According to webmd.com, magnesium plays an important role in regulating sleep in that it allows the mind to settle. In fact, the article goes on to say that even the most minimal of magnesium deficiencies can cause major issues when it comes to sleep. Science is proving this mineral is so important, in fact, that Dr. Mark Hyman calls magnesium “The Relation Mineral.” In Dr. Hyman’s huffingtonpost.com article linked above, he explains that the symptoms that accompany a magnesium deficiency specifically include insomnia, leg twitches, headaches, and irritability, among others.
All this information begs two questions: is magnesium safe and how do we get it? Unlike compounds found in sleeping pills, magnesium can be found safely in many of the foods we eat. Affordable, healthy, magnesium-rich food options include bananas, spinach, beans, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and breakfast cereals like Shredded Wheat and Raisin Bran. Oddly enough, this mineral can also be absorbed in usable amounts by simply soaking in a bath of Epsom salts. For those who experience a greater magnesium deficiency, magnesium supplements are readily available over the counter in health food stores. That being said, some forms are more beneficial to the body than others in terms of usability and absorption. While they don’t present any immediate danger, it’s best to discuss magnesium supplements with your physician before blindly buying and using one of these powders or pills.
For those who experience problems falling asleep, it’s nice to know that it may be something as simple as a missing mineral in your diet. Best of all, gaining magnesium through naturally-derived sources (food) can actually be extremely healthy given that the most magnesium-rich foods are also chock-full of other extremely healthy and necessary vitamins and minerals.
Pillows have the shortest lifespan in terms of bedding at only six months (up to two years if you keep it in a protective pillow cover). Frankly, pillows can also become just plain nasty, too, given that we tend to sweat, drool, and slough dead skin cells which lead to dust mites. While there really aren’t recycling plants that take pillows, there’s a lot you can do to clean them up and upcycle. Pillows stuffed with materials like batting or cotton can be tossed into a hot water cycle with a frontloading washer. Once dry, you can actually use the stuffing to create toss pillows. eHow.com offers a nice tutorial for upcycling pillows into cushions and throws in their article How to Recycle Bed Pillows. Some animal shelters will also accept used pillows, especially after they’ve been cleaned. Homeless animals can use them as bedding or just for play. Just be sure to call and ask if your local shelter accepts donated used pillows before you drop them off.
Beds (mattresses and box springs), with a lifespan somewhere around a decade, are really one of the most difficult bedding items to recycle. Mattresses made 25 or 30 years ago may actually contain chemicals that are hazardous, believe it or not, which means that special handling is necessary to recycle them. Newer mattresses, Spa Sensations products included, no longer contain those chemicals and materials and may be created using eco-friendly products, but there’s still the matter of what to do with the old one when it’s time to buy a new one. Googling “mattress recycling” for your area is often your best bet when seeking out recycling plants that accept beds. For newer mattresses that may still be in functional shape, it’s also smart to contact local crisis or homeless shelters. Not all will accept used mattresses. That being said, it’s always worth a quick call to learn their donation guidelines.
Bedding–sheets, pillow cases, blankets–can be one of the easiest products to upcycle, recycle, or repurpose. Whereas many shelters won’t accept used pillows and mattresses, most accept bedding product donations. As mentioned above, always ask before dropping off the donation, but oftentimes these items are very welcomed by the non-profit. As for upcycling or repurposing, sheets and blankets are wonderful sources for craft fabric. One of the hottest trends right now is the reusable shopping bag. With a few seams, old bedding can easily become a tote bag. They can also be used in an emergency kit either in the car or the basement. Think outside the box: cutting it apart for a mummy Halloween costume, using blankets in a playroom as a fort, cutting them apart to create keepsake quilts. And, on top of this, many recycling plants accept fabrics. Again, double check before you toss it into your recycling bin, but it’s usually fine.
No matter how large or how small your effort, every little bit counts when it comes to living in an eco-friendly manner. If you have suggestions on crafts or recycling efforts for bedding, feel free to let us know! We’ll be happy to share it with our readers.
We’ve all been there. You either can’t seem to fall asleep or you fall asleep easily only to totally awaken in the middle of the night. To add insult to injury, these sleep problems tend to occur when sleep is most needed–the night before you have a big project at work, before you start a new week at school, before you embark on a huge road trip. For those who experience this on what’s considered a chronic basis, a physician can intervene with medications or sleep therapy. But what about the rest of us? What about those of us who just experience sleeplessness on rare but all-too-annoying occasions? Well, friends, today’s article is for you. We’ve researched and tried just about everything to create a list of three things you should do and three things you should not do when sleep just isn’t happening.
Three Things You Should Do
Three Things You Shouldn’t Do
Anyone tired of winter yet? Good news! Spring is just eight days away. Whether the weather cooperates and hands us warm days going forward or throws a snowy curveball, it’s only a matter of time before able to bask in spring’s sunny glory. The only–only–downside about the return of spring is allergy season. Those gorgeous blooming bushes and budding trees can also bring out the itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and stuffiness. Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do in the home, especially in the bedroom, to help stop the worst of allergens. This week, before allergy season hits full-on, we would like to offer up a few suggestions to make your space as allergy-free as possible.
Although we spend most of our time away from bed, the bedroom is still the primary spot where dust mites, dead skin, and allergens build up. Although it takes a skin test to know exactly what one is allergic to, the allergens we create in our own homes do widely affect the population. Couple this with outdoor allergens and you have the perfect allergy storm.
Wash and/or vacuum fabric surfaces
Washing our sheets is a no-brainer, but there are plenty of other fabrics that need attention. All types of drapery can be surprisingly dusty and dirty. If yours are washable, pull them down and give them a good cleaning. If they are not, use your vacuum’s wand attachment to dust and clean them. Musty odors can get trapped in drapery, too. A little Febreeze can freshen them up nicely. Your mattress itself is another surface that many ignore. Like your sheets, dead skin, dust mites, and pollen can get trapped in the fibers of the mattress’s cover. A good vacuuming here works well. Just use the vacuum’s wand attachment as you did with the curtains. You also may need to flip your mattress this time of year if it’s the type that requires seasonal flips. Finally, don’t forget all your carpeted surfaces…yes, even under the bed. Especially if you have pets, all kinds of dust and debris can hide out under the bed frame. Move everything that you can, then give the room a thorough sweep.
Replace pillows and/or clean their covers
Pillows weren’t made to last as long as a mattress. If you aren’t replacing your pillows every year at least, dead skin, dust mites, germs, saliva–it’s all building up nightly. Since you can’t wash them easily and vacuuming doesn’t take care of the germs, just replace them. If you’ve been using a pillow cover, then kudos to you! That does prolong the life of pillows. That being said, using the protectors without regularly washing them kind of negates their purpose. Strip them off the pillows and wash the covers according to their laundering instructions.
Check your furnace’s filter
You’re probably still using your furnace from time to time. When was the last time you changed your filter? A dirty one can put allergens into the air. A very dirty one can actually cause the furnace to work inefficiently. Depending upon your heating unit, one of the many types of allergen-trapping filters on the market may be a smart choice. These types can trap amazingly small molecules…just the type that makes your cough and stuff up while you sleep.
A good top-to-bottom housecleaning can make a big difference both for your health and mindset this time of year. It’s also a really big job. We recommend starting in the bedroom, then moving your way throughout the house. Who knows? Once you get started, you may find the energy to just finish the job over the course of a spring break day.
Although your mind may be turning toward romance and love this month, it’s not a bad time to pay a little attention to your own heart. February is National Heart Month, as well as the annual kickoff for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. Although heart disease greatly affects men and women alike, it has become the number one killer of women in the U.S. According to the American Heart Association’s statistics, one woman dies every minute from heart disease!
With numbers like this, we feel like it’s important to make you (customers, friends, family…those who just stop by to read) aware of easy ways to combat heart disease, as well as available resources. We also know there is a sleep/heart health connection, which you need to know to be healthy. We’ll outline just a bit of all this today. If you have questions or concerns, it’s always best to head straight to your physician. The American Heart Association‘s website is also a wealth of information.
The Sleep/Heart Health Connection
Although we know by now that there really isn’t a magic number of hours we all need to sleep each night for better health, statistics show that those of us who sleep six to nine hours every night experience lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar. These effects build upon other health-related issues, too. Those who get enough sleep tend to eat healthier, weigh less, and experience lower stress levels. While the occasional sleepless night doesn’t immediately cause a detriment to health, many nights will eventually cause some of us to become unhealthy enough to find problems with diabetes and heart disease even when there is not a genetic predisposition.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
The American Heart Association clearly outlines a series of lifestyle changes we can all make to create a healthier life and healthier heart. In fact, Heart Association statistics claim that smart lifestyle choices have resulted in 330 fewer women’s deaths per day (source: AHA). These lifestyle changes include managing blood pressure and blood sugar, smoking cessation, lowering cholesterol, staying active, losing excess weight, and eating a healthy diet.
While there are, unfortunately, those of us who are simply genetically predisposed to heart disease and related health issues, smart lifestyle choices–from rest to weight management–can help ward off the disease for others. As we mentioned earlier, it’s always best to work with your physician when it comes to your heart health. That being said, we could all benefit from simple changes like healthy eating and daily moderate physical activity.
February is both heart month and Heart Month. For the romantics among us, it is–of course–the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the American Heart Association‘s month dedicated to the awareness and prevention of heart conditions, especially among women. We will assuredly treat Heart Month a little later in February (yes, there’s a sleep connection), but this week we’d like to go a little festive.
Whether you’re attached and want to spice things up in your bedroom environment, single and just want a seasonal update, or are either and want to beat the winter doldrums, Valentine’s Day decor is actually a great investment. In reds and pinks across the spectrum, nothing says “cheerful” like a few well-placed hearts, flowers, or colors. We’ve been scouring the ‘Net looking for great Valentine’s Day fun finds and, wow, have we found some great and affordable goodies. If you’re brave enough, let us know here or on our Facebook page how you decorate your bedroom for the season of love!
When it comes to seasonal decor, nothing is easier than throw pillows. With the typography and letterpress trend still going strong, we like graphic-style throws for beds or sitting areas in the bedroom. How charming are these? Click the images to see more or buy what you see here.
Of course pillows aren’t the only way to go. Trinket boxes and bowls that might otherwise go in a bathroom or even kitchen can look quite lovely in the bedroom. Then, for those who really feel the love, there are even grander options like sensual satin sheet sets.
And if adding extra “stuff” to the room doesn’t really interest you, think flowers or plants. Especially now, during the coldest part of winter, a few buds in a vase can liven up your bedroom, greeting you with a pop of color each morning. For Valentine’s Day or any day of the week, try your local grocery store or Wal-Mart Supercenter for out-of-season budding blooms like hyacinths or tulips. Happy Valentine’s Day!
With fashion trends, a new color here or there, a different cut of denim…it’s all fairly easy and (usually) inexpensive to adopt. Home trends, however, can be quite spendy. Where white leather was all the rage two years ago, boldly-patterned fabric is now the “it” style. Where does that leave you if you spent thousands on a white leather couch only to see that it’s “out” a few seasons later? If you’re tackling this question, or if you are just sick and tired of your home decor and want to update a bit, we have some answers for you today. After all, it is white sale month. If you’re going to stock up on trends or basics, there’s no time like the present.
Late last fall, Pantone proclaimed Emerald Green as the color of the year for 2013. Coming off a year (2012) in which Tangerine Tango (bright orange) was the trend, green seems easily adoptable. Especially in the bedroom, this gorgeous, rich jewel tone is just right and very conducive to rest and relaxation. If you already have a graphic scheme going on (chevron, Ikat, stripes), toss in emerald throw pillows or bedding to get a fresh new pop of color. If you are looking to completely make over your room, think about investing in neutral decor (beige, grey, white), then add the texture, color, and prints you love.
Another (slightly more shocking) color trend for home in 2013 is all-black. Just days after the calendar turned over, Houzz.com–a Pinterest-style site for home decor–proclaimed all-black exterior and interior color as a major look for the new year. What was once reserved for the hipster set has now trickled down to the rest of us. And before you scoff at all-black as only for Emo kids, take a look. The homes featured in this Houzz.com article are extremely striking without feeling “haunted house-like.” The interior you see via this pin on Pinterest is ultra-chic thanks to the pops of turquoise and white. Therein lies the key: color and white trim. Every adoptee of this dark color trend is choosing to pair it with white and brights. Especially in the bedroom, these pairings help bring necessary light to what could out very much like a cave.
Finally, if you have or love graphic prints, this is not the time to get rid of them! The black-on-white chevron that has popped up everywhere for the last year or so is still going strong. The newest way to adopt this look is with color. Go with an emerald and white striped duvet, or place a colorful patterned rug on the floor. The trend for 2013 is practically anything goes as long as there is visual interest or texture. An expensive example, for sure, the bedding from Anthropologie shown below demonstrates the capabilities of texture. Pintucks and ruffles can create a look similar to a bold print.
With pops of color, texture, and prints, it’s hard to go wrong if you choose this year to update your home. We do, however, recommend one money-saving tip: outfit the room or the whole home in neutrals, then add the trendy pieces as accents. That chevron-upholstered headboard that is so on-trend now will make you feel like a million bucks…until it’s totally out in a year or two. Be smart, have fun…isn’t that always the best motto?
Like the rest of the country, we are still reeling over the senseless tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, last Friday. We are a mattress company, yes, but we are also made up of moms, dads, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers. As individuals, we have sought ways to help our children (and ourselves) deal with something that is so horrible and frightening. Because we know you are are much like us, we wanted to share resources that have been helpful in dealing with the Sandy Hook tragedy in recent days, especially in terms of calming our children.
While there are many excellent resources to help children deal with tragedy in general, the American Psychological Association offers a very specific and helpful article entitled “Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting.” According to the APA, just listening without judgement or interruption can make a big difference in dealing with tragedy. They also recommend making your home a safe place where the family can enjoy common activities and comfort.
HealthyChildren.org is another wonderful place to go for a number of articles and tips on dealing with tragedy. More a compendium than a single resource, this site offers information for teens, parents, children, and even school districts. It also features articles like “How to stay cool when things heat up” and “Connecting with your community.”
And if you are having problems talking to your children, or if you are having problems coping yourself, your physician or child’s pediatrician can be an excellent place to start. He or she can help guide you or refer you to psychologists and counselors who may be able to offer help. Considered a cheerful time of year, the holiday season is also one of the most depressing for some, especially in the aftermath of a tragedy. Just talking with someone may be enough to help heal.
Finally, if you are searching for ways to benefit the victims and families in Connecticut, the United Way of Western Connecticut has set up the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. To make a donation, or to learn more, click the link embedded with the fund’s name here. The Newtown Memorial Fund has also been set up to benefit those affected by this tragedy. To learn more or to donate, click the link provided with the fund’s title.
Last Thursday we chose @theboneblog as our second Comfort & Joy contest winner. As you can see from her entry below, the winning pillow has probably seen better days. With the two-pack of 36″ body pillows on their way to her, it’s time to toss (or recycle) that old one.
We’ll pick our third winner on Thursday, December 5, at 11:30 a.m. Central time. If you would like to enter, you have two easy options.
Twitter: Follow @Spa_Sensations on twitter.com, tweet us a picture of your old bed pillow, and tag the tweet #comfortjoy.
Facebook: Post on the Spa Sensations timeline telling us all about your sad, old, worn out pillow. You may also add a picture if you wish.
We’ll choose the oldest looking or oldest sounding pillow based upon entries.
Not to add anxiety or anything but it’s nearly the end of November. If you participate in the gift-giving holidays, you’ve probably already started shopping. And if you haven’t? Well, now is a great time. If you’re like most shoppers, your list is full of things like toys, electronics, and personal luxuries like perfume and jewelry. Now these are all great things but it seems like everyone forgets the option of giving a great night’s sleep. From pillows to toppers to a new mattress, we think holiday gifting should include luxurious items that will give something valuable to the giftee year ’round. For practically every budget, we’d like to suggest a few great gift ideas. Comfort and joy, indeed!
Gift Ideas Under $35
Wrapped with a satin or silk pillowcase, or just gifted by itself, pillows make affordable and appreciated gifts. Unlike a mattress, you really don’t need to know much about the person’s sleep habits to give a pillow. Something like our bed wedge is a great option for friends and family members who love to read, watch television, or surf the web from bed. It’s really even a great gift idea for teens who love computer and video games in their rooms. The pillow styles featured below are ideal for those who sleep in practically any position.
Gift Ideas Under $120
For a larger, even more luxurious gift, consider gifting a comfortable Spa Sensations mattress topper. Much like the pillows mentioned above, you really don’t have to know much about the giftee’s preferred sleep position or comfort level to give this gift of comfort. We’ve picked our most versatile, beloved styles to feature below. You just might win relative or friend of the year after giving something like these!
Gift Ideas Under $450
For your spouse, your children, or just for yourself, a new mattress can be the height of luxury when given as a gift. Of course comfort is subjective when it comes to mattresses, but thousands of positive reviews all point to the quality, support, and comfort of the mattresses we’ve singled out to suggest here. Yes, it’s a bigger purchase but it’s one that will give year after year for at least the next decade.
Congratulations to @TrishLau, our first Comfort & Joy Twitter Contest winner! Her winning tweet warned us: “u asked for it LOL! My husband’s grody, icky-poo pillow. He needs some #comfortjoy!” And Trish was correct, her husband was desperately in need of a new pillow. Just look at his old one below. We’ve shipped Trish a brand new two-pack of luxury 36-inch body pillows. Here’s to a little comfort and joy in Trish’s neck of the woods!
Have you entered yet? We’ll pick our next contest winner on Thursday, November 29 and 11:30 a.m. central time. To enter, all you have to do is follow @spa_sensations on twitter.com, then tweet us a picture of your old bed pillow and tag the tweet with #comfortjoy. We’ll pick the oldest, most worn out pillow entered for the week. Weekly winners receive a two-pack of 36″ luxury body pillows. For full rules, visit http://spa-sensations.com/comfort-and-joy-rules/
With just over two weeks to go before Thanksgiving, now is the perfect time to begin preparing for house guests. Even for friends and family that you adore, the entire process of cooking and living with extra people in the house can leave you a little anxious and on edge. Because it’s smart to be proactive, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you get prepared now for a little more relaxation when Thanksgiving (or the winter holidays) roll around.
Although dust is sure to settle between now and November 22, take this time to deep clean guestrooms. Vacuum the carpet or sweep and mop to cut down on allergens. At this point, too, make sure you having sleeping arrangements for everyone. Younger kids may be able to deal with a pallet on the floor but for adults, a more supportive bed is in order. If you don’t have enough regular mattress sets, consider buying a trundle bed or air bed. In terms of cost-effectiveness, a trundle is your best bet given that it won’t take up much space for storage but will last for years. And don’t forget the bed linens. If you have to buy more, do it now so you aren’t pressed for time as you wash and dry them before the holiday.
Clean off your dining room table
If you’re like most Americans, at any one time the dining room table functions as an office, a craft table, a spot for dining, and a catch-all for mail and important papers. Cleaning it off and keeping it that way takes a little conditioning. Before we get closer to Thanksgiving, find a place for everything that usually stacks there. Then, as new paper, mail, and projects come in, mindfully put them all away. You’ll be surprised by how much more relaxed you’ll feel when Thanksgiving Day comes and the table is clean and tidy.
Clean smarter, not harder
No one wants to spend the whole day before Thanksgiving cleaning the entire house. Choose the easier (and smarter) way now. Either pick one room per day and deep clean, or take the next two weekends to clean. The day before guests arrive, just do a light cleaning (dusting, vacuuming, etc.) to make sure everything is tidy.
Choose home scents wisely
Spices and citrus all make wonderful holiday home fragrances, yet they can wreak havoc if used in bedrooms. Citrus is often used to energize, which doesn’t promote sleep. Spices can actually cause headaches (and sometimes migraines) for some. Especially in a small room, these usually-pleasing scents can be overpowering. If air fresheners are needed, try an at-home concoction like distilled water, witch hazel, and a few drops of lavender oil mixed and sprayed on bed linens and drapery.
The beauty of Thanksgiving is the opportunity to be with friends and family. Preparing the house slowly over a few weeks can truly make the difference between your enjoyment of the time and a high stress level. If all else fails, do the best you can. A home that’s a disaster area isn’t enjoyable but a little clutter here and there is just natural. Happy Thanksgiving to you!
We are now officially past the half-way mark for the month of October. Do you have your Halloween costume (or your child’s) all lined up? If you don’t, we have some bad news: the costume stores have rental agreements on all the good ones now and the big box stores are a little picked over at this point. But don’t despair because we have a few ideas for you that all revolve around pajamas, and no, we don’t mean dressing like Hugh Hefner or the token “lady who just got out of bed” costumes. These are smart, creative, and may put you in first place come Halloween night.
Begin your costume with orange pajamas like the Footzies shown below. For the face, head to a craft or fabric store to pick up sheets of black felt. Cut a face–any style you like–from the felt and attach to the pajamas. For the best bond, consider using Liquid Stitches (also available at craft and fabric stores). Double-sided tape also works. Bonus points if you add a green or brown hat and pipe cleaner “tendrils.”
Begin with a comfortable pair of black pajamas or black footed pajamas. Cat ear headbands and tails are plentiful this time of year. Just visit your local big box store or costume warehouse, or create your own by gluing felt triangles to a headband. Use a bit of eyeliner to create whiskers on your face. Add black slippers or ballet flats and you’re set.
A Bunch of Grapes
Black, blue, or green pajamas form the base for this costume. Blow up a few green or purple balloons. Tie them off and tie a long string around the base. When it’s time to assemble, tie the strings to yourself to arrange the “grapes.” Voila!
Royal blue pajamas are the key here. The footie style looks most authentic, yet a classic set of woven pajamas will work, too, and may be easier to find in your area. Add a baseball or watch cap in the same shade of blue. Lastly, head to your local craft store and buy some giant googly eyes. Yes, they do make them that big. Glue the eyes to the hat, whip up or buy a batch of cookies, and enjoy winning the costume contest (and maybe a few jabs from your friends).
Practically any color of footie pajamas will make this costume work. White, black, or brown will make for a natural bunny color while pastels can create a cute Alice in Wonderland look. Most big box stores stock bunny ear headbands and even bunny tails this time of year. If they are out of stock, head to your local craft store for felt and batting. Cut bunny ears out of felt in your choice of colors and add a bit of pink felt to the center, then hot glue the ears to a headband. For the tail, pull a large amount of batting out of the batting package and hot glue or use a couple of stitches to adhere it to the seat of the pajamas.
Choose an all-black pair of pajamas or a black and white set to form the basis. Using felt or fabric, cut out wings (if you want to do it up right) and add an oval of white to create a penguin belly. For the head, use a black hat or cap. Adhere googly eyes to it and hot glue an orange rectangle for a beak.
To say that it has been a busy news month on all matters related to sleep would be a major understatement. Beginning with new reports on the long-term effects of sleep training a couple of weeks ago, there has been at least one major finding or study-related report every single day since. And it makes sense. The Centers for Disease Control deemed insufficient sleep a public health epidemic over a year ago. More and more researchers are looking at the topic of sleep, attempting to find ways to help us get more and informing us of what we’re facing if we don’t.
By far, one of the most interesting newly-reported studies has to do with sleep deprivation and one’s attractiveness to others. Back in 2010, British researchers photographed subjects when they were well rested, photographed them again when they had been deprived of sleep for 31 hours, and then asked untrained observers to rate the images in terms of attractiveness. Overwhelmingly, the sleep deprived people were consistently rated as unattractive. Publishing their findings in the British Medical Journal, the researchers stated that “Sleep deprived people are perceived as less attractive, less healthy and more tired compared with when they are well rested.” (Source: BBC News.) But as it turns out, there’s even more to this idea of attractiveness and sleep than even this study defined.
Just this month, Swedish researchers from Medical Institutet Karloinska in Stockholm reported that not only does the lack of sleep adversely affect our attractiveness, it also makes us less approachable. Reported in the Huffington Post, the experiment demonstrated that “sleeping four hours a night — or not at all — wouldn’t make any difference. In both cases the individuals tested in the experiment appeared to others as equally exhausted. But beyond appearance, the study reveals that lack of sleep repels those you meet or socialize with.” The notion of ‘approachability’ applies not only to possible romantic or sexual relationships but also to daily interaction at work or school. Across the board, the sleep deprived individuals seem to repel any type of social interaction.
While these findings may seem humorous at first (of course we hate being around grouchy, tired people), it has some far-reaching meaning. Without sleep, many of us may be missing out on chances and opportunities. Regardless of performance at work, the perception that someone is unapproachable may very well mean he or she is passed over for promotion. From a personal standpoint, too, it may be one reason why some feel unlovable or undesirable when seeking a relationship, platonic or sexual. Either way, this new study provides yet another great reason to catch some Zzzzs every night.
As much as we hate to say it: summer is over. Sure, by the calendar it’s still officially summer, but the long, lazy weekends by the pool, the vacation weeks, the sun and sand…it’s just past its prime for the year. If you’re a die-hard summer person, you may be a little sad to see it go, but we actually have some good news. In terms of sleep, autumn is one of the best seasons to catch some ZZZZs. Don’t believe us? There is actually quite a bit of scientific research that proves our natural sleep patterns change according to seasons. Because we are on the cusp of fall, we’re going to discuss the good and the bad when it comes to sleep in September, October, November, early December.
Autumn: The Good
Researchers and sleep specialists agree that autumn is the season most conducive to good sleep for a number of reasons. For one, temperatures are typically lower. The extreme heat of the summer forces us to either crank up with air conditioning or muddle through each night with a fan. Once the nighttime temperatures reach into the 50s and 60s, the bedroom becomes cooler (but not cold) naturally. Light is also a major contributor to healthy sleep in the fall. Prior to the winter equinox, days are still quite long, meaning that there is enough natural light during the day to ward off the symptoms of Season Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder that often leads to depression and insomnia. That being said, the days begin to shorten, offering the best of both worlds: light for mood but dark for melatonin production. Allergy sufferers also tend to experience fewer problems as a whole during the fall months. The pollen counts of spring and summer lessen. As harvest season comes to an end, there are also fewer allergens to affect those who are sensitive. In terms of overall sleepiness, autumn ushers in a strange phenomena: most of us just feel sleepier. While it’s probably a combination of coming out of a busy summer and entering into a period of time in which days slowly shorten, it’s a point in the year where it seems oddly human nature to want to sleep.
Autumn: The Bad
In spite of everything good related to sleep and the fall, autumn can often vary widely in terms of temperature, allergens, light, and weather. Especially with global warming figured into the equation, the traditional fall months are trending toward summerlike temperatures. What was once termed “Indian Summer” is now commonplace (and brutally hot) despite what the calendar says. With a target bedroom temperature somewhere between 65 and 72 degrees, it can be difficult to create the perfect sleeping environment without air conditioning and/or fans. In many parts of the country, some allergens do rear their ugly heads particularly during the autumn. Ragweed can be extremely bothersome to those who are sensitive, as can mold since it often becomes airborne. If it’s cool enough to sleep with the windows open, some may find that ragweed and mold cause too much congestion upon waking.
Autumn: Tips for Great Sleep
Especially if you are new to geographical location, you may not know what to expect when fall arrives. Sleep specialists seem to all agree that airing out the house and the bedroom specifically can help create a calming mindset as soon as temperature cooperate. Many seem to suggest, too, getting out for a walk in the early evening to soak up natural light before bed. Mentally, this clears the head and helps one appreciate the beauty of the season. Physically, getting out before settling in for the night helps the body absorb that vital natural light and provides some aerobic activity. And, of course, if allergies or SAD plague, it’s important to find and work with your physician for great days and great nights.
We’ve all heard the saying “work smarter, not harder,” but when it comes to mundane household cleaning, it seems that nothing replaces hard work and time. That may be one reason why we hate doing it so much. You can only put off cleaning the toilets or doing the laundry so long, which means that at some point your stuck inside on a sunny, beautiful day doing housework rather than heading out for a day of fun. Well, maybe the picture doesn’t have to be as bleak as it seems. In actuality, you can use a good night’s sleep to start the cleaning process. In fact, we would venture to say that there are major home chores that you should only do as you sleep. Interested? Read on for our top five.
Clean the toilet
Okay, so cleaning the toilet doesn’t always take that long, yet it’s one of those chores that adds time to your routine. On the other hand, if you have hard water, cleaning the ring around the toilet can take a fair amount of elbow grease and time–or some pretty high-powered chemicals. An eco-friendly and easy solution to this task is a little white vinegar or Borax. Before bed, add a couple of cups of vinegar or 3/4 of a cup of Borax to the toilet bowl. For tough hard water rings, use your toilet brush to make sure the solution is applied above the waterline. Then go to bed. That’s right…stop everything and let the vinegar or Borax do their job. When you wake up, swirl the toilet brush around the bowl and flush. Doing this once a week should be plenty.
Clean your (non-self-cleaning) oven
One word of caution: never turn on your oven to run while you sleep. That being said, “soaking” your oven overnight is the perfect way to soften and release baked-on and burned-on oven messes. Spray the oven’s interior with your choice of oven cleaner, then place old towels or paper towels just outside the door to catch any drips. When you wake up, don your rubber gloves and gently wipe away the softened dirt and leftover oven cleaner. It’s a trick that may just give you back an hour or two on oven cleaning day.
Deodorize your carpets
From pet odors to musty smells, baking soda is always a good choice when carpets and upholstery smell less than fresh. The biggest obstacle to using it is the time it takes to fully absorb the odors. Of course while it’s on your carpet, you tend to walk over it, tracking it all over the house and actually removing patches of the baking soda from where it really needs to be working. The solution is deodorizing overnight. Before bed, vacuum your carpet, then sprinkle baking soda liberally. If you have really stubborn odors, you may want to work it into the carpet or upholstery with a clean broom. Then go to bed and let it do its magic. When you wake up, run the vacuum back over the area to remove the baking soda.
Clean your shower
We’ve all seen the advertisements for automatic shower cleaning solutions. Just spray after a shower, then it cleans. The problem is often that you don’t get the greatest results unless you do it the right way. First, you are going to have to clean. Find time to get your shower sparkling. This step allows the shower cleaning solution to work at its maximum potential. Second–and a big reason to do it while you sleep–fresh water running over the cleaner weakens its effects. Spray the shower down after the family’s last shower for the night, then let the solution work while everyone sleeps. In the morning, there’s no need to wipe down or rinse away. Just complete this step every night and you’ll probably never clean the shower again.
Do the laundry or the dishes
Unless the sound will keep the family awake, doing the dishes and laundry at night is smart. First, you aren’t waiting for the cycles to finish. Second, energy costs can be lower at off-peak hours like bedtime (important for those of us who are surcharged for energy use during peak hours). Fill the dishwasher and let it cycle through during the early part of your sleep. The washer, on the other hand, should be set to start in the middle of the night, if possible. If your washer doesn’t have a delayed start cycle, you can still begin the wash at bedtime. Just keep in mind that laundered, wet clothing may not smell quite as fresh after sitting in a closed washer all night long if your home is hot and/or humid. In cooler months, or if you always use air conditioning, the potential for soured laundry is nearly non-existent, making bedtime the smartest time for starting a long cycle like towels or whites.
Ringing in the new year may be the farthest thing from your mind given that it’s mid-July and 100+ degrees but designers and home decor experts are already thinking about trends and styles that extend well past January 2013. With home decor and furnishings trade shows in full swing all over the country, we’re already seeing sneak peeks of bedroom designs that may make you swoon as they begin showing up in stores and in catalogs later in the year. Will chevron be back? Is shabby chic still “in”? Get ready…we’re about to give you an inside look!
2013 Color Trends
According to ultrabright.com, the focus is upon “…the consumer’s ever-increasing need to reconnect with nature and what is around them.” Based upon this forecast, paint producers are creating and stocking hues that feature rich purple variations, greens and blues that are reminiscent of the sea, floral-inspired pinks and reds, and variations of tones visible in a vibrant desert. For a bedroom makeover, consider using the softest shades of those mentioned–sand, sea mist green, eggshell blue–on the walls to create a tranquil space then add pops of Rose of Sharon coral-pink or Rio red to create the bright color interest.
2013 Accessory Trends
The buzzword for 2013? Re-imagine. From antique-laden to mod, anything goes as long as it contains some degree of the unexpected. According to Pam Gaulin, a yahoo.com decorating and design contributor, “…one-of-a-kind items are the key to 2013 decor. Keep the look sophisticated by using common techniques in new ways.” Designers also seem to say that anything matchy-matchy is out. Avoid creating anything that is too themed. For example, if your current decor features modern touches like clean-lined furniture and metals, try adding natural items like seashells or even DIY bubble art to the mix. Again, the key terms are “unexpected” and “re-imagined.”
2013 Textile/Fabric Trends
As with decor, textile trends are moving toward the eclectic for the new year. Don’t get rid of the chevron (a huge 2012 trend) bedding or rugs but don’t pair any of it with other geometrics these days either. Opulent floral and scrolling fabrics offset the linear look of this year’s geometric bedding. If your taste trends toward animal prints, add some by all means but very carefully. The over-the-top leopard and zebra looks paired with fringe or neon of the past couple of seasons now reads tacky rather than fun and whimsical. Mix prints, mix colors but lose the fussy details for the freshest look.
If you follow us on Facebook, you know that we have a lot of fun seeking out the silly unofficial holidays that seem to pop up every calendar day (hello, National Joke Day last Friday). One “awareness week” that recently hit our radar was Every Body Needs A Massage Week, which is observed this month. After a little research, it seems that there’s more substance to this than just the silly name we were bound to make light of.
No denying it, massage is expensive. With prices that range anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars for just a half-hour, historically massage has been viewed as a frivolous luxury that most of us just can’t justify. That being said, perceptions have changed over the past few years. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 90% of survey respondents in 2011 stated that they “perceive[d] massage therapy as effective in reducing pain….” This percentage has grown exponentially just since 2009. Despite this acceptance of massage therapy as a beneficial treatment, the tough economy appears to be keeping people from heading to their massage therapists for even occasional treatments. In fact, 2011 saw a 30% reduction in trips to massage therapists, according to the AMTA, despite the fact that a growing number expressed a need for massage.
Boasting results like a reduction in lower back pain, arthritis pain management, and help with insomnia, most of us would benefit from regular massage therapy. Because it can be hard to add regular massages into a tight budget, we decided to scour the web, finding easy at-home massage techniques to share. They’re safe, beneficial, and best of all…free!
WebMD.com’s “Massage Therapy for Stress Relief and Much More” is an all-encompassing, vital step-by-step guide that explains how to easily apply gentle pressure and massage techniques to relieve tired, strained eyes, ease headaches and tension, soothe tired feet, and more. For example, WebMD explains that you can lessen a headache often by placing your thumbs gently on your temples while moving them in a circular motion.
Another excellent home-massage compendium is LiveStrong.com’s “How to Do Self-Massage,” featuring massage tips to relax shoulders, soothe feet and relax hands–an important area to stretch if you spend a lot of time typing.
While the title is maybe a bit misleading (a facelift is impossible through massage alone), care2.com’s article “Massage Yourself a Face-Lift” takes you step-by-step through a facial massage. Using a great skin oil (no, that’s not an oxymoron) like extra virgin olive oil as a moisturizing slip agent, do-it-yourself massages like this one can help soothe, relax, and rejuvenate.
Of course you don’t have to complete a structured series to feel the benefits of massage therapy. For those who wear high heels often, simply lacing the fingers of one hand through the toes and spreading them gently can reduce foot fatigue and that “pinched” feeling. For those with back pain, place three (or more) tennis balls on a carpeted floor, then lie down on them making sure the tennis balls are arranged near the source of the back pain. The rubbery balls give just enough so that they don’t hurt, yet the rigidity allows the back to stretch and relax.
With simple at-home, do-it-yourself massage techniques like these, you may find that you can stretch your dollar by seeking professional massage therapy less frequently. Why celebrate Every Body Deserves a Massage Week just one week out of the year? With a little practice, you can celebrate relaxation and comfort every single day.
From September through May, most of us dream of vacation season. No work, no school, no worries…all relaxation. It’s a great idealized notion to get us through the long winter months but when vacation becomes reality, it often comes with a fair amount of frustration, stress and exhaustion. By the time you pack a week’s worth of clothing for the kids and yourself, schedule flights and hotels, and schedule pet and/or home sitting, you may find that you need a vacation from vacation. While planning a trip and traveling will always come with some degree of stress, it doesn’t have to become something to dread. We’ve contacted veteran travelers and compiled our own vacation best practices to help this year’s summer vacation feel restful and relaxing. We can’t help you with long layovers and lumpy hotel mattresses (don’t you wish you could take your Spa Sensations mattress everywhere?), but we can help you make some smart choices that will put the vacation back in your…well…vacation.
Kids and Vacation Schedules
We’ve said it many times but it bears repeating: if the kids aren’t sleeping, you aren’t sleeping. With all the anticipation compounded by major routine changes, vacations and travel can wreak havoc on kids’ sleep and rest habits. Once they’re exhausted, they often begin to act out during waking moments, all leading to more frustration for tired, vacationing parents. Especially if you are traveling to other time zones, parents should expect some degree of behavior changes but there are ways to help. For example, work with the new time instead of with your home time zone. If naptime comes at 1:00 p.m. each day, schedule some family rest at 1:00 wherever you are. If the kids aren’t sleepy, just do a quiet time; however, if they can’t stay awake until 1:00, let them sleep. Vacation is about loosening the rules a bit, after all. Just don’t make the all-too-common vacation mistake of scheduling activities over naps and snack times unless you want to face a little rebellion.
Packing for Kids
One of the first pre-vacation steps you probably take is packing the kids’ clothes and toiletries. What many parents often forget is lovies, blanets and nightlights. Every savvy, travel-wise parent knows that a family vacation is no time to forget the stuffed animal or security blanket that their little one requires to fall asleep. Especially if routines are up-in-the-air, kids need something homelike. Trust us…make room for whatever your child needs to fall asleep or soothe. Also plan to let kids scope out their vacation beds and bedrooms. Bedtime is no time to find that your children need to peek under beds and look in drawers.
Build in a Day of Rest
Many of us head out of town the day our vacation starts and come home the day it ends. While this type of schedule does max out the vacation time, it doesn’t build any rest into the equation. In fact, you may head back to work more burnt out than when you left. It may be hard but take one day off your trip and schedule a day at home before heading back to the office. This extra time gives you the chance to do laundry, head to the grocery store and catch up on whatever was missed during the trip. It may be mundane stuff but it will prepare you to get back to the daily grind.
If you’re headed to an interesting locale with tons of activities, your first inclination may be to pack as much as possible into every hour you spend there. Take this avenue and there’s a good chance you won’t enjoy a single thing, plus you’ll come home a bit dazed. Do your homework and decide what activities or events are the very most important to you, then add those to your vacation schedule. Make sure to build chunks of activity-free time in just to wander or relax on the beach or zone out. It will do wonders for your mental state.
Eat (and Drink) Smart
Your idealized version of vacation may include unlimited tropical beverages and multiple desserts. A steady stream of Key Lime Pie and Mai Tais can absolutely ruin vacation. Eat, drink and enjoy the local flavors, but don’t go overboard. Gaining weight may be the least of your worries. Too much sugar, alcohol and heavy fare can cause indigestion and gastro problems that will not lead to a happy vacation. Absolutely indulge but keep your body healthy and your head clear with moderation and light meals when you aren’t allowing yourself to feast on a local delicacy.
Set Realistic Expectations
Things are going to go wrong. Don’t get down if an event is rained out or if your toddler melts down in the middle of a wonderful family outing. Unrealistic expectations are public enemy number one when it comes to relaxation on vacation. Mentally prepare yourself to laugh off these little obstacles and view the vacation as the sum of its parts. One bad experience shouldn’t ruin the entire trip.
Mother’s Day is officially less than two weeks away: Sunday, May 13. If you find yourself cutting it close this year, never fear. We have been working hard, to find a diverse, affordable collection of Mother’s Day gift ideas for that special mom in your life. From the new mom to the seasoned pro, we’re practically positive you’ll find something she’ll (or you’ll) adore.
For the DIY-er/Crafty Mom
For the Spa-Seeking Mom
For the Trendy Mom
For the Comfort-Seeking Mom
For the New Mom
For the Luxury-Loving Mom
Red-rimmed eyes, tissues strategically tucked in every pocket, a nose that puts Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to shame…it’s
spring allergy season. Most of us enjoyed a warmer-than-usual winter but we’re paying the price now with ultra-high pollen and mold spores in the atmosphere. Of course we all know there is no shortage of allergy medications on the market but they only alleviate the symptoms. You still wake up with the telltale signs–puffy eyes, purple under-eye circles and skin ruddiness. Let’s be honest, we all want to look better than we feel at times like these.
When it comes to allergy season beauty, the approach is three-pronged: prevent, treat and correct. Sound difficult? Never fear…we’re here to offer up easy tips and tricks to downplay the allergy/sinus look while you await fall (or the first freeze).
Step 1: Prevent
There are easy steps to prevent allergens, and many of these steps begin in the bedroom. Simply vacuuming your mattress and your carpeting is a perfect first line of defense against pollen spores. Washing your sheets regularly also helps to rid trapped allergens. If you’re still waking up puffy, sleep on two pillows instead of one. The slight elevation will help fluids drain from your face, meaning you’ll wake up less puffy.
Step 2: Treat
Allergy medication has come a long way in terms of treating symptoms with very few side effects (like medicine head). Talk to your doctor about allergy medications. As for treating the effects of allergies, moisturizing your face is vital. The friction created by using a tissue so often creates red, dry, painful chafing. Use a gentle oil-free (and preferably fragrance-free) moisturizer all over your face, then dab something extra emollient like Aquafor on irritated skin. Since lips also become chapped, Eos lip balms are excellent for both treating and preventing irritation. Red, itchy eyes can also be alleviated with an inexpensive over-the-counter eye drop. And do not forget to drink water. It helps to flush your body, ultimately keeping you hydrated one the inside and out.
Step 3: Correct
Despite all your best attempts to prevent and treat them, signs of allergies may still show themselves, especially in terms of beauty. For most men, this step is more difficult because it does require some camouflage by way of make-up but cosmetic products are very effective. While you might think those yellow concealers at the store look scary, they actually make a lot of sense. Yellow counteracts red, so a light application of a yellow cream or powder can actually neutralize that red nose. If eyes are red but not itchy or tearing, a nude-colored eyeliner can brighten eyes and conceal the telltale signs of allergies (skip this step if your eyes are watering or if you find yourself touching them often). Don’t do a full-on contoured eye, even if you’re headed to the office. Opt for a beige wash across the lid and a slightly shimmery (not glittery) shadow on the browbone. This visually opens your eye, making you look more awake and lifted. As for actual color cosmetics, choose nude or pink-ish tones. A pale pink or even coppery-pink shade of blush and lipstick can help enliven your face. For men, a lightly tinted moisturizer can be beneficial. Many of the latest forms of these moisturizers go on sheer, meaning men (and women) won’t have to worry about looking “made up.”
If Sleeping Beauty had a sister named Waking Beauty, it’s a sure bet there would be some sibling rivalry. It’s all well and good to look lovely while sleeping but it’s something altogether more magical when we awake looking good. Between the hair knots, facial creases and puffy eyes, most of us spend the greater part of our morning routine battling the effects of how we’ve slept. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Truly, a few easy steps before bed can have you looking your best the moment you finally submit to the alarm’s call. Ready to look better tomorrow morning? Read on because we’re here to help.
Bad Breath: Our mothers always told us to brush our teeth before bed, and you have probably heeded that advice throughout your lifetime. As it turns out, it’s probably not enough. A bedtime routine should include a three-pronged approach: flossing, brushing and mouthwash. Not one of the three steps can adequately remove and kill bacteria alone, and this bacteria causes both bad breath and cavities. Take that brushing a step further and you’ll have better breath in the a.m.
Facial Creases: When it comes to the ideal position for sleeping, your back is the best way to go. Between the weight of your head (7 to 9 pounds) and the friction caused by your pillowcase as you move during sleep, creases and wrinkles are bound to happen. Of course the creases go away within a few hours but the cumulative effect can lead to deep wrinkles. Your best bet is to try to train yourself to sleep on your back every single night. If you still find that you’re migrating onto your side or stomach, try a satin pillowcase. The slip factor of satin means less friction.
Shop affordable satin pillowcases at walmart.com.
Puffy Eyes and/or Face: Like facial creases, puffiness and bloating can be caused by sleep position. A bit of gravity helps fluids drain. Sleeping slightly elevated on your back is the best position. Try doubling your pillows, one on top of the other, for a good angle. A second culprit is diet. Dehydration, salt and carbohydrates can cause whole-body bloating. The MSN Living article “10 Ways to Wake Up Beautiful” explains that a dinner of rice, pasta or potatoes can lead to “carb face,” that pasty, bloated look the next morning. Of course salt causes the body to retain water, while drinking plenty of water helps flush your system for that coveted svelte look.
Breakouts: No matter what time you go to bed, wash your face before you turn in. You may be tempted to skip this step when you’re exhausted but that’s always a bad idea. With or without makeup, dirt, oil and toxins build up on your face throughout the day. Failing to remove this dirt leads to clogged pores. For a deep, relaxing clean, choose a cleansing brush. The Clarisonic is ideal but expensive. An effective but more economical choice is the Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System. Use your favorite cleanser and brush away the poor-clogging dirt and debris.
Dull Skin: Night is the perfect time to work a skincare treatment into your beauty regimen. If you’re feeling a little lackluster, try a sunless tanning cream. A gradual tanner like Coppertone Sunless Tanning Lotion goes on clear and builds gradually, which means you won’t stain your sheets with the formula and you won’t have to worry about fast-forming splotches. An AHA skin moisturizer like St. Ives Naturally Smooth Fruit AHA Complex Body Lotion also does wonders for uneven skin tone, light sun damage and breakouts.
Knotted, Dull Hair: Our mothers and grandmothers slept in soup cans and curlers to wake up with gorgeous hair. Thankfully hair tool technology has changed a bit; however, it’s still a good idea to take some beautifying steps before bed. Night is a great time to apply a deep moisturizing hair conditioner. You’ll have to wash it out the next morning, but your tresses will look silky and shiny. When you aren’t deep conditioning, make sure your hair is pulled up while you sleep. Buns and high ponytails keep locks knot-free. If you’re hoping for beachy waves, try braiding your hair in three or more plaits. Upon awaking, just shake out the braids and spritz some texturizing spray.
Rough Heels: Especially during warmer months, a nighttime foot treatment will lead to perfect sandal-ready feet the next morning. For a head start, slough dry skin and callouses with pumice stone or foot file immediately after an evening bath or shower. Apply an ultra-moisturizing foot cream like Sally Hansen Intensive Overnight Heel Repair Cream, then slip moisturized feet into lightweight cotton socks. By morning, feet will be soft and smooth.
It seems like there is a day or month devoted to everything these days. (Hello, National Talk Like A Pirate Day.) It’s not surprising, then, that the world celebrates National Sleep Month in March. The funny thing is that given how important sleep is, we don’t really take it very seriously. Really, have you even heard of it? Maybe it’s time that we all begin paying attention.
Ready for some surprising numbers? Did you know that in the average lifetime, most of us spend about 208,185 hours of sleep? That’s 8,674 days just sleeping! As for our bedding products, we spend about 20,000 hours on a mattress in its lifetime. That’s 833 days of sleep on your mattress over the course of about seven years. Factor in that sleep (or the lack thereof) greatly impacts health–both physical and mental–and you begin to see that maybe the most important “awareness” month just may be National Sleep Month.
Throughout the month of March, we’ll be offering tips and ideas for better sleep over on our Facebook page, all in honor of National Sleep Month. We wanted to start the month out, though, with some simple (and often free) tips and steps to create the ideal space for not just your best night’s sleep but a whole year’s worth of best nights. Here’s to your…sleep!
Design your bedroom as a single-purpose space
Bedrooms were meant for one thing: rest and relaxation (sleeping, reading a good book, romance). We’re all so busy that it can be tempting to use the bedroom as an extension of the office or as a family entertainment room full of DVDs, board games, and kids’ toys. Your first step? Clear out the extra “stuff.” Even if it means a mess in the living room for a day or so, move all the non-rest items out of your room. It may take some time to change your own mental image from what the room was to what it should be, but it will be worth the time and effort.
Banish bedroom clutter
After you’ve banished the non-bedroom essentials, it’s time to straighten what is supposed to be there. One of the worst things you can do is make the entire bedroom your closet. Add shelving in the closet, buy some under-bed storage boxes, or get creative with storage ideas throughout the house…but give everything a place and keep it there!
Control dust bunnies
Dust can trigger allergies. Dust mites, those tiny microscopic creatures that live in all bedding–yes, everyone’s bedding!–can even trigger asthma attacks. The easiest way to stop these problems is just simple, routine cleaning. Make sure your sheets are washed at least every week. Dust your furniture and sweep or vacuum. For even better allergen control, vacuum the mattress periodically, as well. Less dust can mean fewer nights spent stuffed up or sneezing.
Darken your windows
If light is infiltrating your room, you may find that you don’t sleep. And we aren’t just talking an early sunrise. Even the security light from your backdoor neighbor can sabotage your sleep. Try buying blackout curtains, or achieve the same effect by layering with blinds, sheers and drapes.
Find the right mattress and pillows
If your mattress is more than 7 years old, there’s a very good chance that it is worn out. For pillows, the lifespan is even shorter…1 year. Besides the fact that bedding–mattresses, toppers, pillows–wear out and become less supportive, they also just become too allergen-riddled to save. Gross? Yes, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Here is one area Spa Sensations can help! Remember that a “good” mattress and pillow is personal choice. It isn’t buying the most expensive that saves the day…it’s the most comfortable for you.
Create a restful bedroom design that you love
Do you love your bedroom? Do you look forward to going there each evening…not just because your bed is there but because you love the room? If not, it’s high time for a makeover. While red and charcoal colors look striking in home decor ads, these dense colors are not conducive to a great night’s sleep. Studies show that mellow natural hues are more restful. Choose a linen color, a sage green, or a sea blue. They don’t have to be soft and pastel; the goal is to use a tone that is earthy and meadow- or water-inspired.
Happy National Sleep Month! Take some time to consider your bedroom. Is it helping or hindering your restfulness? We would love to hear about what you’ve done to make your bedroom the best. Stop by and tell us on our Facebook page!
Ah, February. While many of us tend to think of the shortest month of the year as the season of love and romance, it’s also a month devoted to the heart in a very different way. February is American Heart Month. Bearing very sobering statistics, heart disease claims the lives of many every year and is the number 1 killer of women in the U.S. It’s also a disease that is largely preventable with diet, exercise, stress management, and physical rest. Not to minimize the diet and exercise part, we do know a thing or two about the latter. And, really, our heart-healthy tips are absolutely affordably-indulgent. (No tofu and carrot sticks here!)
For a healthier lifestyle, treat yourself to…
Have a Cup of (Green) Tea: With its powerful antioxidants, green tea is widely recommended by healthcare professionals for a number of health benefits. And, in fact, a recent study from the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation found that human blood vessels functioned better within 30 minutes of drinking a single cup. (Source: WebMD.) Besides being so relaxing, green tea is also an affordable luxury.
For about $10, pick up Keurig K-Cups featuring Bigelow Green Tea at Walmart.com or at your local store.
A Yoga Session: Yes, time is hard to come by but in as little as 12 weeks after incorporating yoga into your day, many see a reduction in cholesterol and lower blood pressure. (Source: American Heart Association.) As a bonus, you may experience a greater feeling of relaxation, leading to better sleep and rest.
Whether for cardio or relaxation benefits, you should always consult your own doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. When you are ready, the yoga set featured above garners rave reviews.
Read a Good Book or Begin a Journal: No matter your favorite book or magazine genre, simply taking a few minutes to read each day can reduce your stress level and, therefore, benefit your heart. The American Heart Association recommends finding just 15 minutes in your day to do something enjoyable, whether reading, having a cup of tea with friends, or writing in a journal.
Recording the day’s events or special memories in a journal like the one featured above both beats stress and creates a lasting memory to share with others or just yourself.
Enjoy Aromatherapy During a Relaxing Bath: When it comes to rest, relaxation, and better sleep, aromatherapy and a warm soak each evening can be the ultimate indulgence. Even for just a few minutes between the kids’ bedtime and your own, there’s plenty of time to reap the benefits of this lavish, beneficial stress management technique.
For the ultimate multi-tasker, try this lavender-scented bath product (less than $5!) to calm and relax for a better night’s sleep and, ultimately, greater stress management.
This year, instead of anticipating candy and chocolates for Valentine’s Day, celebrate good heart health with one or all of these feel-good ideas and products.
Welcome to Spa Sensations’ Simple Luxuries blog! As you may already know, Spa Sensations truly believes that comfort is a fundamental human need that should be available to everyone. For that reason, we are committed to designing and creating luxurious, feel-good sleep products that are affordable and therefore accessible to every single person. That’s what we do but our mission is much, much greater. To all of us at Spa Sensations, mattresses, pillows, and toppers are just the beginning. Our goal–our true mission–is to see our customers living a life of health and great wellbeing, and feeling just a bit pampered at the same time.
This blog is one way we hope to accomplish this goal. If you’re looking for a hard sell, you won’t find it here (refreshing, isn’t it?). Simple Luxuries is your place to visit for tips, discussions, ideas, and suggestions to treat yourself and live well. Think of it as the ultimate non-guilty pleasure. Please come back and visit often. We also invite you to visit our Facebook page to share stories, offer feedback, and get the lowdown on new products.