Winter bedding is much like winter clothes. If you live in an area that has climate changes from season to season, you most likely have winter clothes and summer clothes. You may even have a special area to store out-of-season things. Isn't it logical that you'd also change the clothes on your bed when warm sunny evenings turn to chilly nights?

You'll find information about how to dress your bed for cold weather with new and not-so-new products for ultimate comfort.

From wool mattress pads and cushy feather beds to lie on, to soft flannel sheets, down comforters and fluffy, wool blankets, there are lots of products to choose from. Only you can decide what combination is the right one for you.

Read on to find just the right products that you can use to create a cocoon for a wonderful, cozy winter's rest.

* The Cozy Comfort of Down

Down is the light fluffy coating that protects birds from exposure to the outside elements, and it is probably the most popular product used for lightweight, warm blankets, comforters, and pillows.

Because down is able to retain just the right degree of warmth for most bodies, it's considered one of the most perfect products for comfortable bedding.

Down bedding products are manufactured in many qualities and prices vary drastically. Depending on your location, you should choose the weight and density for ultimate comfort. Down and feathers are combined for a less expensive product. The finest, most expensive products are made from 100% pure white goose down.

Down products are rated by "fill power". Pacific Coast Feather Company says that "fill power is a term used to describe the quality of down. The higher the fill power, the larger and stronger the clusters of down. Large clusters provide superior insulation, breathe better and last much longer than smaller, fragile down clusters."

Down blankets and comforters are sewn with baffles to keep the down filling evenly distributed. Baffle box construction means that the product has internal three-dimensional fabric wall boxes which allow for maximum thickness and comfort while maintaining even distribution within the boxes. Comforters and blankets with straight-through quilt stitching will have cold spots where there is no down.

Down comforters and blankets are sold in the same sizes as other blankets and bedding. Be sure to measure your bed carefully before you shop for a down blanket.

Down comforters are available in many colors, white being the most common.

If you choose not to use a sheet or other blankets with a down blanket or comforter, the comforter then becomes a "duvet." This simple blanket makes it easy for children to make their beds. A simple shake of the comforter over the bed is all that's necessary.

You might decide to cover your duvet with a duvet cover which is really just a big pillow case for a blanket. The cover can be plain fabric or decorative to compliment your room's decor.

People with allergies to animals might not be able to use down products. But the finest companies wash and rinse their down and feathers up to eight times, removing the dust, dirt and allergens that cause allergic reactions. Tightly woven fabric covers are leak proof, so down and feathers won't leak out.

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