Blog posts from CertiPUR-US®,  a certification program administered by a not-for-profit organization.

A Closer Look at the Science and Process Behind Certified Foam 

When you shop for a mattress or upholstered furniture, you are often looking for comfort—not just physical comfort but the comfort and confidence of knowing that the furnishings you bring into your home and spend so much time with are made with materials you can feel good about.  That’s why the CertiPUR-US® foam certification program, administered by a not-for-profit organization, was developed: to ensure the foam in mattresses, pillows, toppers, upholstered chairs and sofas—even dog beds, kids' indoor cushions and some medical sleep support products—are made with flexible polyurethane foam that meets rigorous standards for content, emissions and durability.  Here are 10 points that offer a quick glimpse of the science and process behind our certification:  We only use independent accredited laboratories for testing and analyzing foams. Our testing ensures the foams we certify are made without ozone depleters; made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants; made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals; made without formaldehyde; made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and have low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million). We prohibit foams made with any chemicals that have been identified by [...]

By |2021-09-09T16:23:05-04:00September 9, 2021|

Zen and the Art of Furniture Buying

Are you in the market for a cozy new sofa or chair? Great, but if it’s not currently in stock, you may want to plan on it taking longer than expected. I discovered this when I ordered a new sofa this summer. The fabric was in stock, and the salesperson assured me the order would arrive by late fall. Now it’s looking more like January 2022. Why the long wait? Turns out the delay is caused by a global supply shortage that’s creating bottlenecks across many industries—not only in upholstered furniture, but also boats, automobiles, RVs and much more. Furniture industry suppliers and manufacturers have been scrambling to meet the increased customer demand that started during the COVID-19 pandemic, when homebound consumers turned their focus to improving their interiors. Then, producers ramped up to 120% capacity to deal with the exploding demand.  According to a recent article in USA Today, the resulting backlog has affected the entire supply chain in this industry—all the way down to the furniture retailers, who generally maintain lean inventories and minimal surpluses. The stores are trying their best to keep up with demand, caught in between the struggling producers and frustrated customers.  The media [...]

By |2021-08-04T15:20:04-04:00August 4, 2021|

Home Décor Hack: 5 Ways to Benefit from Furniture Store Design Services

Do you drool over the rooms featured in home design magazines and websites and wish your home could look so put together? One reason those rooms are so fabulous is because they were created by people who really know what they are doing! A professional interior designer can give you confidence in your purchases and help you create a cohesive, styled home that is uniquely yours.  If you’re like me, it’s hard to decide about things like furniture size, styles, colors, fabrics and materials. Designers are trained to overcome the most daunting challenges. And, they are well-versed in floor planning, color theory, design styles, window treatments, paint, finishes, textiles, accessorizing and traffic flow. Coping with unusual room layouts and/or space challenges is part of their everyday job. Here’s my hot tip for you this summer: Many furniture stores offer interior design services, either in-person or online, that you can tap for free or for a small fee that can be deducted from the price of any furniture you purchase later. You can sit down with their staff designer, either at the store or via video conference, and get great advice and gain access to hundreds of options that extend [...]

By |2021-07-14T08:21:01-04:00July 13, 2021|

Keep it Zipped: Mattresses and Fiberglass

Reading this blog could save you a ton of time and aggravation. In just the past year or two, consumers have been asking us a question that has also received increased media attention. It has to do with fiberglass. To be absolutely clear, foam manufacturers do not use fiberglass to make the types of foam we certify through the CertiPUR-US® program. But sometimes there may be fiberglass in your mattress cover or in a fabric “sock” that is pulled over the foam core before the cover is put on — in what is referred to as a barrier fabric. These barrier fabrics are designed to meet government flammability standards. This is a perfectly legitimate practice. But it is important the fiberglass stays safely contained inside the mattress. For that reason, do not remove the cover of a mattress without first reading product care instructions carefully, consulting the manufacturer’s website or calling their customer service department. Do not take any chances. Of course, some mattresses are designed with a cover that can be removed without creating a problem, but just because you see a zipper, do not assume the cover is removable. Sometimes the zipper is there only for easy [...]

By |2021-06-17T10:31:45-04:00June 17, 2021|

May Is Better Sleep Month: New Research Reveals COVID-19’s Influence

2020 was a year that most of us wish we could have slept through — and it looks like we gave it a good try, with more of us buying new beds and bedding, according to a new consumer survey commissioned by the Better Sleep Council (BSC). The BSC has been focusing our attention on the importance of good sleep for decades, establishing Better Sleep Month in May 1985. Since then, it has conducted many consumer surveys, but the BSC’s most recent poll reflected some interesting changes in people’s sleep and mattress preferences stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few particularly notable findings in the survey, which focused on recent mattress buyers and consumers planning to purchase a mattress: We value our sleep more than ever. A majority (75%) agree that a good night’s sleep is important to their health, placing it above regular medical checkups (69%), stress management (65%), a healthy diet (62%) and physical exercise (58%) on the priority scale. A few of us are sleeping better, but ... One in three respondents say that the stresses and turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic have wreaked havoc on their rest, citing concerns about the economy, political [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:05:54-04:00April 29, 2021|

Spring Cleaning Your Mattress: Easier Than You Think

When is the last time you cleaned your mattress? Never, right? You’re not alone! Spring is a good time to start making this an annual tradition. Cleaning a mattress is actually simple, says Kristi Kellogg and Miranda Silva, whose tips appeared in a recent issue of Architectural Digest. You won’t need special products or equipment — just a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment; some cleaning cloths; an enzyme stain remover you can make yourself or buy at most grocery, home improvement or hardware stores; laundry soap; baking soda; and cold water. Here is a breakdown of the steps: Strip the bed. Wash all bedding, pillows and mattress covers (provided the label says they are removable and washable) in warm water.  Do not remove the mattress covering. Even if the mattress cover material has a zipper, this is typically not meant to be removed and can create serious problems if the covering uses fiberglass to meet national mattress flammability standards.  Vacuum the entire surface of the mattress. The upholstery attachment will help you get into the seams. Spot-clean any stains. You can use store-bought enzyme stain remover or make your own using a little dish soap mixed with water [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:04:38-04:00April 5, 2021|

The History of Recliners: They Go Waaay Back

The evolution of recliners has been extraordinary in the past few decades, with designs to suit every décor and space.  The modern recliner can change multiple positions at the push of a button, charge your laptop, warm and massage your aching muscles, and even help you stand up. What’s not to love? The recliner earned its seat of honor following a long and noble path around the globe that dates back thousands of years. From royalty to dentistry, wretched excess to wrenching extraction, this special chair has seen it all. Here’s a salute to the not-so-humble history of the recliner: Peel me a grape. History’s first recliners may have belonged to the ancient Egyptians, whose lavish banquets took lounging to an art form. They wined and dined on daybeds called “klines” with intricately carved legs depicting animals, cushions, armrests, and headboards. During her 44-year reign, Queen Elizabeth I used a “stool” with a tasseled pillow to support her royal feet and spring mechanism that reclined in several positions. Monarchs such as King Philip II of Spain and Charles I of England enjoyed “sleeping chairs” with adjustable backs. Even the well-traveled Napoleon III used a portable, upholstered, reclining camp bed [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:08:21-04:00March 4, 2021|

Thank you, NASA: The Unusual History of Memory Foam

Are you one of the millions of people who sleep on a mattress made with memory foam? This remarkable invention’s origins can be traced to the space program. Here is the surprising story behind memory foam: It took off because of a NASA mission. Memory foam was the brainchild of Charles Yost, a visionary aeronautical engineer in Asheville, N.C., who helped build a recovery system for the Apollo command module in 1962. Four years later, the NASA contractor was given a new mission: to develop airline seats that offer better impact protection in the event of an accident, as well as enhanced passenger comfort on long flights. Yost, who died in 2005 at the age of 71, created a new type of flexible polyurethane foam material that conformed to whatever shape was pressing against it, returning to its original shape when the pressure was removed, providing an even distribution of body weight. Early on, Yost called this tempur foam, while others referred to it as “slow spring back foam.” Technically, it is viscoelastic foam, but widely referred to as memory foam. I can’t write about memory foam without giving a shout-out to one of our CertiPUR-US® participating foam producers [...]

By |2021-02-05T22:01:51-05:00February 4, 2021|

Top 10 Home Décor Trends for 2021

It is unlikely we will ever forget the year 2020 – and its reverberating effects will carry us well into 2021. Many are facing serious financial repercussions – others the heartbreaking loss of loved ones. For those fortunate enough to ride this out by hunkering down, homes have become the hub of all family activity – often including school and work – and a sanctuary to buffer us from an uncertain world. This pivotal year has transformed how we view our living spaces, according to home furnishings and décor experts. Here are a few home décor trends they are forecasting for 2021: Spaces do double-duty. We will continue to need multifunctional spaces that fulfill a variety of purposes. There is an increased focus on creating spaces (nooks!) designed for both relaxation and productivity, without sacrificing aesthetics. Comfort reigns. We’re gravitating toward furnishings that evoke comfort and livability, according to Modsy’s annual trend report on Insider.com. This means overstuffed furniture with softer curves; and textural, grainy, reclaimed woods.  Old feels new. Insider.com is seeing a resurgence in antiques and repurposed, salvaged, and retro pieces that can be found in flea markets and antique stores. Modern, ‘80s décor also is enjoying [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:09:52-04:00January 4, 2021|

The Truth About Latex Foam in Mattresses

I field a lot of questions about mattress manufacturers’ and retailers' claims that their product is “all-natural” and “chemical-free.” Recently, a customer was confused about flexible polyurethane foam versus latex mattresses. “Is it true that latex is "chemical-free" and more "natural"? she asked. First, let me clarify that we only certify flexible polyurethane foam, which comprises the far greater share of the bedding market. We do not certify latex foam. However, some of our participating foam producers do produce latex, and there are mattresses sold today that are made with both flexible polyurethane foam and latex foam layers. So, we are not anti-latex -- just anti-misleading claims! It has become increasingly difficult for consumers to navigate through the labyrinth of sometimes inaccurate and exaggerated claims that can be a minefield when shopping for a new mattress. It is our policy to adhere to facts and to abide by the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides. These guides set guidelines for advertisers and were designed to prevent marketers from misleading consumers with hyperbolic and/or unsubstantiated claims. Among the claims we caution our participants not to use are terms like “chemical-free,” and “natural." Be wary of marketers that try to trick you [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:09:13-04:00November 30, 2020|

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Daylight Saving Time

Whether you embrace it or brace for it, Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends for 2020 on Sunday, Nov. 1, when we turn our clocks back an hour at 2 a.m. If we look on the bright side, we gain in sleep what we lose in daylight hours--at least for one luxurious day. The springtime shift is more likely to mess us up—read on for more about that. Here are 10 fun facts that shed some light on why we change our clocks and what really happens when we try to fool Mother Nature. It is actually “Daylight Saving Time” (singular), not “Daylight Savings Time” (plural). Credit for DST is erroneously given to Founding Father and inventor Benjamin Franklin from his essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” in The Journal of Paris. The actual originator was British-born New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson in 1895, who wanted to gain extra daylight to collect and study bugs.  There is no international standard for DST, which is observed by about 70 countries, excluding China and Japan. Many countries near the equator do not adjust their clocks. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the system of uniform DST throughout [...]

By |2020-11-02T09:28:07-05:00October 27, 2020|

Survey Says: Top Ten Reasons People Have Trouble Sleeping

In an independent national consumer survey among mattress shoppers commissioned by the CertiPUR-US® program, we asked, “On nights when you have trouble sleeping, what are the biggest factors?” Quite a few of the things people told us that interfere with their sleep are relatively easy to fix. So, here’s the top ten list and beyond – along with some solutions you can put into play tonight to improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. The top 10 factors that interfere with sleep: Too hot or too cold Uncomfortable mattress Aches and pains General life stress worries Watching TV Snoring partner Too much light in room Tossing and turning partner Checking phone/electronics while in bed Noise from sources you can’t control, such as street noise, neighbors, heating system, etc. But beyond the Top 10 list, there are some interesting insights if you group the answers into categories, as well as several action steps you can take to improve sleep: Find the right temperature. Invest in an electric blanket or fan with a remote control, so you can easily turn it on or off from bed during the night. If your temperature needs differ from your partner, get a [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:10:25-04:00September 30, 2020|

Surviving the New Normal at Home

Home is being redefined in 2020. Who would have imagined that home would become where just about everything is, subbing for the office, classroom, gym, restaurant, vacation destination and countless other places that, sadly, we may never view quite the same way again. There is no sugarcoating the fact that many are enduring unbearable personal loss and financial hardship during the pandemic. If you have the good fortune to be healthy and still have a steady income, now is a time to consider donating to one or more of the deserving charities working overtime to fill unprecedented need. Before donating, you may want to research the organization's worthiness on Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that evaluates charities.  Those who do have the means are investing in their home life right now. Housing sales are booming—up a record 24.7% in July despite an otherwise troubled economy, according to the National Association of Realtors. Spending more time at home is prompting many people to look for larger places in which to work remotely. Other market factors, such as a shortage of available housing and low interest rates, are helping to fuel the boom. Those of us staying put are looking for creative [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:07:05-04:00August 26, 2020|

Checklist for Better Sleep: 10 Things You Can Do Tonight

The quality of your sleep affects your day in profound ways—it can inspire or sap creativity, flexibility, energy and mood. It can also make us feel as if we can take on the world or are unable to perform the simplest tasks. If you’re having a “down” day, there’s a good chance you didn’t sleep well the night before. Some things can’t be controlled, which is even more reason to control the things you can. These 10 tips are considered basic sleep hygiene, an odd term defined as “habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis.” Are you practicing these sleep basics? Be consistent. Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, including weekends and vacations. Aim for seven-plus hours. If you’re still lying there after 20 minutes, get up. Worrying about not sleeping can trigger a vicious cycle. Control your environment. Quiet and darkness are critical for sound sleep. Use blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, fans, white noise or whatever works to control external stimuli. Keep the room at a comfortable 65 degrees. Sound chilly? Read about the science of sleep temperature. Power down. Turn off [...]

By |2020-08-03T09:05:37-04:00July 29, 2020|

Practical Advice on Choosing a Dog Bed

Dogs spend about 12–14 hours a day snoozing, and most welcome the warmth, comfort, security and support of a dog bed over a hard floor. Some say a dog bed can even prolong the life of your beloved pet by cushioning joints.  I’m a big believer in proper crate training to housebreak puppies, but post-crate training, dog beds provide a place to feel safe and to relax during the day. This is true even if they share your bed at night—which is not always a good idea for light sleepers or those with allergies—or as a second-best place to sleep if your bed is off limits. When you travel with your dog, bringing along their bed provides a sense of familiarity, making them less anxious and more likely to settle down. My daughter’s two dogs are trained to retreat to their beds when she says “place.” The command is not meant or seen as a punishment, just a request to kindly relocate during family dinner or when it's best that dogs are not underfoot. What shape, size, design and other features of your dog’s bed you choose depends on several factors. Here are a few guidelines:  Size and fit. [...]

By |2020-06-30T12:11:54-04:00June 29, 2020|

8 Tips for Buying a Mattress Online

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the idea of purchasing a mattress online particularly appealing. There’s no denying the convenience factor, but how do you choose a mattress without trying it first? Much like buying a car, it can be daunting to purchase without a test-drive, but these tips will help: Do your homework. Carefully check reviews and consumer safeguards before buying. Look at the 4- or 5-star reviews, often the first to show up on a website, but also read less favorable reviews and look for most recent reviews, too, to see patterns that either give you greater comfort — or raise a red flag. Be sure your purchase is returnable or exchangeable. Many online retailers are savvy about consumers’ concerns and offer money-back trial periods and exchange programs. But take time to read the fine print on the return policy and options. Who pays for shipping — and how does a mattress get packaged for return? Can you reach the company? Make sure there is a phone number or a responsive virtual chat system. It’s a good idea to test customer service with a pre-purchase question. If you cannot connect with customer service when you are [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:12:15-04:00May 28, 2020|

Bravo: Mattress and Furniture Companies Donating Beds, Sewing Face Masks

We all need a little good news right now—like stories of how people and companies are rising to the challenge as we face the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global crisis together. Within our own industry, I’ve been impressed by the generosity and creativity demonstrated by some of our CertiPUR-US® participating companies in mobilizing their manufacturing resources to help meet some of the medical supply challenges. Below are just a few of our heroes—the list is growing. If you are a company tooling up to help, please let us know so we can share your efforts, too. Serta Simmons Bedding, the nation’s largest bedding manufacturer, is donating 10,000 mattresses to New York City hospitals and temporary medical facilities to help meet the need for 140,000 additional hospital beds. It’s also calling on its peers to do the same. Serta Simmons will also use its factories and expansive distribution network to produce up to 20,000 beds per day at the lowest possible cost if needed. The $2 million donation is being facilitated through its relationship with Relief Bed International, a nonprofit that provides beds to impoverished people and disaster victims around the world. Mattress manufacturer Eclipse International is producing an initial batch of [...]

By |2020-06-17T13:57:30-04:00April 2, 2020|

Sheltering in Place? Here’s a Worthy Home Health and Safety Project

Thanks to Covid-19, we are all spending more time at home and more time cleaning. Once you've got your  anti-virus protocols in place, since you're already focused on healthy and safety, why not look at other ways you can protect yourself and your family? To that end, I'd like to introduce the concept of "replacement cycles." These are the predictable lengths of time that you can expect household products to last before they lose their effectiveness or deteriorate. Between waking up and going to bed, we engage in many routines for our personal hygiene, beauty and fitness, as well as household cooking and cleaning —all with the best of intentions.  However, many items we use carry hidden dangers if we don’t swap them out soon enough.  Here’s a room-by-room guide: Whole-House: Smoke Detector Batteries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends changing your smoke detector batteries twice a year, at the same time you change your clocks.  Of course, in the interim, if your smoke detector chirps at you to let you know the battery is dying, you’ll need to replace it before then.  This is so critical.  The CPSC says two thirds of residential fire deaths take [...]

By |2020-03-19T10:16:26-04:00March 18, 2020|

7 Surprising Facts about Chairs

I just love “Chairman Tut,” a sculpture by the artist Larry Morris because it speaks to the creative process (often born of discomfort!) and also illustrates that chairs may well be one of man’s greatest inventions—certainly a vast improvement over nature’s chairs, such as the logs, tree stumps and rocks used by our early ancestors. In his book “Now I Sit Me Down,” which is an appreciation of the chair and its 5,000-year history, architect Witold Rybczynski notes, “The way we choose to sit, and what we choose to sit on, says a lot about us: our values, our tastes, the things we hold dear.” Consider these seven facts about the fascinating history of the chair: Seating styles differ around the world. More than 100 distinct seating postures have been identified worldwide. For example, some cultures have a strong preference for squatting, kneeling or sitting on mats on the floor. In China, chair backs often have a 45-degree angle, as opposed to Western chairs with straight backs or slight reclines. Each of these culturally dictated postures has informed the development of chair styles as well as our muscles—which is why people used to floor-sitting may choose to sit on [...]

By |2020-02-24T07:13:57-05:00February 19, 2020|

48 Words: Rx for Health

Thank you to Yoni Freedhoff, MD, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, for providing us with a simple recipe for health. Just 48 words. Freedhoff’s 48 words eschew “fad diets and fitness gimmicks. Just stick to the basics,” he writes in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on January 3. With such a sparse list, I was happy to see that “nurture sleep” was included as one of the most important actions we can take to maintain our best health. The importance of sleep is so underestimated in our society. I am guilty of (in the past) boasting about how little sleep I need—as have so many other people. If you’re like me, I suggest you try sleeping more for a few weeks. It will probably surprise you just how much getting a few extra hours of sleep can do for your general health, happiness and work productivity. Freedhoff’s advice for improving sleep includes the usual suspects: light and noise control in the bedroom, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, decreasing caffeine intake and taking steps to be sure you don’t suffer from sleep apnea, a life-threatening sleep disorder (snoring being just one [...]

By |2020-01-07T07:40:33-05:00January 7, 2020|

The Naughty or Nice List

Santa’s got his list, and here at CertiPUR-US®, we have a list that matters, too. It’s a list of the companies and brands consumers can count on that use CertiPUR-US® certified foam. The most common question we get from consumers day in and day out, goes something like this: “I’m about to buy an [XYZ mattress or XYZ sofa or chair] and their website (or salesperson) says they use certified foam, but I don’t see them on your list.” So, here’s the thing: If they aren’t on our list, they are either being naughty or misleading. When we established CertiPUR-US, we anticipated that there would be companies that would say their foam was certified when it wasn’t. So, we built in a safeguard—because our whole operation is based on consumer service, integrity and transparency. The safeguard was that we would keep an up-to-date list of the companies and brands that had registered with us and for whom we had verification that they were truly using CertiPUR-US certified foam in their mattresses, pillows, bedding accessories and upholstered furniture. We have registered companies using certified foam in dog beds and medical sleep-related products, too. Most unlisted companies are just naughty. They [...]

By |2020-01-07T07:35:47-05:00December 19, 2019|

Hibernate at Home

Hibernating, or cocooning as we used to call it, may seem to be self-indulgent and luxurious, but there are sound reasons to listen to our bodies and give in to it. Winter is an intrinsic part of nature’s cycle, designed to restore us and prepare us for the renewal of spring. Rather than fighting the urge to be lazy, it’s healthier to go with the flow. We’re much better off viewing winter as a gift -- a chance to lounge around in an inside environment that feels safe, comfortable, and nurturing. How do we make our home interiors winter-ready? A cushion-y sofa and, soft and cozy chairs that invite us to sink in and never leave are a good start. Complete your lair with plush pillows, throw blankets, warm and muted colors, lamps and candles (flameless for safety) that create soft lighting for the extra hours of darkness this season brings. For more ideas, check out this article on hibernating from House and Home. If you’re investing in new upholstered furniture, remember that indoor air quality matters – and never more so than in the winter, when our homes are sealed tight against the cold. Be sure that any [...]

By |2019-12-02T11:52:54-05:00November 26, 2019|

Every Bed Needs a Cover-Up

When I was shopping for a mattress pad recently, I was struck by the range of choices in coverings. There was everything from basic, waterproof covers to hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, allergen-resistant and bed bug-proof encasements. Then there were foam pads several inches thick. It turns out that each fulfills a different purpose. Here’s a guide: Mattress protectors and pads. If you have a new mattress, you may need only a protective cover or pad that fits snugly over the corners—or is anchored by elastic bands. Most are machine-washable; many are waterproof. Some even expand to fit varying mattress thicknesses. You probably know if your mattress is a king, California king, queen, full or twin, but to find the right size cover, you’ll need to measure the height/depth of your mattress. Encasements. Encasements have six sides to fully enclose a mattress and/or foundation (another word for box spring). They also have a locking zipper—making it impossible for bedbugs, dust mites and other undesirables to get in. Some encasements have padding on top, offering an extra layer of cushioning between you and the mattress. If you’re moving, it’s a good idea to protect your mattress with an encasement. They are often available [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:25:16-04:00October 24, 2019|

5 Ways Adults Can Achieve A Safer Night’s Sleep

There’s a lot of information available about safe sleep for babies—which is so important—but what about safe sleep for the rest of us? After all, when you’re asleep, it’s a potentially vulnerable time. But it turns out there are concrete steps we can take to sleep more safely—and that can help us sleep more soundly. 1. Sleep with your bedroom door closed Sleeping with your bedroom door closed buys you critical time in the event of a fire. Whether from candles, clothes dryers, faulty wiring or countless other causes, many fires start at night while people are sleeping. It’s sobering to know that you are more likely to die in a fire at home, than anywhere else, according to FEMA. Decades ago, you had 17 minutes to get out of your house alive. Today, because of open floor plans and other factors that make residential fires burn faster, you have 3 minutes or less, according to extensive testing by Underwriters Labs. Fortunately, closing your bedroom door each night is a simple, yet little-known measure that can save your life. A regular wooden door is remarkably effective at keeping the heat, smoke and flames at bay, giving you extra time [...]

By |2019-09-30T12:28:17-04:00September 23, 2019|

What’s Lurking in Your Pillow?

Have you ever struggled to get comfortable on a pillow that’s too hard, soft, full, flat, lumpy or well past its prime? As someone who’s very particular about my own pillow, I certainly have! A pillow can make the difference between a restful night’s sleep or tossing and turning and possibly waking up with neck and back pain. Back, side and stomach sleepers may have very different needs and preferences. The right pillow for you is a magic combination of variables—composition, firmness, contour, coolness, etc. Sleep experts recommend we replace our pillows every year or two, since flattened pillows can exert strain on your neck, shoulders and back—and because pillows harbor bacteria and dust mites from the accumulation of hair and body oils. Gross, right? When the CertiPUR-US® program was first established, we only certified what in the industry is called “slabstock”polyurethane foam—that is foam that is manufactured in huge (like the size of a football field) buns and then cut for shipping and later further cut or fabricated as needed. Many pillows use foam made this way, but many are made with “molded” foam, which is when foam is poured into pre-made molds that are shaped to fit [...]

By |2019-09-09T11:47:11-04:00August 29, 2019|

Is the Foam Really Certified?

How can you be sure the foam in the mattress or upholstered furniture you are about to purchase is really certified through the CertiPUR-US® program? It’s easy. Just check our online consumer directory of participating companies and brands to see if the company or brand you are considering buying from is listed on our website. If the company is not listed, we have no way of knowing for sure if it is using certified flexible conventional, gel, memory or specialty polyurethane foam. There are companies that use our logo and say their foam is certified—but unless they are registered and listed with us, you simply can’t be sure. The companies that are listed on our website have all submitted forms to document their use of certified foam, including verifications filed separately by one or more of our participating foam producers.  So, whatever your salesperson tells you, or whatever label you see on the merchandise, or whatever the product website says, cross-checking with the CertiPUR-US online directory of participating firms is the way to confirm. If you come across a company that is misrepresenting its use of certified foam, please let us know by contacting us via this form. Very often in that case, the company means [...]

By |2019-08-23T14:51:06-04:00July 26, 2019|

Chemical-free Claims: Don’t Be Duped

If you’re buying a mattress, sofa or pillow from someone who tells you it’s chemical-free, please laugh and take your hard-earned money elsewhere. The truth is, there are few things on this planet that are chemical-free—including you and me. Yes, everything is made with or contains chemicals. Anyone who tells you differently is greenwashing—it’s against Federal Trade Commission guidelines, yet it’s still rampant. Chemical-free, made without chemicals and no chemicals are all unsupportable marketing terms meant to tap into consumer chemophobia. Don’t fall for it. Did you eat an apple today? Apples are made of these chemicals: water (water is the chemical H2O), vegetable oils, sugars, starch, carotene, tocopherol (E306), riboflavin (E101), nicotinamide, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, ascorbic acid (E300), palmitic acid, stearic acid (E570), oleic acid, linoleic acid, malic acid (E296), salicylic acid, purines, sodium, potassium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, phosphorous, chloride, colors and antioxidants. I love the chart produced by Sense about Science and featured in a Big Think blog by Simon Oxenham that compares the chemical ingredients of apples to candy hearts. The list of chemicals in apples is way longer and on the surface more frightening! Chemophobia has been around a long time, often [...]

By |2019-08-01T10:50:31-04:00June 20, 2019|

7 Eye-Opening Stats for Better Sleep Month 2019

May was established as Better Sleep Month in 1985. In the decades since, study after study has confirmed the importance good sleep plays in good health and feeling good each day. When you think of self-care, getting enough quality sleep is just as important—if not more important—than good nutrition and exercise. In honor of this special month, here are some eye-opening stats about sleep: Roughly 20% of Americans have a sleep disorder—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls insufficient sleep a public heath epidemic. About 87% of high school students in the U.S. are chronically sleep deprived, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Nearly 40% of people unintentionally fell asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month, an American Sleep Association study found. An estimated 100,000 deaths occur each year in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors, reports the National Academy of Medicine. Sleep deprivation has been shown to be a contributing factor. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes; 44,000 injuries; and 800 deaths in 2013. The American Psychology Association says sleeping 60 to 90 minutes more each night can improve happiness and health. Insufficient sleep [...]

By |2019-05-20T13:24:13-04:00May 20, 2019|

Put Your Feet Up

The trend and health benefits of stand-up desks aside, putting your feet up is good for you. After a long day, have you ever been so tired that your inner voice said, “I’ve just got to put my feet up!”? That’s your body being wise. This point was driven home to me recently when my 93-year-old dad, who isn’t nearly as active as he used to be, remarked that his lower legs were swelling. I suggested he try putting his legs up when sitting on a chair or sofa. It worked! Within 48 hours, his legs were completely back to normal. Vein specialists confirm that elevating your legs is beneficial for those of us who spend hours a day sitting—or even standing—at a computer.  I’m also a big believer in cat naps, but if you’re too busy for a nap, taking just five minutes to put your feet up can be wonderfully restorative.  Ideally, you should lie in a position on your sofa or bed that elevates your legs above your head and heart. A stack of pillows or cushions can provide the necessary height and support under your feet. Experts stress not to elevate your legs on a [...]

By |2019-05-16T11:03:57-04:00April 11, 2019|

Make Your Bed and Change the World

In an airport shop, a small book titled “Make Your Bed: Little Things that Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World” caught my eye. What a gem! This New York Times bestseller by Admiral William H. McRaven is a true inspiration. Of course, it’s the “make your bed” part that first got my attention.  McRaven wrote this book after his commencement address to the 2014 graduating class at the University of Texas at Austin. His address focused on 10 lessons he learned from his Navy SEAL training. Making your bed every morning, explains McRaven, is a way to start the day off right—with a task completed. This week, I’m spending time with some of my favorite people—the folks who literally made your bed. I am at a conference of the International Sleep Products Association, the trade association of mattress manufacturers and suppliers. My first connection with this group was in 1983 when I had the privilege of working with its consumer education arm, the Better Sleep Council (BSC). The BSC has worked tirelessly for decades to help people understand the importance of sleep—and the importance of sleeping on a good mattress. When you make your bed tomorrow [...]

By |2019-05-16T11:06:58-04:00March 14, 2019|

Couples Sleeping Together on TV

Valentine’s week is a good time to reflect on the history of couples sleeping together on TV. Times have changed. “The Flintstones,” an animated series in the 1960s about a cave-dwelling prehistoric family, may have been among the first to show a couple, Betty and Fred, together in bed (albeit a bed made of rock). For live-action couples on TV shows, the “one-foot rule” was said to have existed. You could show a couple in their bedroom, but at least one person had to have one foot on the floor! On “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” there was a nightstand between Laura and Rob’s twin-size beds. The same was true of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo on “I Love Lucy” in the 1950s (and reruns forever)—and they were married in real life! Florence Henderson, playing Carol, the mother (and stepmother) on “The Brady Brunch” (1969–1974), once suggested she and TV husband Peter were the first to sleep in the same bed on-air, but that’s widely disputed. The not-quite-human family in “The Munsters” (1964–1966) are often cited, but TV history trivia experts are more likely to give the honors to Mary Kay and Johnny (1947–1950), which was set in Greenwich Village, New [...]

By |2019-05-16T11:11:22-04:00February 10, 2019|

Reinvent Your Home With a Furniture Inventory

When is the last time you did a room-by-room furniture inventory in your house? A friend and I once worked together on a little pamphlet about the pleasures—and frustrations—with decorating a home. The opening paragraph stuck with me. To paraphrase, we advised homeowners to take time to see their home through the eyes of others.   When I am expecting houseguests, I am never more aware of all the places in my home that need sprucing up. The sofa looks more worn when I imagine a visitor walking in. And that stack of mail by the phone? Unsightly. Just how old is that floor lamp in the family room? And how many years have I put up with the dang switch on that lamp that falls off every time I touch it?!  So here’s an exercise for you to try. Grab a notepad and pencil. Walk out your front door. Now walk in, pretending you’re a stranger, seeing each room for the first time. Take notes! You might come to the conclusion that the time has come to switch out the sofa or add a fresh new accent chair. You can even get a whole new look with a [...]

By |2019-05-16T11:14:08-04:00January 17, 2019|

Top 15 Sleep Trends for 2019

What’s in, what’s out when it comes to sleep trends for 2019? For the new year, here’s a fun, completely unscientific list of 15 sleep-related trends: Out  In 1. Bragging about how little sleep you need Bragging about how much sleep you get 2. Old mattresses New mattresses 3. Comforters Weighted, anti-anxiety, gravity blankets 4. PJs as sleepwear PJs as streetwear 5. Goodnight Moon Goodnight (fill in your favorite city) 6. Sleep masks Room darkening shades 7. Twin beds for kids Full beds for kids 8. Mystery foam CertiPUR-US® certified foam 9. Slippers Slipper socks 10. Sleep sacks for post-swaddle toddlers Zipadee-zips for post-swaddle toddlers 11. Dogs on your sofa Dog beds 12. Snoring  Sleep apnea treatment 13. Wearable sleep trackers Nightstand sleep trackers 14. Sound machines to aid sleep Mind games to aid sleep 15. Discarding mattresses in landfills Recycling mattresses

By |2019-11-08T13:15:39-05:00January 1, 2019|

Man Caves and She Sheds

Will 2019 be the year you give in to the primal urge to create your Man or Woman Cave? It won’t be hard to find inspiration. When you Google “man caves,” there are endless photos and ideas for imaginative masculine spaces and how to furnish, theme, and decorate them. There’s even an organization that’s devoted to “spreading the word of the Man Cave as a way of life,” with an annual contest.  The DIY Network has a whole show devoted to helping men design and build their own budget-friendly Man Caves. But rapidly gaining in popularity are Woman Caves, or “She Sheds,” where women can slip away from family and enjoy glorious alone or girlfriend time.  Whether it’s a “do it yourself” project or a high-end design, the DIY Network’s Man Cave experts, Jason Cameron and Tony “The Goose” Siragusa, offer solid advice that applies to both men and women: first assess your space and desired function and visualize what you want your Cave to look like.  If you have an object or collection of them –it might be a pool table, jukebox, sports memorabilia, or travel souvenirs; or space to house a sewing machine, meditation space, or fitness equipment [...]

By |2019-11-08T13:16:17-05:00December 5, 2018|

Counting Blessings and Chairs at Thanksgiving

Is Thanksgiving at your house? If so, you’ve already made a lot of decisions—like what to serve, what to serve it on, how to decorate your table and house, who to invite and how to seat them. On this most-American of holidays, you want your guests to feel welcome in your home as you share the bounty of food and spirit of gratitude. How much thought have you given to what your family or friends will be sitting on during the meal? More than anything else, you want your seating to be comfortable because your guests will be sitting through several courses and second (or third) helpings. If you don’t have quite enough matching dining room chairs, don’t worry—a mix-and-match, eclectic assortment of chairs and benches is considered chic today.  Consider adding comfortable, upholstered armchairs of a different style or color at the ends of the table.  I’ve recently seen sofas being used for seating on one side of a dining room table, or even as an L-shape to create a booth-like feeling. This approach can add space to a room by allowing you to place the table off-center and deeper into a corner. Experiment to create a relaxed [...]

By |2019-05-24T09:43:17-04:00November 19, 2018|