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What Is Merino Wool?

What Is Merino Wool?

Did you know that Merino wool is one of the oldest and most universal materials used in human history? Well, wool has been used for thousands of years to produce garments and household linens. Wool has been recorded as in use as early as 3000 BC. As a warm, naturally insulating, water repellant, and durable material, wool continues to be used as a natural material for bedding and more.

Merino wool is made from the finest grades of Merino sheep wool. The wool is prized as being soft and naturally comfortable against the skin. What’s fascinating, advancing technology has allowed humans to select only the finest grades of wool for use in garments, household linens, bedding, and more. What makes this wool so soft and inviting is its microscopic diameter, only about ⅓ to 1/10 the thickness of a human hair. Typically, the smaller the diameter, the finer, softer, and more smooth the material feels on the skin.

Merino Sheep Varieties

You may get the idea behind Merino wool being fine, soft, and smooth, but what you probably didn’t know is that there are varieties of Merino sheep that can affect the type and quality of wool.

Since the first Merino sheep arrived in Australia near the end of the 19th century, sheep farmers have been working tirelessly to perfect their wool production. From raising the sheep in a natural, healthy, non-stress environment to what they feed, bathe, and groom the sheep with, all play a role in producing the finest Merino wool.

Here are the varieties of Merino sheep currently sourced for fine, soft wool:
  • The Boorla Merino
  • The Fonthill Merino
  • Poll Merino

Merino Wool Grades

Merino wool is graded on a micron scale. The difference between ultrafine and strong Merino wool is less than a dozen microns. Here are Merino wool grades along the typical micron-scale:

  • Strong = 22.6 - 25 microns
  • Medium = 20.6 - 22.5 microns
  • Fine = 19.6 - 20.5 microns
  • Extra Fine = <19.5 microns
  • Superfine = 17.6-18.5 microns
  • Ultrafine = <17.5 microns

Ultrafine Merino Wool

When you experience ultrafine Merino wool, you will love it. The ultrafine silk is comfortable and silky smooth against the skin, as well as supremely functional as a trans-seasonal material. Ultrafine wool is used for garments, underwear, and bedding due to its ultra-silky feel on the skin when worn to sleep in.

Merino Wool Characteristics

Years of Evolution

Over the years, the selective breeding of Merino sheep has “fine-tuned” the wool that they produce, which means that the scale shown above is pretty consistent. The Merino wool grades are finer and much smoother than traditional wool. What’s more, Merino wool have more fibers in their fabric.

Highly Breathable

The finer diameter of Merino wool make fabrics of this material more breathable. Also, Merino wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture, and it wicks away quickly due to its lightweight. This natural wicking helps regulate the temperature of the body.

Naturally Warming

Merino wool naturally warms those who wear it. The lightweight material combined with the breathability of the wool make it perfect for wearing as undergarments during the summer or winter.

Elasticity

Merino wool has been shown as an extremely flexible and durable material. The elasticity of the material makes it a great material for undergarments, bedding, and more. What’s more, this material is naturally antimicrobial, which makes it odor resistant.

Why Choose Merino Wool Over Synthetic Materials

A study performed by the Hohenstein Institute in Germany, the CSIRO in Australia, and the Ergonomics Unit at the Polytechnic Institute of Wales all showed anecdotal evidence that the wearer of Merino wool supported body climate control better than moisture absorbing synthetic materials.

Other studies have also shown that Merino wool has a higher UV absorption capacity.

Furthermore, Merino wool acts as a superior condition and climate buffer. For example, the Bedouin tribes of the Sinai have worn wool for centuries to keep the extremely high temperatures off their skin and to regulate their body temperatures.

How Merino Wool Help You Sleep

The biggest benefit to Merino wool as a material for your bedding is temperature regulation. Your body is extremely sensitive to the temperature of your climate. The naturally wicking material that doesn’t stick to your skin when it’s wet allows your skin to breathe while you sleep, as well as effectively regulate your temperature.

The second biggest benefit is that Merino wool is so fine that it won’t irritate your skin. As you read above, Merino wool is measured in microns and can be found as fine as 11 microns. Typically, Merino wool is sourced at 16 microns, which is still fine enough to keep from irritating your skin.

It’s Time to Fall Asleep Faster

When your body is comfortable and regulated, it will fall asleep faster and sleep deeper for longer. This is how Merino wool may help you with your sleep. As you read above, the material is fine, smooth, and comfortable. Ready to experience Merino wool bedding and linens? Shop You Are What You Sleep bedding materials online now.