a finite life and should be replaced after a few years – even careful laundering and airing mean they deteriorate. Here’s our handy guide to buying the best duvet for your needs and getting a great night’s sleep.
Tog ratings for duvets
In order to keep warm enough without over-heating, you’ll need to look at the tog rating of the duvet you’re considering purchasing. Manufacturers provide a guide to how warm you can expect to be – called the tog rating. This is an independent measure of the thermal efficiency of the materials used to make a product and it should be possible to achieve the same effect, regardless of the materials used. In other words, one 13 tog duvet filled with duck feathers will keep you at the same sort of temperature as another 13 tog duvet filled with a man made fibre. In the UK, duvets are sold with tog ratings of 6.5 (cool for summer) to 16.5 (for the coldest weather) in increments of 1.5 togs.
Shoulder season duvets
When it isn’t quite warm enough to switch to a really lightweight duvet, but the winter one is too warm, the four seasons duvet makes a great choice. Two duvets with tog ratings that are different are poppered together to make a really warm option for winter (both duvets), for summer (the thinner duvet) and finally for spring and autumn (the thicker duvet).
The choice of filling depends on a few personal choices. Some people avoid natural fillings because of allergies, preferring manmade fibres. You might prefer a really lightweight feel or a duvet that emulates the sensation of having blankets covering you in bed. The best way to choose is to see examples in the store. Bear in mind that many such products are compressed by being vacuum packed for transportation. They’ll need to be shaken out when you get them home to achieve the full ‘loft’ of the filling.
Usually feathers, though occasionally wool, nature designed these to keep birds (and sheep) warm by trapping air. The finer the feathers, the lighter and more luxurious they feel. Duvets filled with down are warmer and lighter than those filled with feathers.
Apart from being less of a problem for allergy sufferers, manmade fibres are easier to launder and keep fresh. Often they will fit in a domestic washing machine – especially single duvets. There are luxury options which mimic the weight and feel of down duvets.
It’s worth looking at the fabric ‘envelope’ of the duvet – a feather filling needs a finely woven cover to keep the feathers contained. It should be a soft fabric that will mould to your body shape, avoiding tunnels that let in cold air when in use. The quilting needs to contain the filling in pockets and prevent it from travelling to one part of the envelope, leaving a cold, empty part. Poppers or buttons should be firmly fixed and durable.