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March 28, 2008

Silk - The secret to a good night's sleep

Off the Sleep End!
Need relief from snoring and/or night sweats?

P1040590 hi res
This is a mid-life quiz.  Check all that apply. If you score higher than 5, you’ve hit mid-life.  If you score higher than 10, you’ve hit it hard.  

  • You sleep with someone who snores, has sleep apnea or sinus congestion
  • His or her congested breathing causes them to emit short, sharp snorts
  • You wake up every time he or she snorts louder than 70 decibels
  • Which is often.  And deafening.
  • Mid-life hormones wake you up at least once per night, drenched
  • You get up, stand on the icy bathroom tiles and blow-dry your body 
  • You go back to bed and thrash around trying to find a dry spot
  • The snorter awakes, somewhat irritated
  • The only dry spot left in the bed is right next to the snorter, so you make your move
  • The closer you get, the more irritated and restless the snorter becomes
  • It’s too darn hot snuggling and the perspiration starts to flow again
  • You back off to your original spot, organize the pillows around your ears to reduce snorting volume and thrust out a bare leg to moderate body temperature; Sometimes both of you go back to sleep.  Not often.     

Up until one month ago, I had not slept well in years for ALL of the above reasons.

But on Valentine’s Day I received the gift of a new kind of bedding and I’ve now had more than 30 nights in a row of solid 8-hour, deep restful sleep.  No perspiring.  No snorting.  Both of us wake refreshed each morning, we have lots of energy, and neither of us is ever too loud, too hot or too sweaty (except under the right circumstances).

It’s some kind of miracle. 

I was so excited by the vast improvement in our sleep that I tracked down the creator of my new SmartSilk bedding.  I reached Harry Walker in his  office.  He listened to my torrent of enthusiasm and questions with the patient ear of someone who is getting a lot of sleep.

How had he came up with silk-filled bedding that eliminated our night sweats, wakefulness and breathing problems the very first night we put it on our bed?

Harry Walker explained that a few years ago, his wife was menopausal and going crazy with sleep disturbances from night sweats.  She’d bought the finest ‘breathable’ down products for their bed but still woke up every night in a froth of perspiration. 

Harry, who’d spent years working in Montreal’s garment industry, knew a thing or two about the wicking properties of silk. He thought that silk might make an effective solution for his wife so he developed a prototype silk-filled duvet, mattress cover and pillow protector. They worked beautifully for his wife, so here he is, three years later, finally launching a much-tested, successfully proven new product that has just been awarded the Asthma and Allergy Friendly certification (www.asthmafriendly.com <http://www.asthmafriendly.com> ). 

But how does this stuff work to diminish the scourge of night sweats?

Silk is a thermal regulator.  Unlike down and some synthetics, which tend to collect and store moisture and heat, silk wicks humidity away from the skin surface and dissipates extra heat. SmartSilk products feature silk batting within a shell of pure cotton. It’s machine washable (cool delicate wash cycle, low tumble dry) and its benefits are clinically proven to improve after washing.


According to Harry, my delighted relief is typical.  “It’s different for everybody.  Some people still get warm surges but they’re not soaked anymore.  Other people have complete freedom from night sweats and sleep soundly through the night.”

And lots of sleepers experience dramatic relief from breathing problems. “My cousin has a deviated septum in his nose,” reports Harry Walker, “so he had trouble breathing at night.  He wondered if SmartSilk would help his stuffy nose. I told him surgery might be a better option but he insisted on trying it.  As soon as he spent his first night in the SmartSilk bedding he came back and told me that it had really reduced his congestion.”

When you consider that you spend a third of your life sleeping (or trying to), you might see this solution as an investment in your lifetime productivity level.  I sure do. 
SmartSilk products are warrantied against manufacturer’s defects for 5 years post-purchase. A SmartSilk queen-size mattress cover, duvet and two pillow protectors run about $700 with tax.  Shipping is free for orders over $150. 

TIP:  The cost of Chinese silk has escalated wildly so you might want to order before prices increase.   (www.smartsilk.com )<http://www.smartsilk.com>

BONUS TIP:  For fresh titbits about the fascinating symptoms of peri-menopause, visit the Red Hot Mamas (www.redhotmamas.org) <http://www.redhotmamas.org> .



Hi Mag, we read your article with great interest! After trying every type of bedding product known to man (and woman of course) From air, spring, and space foam mattresses, foam and even bean stuffed pillows we still don't sleep well! (38 years of marital bliss to boot!)

I ordered a set of SmartSilk products first thing Monday morning and anxiously await their arrival!

I'll let you know how it turns out!


Val Reid

I'm really interested in the Smartsilk bedding you bought. I have allergies and a shedding dog and my allergies have never been worse, so your article was great. I've been on the Smartsilk website but wanted to ask you if the difference is directly attributable to the mattress and pillow covers? Did you buy new pillows at the same time? I'm even thinking of replacing my down duvet with the Smartsilk one, but it's a large outlay of money and I want to make sure it's worth it. It didn't sound from your article as if you also bought the duvet, but I wondered if it was warm enough. I'm skeptical enough to not necessarily trust the on-line tributes.

I'd appreciate any feedback you have.

Daniel Hunter

Hi Val,

I’m Mag’s husband and I’m the one with allergies that cause me congestion and to snore. We bought the mattress cover, pillow covers and duvet and love them all. Our house is cold so we put a hypoallergenic down duvet over the silk one to keep warm. The silk wicks the moisture away very efficiently while the down duvet used to keep heat and moisture next to our skin causing Mag and I to both wake up with night sweats especially when she has hot flashes. All of that is cleared up now.

We’ve tried a few combinations including the SmartSilk and what works best for us is to use all the silk products with sheets and duvet covers and the down comforter (also covered) when it’s really cold. We wash the sheets and duvet covers once a week in hot water to kill the dust mites and, if we don’t, then I start snoring again. We’ve also tried some old blankets over the SmartSilk and I start snoring right away. But as soon as we take them off the snoring goes away.

It has been quite amazing for us and I hope it helps you too.

Trudy Flynn

I was wondering if your improved sleep came as a result of the duvet, mattress pad and pillow covers or were there silk sheets involved. Does it matter what kind of sheets you use?

thanks for the info

Trudy Flynn

Daniel Hunter

Hi Trudy,
Mag is busy with a book so I thought I'd answer your question.

We believe that all three parts contribute to our better sleep. I have allergies so covering the mattress and pillows helps to keep the dust mites away so I breathe better and don’t snore so we both have a better night for that reason.

Mag gets hot flashes so the mattress cover and duvet really help her because they wick away moisture helping her to cool. Before SmartSilk, Mag would be awake for at least two hours per night.

We use flannel sheets and duvet covers because we like the feel of flannel best. We sometimes switch to regular cotton sheets in the summer but our house is cold so we mostly stick with flannel. I don’t think the kind of sheets makes much difference but we do clean them in hot water once a week to kill the dust mites.

I hope this helps.


Daniel, I have suffered from allergies all my life and now that our children have grown up and moved out, my wife and I got ourselves a dog and this didn’t help my allergy situation. My allergies made me stuffed up and restricted clear breathing and inhibited my sleep which made me tired. All of that is now a thing of the past and I am no longer stuffed up, breathe clearly and sleep soundly - without snoring and have pretty much eliminated migrane headaches as well. I thought I would pass on what I did to help alleviate my symptoms. Studies show that allergy conditions can be triggered by molds, dust and other indoor contaminants so I installed an in-line 3M filter into my furnace cold air return line and also installed UV ultra-violet light into the cold air return duct-work using a device called “Swordfish”. Swordfish helps alleviate symptoms by attacking triggers such as dust mites and molds by deactivating the DNA/RNA of micro organisms and killing fungi and bacteria in air duct systems (available at Canadian Tire and Home Hardware - check out http://www.swordfishuv.com/faq.aspx). I also installed a cold air return Hepa bypass filter. The in-line filter, the UV light and by-pass filters help clean the air in the entire house. Since I spend a third of my life sleeping in my bedroom, I installed a stand alone air filter called IQAir Cleanroom H13 Hepa air purifier for this room - check out http://www.bestfilters.com/iqair/iqair-cleanroom-h13-air-purifier/Page_1/iqh13.html
It’s a little bit expensive but I found it to be a worthwhile investment since it certainly made a big difference in air quality in that room. For a smaller budget I found that the Swordfish UV light made a big improvement for the air quality of the entire house and would certainly recommend it.
best wishes,


Hi, Mag

Read about Smartsilk in your column and decided to buy the mattress protector and pillow covers.

Just wanted to let you know I really like them and am having better sleep at night since putting them on the bed. Am considering buying the duvet.

Many thanks for the info. I would not have known about Smartsilk otherwise.


Jean Buffi

I just read your article on ironing in the Edmonton Examiner. I love to iron so I was interested in what the article said. Listing the points on how to iron a shirt just reinforced my method which was taught to me by my Grandmother. It is exactly the same and the method works beautifully. My husband quite often gets compliments on his ironed shirts. Many think they are sent out. Thanks again.


So glad that your Grandmother and my Mum trained us in their brilliant system! We are darn lucky and so are the people whose shirts we iron!

Jenn O'Brien

Hello: Saw Mag on Breakfast Television this morning and was I correct that she mentiond "pillows" to purchase for night sweats and snoring? I did not see pillows on the Smartsilk website? Also we can only purchase on-line?
Thanks loved you in Road to Avonlea and the porch you built on your show? (Amazing! Jenn O'Brien


I also saw Mag on breakfast television, and I believe she did say that,but then again correct me Mag, if 'im wrong.

Ps Mag You were wonderful on the breakfast television show thanks for postiing it for so we can find and watch it.



I too saw Mag on BT this morning and didn't catch the name of the cleaner that you can find at Home Depot... it went by so quickly, I didn't hear what Mag had called it and the close up of the spray bottle was only a few seconds and I missed the name of it! Anyone? Apparently it's great on stains for carpets...(I think the bottle had a green or orange with white label) Thanks! Stacey


Mag and I have been at the Toronto Home Show and she's 'spent' so I thought I'd help out with some answers.

Jenn - SmartSilk doesn't sell pillows but they do sell pillow protectors, which will extend the life of your pillows. After ten years, one third of the weight of a pillow is the remains of dust mites but they can't survive in SmartSilk so the pillow will last indefinitely and not cause allergies along the way. http://www.smartsilk.com/

Stacey - The cleaner Mag mentioned is called EcoMist and it is only available at Home Depot. You got the label exactly right in that blink of an eye! Here's the URL - http://www.ecomistsolutions.com/

Daniel (Mag's no longer snoring husband - thanks to SmartSilk)


Thanks Daniel - greatly appreciated! I guess my site was better than my hearing that morning. :-)
Hope all is going well for Mag at the Home Show.


You're most welcome Stacey and Mag had a great time at the home show. Her last day was Saturday. HomeRenovationGuide.com is doing a wonderful job at covering Mag's appearances. The information is on their blog at: http://blog.homerenovationguide.com/. so have a look when you have a moment.



Hi Daniel,
Thank you, thank you, thank you, so so very much for posting the link to Mags Home show. I did listen to it, and twice by the way, and Mag is as sweet as ever! Thank you so much, now I can look out for Mag on events she takes part in!!

Ps. And thanks Daniel for correctin me yesterday, boy was I way off in that one!!

toronto home renovations

Nice luxurious bathroom and bed help alot to the peoples who are facing the problem of snoring.Really its a very nice executed step for them.


yeah, it's true that nice bed and nice environment helps people who have sleeping difficulties...

Boston Bathtub Liners

Thank you for the post! This may be one of the best blogs I've ever read. I followed the link and found one of these sets for me and my wife. She'll tell you it was the best decision we ever made!

Debbie Kindred

Great post. Bedding or bed sheets sometimes affect the quality of sleep so make the right purchase. This site is also helpful: http://bestbedcovers.com/. Check it out.

Thanks for sharing. Keep it up.

John Bond

I sleep with these sheets and they do help a lot. Although my skin tends to adapt to it and eventually it's not as comfortable as at first. I try to alternate my sheets regularly.
John Bond | http://www.oneillincma.com/roofing-installation-services

Daisy Hugon

Wow, amazing post. I want to make custom bedding…

Daisy Hugon

Wow, amazing post. I want to make custom bedding…


Fantastic post!!

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Mag's Books

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    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

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Nota Bene

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