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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 |2020-08-31T09:14:10-04:00August 26, 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|

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|

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|

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|

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|

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|

Sleep Games for Insomnia

During my decade working with the Better Sleep Council years ago, our spokesperson was Dianne Hales, a prolific writer and author of the wonderful sleep book “How to Sleep Like a Baby.” There’s an entire chapter in the book devoted to cognitive-focusing exercises (aka mind games) that, in essence, bore you to sleep by using the left and right spheres of your brain simultaneously. It works! Counting sheep is the most famous example—your left sphere is occupied counting and the right sphere is busy visualizing sheep. Serta’s long-time advertising campaign is based on sheep for this reason. The idea is that Serta’s mattresses are so comfortable and sleep-inducing you won’t need to count sheep to fall asleep. Here are three sleep mind games that work for me: Think of famous people (your choice: celebrities, athletes, artists, musicians) whose first and last names begin with the same initial and go through the alphabet, letter by letter. For instance, Alan Alda, Benjamin Bratt, Charlie Chaplin, Danny DeVito, Emilio Estevez, Farrah Fawcett, Greta Garbo... you get the drill. I never get too far past Marilyn Monroe before falling asleep. Don’t want to do double initials? Go through the alphabet sequentially naming athletic teams, [...]

By |2019-05-14T10:01:20-04:00May 17, 2017|

My Life on a Sofa

Family photo albums tell many stories—what clothes you wore in various decades, the hairstyle mistakes that now make you cringe—but often it’s the furniture that reminds us of the where and when. Going through old pictures recently with my adult daughter, I was struck not only by the wonderful family faces, but also by the backdrop, in particular our sofas over the years. Those sofas bore witness to many changes as my children grew and treasured pets came in and out of our lives. Sofas might be the most loved and abused pieces of furniture in our homes: spilled on by babies, toddlers and careless adults; clawed by cats and gnawed by dogs; flopped on casually by rowdy teenagers. Our couches see our kids through countless sick days and cradle us through life’s highs and lows. The only photo I can find of me pregnant with my first child is on a stylish linen sofa (purchased with the help of an interior designer family friend) in our first house. Not so stylish is the wild floral thing my three girls are sitting on while mugging for the camera. How did I ever think that sofa was beautiful? Maybe I never [...]

By |2019-05-14T10:07:37-04:00May 10, 2017|

Can Stress Make You Sleep Less?

It’s Better Sleep Month. This is a good time to focus on what’s standing in the way of getting your best rest. In our fast-paced, 24/7 world, with smartphones notifying us of every text and email, it isn’t easy to turn off the noise—literally and figuratively—and get to sleep. And, the cruel joke is that the less you sleep, the less likely you are to be able to cope with the problems creating stress in the first place. Talk about a vicious cycle. Now is a good time to re-evaluate and try some strategies to reduce stress and get the sleep you need. Here are a few tips to break the cycle: Don’t bring work into your bedroom. Make the place where you sleep a safe haven from the day’s angst. Turn off your phone. OK, maybe that’s impractical if you need to be available for a family emergency, but most phones can be set to ring only for designated callers. Get into a bedtime routine. Whether it’s a book, a warm shower, hot cocoa or gentle stretches, try to do the same things in the same order each night as a way to train your body to wind down. Take a [...]

By |2019-05-30T15:56:24-04:00May 1, 2017|