Just in case the month has gotten away from you, Thursday (yes, this Thursday) is Thanksgiving. It’s also the start of Hanukkah, plus Friday kicks off the official Christmas season. There’s a lot of gift giving on the horizon, and we would like to help you as you make your list and check it twice. Toys and gadgets are great but we prefer the gift of comfort for those we know and love. Whether you have a few dollars or a few hundred to spend, we have excellent gifting ideas that will thrill just about anyone.
Great gift-giving doesn’t have to put you in debt, especially when you’re shopping our budget-friendly, yet luxurious products. For newlyweds, a new mom, a beauty maven…practically anyone…a truly stellar pillow or pillow set will be a very welcomed gift. One of our newest (and, frankly, coolest) new pillow collections incorporates aloe into the cover. Say bye-bye to puffiness, dark circles, and the wrinkles and creases you get while sleeping with these comfortable 2-in-1 Dual-Sided pillows. Sold in packs of two, the set can easily be broken into two gifts or given as a set to someone really special.
For those on your list who love to read, surf, or game, our Bed Wedge pillow is divine. Infused with natural green tea and Castor oil for odor control and natural bacteria protection, this breathable pillow naturally conforms to the body while still giving a comfortable amount of support.
When you need to make a good impression, or want to give something phenomenal to someone you love, a mattress topper is always a good idea. It works with their existing mattresses to provide a better, more comfortable night’s sleep. Best of all, most of our mattress toppers are priced at or below $100. Our 2-inch 2-in-1 Cool Cradle Firm Support Topper rings in at $80 or less depending upon size. This style is ideal for those who sleep hot, thanks to its poly-mesh cover and visco-elastic foam.
Do you have a little one hoping to make the move to a “big kid” bed? The holiday season can be a great time to make the switch. Our Twin Memory Foam Youth Mattress comes in two colors, feels comfortable and supportive, and runs well under $100, which means you have more money to spend on the big kid bedding. You, as a parent or grandparent, will love it, too, because of the moisture barrier and green tea extract for odor control (hey, every little one will have an accident sometimes).
For the most important person on your gift list (or maybe yourself?), a little more luxury is in order. When we throw around the word “luxury,” we don’t ever mean mega-watt expense. Depending upon size, all of our comfortable, supportive mattresses are priced under $700, and most are priced $500 or less! With nearly 300 reviews and an average of 4-1/2 stars, our 10-inch Memory Foam and Spring Hybrid Mattress is a fantastic luxury gift choice.
And when you want to go all-out, top-of-the-line, your giftee will feel heavenly in one of our MyGel mattresses. Specifically, our MyGel 10-inch mattress receives raves from customers, averaging between four and five stars. From the cooling layer to the plush cover (hello, cloudlike feel) to the pressure relief system, this mattress is ideal for practically every sleeper, old or young, firm support fan to soft support fan.
Who deserves the gift of comfort and joy this holiday season? Visit our Facebook page and chat with us about gift-giving…or anything sleep and comfort-related!
Given the number of travelers on the road during the holiday season, it’s apropos that November is Drowsy Driving Awareness Month. According to AAA, 37% of drivers have reported feeling sleepy while driving and 11% of drivers have reported that they actually did fall asleep behind the wheel sometime in the last year. Further, it’s estimated that for every eight fatality accidents, one of those involved drowsy driving. Clearly it’s a problem, which is why we would like to touch on the signs and fixes for those times when you’re really too sleepy to be on the road.
Most of us scoff at the idea that someone needs to be informed as to the signs of feeling drowsy, yet it’s important to note that feeling sleeping does not always go hand in hand with being dangerously drowsy. Taking the feeling of sleepiness out of the equation, there are signs that you’re too sleepy to drive. Daydreaming while driving can be a major sign of drowsiness. That zoning out isn’t just boredom; it can be micro naps. The same can be said for frequent blinking. If your eyes feel dry and/or sandy, necessitating frequent blinks, it may be a signal that you’re drowsy. Other signs–drifting from your lane and having problems focusing–are more expected but can be easy to pass off as boredom.
Sleep is the one and only way to combat drowsy driving. That being said, there are times when it just isn’t possible to stop for a full night’s sleep. Eventually nothing is going to make you safe, but during times when it’s imperative that you stay on the road, sensory changes can be helpful. Coffee’s caffeine boost may help but keep in mind that it will take the caffeine about 20 minutes to enter your bloodstream and make you feel more alert. Two cups should provide some benefit for the average adult provided you understand its limitations. For some, a cold drink will do the trick faster. Changing the temperature to a lower setting and even opening a window can help in the short term. There are a few prescription medications that may help increase alertness; although, doctors’ reviews and opinions are mixed on the drugs’ efficacy. Even better, simply pulling over into a safe place and taking a 20 minute nap can help when you are too sleepy to be on the road. Of course offense is the best defense…plan your trip along with stops and rest breaks.
With a little care and planning, it’s possible to turn a road trip into something fun rather than exhausting. Pay attention to your body’s signals, get sleep prior to leaving, and travel with a friend. Arrive alive!
Every November, millions of families sit around their tables on Thanksgiving vocalizing what makes them thankful in their lives. And for millions of families who uphold this tradition, there will be one or two sitting at the same table who will roll their eyes when it’s time to begin. (A few of us did exactly that throughout our teen years.) As it turns out, though, the simple act of being grateful–being thankful–can greatly affect sleep.
In sociological terms, expressing gratitude is a prosocial behavior. In a nutshell, it does something to the brain, making us feel good when recognize and verbalize that for which we are thankful. Those who exhibit a healthier outlook on life tend to experience depression and illness less frequently. Of course a healthy mental state leads to better sleep as dozens, if not hundreds, of studies have shown over the years.
New research just reported earlier this year actually demonstrates another sleep/gratitude correlation. Better sleep may actually make us more grateful. Reported back in January 2013 on sciencedaily.com (see full source following this article), three studies followed people who slept poorly, noting their states of mind. In all three, study participants demonstrated a growing lack of gratitude after nights of poor sleep. What’s even more interesting, the effects were cumulative. According to Gordon Chen, quoted in the sciencedaily.com article, “Poor sleep is not just experienced in isolation. [...] Instead, it influences our interactions with others, such as our ability to be grateful, a vital social emotion.”
It seems, then, that sleep and gratitude is really a Catch-22. You sleep better when you’re thankful and are thankful when you sleep better. What have you noticed in your own life? Do you find yourself feeling less thankful when you’re sleepless? We would love to continue this discussion on our Facebook page. Please join us!
Source: Society for Personality and Social Psychology. “Surprising connections between our well-being and giving, getting, and gratitude.” ScienceDaily, 19 Jan. 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2013.
Temperatures are dropping nicely at night all over the country. For most of us, that means it’s time to pull out the down comforters, flannel sheets, and blankets. Next to your mattress, your bedding–especially a high-quality down comforter–can be a major investment. For this reason, it pays to properly care for it. Although down products are fairly low maintenance, they aren’t zero maintenance, which means a little TLC can pay off in spades.
Although magazines and sales displays show beds with uncovered down comforters upon the bed, forgoing a cover is a bad idea. Skin oils, dust, allergens…they all easily contaminate and ruin the fabric cover and, ultimately, the down fill. Sold under many different names, a comforter cover is essential. Look for terms like ‘duvet’ or ‘comforter cover’ when shopping. A matelasse is also an option; however, be aware that these types of covers function more like bedspreads than covers.
On a weekly basis, you should be shaking your down comforter to re-position the down fill. This step is rather simple: just pull it off the bed and shake as you would a rug. At the same time, consider laundering the cover. If dirt or stains are apparent, take the time to clean those weekly, if not sooner. Generally you will find cleaning instructions on or with your comforter’s packaging. Spot cleaning is the first step toward caring for any surface soil. Laundering a down comforter can be difficult. With continual use of a cover, most down comforters can go around three years before requiring a wash. When the time comes, though, consider either paying a professional to take on the job, or at least arm yourself with gentle fabric wash and a few tennis balls, then find an industrial-sized or extra-large capacity washer. Once the comforter has gone through a gentle cycle, place it in a dryer on medium heat and add clean tennis balls. The balls will bounce, helping to redistribute the down. You still may find that shaking the comforter after it’s removed from the dryer is necessary.
If you plan to remove your down comforter during the year’s warmer months, take the time to carefully store it. A well ventilated closet that is away from any source of water or other moisture is ideal. Also, because the comforter needs ventilation, don’t place it in a plastic storage bag. For those who keep their down comforters on the bed year ’round, consider airing the comforter periodically.
We usually like to discuss lighter subjects here on our blog, but an important topic is on our minds right now as the month changes over from September to October. For several years, October has been observed as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. Sadly, even in our technologically-advanced country, SIDS is the number one cause of death in infants ages one month to one year. What’s frightening is that no one really knows for sure what causes it. There are, however, certain behaviors and safety guidelines we can follow to significantly cut down the risk. Many of these deal with sleep and bed safety. As the maker of kids’ beds and as parents/grandparents/caregivers (you get the point) of kids ourselves we’re concerned about the safety and security of children, which is why we’d like to take today to remind our readers of safe sleep environments for little ones.
Safety in the Crib
SIDS prevention begins in cribs. Blankets, too-soft mattresses, crib bumpers, stuffed animals, pillows…they are all products that can–and have–led to infant deaths. The safest crib is one that has a firm mattress and fitted sheet. That’s all. Especially in cold weather, however, many parents fear that little ones will get cold during the night. Sleep sacks are ideal. Worn much like a sleeper, the fabric keeps baby warm but stays safely away from his or her airway. For parents who fear baby will become entangled in the crib’s sidebars, breathable crib bumpers are also smart. In the event baby’s face is pushed against the bumper, open-weave mesh allows air to flow through. See examples of both below.
While feeling cold can be uncomfortable, overheating has actually been linked to SIDS. Because all children and homes are different, the exact temperature may vary between children. Signs of overheating can be sweating or a moist feeling on the baby’s forehead. Crying can signal discomfort, as well. A good rule of thumb is that the room should be comfortable to you as an adult. If it’s hot to your body, it’s hot to baby’s too.
Baby’s sleeping position
Babies should always be placed on their backs for sleep. Once they are old enough and strong enough to roll over unassisted, they may turn onto their sides or stomach throughout the night. Still, it’s always safest to place a baby on his or her back for sleep regardless of age.
Many factors play into the safety of an infant. If you would like to read more about SIDS and SIDS safety, the National Institute of Health’s web site is extremely helpful.
In our series of cheap-chic bedroom makeover ideas, we’ve focused heavily on free or extremely inexpensive products and decor ideas. Today, we’re veering just a little off course as we pinpoint what’s worth a splurge as you make over your bedroom space.
Although you don’t have to spend thousands to buy a great mattress, this is one piece of furniture you don’t want to skimp on either. A great night’s sleep is so important…too important to settle on an uncomfortable bed just because it’s cheap. Our Spa Sensations mattresses are phenomenal because they’re technologically advanced, comfortable, and budget-friendly (all are less than $700 and most are less than $500).
When it comes to sheets, the sky’s the limit in terms of price points. From $5 per piece to hundreds of dollars per set, there’s a sheet set out there for everyone. Like mattresses, here is another product, however, that you really shouldn’t skimp on. Now we’re not telling you that the $800 set is a must (we’re not that crazy). Thread count, quality, and material all matter. A mid-range thread count (500) in a natural material like cotton or even bamboo will feel best and offer the best quality for the money. Fabrications like flannel and jersey can make up for a less-than-stellar set if that type is comfortable for you.
Comforters, Duvets, and Bedspreads: Save
While a great down or down alternative comforter may be worth a splurge, you can get away with saving on most bed covers. Magnets for dust and dirt, you’ll want to toss your bed cover into the washer periodically and replace every few years. Especially for those of us who like to change up the look of our beds with the seasons, saving can be a smart way to add extra colors and textures to your room.
Throws and Toss Pillows: Save
Here are two more product lines that can wind up falling into astronomical price points. By all means, though, save your money here. Cashmere throws aren’t a must. In fact, we’ve found cashmere-soft cotton styles at discount stores for less than $20. And when it comes to toss pillows, most of us like to switch them out seasonally or at least every year or so. With so many affordable, lovely options at $10 or less per pillow, save your cash here.
Furniture: Splurge and/or SaveBesides your mattress, bedroom furniture can add the most cost to a bedroom makeover. If you move frequently, have kids and pets, or are just generally hard on furniture, splurging is really smart. Laminated particle board-style furniture can come with a pretty price tag, but it won’t hold up. The key is to buy the best you can afford. Spending hundreds can often mean more years of service from your bedroom furniture. To be sure, no one says you have to buy new. If a great set pops up at a tag sale or resale shot and you love it, nab it!
Agree? Disagree with our splurges and saves? We would love to hear what you think on our Facebook page.
Earlier in the month, we began a series of blog articles related to cheap-chic makeover ideas for the bedroom. Before the month of August–National Romance Awareness Month–escapes us, we thought we would spend part 2 of the series talking about ways to add a romantic vibe to the bedroom. When most of us think “romance,” we immediately think of feminine touches to the room–flowers, scented candles, etc. Creating a feeling of romance, however, can be so much more, and it doesn’t have to be strictly flowery and ruffled. In actuality, one of the best ways to create the perfect environment is through organization. The piles of clothes, stacks of paper, and/or kids’ toys can kill romance is seconds flat. The bedroom should be a sanctuary for you and your significant other. Banish the clutter, then proceed with the other ideas we have featured below.
Ask any photographer what makes a subject look his or her best and lighting will surely come up. The same can be said for the bedroom. For romance or for reading at night, softened light is ideal. It softens lines and creates attractive shadows, plus it allows one person to read while the other sleeps. Most overhead lights and lamps are a little too harsh; however, that’s easily remedied for about $5. A dimmer switch is practically foolproof to install and can be purchased at our retailer, walmart.com. Electric candles can also be a great addition to the bedroom. They’re safe for use around kids and you won’t worry if you fall asleep with one “lit.” When it comes to creating a calming or romantic vibe, candles are lovely.
In addition to lighting, bedding can make a huge difference in a bedroom’s ambiance. Brand new sheets aren’t a must, but old, worn out sheets can ruin a good night’s sleep and can make the room feel tattered. If it’s time for new sheets, choose something natural like cotton or silk. Higher thread counts are fantastic; look specifically for 500-thread count sets to get the most for your money. Color can be a personal decision, so choose whatever appeals to you and your significant other. As for pillows and comforters/bedspreads, pick something neutral as a base, then accessorize with patterns, textures, or colors that appeal to both of you. The key is to create an inviting space that you both love.
We would love to hear how you’ve added romantic ambiance to your bedroom. Visit us on our Facebook page and tell us all about it!
Late summer always means one thing to those of us in the furniture and home decor business: market season. The summer/fall Las Vegas Market ended just days ago, leaving us with so many ideas and trends for the home–the bedroom especially. We know that total home and room makeovers can cost a fortune, so we’re putting together a few ideas to help you update and decorate your bedroom on the cheap!
Color: Feeling Blue
From navy to turquoise to light baby blue, blue was everywhere at market. If you’re looking to make a big change in a room, paint is key, and it’s really hard to go wrong with blue in the bedroom. Depending upon the shade, it can be extremely calming and tranquil. We know that painting a room can be pricey. The paint itself is not particularly cheap, plus there’s often the cost of hiring a painter unless you have a steady hand. It really can be a wise investment, despite the costs associated. If you have one area to splurge (assuming you already have good furniture and a great bed), paint is where you should do it.
Print: Anything Goes
Graphic designs, floral, lines, dots…if you want to add one update to makeover your bedroom in terms of fabrics, a print is the way to go. We love the idea of an exotic Ikat print throw pillow like the one from walmart.com featured below. Accents are more economical than, say, buying a full bedding set. Pick your favorite print, then look for it in tones that accentuate your existing bedding. Patterned sheets are also excellent for adding a little interest to your room.
It’s always easy to change a room with the seasons when money is no object. When you need to get the most for your money, however, we always recommend making small but impactful changes. It’s the eye-catching additions that can thoroughly change the vibe of a room, and it’s so easy to do. How have you changed your bedroom on a budget? We would love to hear about it.
Although the month of July is barely half over, back-to-school season looms near. Soon trips to the pool will be replaced by trips to the mall and office supply stores for fall apparel and classroom supplies. But what about your child’s mattress? While mattresses aren’t typically on the average back-to-school list, maybe they should be. Multiple studies have been published over the past few years pointing to the importance of good sleep to learning and retention for both kids and adults. According to sciencedaily.com, Dr. Ines Whilhelm of the University of Tübingen’s Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology explains: “In children, much more efficient explicit knowledge is generated during sleep from a previously learned implicit task.” Certainly children are taking in and processing a greater amount of information each day than most adults, yet the myriad studies reveal that sleep has a similar effect upon everyone of every age. For a great start on the new school year, we’ve culled a group of our best, most affordable products.
Uber-affordable, our Memory Foam Youth Mattresses are amazing for kids and even young adults who are headed to college. A moisture barrier protects the mattress from spilled liquids or, in the case of young children, bed-wetting accidents. We also add a natural green tea treatment to the memory foam to combat odors. The HD Memory Foam and Heat-Sensitive Memory Foam combination is ideal for both breathability and comfort. And one of the greatest benefits of this mattress (and all our Memory Foam mattresses) is that it fits easily in the back of your car, as you can see below!
Box springs are just not portable items. Their rigidity tends to make them difficult to maneuver up stairs, through doorways…need we say more? Our Bi-Fold Box Springs are perfect for everyone–especially those who have to figure out a way to bring them up narrow dorm stairwells. And like our mattresses, this foundation will fit easily in most family cars, SUVs, and trucks.
Our Bed Wedge Pillow is a great choice for teens and young adults who like to read in bed. This pillow also boasts technology like green tea additive for odor control, BioFoam to slow the growth of bacteria, and Viscoelastic foam to conform to the body for breathable comfort.
Convenient, affordable, and comfortable…here’s to a great school year on a Spa Sensations mattress!
Depending upon the severity of a sunburn, the discomfort level can range from minor tenderness to a necessary trip to the doctor for treatment. If the burn is bad enough that blisters form and you’re suffering chills, it’s best to consult a physician. For the more minor types of sunburns, there are ways to make yourself more comfortable in order to sleep. First of all, a dose of aspirin or acetaminophen can reduce pain and inflammation. There are also over-the-counter sprays, creams, and gels that contain lidocaine, a deadening agent that can temporarily numb the sunburn pain. There are plenty of home remedies, too. Milk, for example, has anti-inflammatory properties and is great for a sunburn. Mix up equal parts of cold water and cold milk, dip a cloth into the mixture, then apply to the affected area for several minutes. Tea bags can also do wonders for facial sunburns. Brew some tea or at least thoroughly moisten the tea bags, then place them into the refrigerator. Once the wet tea bags are cold, apply them directly to the affected area (eyes, cheeks, lips). The cold will help reduce swelling and temporarily relieve the heat. Above all, keep hydrated both internally and externally. A sunburn parches the body in multiple ways. Cold aloe vera gel will cool and hydrate the skin while plenty of water will keep you more comfortable and healthier from the inside out.
Mosquitoes, chiggers, no-see-ums, ticks…they all leave nasty bites that seem to itch worse the minute you go to bed. There’s also the matter of making them worse by scratching, which happens completely involuntarily once you do fall asleep. Modern science, however, really has given us some good options for treating these annoyances. Hydrocortisone cream is extremely helpful for bites. Dab it onto the affected area for itch control and to cut down on inflammation. Along the same lines, an antihistamine (sprayed topically or taken in pill form) can be helpful if you have several bites or if you are mildly allergic to them. Much like sunburn, there are some excellent remedies in your pantry and/or medicine cabinet, too. Toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, and skin astringents can take the itch and sting out of bites. A paste made of salt and water thickly applied to the area can minimize sting as well.
Don’t let the little summer skin annoyances keep you from having fun this summer. As the saying goes, good offense is the best defense (ie: sunscreen and bug spray), but for those unfortunate when you’re caught without either, try one of these smart, easy remedies to get a good night’s sleep.
During the study, which was conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical medicine, researchers concluded that there is a solid link between co-sleeping and SIDS. As reported in a babycenter.com article, the study found that 22.2% of infants who died of SIDS had been co-sleeping when they died. Further, nine out of 10 babies who died of SIDS would not have died had they been sleeping in their own beds. Perhaps the scariest statistic reported by Robert Carpenter, PhD, in medpageotday.com following the study: “When neither parent smoked, and the baby was breastfed, less than 3-months old, and had no other major SIDS risk factors, the adjusted odds ratio for bed-sharing versus room-sharing was still 5.1.” So even the parents who co-slept responsibly–abstaining from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco while baby slept in the same bed–had a great risk of SIDS than those whose babies slept in bassinets or cribs by themselves. And for those parents who did co-sleep while using tobacco, drugs, or alcohol, the SIDS risk was exponentially greater.
Even proponents of co-sleeping situations are expressing surprise at the numbers related to this study. The statistics are sobering and the methodology was sound. While this certainly isn’t the first time parents have been warned against co-sleeping with infants, it may be one of the most revealing and opinion-changing outcomes in recent years.
Where do you stand on co-sleeping? Is it a worthy bonding experience, or do you deem it too risky to try?
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.