The Market Wakes Up to Products Made for a Better Night’s Sleep.
By Emily Walzer
Chill Angel is 100 percent merino. Above: Classic Jammie Top.
The National Sleep Foundation’s annual Sleep in America poll finds that among U.S. adults with excellent sleep health, nearly 90 percent say they feel very effective at getting things done each day, compared to only 46 percent of those with poor sleep health. Two companies charting new ground with performance sleep collections are featured here.
Discovering the Curative Powers of Performance Wool In active/outdoor, where innovative sleep product has largely been in snooze mode, Chill Angel is an eye-opener. The Colorado-based apparel brand has developed a line of performance PJs that tap the temperature regulating properties inherent to merino wool. The debut collection features fine denier New Zealand wool in a variety of styles and feminine silhouettes. There are classic pajama looks, a nightgown and tops and bottoms. Fall ’18 styles offer designs with added technical details like pocketing and flat lock stitching for next-to-skin comfort. Betsy Seabert’s personal experience and professional background sparked the development of Chill Angel. “The issue was hot flashes and finding a solution for women dealing with sleep disruption,” says Seabert, brand founder with offices in Steamboat Springs. She battled body temperatures swings herself during treatment for breast cancer a few years ago. “I’ve been in textiles for all my career and learned how my body reacts to different fibers,” says Seabert, who explains, “the Modal styles were so cute, but my sleep still suffered.”
Hypersensitive to synthetics, Seabert knew that for her body, wool was the ticket. And having held leadership positions at SmartWool and Point6, Seabert was well acquainted with the wonders of merino.
When thinking about performance textiles it makes sense to carry over the sweat solutions from fitness to sleep. Says Seabert, “The light bulb went off that there was a connection between sweating and merino. And sleepwear was the problem.” She recalls feeling goose bumps when she swapped her synthetic sleepwear for “some worn SmartWool,” and realized, “This is something that can really help.”
The line uses 18.5micron yarn at 200 grams per square meter for a smooth, light feel against skin and versatile, year-round wearability. Merino’s natural breathability and moisture management resulting in temperature-balancing properties is ideal for women dealing with sleep disruption for heat fluctuation. “The idea is to make your sleep as comfortable as your outdoor activity,” says Seabert.
Chill Angel garments are made in the USA from New Zealand sourced wool that is cut and sewn at a California bay area facility known for its wool expertise. Like Seabert, Chill Angel product line manager Becky Lamphier, is also well versed in wool. “Wool is a dynamic fiber. You have to know how it works to get the fit right,” says Seabert. A California-based patternmaker is also part of the Chill Angel team. Initial consumer response has been great, according to Seabert. “When people at OR saw “temperature balancing sleepwear,” it stopped them in their tracks.” Chill Angel has also received positive feedback from individuals wearing the brand’s garments when sleeping in closed environments like sleeping bags and tents. Delivering performance in a new way with technical sleepwear is central to Chill Angel’s identity, however, Seabert declares, “My mission is to help people sleep better.”
Bedgear puts its own spin on today’s specialization trend in a line of sleep solutions that promotes personal fit and high-tech functionality. The company’s approach goes stride for stride with current thinking about how to optimize an active lifestyle – be it through diet, or exercise, or in Bedgear’s case, through sleep. “Our message is how to make the most of your time in bed,” explains Shana Rocheleau, VP of strategy. “Whether you’re shopping for a running shoe or buying a bra, you want what’s right for you. And with the popularity of sleep monitoring these days, you want the best gear you can get.”
Textiles are central to the firm’s mission. Proprietary technologies used throughout the collection focus on maximizing airflow for cooling and enhanced comfort. “Our real strength is being able to understand the role of performance textiles in today’s active lifestyle and make them softer and more flexible for bedding,” explains Rocheleau, whose background is in home furnishings. (She was a buyer for Levitz, a popular New York company no longer in business. The company’s slogan “You’ll love it at Levitz” is iconic.)
“Our message is how to get better sleep without spending more time in bed.”
SHANA ROCHElEAU, VP STRATEGY, BEDGEAR
Fit is also key to Bedgear’s design and development. Again, like today’s advances in individualized fit for footwear and clothing, Bedgear provides a fitting process based on sleep position and body type. The Lightning 2.0 performance pillow is a good example. Ver-tex cool touch fabric deflects heat to help maintain temperature balance while Air-X ventilated panels keeps air flowing via a 3D structure that dispels heat, while keeping dust and dander from getting in. Dri-tec fabric pillowcase is a nylon/rayon blend that wicks moisture and is cool to the touch. The pillow is suggested for back sleepers or medium body types.View the full issue here.