- gathered and edited by Dr. Habertag -
We are a bed manufacturer, passionate long-sleepers, sleep connoisseurs and bed-afficionados; we love to live and sleep naturally. Over the course of many years, we have gathered experience in bed and sleeping knowledge, ;-) which we want to share with you here. We look forward to hearing your questions and feedback. In the following we have gathered general information on the various aspects of beds, and how to identify the perfect Hanse bed based on:
Duvets/comforters and pillows have to be very resilient when it comes to resisting the wear and tear of daily usage. Nonetheless, the products should also provide a light feel and a pleasant temperature throughout the sleep experience. The fabric has to be woven very neatly and tight in order to prevent the feathers and down from poking through, as well as remain air-permeability to insure the capability for transporting the body humidity to the outside and releasing it to the air.
Natural products are most capable of providing these features: we combine the perfect weaving style (twill or cambric) and the finest 100% cotton fabric for our products. Together, they form a barrier that is impermeable for feather and down, and for dust mites - our fabrics fulfill the PAS 1008 for NOMITE® label, and are guaranteed DOWNPROOF. Additionally, all of our fabrics are OEKO-TEX labelled that they are free of harmful substances. We control both the fabrics and the complete supply chain - tracing all the way back to detox investigations in developing countries, proving no toxins are released into the environment.
Adding synthetic yarn to a blended fabric is essential: Synthetic fibers do not have the same absorbing qualities as natural cotton – they trap water only between the yarn strains, and do not suck water into the fiber itself; thus tending to feel moist, faster. However, keeping moisture will also retain more warmth, faster. In addition, synthetic fibers have a smoother surface than cotton fibers, which can yield a smoother touch.
Industrially, synthetic blends can have an economic advantage compared to pure cotton alternatives. While cost for both are surprisingly similar, synthetic blend fabrics can be dried without ironing, and – if handled correctly, as described in our wash instruction section – will not wrinkle. Additionally, more laundries (with or without large scale ironing facilities) are able to provide service for blended fabrics rather than for pure cotton fabrics only. Customers tend to have a wider choice of laundry service providers for blended fabrics – and a more competitive environment with lower cost of operation and often better service.
At the end of the day it is up to your personal taste, which product, which weaving style, which color and patterns you prefer. Most importantly for the best sleep, is knowing your choice is made in the context of your product experience, your operational goals, and last but not least, your budget.
ANIMAL WELFARE DOWN
We are the first manufacturer to have globally audited all of our warehouses, factories, and farms. We can trace the origin of any shipment to its source. We can guarantee that there is low to no risk of intolerable cruelty to animals, independent of species, color, or country.
Feathers and down of a goose have a larger cluster and thus tend to be more valuable than a duck's. White feathers and down are more appreciated than grey. Down is higher in value than feathers regardless of animal. There are lots of different options on how to blend these components, such as feathers and down together (i.e. "100% down" as the most valuable component - "50/50% down and feathers" as one of the many steps in between - "100% feathers" as a competitively priced alternative). In Europe, products are being labeled in accordance to the European Norm EN 12934: for example, "new white goose down and feathers, 90% down / 10% feathers, class 1, as per EN 12934". Further information in regards to down and feathers can be found on the webpage of the EDFA (European Down and Feather Association). Hygiene standards are guaranteed to EN 12935 level.
We are working closely with the IDFL (International Down and Feather Laboratory) to exclude any risk, and to push the highest, transparent, and most reliable products standards around the world. We provide with our HANSE® ANIMAL WELFARE DOWN, containing certifications for both the European Downpass 2017, as well as the American Responsible Down Standard RDS. We are one of the first vendors who certifies all feathers and down according to the relevant standards, so you can sleep restfully.
Synthetically filled products (duvets / comforters, pillows and mattress toppers) have become more and more popular. We have licensed renewable, recyclable, and sustainable technologies for synthetic fibers, and we have developed several synthetic product lines that combine best possible comfort and lasting durability of the products in daily hotel operations and in the comfort of your home.
Try our "hanse90" range - it offers a best possible balance between comfort and easy product care. This product line resists a washing temperature of up to 90°C and a drying temperature of up to 60°C - synthetic comfort even after regular laundry cycles - a allergy sensitive person's dream. Warmth and weight can be adjusted, depending on the regional climate.
We also use synthetic threads for creating blends for our linen products. Synthetic threads tend to feel softer than cotton threads, so we achieve a higher softness with a lower thread count than with pure cotton fabrics. Without doubt, we also make pure synthetic weaves (for example microfiber). Terry products are most common. For example, we have made twisted cotton - poly yarns. This is the base of our towels, but we recommend pure cotton in the pile for superior absorption and best longevity.
An interesting fact becomes an important aspect when designing beds using synthetic fibers: Natural feather and down have „hygroscopic“ characteristic: they remove up to 70% of the moisture from the body per hour, and move it away to the outside. This results is a cool and dry sleeping climate. Even the most advanced, common synthetic fibers only remove about 4% per hour – thus feeling warmer, faster. However, a careful balance is needed to provide the exactly right amount of warmth, such that the additional heat does not make the product feel sweaty. Richard Behr & Co. combines all bedding products to provide a perfectly balanced ensemble for the right amount of warmth – without sweat – matching the climatic requirements of the environment the products are being used in (warm vs cold climate, air conditioning, other bedding products).
Benefit from our unique knowledge and competence in the wide area of synthetic bedding materials with HANSE® FEELGOOD SYNTHETICS.
Sustainability is now something most people accept as a global certainty. We have started this essential process 100 years ago - our products are made of all natural cotton and natural feather and down. Guaranteed natural, you can very well throw our luxury end products into the compost in your back yard. Ever since starting to build our production line in the late 1970s and early -80s on an industrial scale, we have always made sustainability our guiding pricinple.
- First ones to introduce water recycling
- Use of only biodegradable detergents
- We have our own heat-power-plant and use our own electricity from heat production (and vice versa)
- Solar heat and hot water production in our China plant
- Any excess electricity we buy is 100% from renewable resources
- Triple Glazing and super efficient heat insulation in our Headquarters
- First member of the European Green Lighting Initiative in our industry to equip all facilities with LED lighting
- Best top of bed manufacturer in the Mindclick Global Sustainability Index
- First and best bedding manufacturer to have eliminated all hazardous chemicals
- Self-Certification with a STeP-Audit in 2014 with excellent results
- Member of the Business Social Compliance Initiative BSCI
- Member of the Business Environmental Performance Initiative BEPI
- Complete and public documentation of our governing policies
- No harmful substances / Confidence in textiles / Oekotex on all our fabrics
- NOMITE label for suitability for allergy sufferers on our natural filled products
- Downafresh certification for Hygiene standards according to EN12935
- First to complete a traceability audit with IDFL - low to no risk ! - for all of our filling materials
- Committment to the German N-Club (for sustainability)
- All company directors are changing their's to electric cars - all staff can refuel their own electric cars on site, free of charge, with 100% renewable energy
We summarize our approach to sustainable practices in the HANSE® CERTAINLY SUSTAINABLE practice and processes. We have become the first and only Oekotest winner of the first survey conducted on sustainability of our products. We will continue to hold this title with the utmost importance and a base for all of our actions.
PRODUCT DETAILS MATTER
The best sleep needs to be clean to be comforting. End of discussion. All of our products are OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100, Class 1 (products are free of harmful substances / tested safety for skin-friendly textiles) certified, plus, where applicable, NOMITE®-branded (products equipped with this lable are suitable for people suffering from house dust mite allergies) and carry the DAUNASAN® / DOWNAFRESH® (our products and our processing of the feathers & down does fully comply to the hygienic requirements of the EN 12935) label.
A number sums up our quality promise - 3. Our products last 3 times longer than other manufacturer's products. While warranties have a limited time, there is a good chance that our products will support your sleep for decades - literally! Of course this varies by product and exact usage, but our comforters/duvet inserts will remain new condition even after 20 years of sleeping under it:
We use SEAM SEALING TAPE - to fill holes punched by the needles in the sewing process. What good is a down proof fabric if the filling material disperses through the seams? With our seam sealing tape, products simply retain their filling longer. DOUBLE NEEDLE EDGES quadruple the lifetime of our seams, as forces are distributed evenly. Now that our sewing machines are equipped with double needles, even our lowest price products get the perfect double needle edges every time, at no extra cost. PIPING is the perfect protection for your product edges, this is where your product is most vulnerable over time. Any product that does NOT have this, simply will not last as long.
Many products change quickly after you start using them - wear and tear and moisture from usage, as well as detergents, water, heat, and pressure in industrial laundry processes all start working on the product. Our products have been manufactured to be used! With all of these influences in mind: Only PRE-SHRUNK fabrics are used for our duvets, pillows and mattress toppers to avoid further shrinkage after washing and drying during daily use. All of our products are FULLY WASHABLE and retain their properties and weights (we use boilable synthetic fibers, we use seam sealing tape against fill losses in duvets and comforters, and we use double base yarn in towels against losses in pile weight). All of our products pass a METAL DETECTOR test before leaving our production facilities.
In some instances, we even anticipate certain behaviours: for example for Marriott Group top sheets, we use yarn with two different shrinkage rates for certain top sheets, creating a specific, wrinkled look after the first wash and dry cycle. And we manufacture our towels with a slightly longer base yarn, anticipating the shrinkage that we experience with our double base yarn.
Protectors are like an insurance for your valuable bed. We use TPU (a breathable poly-based) lamination for protectors. With high degrees of automation we are extremely competitive in this market and make the most consistent high quality products - with a number of variations: skirts (cotton, linen, poly, blends), padding (with various materials), a wide range of patterns, and special equipment (cooling in both physical as chemical options, bed bug proof, fire retardant, and many others) allow us to produce a product that exactly matches local requirements and meets target prices. Our technology allows your products to breathe - for a perfect balance of protection and the ideal sleep climate.
Only third party certification and audited standards give you a neutral and credible reference as to what you get. We have made this one of our governance principles. We work closely with governing bodies and institutions - but will always expose our products, processes and performance to third party oversight. We work with strictest EN STANDARDS (for example, all naturally filled products strictly comply with labeling requirements as per EN 12934 in regards to the natural filling materials used).
We have established a state-of-the-art INHOUSE LABORATORY & INDEPENDENT TESTING - and on a continuous basis, our production is being screened and the ready-made products are being tested for compliance to the promised standards, both, internally through our own, EDFA recognised and certified in-house laboratory, as well as regular tests being executed by independent and acknowledged test institutes.
Most important for you: with Richard Behr & Co. products, you discuss with experts who have devoted their life to loving attention to detail. So our customers sleep better and enjoy a healthy, more comfortable life style.
Over the past decades we have become a towel vendor to hotel corporations all around the world. We have delivered in regions – ranging from Asia over Europe to the America's – where we encountered the widest possible range of washing conditions, washing and drying temperatures, washing detergents, and water hardness. We continue to see how different competitors manufacture their products around the world. We have combined the feedback from hotels, industrial laundries, consumers, experience, and knowledge to perfect the globally perfected towel construction.
Essentially, it is all about how much moisture can be absorbed. This is proportional to the surface size of the towel. The surface depends on the combination of a base yarn, and the pile yarn – the little loops that you find on the face of the towel. The denser the base yarn, the more surface all the yarn strains combine to. The number of „picks“ (the number of pile loops per area) also increases the total area of yarn. So does the length of the loops – a high loop will absorb more water, but there is a practical limit (of a few milimeters) to increasing the height of the loop. Finally, with synthetic yarn, water can just be captured between the yarn strains. With pure cotton, water can also be asorbed into the fibers themselves, which significantly increases the area available for absorbtion.
Pure cotton thus delivers the best results and guarantees the longest lifecycle. Not quite surprisingly, double base yarn guarantees the densest, most long lived, and most robust products. Our towels deliver up to 35% more wash cycles without losing weight, than the competition of twisted base yarn poly blends. On the drying side, cotton is thus also slower to release moisture – this is wonderful when you are using the towel, but will take more time when drying the towel. A partially synthetic towel will dry rather quickly, but leave the user feeling wet; or at least significantly more wet, than a pure cotton towel. In addition, once the synthetic yarn is exposed over time, towels may become quite scratchy. Unfortunately, fabric softener does not help: the fabric softener covers the fibers with a smooth – essentially plastic – layer that will stop them from taking up moisture and effectively reducing the size of the absorption surface that is available. You will feel rather wet after drying yourself with a fabric softener treated towel.
We can add a few twists and turns here and there, choose the perfect yarn, cut yarn loops open (for the soft velours touch finish) and determine the perfect pile make up, et voila ! - our HANSE® TRADITIONAL TERRY universal towel weave indulges you to ultimate perfection.
Your bed and mattress are arguably the most important base of your sleeping experience. For example, they determine the overall basic quality of your sleep: if your bed and mattress are fitted to your liking, than chances are you will wake up refreshed and feeling great. Even the best down comforter and the most comfortable pillow in the world will have a tough challenge compensating for an awful bed and mattress. So here is our opinion on what a good bed should do for you:
The bed itself is a large product taking up a lot of space in your bedroom. We will look at only the functional aspects of your bed, not the appearance. We will focus on the three most common selections of beds: box spring beds, slatted frame beds, and platform beds.
Boxspring beds are derivates of Sofa-technology. Boxspring beds are most widespread in the USA, but with the success of large American hotel chains this technology has spread and are now being sold around the world. The traditional box spring is exactly as described: a spring (system of bonell springs) in a box. Bonell springs typically have a diameter of about 10cm. They are fixed to each other with small pieces of wire, and to a long wire across all springs, to avoid the springs collapsing into each other. The resulting „bonell spring core“ then fixed in a box. Being open springs, bonell coil systems can offer breathability and air movement; as most vendors use non-woven fleece fabrics at the top and bottom, a lot of this potential is often lost. Unfortunately, in exotic countries these dark, warm spaces can be perfect habitats for bed bugs. The bonell springs offer fairly even support over its complete surface area. The box spring is not particular known for supporting specific points: If you press one of the springs, it will drag surrounding springs with it through the fixation. As such, box springs do a good job at what they are intended to do: provide a firm basis, and a gentle dampening effect for the mattress – which increases exact support and heavy lifting.
Slatted frames fulfill the same task as box spring beds, providing support over the complete area, but in a very different way. Instead of springs, slates of wood provide the support. Slates tend to be firm on the edges, and more springy toward the middle. Modern slatted frames allow you to change the firmness toward the middle – but the phenomenon of varying supportiveness across the width stays. Slatted frames have a low profile. Since higher beds are becoming more fashionable, this may not be an advantage. Slatted frames provide good breathability / air permeability.
Platform beds are the newest construction. Traditionally, experts have recommended to never put a mattress directly on the floor – because this provided too little air movement. Latest studies indicate that there is no statistically relevant difference between different beds, as all of the bed’s air permeability determines only a negligible fraction of the air permeability of the mattress itself. If you share this view, the best recommendation is to create a solid and even platform, which you set your mattress on. A well fitted mattress will then provide the correct support in all the right places – without being inconsistently influenced by a below boxspring or slatted frame.
Whichever product you decide for, make sure you wake up relaxed and pain free ! If your back, hips, shoulders, knees or anything else hurts, this is not the correct bed. The most important part of this, of course is the mattress:
The mattress is at the core of your sleep experience. While younger (and with no back aches!) many consider a mattress a mere object of utility, or lately a lifestyle object. However, this „one fits all“ is plainly wrong. For example, a "one size fits all" shoe or piece of clothing obviously cannot be correct. While a piece of clothing or a shoe is not worn every day; your back, joints and whole body are exposed to a mattress 8 hours per day. Over the years, wear and tear will grind away at your spinal disks and hip joints. The wrong mattress will most likely increasing in back injuries, hip problems, poor sleep and other consequences, this is no coincidence. Here is thus our recommendation on mattresses:
Traditional bonell-spring mattresses are derivates of Sofa-technology. Bonell-springs typically have a diameter of about 10cm. They are fixed to each other with small pieces of wire, and to a long wire across all springs, to avoid the springs collapsing into each other. The resulting „bonell spring core“ is surrounded with a foam box in a textile cover. Being open springs, bonell coil systems can offer breathability and air movement; as most vendors use non-woven fleece fabrics at the top and bottom, a lot of the potential is often lost. Unfortunately, in exotic countries, those dark, warm spaces can be perfect habitats for bed bugs. The bonell springs offer fairly even support (with approx. 220 support points over 2sqm) over its complete surface area. They are not particular good at supporting specific points though: If you press one of the springs, it will drag surrounding springs with it through the fixation.
The next generation of mattresses avoid the fixation problem by individually encasing every single spring in its own pocket, encased coil mattresses. These springs tend to have a smaller diameter than bonell springs (4-6cm), and they are thus very successful at providing the support at the points where it is needed. Encased coil mattresses start at around 300 individual support points and range up to more than 1000 support points (per 2sqm). The coil core is again surrounded with a foam box in a textile cover. All aspects regarding breathability are the same as for the bonell spring mattresses; with individual encasements of each spring they are less vulnerable to bed bugs. The spring core has good (often 10 year) warranties and can provide excellent support for a long time.
Foam mattresses, just like encased coil mattresses, can support specific points along your body. They eliminate the problems of bonell spring systems, but it is not as simple as that: foam quality depends on the weight of the foam per cubic volume. Essentially, a high quality foam encloses many small air bubbles with a lot foam. A lower quality foam encloses fewer air bubbles with less foam. Over time, the foam walls between the air bubbles wear out; then the foam loses its supportive features. As a wider, stronger wall will last longer than a thin wall, a higher weight foam will retain its supportive features over a longer period of time. In general, we share the view that foam weights below 28kg/cbm (18lbs/cubic ft) are of too low a quality to provide consistent support over a longer period of time. Foams of higher quality can provide a reasonably constant sleep experience, even up to 3 or 4 years. Any foam will wear out eventually though. We strongly advise to regularly check the supportive qualities of your foam mattress over time.
The evolution of foam mattresses has been considerable: visco elastic „Memory“ foam mattresses (our recommendation min. 50kg/cbm) or gelfoam mattresses (our recommendation min. 40kg/cbm), but also HR-foam („High resilience“ foam, of min 36kg/cbm), with the high weights it can provide consistent support quite well, and provides stability. Over time, even they tend to wear out; unfortunately, long time studies seem to indicate these contain a much worse performance in terms of breathability. It is often found a costumer to sweat a lot (cooling toppers only provide limited relief compared to a breathing coil mattress), and in some cases, even mildew can develop.
Finally, natural latex (with high weight!) or futon (horse hair) mattresses are traditional and natural. Currently on a low profile, rock hard futon is not everybody’s favorite choice. And latex – like any other foam – is subject to wear and tear, and only high weight expensive latex will achieve consistent support over time, without the breathability of springs. We are excited about these options and their features, we like to use them to enhance our mattresses.
DUVETS AND COMFORTERS
Pillows are some of our favorite products. We are convinced that the correct choice of pillow is essential. We believe that, unlike what some scientific articles and other manufacturers suggest, making the choice is actually quite easy: you need to get the basics correct. To find the best feeling and air movement within a pillow, both the firmness and the fillings are essential.
For fabrics, pure cotton is still the best choice for the pillow itself because it is made from regrowable resources, all natural and biodegradable. Cotton is best for air permeability, and when treated correctly, as we do, can be certified for skin friendliness, NOMITE (for natural fillings) and hypoallergenic properties, suitability for allergy sufferers, OEKO-TEX for no harmful substances. Cotton can be woven to be down proof and other fillings as well.
There are other cover materials; the more polyester or microfiber you add, the sweatier the product – with no real advantages, not even economic advantages. Hence, we recommend pure cotton.
To determine the correct firmness, you need to differentiate 5 cases:
First, babies and infants – should not have any pillow at all, or a very flat, firm pillow at the most. Especially new borns are vulnerable; do NOT give them a pillow, let alone a plush one.
Second, children up to about 10 years old, before they enter puberty – should have a rather flat pillow. They can use a plush pillow to surround them with gentle luxury (and will be able to appreciate this !). The pillow should not provide any significant support.
Third, stomach sleepers should never have a sleeping pillow that is firmer then the second pillow described above.
Fourth, for back sleepers please measure as follows: stand with your back against a wall, and with relaxed neck muscles look at the opposing wall (without leaning your head against the wall). Measure the distance between your head and the wall. 2.5cm / 1in is low support, 7cm / 3in is high support.
Fifth, for side sleepers please measure the distance between the very top of your arm / the beginning of your shoulder joint, and the beginning of your neck. 3-5cm / 1-2in is low support, 12.5cm / 5in is high support.
Finally, back and side sleepers need a pillow that can be adjusted and molded to the perfect support height
A perfect pillow, when compressed, will fill the gap you have measured, such that your spine is straight and keeps your neck muscles relaxed when sleeping. Independent of your sleeping pillow, it will always add luxury to have an additional (more or less firm) backboard pillow, for pure indulgence and lounging, reading, watching TV or simply enjoying a coffee in bed.
There are a sheer infinite number of fillings available. We do not want to descriminate against any particular fill type. If you feel comfortable with your pillow, if you do not feel bad when waking up, if you experience no headache or tense muscles but have slept perfectly... keep your pillow ! Here are a few considerations when buying a new pillow:
We like fillings that are moldable. That have a loose filling that you can shift into the perfect position and firmness. This way you can always adjust your pillow to current needs, to your (sometimes changing!) mattress, to weight changes, to seasonal preferences. It simply offers more flexibility than a one type pillow. We have come across many numbers of granular and moldable fillings – ranging from ground PET bottles over latex or rubber leftovers to swiss pine strands. By far our findings found the best filling is simply feather and down of water fowl. Water fowl (and only water fowl!) feathers are curved and supportive. The down is soft and a fantastic insulator, but does not provide any support. So for a supportive pillow, you need a lot of feather and a rather low down content. For a softer pillow, you should gradually increase down content, and reduce feather content. A pillow that has more than 50% down content (measured by European norm) would be rather warm, so for feather and down pillows, we suggest higher feather percentages (85%, or 70%) and lower residual down percentages.
In the 1990s we were one of the first manufacturers to drive the 3-chamber revolution of pillows: Here, the supportive feathers are kept in the core chamber, which is surrounded by 2 chambers that contain almost pure, soft and insulating down. Essentially, you get the softness of a pure down pillow, but because we limit the amount of down, the pillow will not become too warm. At the same time, we can vary the supportiveness / firmness by changing the amount of feathers in the core chamber. In a 3 chamber pillow, great support and a super soft feel are possible in the same product.
Eiderdown is the „holy grail“ of bedding products. Eiderducks nest in Iceland; in order to protect their eggs and hatchlings, they fill their nests with their own down. After they have left their nests to migrate south during winter, Iceland based Eiderdown farmers come and hand-collect the down. The resulting material is the lightest weight, best insulating materials there is: you only need very little fill weight to create a warm, and – with little weight – also perfectly breathable and dry environment. The products last for a long time (multiple decades) without losing their favorable characteristics. And with the wild birds growing to become 20-30 years old, chances are that the bird that filled your comforter are still alive today.
As you cannot farm Eiderducks, Eiderdown remains in scarces supply and prices are relatively high (many thousands dollars per kilo). The Iceland farmers have thus become the best friends of Eiderducks: they even prepare football field sized areas with metal fingers that Eiderducks can more easily build their nests in. They protect these fields in person against predators such as foxes, wolves, and larger predatory birds. And the Eiderducks have learned to appreciate this support – they return year by year to these fields, making later Eiderdown collection easier for the farmers a true symbiosis of Eiderducks and Iceland farmers.