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

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 |2022-01-17T13:54:19-05:00December 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|

Getting Rid of an Old Mattress 

How do you get rid of your used mattress? We’ve all seen decaying old mattresses on the side of the road, or thrown down a ravine, or into a creek. Not good! Although landfills are a better choice, dumping fees are often imposed, and, from an environmental standpoint, this isn’t the optimal choice. About 50,000 used mattresses and box springs are carted off daily (yes, daily!) to U.S. landfills, where they can take more than a decade to decompose. It’s also not a good idea to pass along an old mattress to others, particularly children. Hat’s off to the bedding industry and its trade association, the International Sleep Products Association(ISPA), which has worked diligently to find solutions to this problem for decades. Today, its Mattress Recycling Council works closely with local governments, waste management professionals, recyclers, and others to make sure that mattress recycling is accessible and easy to use. Currently, three states have implemented MRC’s Bye Bye Mattress Program – California, Connecticut and Rhode Island – and more than 3 million mattresses have been recycled, diverting more than 25,000 tons of material from landfills. More than 80 percent of the metal, foam, and textiles that comprise your mattress [...]

By |2021-12-20T10:57:51-05:00November 6, 2018|

Life or Death Tip: Close Bedroom Door

Wow. I recently saw the most striking demonstration of fire safety on an NBC-TV Today show Rossen Reports segment. What a lifesaving tip to share while its still October, National Fire Prevention Month. The video shows the difference between two bedrooms in the same house that is set on fire by burning a sofa in the living room. One bedroom door is left open. The other bedroom door is closed. Within minutes, the bedroom with the open door is full of smoke and is not survivable. The bedroom with the door closed, provides many more minutes for escape – and remains remarkably free from smoke. The video is life-changing and lifesaving. Watch it here. Here are additional bedroom fire safety tips from the Sleep Products Safety Council: Don’t smoke in bed. This is a common cause of fatal bedroom fires. Keep matches and lighters away from children. Playing with fire can be deadly. Using candles in a bedroom can be dangerous. Even a small candle can ignite a deadly fire. Keep space heaters far away from beds and other flammable items. Follow all the space heater manufacturer’s instructions and warnings. Don’t run the electrical cords under your bed or trap them against a [...]

By |2022-01-17T13:50:34-05:00October 25, 2018|

Do You Need a Polysomnogram?

Sleep problems can range from inconvenient to dangerous and potentially life-threatening. A polysomnogram (sounds better when you call it a sleep study, right?) is a non-invasive, pain-free procedure that usually requires spending a few hours, or an overnight, in a facility where your sleep can be monitored. Basically, you get hooked up to monitors and fall asleep in a private room with specially trained technicians monitoring your brain waves.  Here are some indicators that a sleep study might be a good idea: Do you regularly have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep? Do people tell you that you snore? Has anyone ever told you that you have pauses in breathing or that you gasp for breath when you sleep? This could be sleep apnea, a potentially life threatening, but treatable condition. Are your legs “active” at night? Do you experience tingling, creeping, itching, pulling, aching or other strange feelings in your legs while sitting or lying down that cause a strong urge to move, walk or kick your legs for relief? Restless leg syndrome (RLS), also called Willis-Ekbom Disease, is real. Are you so tired when you wake up in the morning that you cannot function normally during [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:24:03-04:00September 26, 2018|

The Sleep Science Paradox

A fascinating, perhaps life-changing, article in the August 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine presents an in-depth account of each sleep stage and its significance. The article makes the case for prioritizing sleep in your daily life, pointing out that sleep can have a profound effect on your productivity and your ability to cope with trauma and ward off disease. Ultimately, sleep affects the overall quality and longevity of your life. Take time to read “While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey.” It’s mind-blowing! The paradox? Just as humans are gaining a deeper understanding about sleep and its critical role in repairing and replenishing our bodies for both mental and physical health, we live in a time when most of us suffer from sleep deprivation.  “A full night’s sleep now feels as rare and old-fashioned as a handwritten letter,” notes writer Michael Finkel. “Before the industrial revolution, which brought us alarm clocks and fixed work schedules, we could often counteract insomnia simply by sleeping in. No longer.”  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 80 million U.S. adults are chronically sleep-deprived, routinely getting less than the recommended minimum of seven hours a [...]

By |2022-01-25T12:55:45-05:00August 10, 2018|

Bad Back, Bad Mattress?

Research shows that 80 percent of us will experience a back problem at some time in our lives, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year, and worldwide back pain is the single leading cause of disability. How much of that is bed-related? It’s hard to confirm, but in a three-month study of 313 patients suffering from lower back pain, the majority reported experiencing less pain—both while lying in bed and long afterward—when they slept on “medium-firm” rather than “firm” mattresses. An old or unsupportive bed can wreak havoc on your sleep—and your body—but there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to mattresses. What works for one person may not work for another. And, although many people still believe that firm is best, the term applied to bedding is really a holdover from decades ago, when a bed had to very hard to be supportive. However, with advances in technology and sophisticated engineering, mattresses can now have a comfy, softer top layer and still be highly supportive. What’s more, firmness is subjective. One person’s firm might be another person’s medium-firm or soft. That’s why it’s a good idea [...]

By |2019-05-30T15:49:34-04:00July 17, 2018|

Three Cheers for Customer Service

It’s easy for a furniture store sales rep to be customer service-oriented when you’re buying a sleeper sofa, but the real test is when that sale goes south. Here’s what happened this week when I was shopping for a sleep sofa in preparation for lots of family—and all bedrooms taken—for an upcoming baby shower for one of my daughters. Of course, I was only going to purchase a sleeper sofa that had a mattress that was comfortable—and I was sure contained CertiPUR-US® certified foam. I drove to the showroom of one of our listed companies and found a sofa that I just loved the style of—and the mattress met my requirements. However, it wasn’t available in quite the right color. Because it could be delivered within a few days, I decided to forgo my color preference and told the super-nice sales associate to ring it up! With all my paperwork and receipts in hand, I left the store, which was in a strip shopping center. Lo and behold, as I walked to my car, I noticed there was another furniture store in the same shopping center! Oh, dear. Should I even look? I did. And there was a sleeper sofa—also [...]

By |2019-05-24T09:55:40-04:00June 7, 2018|

Poor Sleep, Poor Work Performance

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to be productive at work when you haven’t gotten enough sleep? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has joined the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the National Safety Council and the Sleep Research Society to improve education and awareness about the importance of sleep. These groups have established the “National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.” The initiative focuses not only on getting employers to encourage their employees to develop better sleep habits, but also on high-school students, who generally get far less sleep than their still-developing bodies need. Getting enough sleep is not always an option, especially in work cultures that view long work days and minimal sleep as a sign of commitment. The statistics are eye-opening: One survey shows that 37 percent of today’s workers are sleep-deprived, which increases both the risk and incidence of employee accidents, vehicle crashes and other severe consequences. According to the National Safety Council, fatigued workers cost employers about $1,200 to $3,100 per employee in declining job performance each year, while sleepy workers are estimated to cost employers $136 billion a year in health-related lost productivity. Check out the organization’s Cost of Fatigue calculator. [...]

By |2022-01-17T14:05:14-05:00May 23, 2018|

How Long Can You Live Without Sleep?

How long can you live without water? About a week. How long can you live without food? About 40–70 days. How long can you live without sleep? About 11 days—and even then, researchers say during that long a period, you would probably nod off without even knowing it, getting a moment here and there of microsleep. How do we know 11 days is the maximum humans can be sleep deprived and survive? In 1965, Randy Gardner was a high school student in San Diego figuring out what to do for a science fair. He decided to set a world record for going without sleep. He did – and lived to tell the tale. Water. Food. Sleep. This is the triad of what is needed for physical survival. The Better Sleep Council, the group that established Better Sleep Month in 1985, recommends five ways to focus on sleep this month and get a better night’s rest: Avoid eating too much or drinking alcohol before bed. If you eat too much, an active digestion system sabotages sleep. And while wine or a cocktail can seemingly help you fall asleep, sleep experts say it  may rob you of the deep quality sleep [...]

By |2019-05-31T09:58:14-04:00May 3, 2018|

When Sales People Help

In one of my first jobs, my boss told me something I have always remembered and taken to heart during my career: A knowledgeable salesperson can provide an education and guide you in making a wise purchasing decision. When you’re in the market to buy something, it pays to connect with a salesperson that listens to you to understand exactly what you are looking for. You want someone who has invested time to truly know about the products he or she sells. You want the person to realize that making you happy is the key to avoiding returns and to building a business based on referrals from happy customers. If you walk into a store and don’t feel confident that the salesperson has your best interests at heart, ask for someone else or take your business elsewhere. I read recently that April is National Training Month, so I thought it is a good time to give a shout-out to the more than 2,000 bedding and upholstered furniture sales reps throughout the U.S. that have taken our CertiPUR-US® Certificate of Knowledge online training course. I want to applaud the companies that sell products containing certified foam that are encouraging their [...]

By |2022-01-25T12:57:08-05:00April 6, 2018|

Happy National Sleep Awareness Week

March 11–17, 2018 -- It’s National Sleep Awareness Week! Sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), this special week Is a good time to focus on strategies for getting a better night’s sleep. I believe you need to build a good night’s sleep from the bottom up—starting with what you are sleeping on. Think of your mattress and foundation as sleep equipment. As in any endeavor, the quality of your equipment matters. Tennis pros invest in just the right racket. Golfers on the PGA Tour care deeply about the clubs they use. I don’t recall a NASCAR driver winning a major race in a clunker! According to the Better Sleep Council, if your mattress is more than seven years old, it’s probably time to consider a new one —or at least try some new mattresses to see if they feel more supportive and comfortable than what you are used to sleeping on. With so many manufacturers and retailers today offering mattresses containing CertiPUR-US® certified foam, it's easy to find a mattress (and topper and pillow) that will make you comfortable physically, but also mentally, by giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing more about the products [...]

By |2022-01-17T13:44:43-05:00March 13, 2018|

Small Nook, Big Rewards

Do you have a favorite cozy spot in your home? To relax properly, it helps to have a space all to yourself -- a private escape. That can be a challenge! But taking a few minutes to discover the right spot in your house and then adding comfortable furniture and a few accessories can turn an under-utilized area of your home into the perfect, re-purposed corner. Where can you create your own mini getaway? Try these ideas: under stairs, within a closet, on a stair landing, an entrance way, in an attic, where there is (or could be) a window seat, an empty corner, alcove, or at the end of a hallway. A friend of mine created an oasis with a small leather chair in a corner of her home office where stacks of unread magazines and a floor lamp were collecting dust. She added a mini area rug, cozy throw and pillows -- which she switches out each season -- to make a favorite spot for stepping away from the computer. It doesn’t have to be a large area or cost a lot of money. Use your creativity: An apartment-sized upholstered chair (made with CertiPUR-US® certified foam, of [...]

By |2022-01-17T14:14:19-05:00February 28, 2018|

Furniture Hollywood-Style

I make a study of the furniture in the homes portrayed in movies -- especially during Oscar season. The Academy Awards ceremony is coming up March 4. It's fascinating to think about how set designers use the tools of their trade to say so much about a character, a place, a period in time -- just through the choices made in furnishing the homes seen on the screen. Compare the modest home of the down-on-their-luck Hardings in "I, Tonya" for which Margot Robbie and Allison Janney have been nominated for best actress and supporting actress respectively--with the home of Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman, best actor nominee) in the "Darkest Hour" (best picture nominee). Compare the well-appointed Georgetown home of Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep, best actress nominee) in "The Post" (best picture nominee) with the self-proclaimed wrong side of the tracks home of "Lady Bird," (best picture nominee; Saoirse Ronan, best actress nominee) and the nearby upscale home she pretends is her residence. Today, great style and beautiful living spaces are not just the domain of the affluent. Do you have a favorite Hollywood movie home? Diane Keaton’s beach house in "As Good as it Gets" and the wonderful house [...]

By |2021-12-20T10:52:57-05:00February 1, 2018|

Seven Tips for Buying a New Mattress

A mattress is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make—after all, you spend approximately a third of your life in bed. The number of choices can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to lose sleep over it! These seven tips can help: Size matters. If you’re sharing a bed, you should buy at least a queen-size mattress. A healthy person moves 40 to 60 times a night and makes lots of full-body turns. For sound sleep, you need freedom of motion. Test-drive different models. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes you can easily slip off so you can lie down. Compare a variety of support levels and styles within your budget. Finding a bed that feels right is a personal choice. Look under the hood. Ask the salesperson to show you illustrated or actual “cutaways” of the interior of the different mattresses and foundations. The mechanics of innersprings and foams vary widely, which can greatly affect comfort. Find a reputable dealer. Furniture stores, department stores and sleep specialty shops all sell mattresses. Ask friends and family for referrals. If you don’t feel your salesperson is knowledgeable or helpful, take your business elsewhere. Go for the best value, not [...]

By |2019-05-24T09:49:57-04:00January 10, 2018|

December 21 Is Don’t Make Your Bed Day

Here’s how Don’t Make Your Bed Day got started. A fifth-grade boy who attends Calvary Christian Academy in New Mexico wrote a letter to his senator, Tom Udall, requesting that one day be set aside each year to take making the bed off everyone’s list of chores. Do your kids make their bed every day? Do you? Decades ago, one of my children’s beloved babysitters taught me something that I have found to be true. “When you make your bed in the morning, the day just goes better,” Nancy G. advised me. Shannon Barba’s parents have expected him to make his bed each and every day before he goes to school since he was 4 years old. That’s what prompted his petition for a day off. Here’s his letter: “My name is Shannon Barba, and I reside in Tijeras, New Mexico. I am in the fifth grade at Calvary Christian Academy. I am writing you to ask that you help me figure out a way to institute National Don’t Make Your Bed Day. I have made my bed every day since I was 4 years old. I make it so my parents are proud of me. But sometimes, I [...]

By |2021-12-20T10:50:32-05:00December 21, 2017|

It’s Hygge Time

The Danish have a word for the feeling you get when you are cozy. The word is hygge (pronounced HOOG-gah). And because the 2017 World Happiness Report gives Denmark one of the highest happiness scores, I wanted to learn more. I checked out a blog about design and hygge, which features photos that depict being cozy. Nearly every photo features furniture or beds. Isn’t that the truth? We are most cozy on a sofa, an upholstered chair or loveseat, or a bed. Three cheers for the foam that cushions our homes and brings so much comfort. With the holidays upon us, take time to nestle in, sit down, lie down and feel cozy. Whether it’s adding a throw blanket to your sofa or textured pillows to your bed, think about adding cozy elements to every room in your house. But hygge is also a state of mind. Taking the time to really listen to a friend or family member, for instance. Stealing a quiet moment with a cup of hot chocolate or pulling on some warm and fuzzy socks. Dimming the lights to create a hygge atmosphere is also good. So, for the holiday season, I urge you to find [...]

By |2022-01-17T13:45:58-05:00December 12, 2017|

Couch Potato Fitness in Minutes

This is a good season to find creative ways to exercise. “Every hour-long television program contains approximately six commercial breaks that last three minutes each, so you can get a total body workout without missing a scene,” according to Sarah Robertson writing about couch potato exercises in Prevention magazine. Love that! Robertson divides her routine into exercise you can do during commercial breaks, but if you do a search for couch potato exercises, you’ll get plenty of guidance. Here are two: A Couch Potato Workout video from Dr. Oz’s personal trainer, Donovan Green. Seated scissors, tricep dips, calf and toe raises, arm extensions, and pillow rotations are among the suggested exercises in TotalBeauty’s workout for slackers. Need pics for motivation and guidance? Darebee.com offers a slew of one-page flyers you can print out and put on your coffee table with step-by-step exercises for sofa workouts, including sofa abs, cardio sofa and exercises for the sofa-bound.

By |2021-12-20T10:49:19-05:00November 17, 2017|

Lifesaving Tips from Sleep Safety Group

I recently bought a new mattress. A bright yellow card that came with the product and warranty information caught my eye. It was a list of eight tips from the Sleep Products Safety Council (SPSC), a group devoted to advancing the safety of sleep products that is supported by the mattress industry. I love industry groups like this that are focused on public education. Here is the organization’s “Eight Things You Need to Know About Your Mattress”: Don’t smoke in bed. This is a common cause of fatal bedroom fires. Keep matches and lighters away from children. Playing with fire can be deadly. Using candles in a bedroom is dangerous. Even a small candle can ignite a deadly fire. Keep space heaters far away from beds and any flammable items. Follow all the space heater manufacturer’s instruction and warnings. Don’t run electrical cords under your bed or trap them against a wall. Heat from cords can build up and cause a fire. Avoid placing lamps where they can fall on the bed. Don’t sleep with a baby or let a baby sleep in an adult bed. Babies can suffocate or be strangled if trapped between a mattress and a [...]

By |2022-01-17T13:52:12-05:00November 1, 2017|

Pillowcase Halloween Costumes

Losing sleep over coming up with a creative idea for your kid’s Halloween costume? You might be tossing and turning on the solution. I just discovered Sherry Osborn’s oldie-but-goodie About Family Crafts blog post featuring 18 costumes you can make from a pillowcase. You’ll find photos and inspiration for pillowcase skeletons, pumpkins, candy corn, Star Wars’ R2D2 and ghosts, to name a few. Already have a costume picked out? Pillowcases make great door-to-door candy carriers for your trick-or-treaters. Now for something really scary: When you take that pillowcase off your pillow, what do you see? Don’t scream, but do read the Huffington Post “Healthy Living” column “The Gross Truth about How Often You Should Clean (and Replace) Your Pillow.” According to the article, written by health and fitness trainer Sarah Klein, there’s a “host of critters and debris that can be found in the pillow you lay your face on night after night,” including dust mites, which are in the spider family. Allergy experts recommend getting a protective pillow cover and washing it often. If these thoughts start haunting you, don’t wait until next Halloween to get a fresh, new pillow.

By |2022-01-17T14:01:52-05:00October 25, 2017|

Poor Sleep Can Ruin Relationships

Lack of sleep can hurt your relationships—and your health, according to new research conducted by The Ohio State Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. People who don’t sleep well or don’t get enough sleep tend to be grouchier, moodier and more likely to pick a fight. The study analyzed couples’ behaviors—particularly how they handled disagreements—based on how well they slept. This video provides a short overview of the study results. As Tara Parker-Pope writes in her New York Times Well column, “A large body of research suggests that sleep-deprived people are more unpleasant and even hostile in their social interactions than those who get adequate sleep. People tend to use more negative words when they are sleep deprived than on days when they have had a full night’s sleep. A 2010 survey found that men were more likely to fight with their wives after a night of disturbed sleep. In a 2014 study, couples who reported poor sleep during a two-week period reported more daily marital conflict than those who got better sleep.” In this new study, participants also gave blood samples before and after they fought with their partners. Those who got less sleep and fought more were also [...]

By |2022-01-17T14:03:05-05:00October 11, 2017|

Next Trend: Furniture on Wedding Registries

The couple on the wedding cake needs to sit down on something comfortable! September and October are now tied for the most popular month for getting married, according to a 2016 poll by The Knot. Pinterest’s 2017 wedding report finds that autumn weddings are up nearly 300 percent. I was just perusing the wedding registry of the daughter of my maid of honor (that makes me feel so old!). Rebecca is getting married in December—a rebel—and I was intrigued to see how the items on wedding registries have changed. Brides and grooms today are more practical. Many have already set up households together so they simply don’t need as much of the setting-up-your-first-home stuff. I noticed there were registry items that were less “things” and more experiences, such as dinners, massages, tickets. Love that, too. Another trend I’d like to see is the addition of furniture and home accessories on wedding registries, especially with the options afforded by a gift registry site such as Blueprint and others like it, which enable multiple contributions to one gift. These gifts are each identified as a “group gift” opportunity with a special banner. How thoughtful. Furniture becomes your home—and you can take [...]

By |2019-05-30T15:48:23-04:00September 27, 2017|

Sleeptember: What’s Your Snore Score?

Despite all the jokes, cartoons and comical depictions of snoring in pop culture, snoring is a symptom of a potentially life-threatening disorder called sleep apnea. The annual Sleeptember® campaign of the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) is helping bring attention to this often chronic, debilitating and overlooked sleep disorder. Let’s break some myths. You don’t have to be overweight, male or an adult to suffer from sleep apnea. ASAA says only a small percentage of those who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) get treated, yet if untreated, OSA can contribute to potentially fatal medical problems. The National Sleep Foundation warns that “sleep apnea can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels. For people with sleep apnea, the combination of disturbed sleep and oxygen starvation may lead to hypertension, heart disease and mood and memory problems. Sleep apnea also increases the risk of drowsy driving.” Here’s one self-test offered by ASAA to determine if you or a family member might be at risk: Are you a loud and/or regular snorer? Have you ever been observed to gasp or stop breathing during sleep? Do you feel tired or groggy upon awakening, or do you awaken with a headache? Are you [...]

By |2022-01-17T14:12:31-05:00September 14, 2017|

Friday is Lazy Mom’s Day

The term “lazy mom” sounds like an oxymoron to me. Is there such a thing? And why is the first Friday of September Lazy Mom’s Day? I wonder who designated the date for this particular day since it is often the first week of school and one of the busiest times in many moms’ lives. That said, when we think of being lazy, most people think of napping, being a couch potato for the day, putting their feet up and leaning back in a recliner. We may lie in the sun on a chaise lounge or curl up on a cozy chair reading a book—you get the idea. Notice the common denominator? Our laziest, most comfortable moments take place on beds and upholstered furniture that are cushioned and cozy. Most often that cushioning is made with flexible polyurethane foam cushioning, ideally CertiPUR-US® certified foam—which I think is pretty cool. Laziness also often has a negative connotation. It seems rude to call Mom lazy. This quote from the New York Times was included in an article about the power of downtime in Scientific American magazine: “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable [...]

By |2022-01-17T13:48:06-05:00August 31, 2017|

What is Certified Foam?

Before the establishment of the CertiPUR-US® foam certification program, consumers looking for the comfort of knowing what’s inside the foam in their mattress and upholstered furniture--or rather, what isn’t--had no compass to guide them in the shopping process. CertiPUR-US has demystified a critical aspect of shopping for mattresses, mattress toppers, pillows and upholstered furniture, which typically contain conventional or viscoelastic (memory) flexible polyurethane foam for cushioning. CertiPUR-US-certified foams meet standards for content, emissions and durability, and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. The CertiPUR-US foam certification program, administered by a nonprofit organization, was established in 2008 to combat substandard foams imported from other countries. In some cases, these substandard foams contained substances that had been banned in the U.S. or were listed by chemical watch groups as potentially being harmful. A group of foam manufacturers, in conjunction with environmentalists, academics, industry and consumer groups, and chemists developed a testing, analysis, and certification program specifically for these uses of flexible polyurethane foam. Now considered the industry’s most rigorous certification program for foam used in bedding and upholstered furniture, certified foams are: Made without ozone depleters Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants Made without mercury, lead, and other [...]

By |2019-05-24T09:36:36-04:00August 16, 2017|

Furniture Industry Champions Child Safety

It’s called furniture tip-over, and one child dies every two weeks when a television, appliance or piece of furniture falls on them, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  Please share this infographic —these are horrifying but important-to-know statistics. Most of the deaths involve children between the ages of 1 and 5. Three-quarters of the time, it’s a TV or piece of furniture that falls on them; a quarter of the time it’s a dresser or table. These accidents happen most often in the bedroom. Anchoring furniture, TVs and appliances is a critical way to protect your child or children who visit your home. Three cheers to the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) for bringing public attention to this danger. AHFA supports the CPSC’s “Anchor It” campaign, and works to promote compliance with ASTM F2057-14, a voluntary furniture stability standard for freestanding clothing storage units, such as drawer chests, door chests and dressers, that are more than 30 inches high. Here’s a typical scenario: A child sees something on top of a bedroom dresser that they want. Maybe it’s a stuffed animal that’s out of reach, or Mom’s necklaces on a jewelry tree, or a photo of [...]

By |2021-12-20T10:53:45-05:00July 26, 2017|

Moving? Five Ways Not to Lose Sleep Over It

Planning a move? If so, you’re in good company—nearly 26 million Americans will relocate this summer, often prompted by a school break, a wedding or the prospect of fair weather (or at least no ice and snow). That doesn’t change the reality that moving is one of life’s biggest stressors. Along with the emotional turmoil of saying goodbye to friends, we are disrupting our routines and dealing with countless logistical details. However, you needn’t lose sleep over changing households. Instead, seize the opportunity to sleep better. Moving is an ideal time to rethink what you are sleeping on and make sure it is helping you get those much-needed zzzzzs. Here are five ways to make this part of your transition go smoothly: If you are taking mattresses with you, encase them in plastic to protect them during transport. Most truck rental companies like U-Haul keep protectors in stock for all mattress sizes. Starting fresh? If your mattress is more than seven years old, it’s probably time to replace it. Dispose of your old mattress properly. Find tips from the Better Sleep Council here. When mattress shopping, wear comfortable clothes and shoes you can easily slip off and don’t be [...]

By |2022-01-17T13:56:23-05:00July 13, 2017|

Morning Lark or Night Owl

It comes down to this: If you have a party on a Saturday night, do you clean up right after the last guest has left—or do you leave the dishes until the morning? Read on for a link to a quiz which might surprise you in its assessment of your sleep habits. I’m a night owl. In fact, I tell friends that 6:30 only comes once a day for me—in the evening. You won’t find me awake at 6:30 a.m. unless I have an early plane to catch, something I try to avoid! Whether you do your best in the morning sun or when the moon is high can affect romantic relationships, job performance, school achievement and more. There’s science behind this, and genetics plays a role. Your sleep-wake patterns are affected by circadian rhythms, which the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (part of the National Institutes of Health) defines as “physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment.” Can a night owl and morning lark find happiness in a romantic relationship? It may be one of the questions couples should ponder before getting hitched. [...]

By |2022-01-17T13:58:49-05:00June 29, 2017|

First Home: Making A Place Your Place

Two kids in our family bought their first homes this month. Whether renting or buying, moving into a new place usually means facing some empty rooms waiting to be filled with furniture, beds, art, rugs, decor—the stuff of life! Yes, it can seem daunting and a bit costly, but what a pleasure a beautiful home can be. It’s immensely satisfying to flip through design magazines, watch HGTV for ideas, browse furniture websites, look at Pinterest and create your own castle. Even if you can’t afford to make it all happen at once, it helps to have a master plan. Most of us are not super talented at designing the home of our dreams. Would you let an amateur paint your house, perform an appendectomy, give you legal advice, fix your car? Probably not. But it’s always surprising to me how many people don’t bring in professional interior design help when it comes to making their house a home. The American Society of Interior Designers offers an online find-a-pro directory. You may think designers are too expensive, but many offer consultation services on a limited-hour basis. I once asked a local designer to come to my home for just a [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:27:11-04:00June 6, 2017|

Choosing Baby’s Next Bed

Some kids start climbing out of their cribs early, but my daughters were pretty content to wait until age 3. That’s when we made the transition from crib to twin. My oldest daughter was so reluctant, we put her first big-girl mattress on the floor for a few weeks to smooth the way. Why do we automatically go from cribs to twin-size mattresses? A twin mattress measures 38” x 75” (a twin XL, often used in college dorms or for taller teens is 38” x 80”). A full (sometimes referred to as a double) measures 53” x 75”. Here’s a perhaps heretical idea I came to later in life: If the size of the room permits, I vote for getting kids a full size mattress. “You’re kidding?” I hear parents say when I suggest this, but think about it. Who’s lying in that bed? Think about how often a parent snuggles next to a child to read a bedtime story in a twin bed. It can be a tight squeeze, right? What about those watchful nights when kids have an ear infection or chicken pox or need comfort after a nightmare? Sometimes kids just want to cozy up with [...]

By |2019-08-13T15:15:56-04:00May 24, 2017|