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.
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.
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.”
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.