billerbeck Foundation for Sleep and Health®

Research into the sleeping habits of the people is the basis for the responsible production of bedding and lying systems. This notion prompted Gerd Billerbeck more than 50 years ago to pave the way for sleep research, out of which the billerbeck Foundation for Sleep & Health® developed in 1984.


billerbeck sleep research point of departure

Human sleep has been largely neglected by research for a long time. The heavy continental quilt had been an integral part of bedrooms for many decades, and little was known about the physical and cognitive processes during the night. The physician Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland (1821-1897), with his views on the effect of natural materials in bedding on the human organism, was to lay the foundations for product development from 1920 onwards and for subsequent research activities.

Collaboration with doctors & scientists

When the REM phase (rapid eye movement) was discovered in the 1950s and scientists began to look at sleep for the first time, the billerbeck sleep research also actively started. billerbeck could already look back on 30 years of experience in the product development of bedding and build on these findings and insights. A consulting physician with experience in the field of textile biology was engaged as a permanent consultant.

Basic research in healthy sleep

In the following years, numerous investigations and research focusing on the material properties of duvet fillings, the conditions for good sleep and the correct bedding were undertaken.

Among other things, thermal insulation capacity, air and moisture permeability, weight as well as the importance of stress-relieving, relaxation-promoting lying surfaces were tested. Collaboration with renowned institutions such as the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (1952-1956), the Frobenius Institute of the Goethe University in Frankfurt (1956) and the Hohenstein research institutes (1957 until today) was sought.

Foundation for Sleep Research

Flowing from this intensive basic research was the establishment of the “Foundation for Sleep Research” 20 years later on 4 June 1984. The aim was to bundle the expertise gained over many years of research in the foundation and to communicate this knowledge to the outside world. In 1989 the “Foundation for Sleep Research” was renamed the “billerbeck Foundation for Sleep and Health®”.


Goal and mission of the foundation

The billerbeck Foundation for Sleep and Health® has set itself the goal of promoting the health of people through good sleep. Its stated emphasis is on research into the prerequisites of healthy and natural sleep as well as the continuous development of innovative bedding and lying systems. At the same time, the foundation is also intent on providing information and to actively impart their knowledge around good sleep.

In addition to the ongoing product development, the foundation also has been the driver behind numerous product innovations and publications on healthy sleep. An excerpt:

  • Double duvet: high heat retention at low weight (1952-56)
  • The four-seasons bed with duvets of different thermal classes that can be buttoned together
  • The “master class” sheep wool duvet with optimised moisture management
  • The medical neck support pillow (1981)
  • “As you make your bed ...” – reading matter around sleeping and sleeping habits” (1981)
  • “Fascination dream. Phenomenon sleep” – reading matter (1990)
  • “A good day begins at night – better quality of life thanks to healthy sleep” – guide (2014)