Category Archives: Sleep

The Rise and Fall of the Waterbed in the United States

Waterbed in bedroomMost of us would probably remember the first time we laid eyes on a waterbed – maybe had one of our own. Waterbeds were once a huge trend; classy, sexy, comfortable, and you had to have one.

The waterbed got its kickstart in California, in the late 60s. After failed experiments with cornstarch and even Jell-O filled chairs, Charlie Hall, a design student in San Francisco State University, had the idea of a mattress full of water. Hall designed the product while focusing the comfort and a good night’s sleep. The water-filled mattress was his master’s thesis, and once he presented it, his entire class spent the night playing with it. That’s how the modern waterbed as we know it was born.

During the 1970s, waterbeds hit the US market while the general idea of choosing an innerspring mattress was firm, firmer, or firmest.  Over the next 20 years, waterbeds became a must-have household product for many people. By the end of 1989, waterbed sales reached upwards of $30 million. People just couldn’t get enough of the waterbeds as these beds offered seamless comfort when compared to conventional spring mattresses. They were also believed to be super-fashionable and incredibly sexy amongst the youth. That’s how waterbeds became the beds of the sexual revolution and were viewed as a significant piece of impressing the opposite sex. If you didn’t have a waterbed, you had a lesser chance.

Why they were so popular

Aside from their appeal of passion, which was liberally encouraged by manufacturers who tried some slogans like “Two things are better on a waterbed, one is sleep,” waterbeds offered something that most beds at the time didn’t offer: a comfortable good night’s sleep.  When you were lying down on the waterbed, your body’s pressure was distributed equally, meaning you experienced support without any excess pressure on any part of your body, such as your hips, back, or shoulders.

Also, waterbeds were cheap, very cheap! If you went shopping for a waterbed, the average price you’d come across back then was between $150-350. Plus, by the end of the waterbed era, it could cost as low as $90, which was also too much to resist.

Why the love is over

All of a sudden, the passion was gone. The sexual marketing, which had been a big hit thanks to advertisements back in the 80s, quickly became old news in the 90s and it started to be considered as quirky and weird to be lying on a waterbed. Plus, the feelings of practicality and sensibility took over, and it was not as acceptable to be sexually rambunctious and to be over the top.

However, this wasn’t the only factor against waterbeds. They also had technical problems such as propensity to spring leaks, and they needed constant maintenance. If you wanted to move your waterbed, you had to drain it first, which was a time consuming process.

By the early 90s, as suddenly as they were cool and sexy, they became weird and lame.  It became clear that the novelty of waterbeds wasn’t worth the additional work they needed. Also, different manufacturers came up with different mattress innovations which offer comfort, flexibility, and softness while not making you run a garden hose through your second-floor bedroom window.

As for today…

Today, even though the waterbed market is still active in a much, much smaller scale, the market of mattresses offers significantly more options than it did during the waterbed era. If you spend some time looking at different mattress options, you’re likely to come across hybrid mattresses, innerspring mattresses, gel mattresses, pillow-top mattresses, or latex mattresses, or even waterbeds, if you’re lucky!

The answer to the question of “what kind of mattress is best for me?” depends on many factors, many of which are separately specific. The best way to find out which type of bedding is best for you is to come see us in person or you can give us a call, so our specialists can help you out with finding the best option for your needs and comfort.

Why Do People Sleep Under Blankets in the Summer?

At night, which camp are you in – blanket or no blanket? Have you ever wondered why so many people sleep with a blanket, even during the hottest nights of summer? Well, the answers may surprise you.

Let’s start with the science. So many people say they can’t fall asleep without a blanket. If you’re one of those people, you’re definitely not alone. One reason could be psychological, especially if you were used to being put to bed as a child tucked neatly into bed. It’s as if we’re conditioned to want blankets – even babies have a thing for them.

The simple biological fact is that your body actually needs a little more warmth at night. Your core temperature drops around bedtime and that’s when melatonin levels increase. This is your body telling you that it’s time to hit the hay. Once you’re asleep and you hit your deepest REM cycles, your body can’t warm itself up again. Overnight temperatures are actually coldest right after the dawn, and our bodies are conditioned to know that we’ll need some warmth later.

Blankets are, in fact, a newer trend among humans. Long before there were 1200-thread count sheets and luxury down-filled comforters, there were barnyard animals. Centuries ago, it was incredibly expensive and difficult to weave the equivalent of something like a twin sheet. So, except for the wealthiest people, most slept with barnyard animals to keep warm.

Throughout ancient Egyptian and Roman times, only the wealthiest families could afford blankets. Years later, when the weaving process became less laborious, middle-class families could afford them. However, they were still expensive and often passed down as an inheritance or a family heirloom.

These days, we don’t have to worry about snuggling up next to the cows or horses. We’ve come a long way since the wool sheets of the ancient Roman Empire, too! Bedding innovation means that we can offer you the finest of luxury bedding. We won’t judge you for sleeping with one foot sticking out, so don’t be afraid to get in touch to speak with one of our bedding experts.

History of Sleep Series: Strange Bedfellows in History

One of my favorite sleep history stories is from American history. Ever heard the phrase “strange bedfellows”? Sure, the phrase really is a metaphor for unlikely partners. However, if your partner and you have different ideas about how to sleep in comfort, it can be a great way to describe your sleeping arrangements at home. For one patriotic duo, it was a quite literal description of a historical event that may have changed the course of our country’s independence.

Autumn 1776

Imagine a crisp September day in the fall of 1776, and the American colonies had established independence from Britain. Weeks earlier, George Washington and his troops, though badly defeated, narrowly escaped from British capture. The Revolutionary War continued to rage,  and a British Admiral and his troops were holed up on Staten Island in New York. The British Admiral urged the Founding Fathers to renounce the Declaration of Independence and come back home to Britain.

A delegation from the Continental Congress in Philadelphia was sent north on a little road trip to negotiate an end to the war. The group of three travelers included Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who was the oldest Congress member at 70, the youngest Congress member Edward Rutledge (he was 27), and John Adams — who was stuck right in the middle at a fresh-faced 41 years old.

After traveling some distance by horseback, the trio decided to take a pit stop at a small New Jersey inn. There were only two rooms left for the three men, and Ben and John shacked up together in accommodations that were only slightly larger than the bed in the room and included a small window. Here’s where things get strange.

To Open or Shut the Window

John, who was a bit of a hypochondriac, believed he needed to sleep with the window closed to avoid catching a cold. Ben, in his old age and extensive wisdom, stated his case: “Don’t shut the window,” he told John, “we shall be suffocated!” Ben (he was a doctor and scientist, after all) explained that it was not the “frowzy corrupt air” filled with dirt that would make them sick should it waft into their small room. He elaborated on the benefits of fresh air and ventilation.

Dr. Ben and John argued back and forth about the pros and cons of sleeping with the window open, until logic prevailed and John decided to sleep with the window open. He hopped in bed — both still mumbling as they drifted off to sleep — and neither caught a cold that night. Unfortunately the peace talks in Long Island lasted a few hours and weren’t successful.  Maybe if the inn’s mattress was memory foam, we would all have a different story to tell about how America came to be…

The History of Sleep

In 1996 while studying mood disorders, pediatrician Ronald E. Dahl decided to dive into the history of sleep and how it affected children.  He discovered that there was very little scientific information about how human sleep evolved over time. From sleeping arrangements to the evolution of bedding and linens, Dahl uncovered literature that detailed the history of sleep and how humans sleep.

Sleep in the Neolithic Era

Let’s start our journey of the history of sleep by traveling back in time to the Neolithic era, when humans were hunter-gatherers and roamed in tribes, sleeping wherever large, scary predators weren’t. We didn’t really have a reason to stay in one place until we learned how to farm domesticated animals and grow crops. One of the first beds was discovered in Texas caves, dating back to 8000 BCE. and made of a pit in the ground near cave walls. Several of us would huddle together and stuff soft grass into the pits for comfort.

Sleep Like an Egyptian

Ancient Egyptians really had a thing for sleep, as they believed it was a state close to death. Dreams were revered as messages from the gods, and many hours were spent deciphering and analyzing symbols for deeper meanings. Bedding had pictures of gods known for protection from demons.  Wealthy Egyptians had bed frames dipped in the middle, elevating the feet.

Roman Sleep Habits

Fast forward to ancient Roman times where sleep wasn’t always an option, especially for those in power. When they did have time, they slept in rooms called cubiculum that also served as meeting rooms during the day. Beds during that time looked more like modern sofas, and Romans — known for their overindulging and opulence — kept their cubiculum sparsely furnished.

The Middle Ages

Unfortunately, the Middle Ages weren’t the best years when it came to sleep. With the lack of sanitation, rampant illness, and overwhelming filth, these conditions made insomnia seem like a walk in the park. Families often slept in large beds together near fires, and put coals under their mattress to add warmth. Servants for rich families slept on straw mats at the feet of their masters.

The Renaissance and Beyond

It wasn’t until the Renaissance period (surprise, surprise) that people figured out how to make sleeping comfortable and restful. People learned that stringing ropes across bed frames helped to better support their mattress, but these strings needed to be tightened nightly. Some even believed this is where the term “sleep tight” came from. In China, similar things were happening as beds became a more ornate centerpiece of any bedroom. The bed, bedding, and linens were the most expensive of a couple’s belongings. These possessions were among the most valuable items left in any inheritance.

Then the Industrial Revolution hit, and sleep as we know it changed for good. Before the advent of artificial light, humans used to have biphasic sleep patterns in two 4-hour blocks.  People would awaken at night to get chores done before heading back for an extended nap. As access to electricity became widespread and factory workers pulled 16 hour shifts, our sleep morphed into one block overnight.

One thing is for sure: as our sleeping habits changed over the years, so have our mattresses! It’s a good thing we have more options aside from cave pits. Stop in to find the right mattress for your cubiculum!

Choosing the Right Mattress

Choosing the Right MattressJust about 30 years ago, traditional innerspring mattresses were (sadly) pretty much our only option. Remember when you were a kid, jumping on a squeaky bed? Or feeling a coil dig into your back all night as you were trying to get comfortable? Yeah, so do we! Thankfully, mattresses have evolved and now there are plenty of choices for all types of sleepers. Choosing the right mattress means being educated about the options.  We want to help you by breaking down some of the most commonly-purchased types of mattresses.

Innerspring Mattresses

This is a traditional mattress fabrication, and despite all of the fancy mattress trends that have swept through, the innerspring mattress remains the most popular and usually the most cost-efficient choice. You can choose from a variety of firmness levels and they’re easy to transport during moves. The drawback of innerspring (or coil) mattresses is that they can be noisy and don’t offer any therapeutic benefits for those suffering from back pain or pressure. When shopping for an innerspring, don’t forget to consider coil gauge — thicker coils make for a firmer mattress.

Natural Fiber

Mattresses made of natural fiber (instead of synthetic foam) can be a little pricey, but they’re great for the environment and great for families who tend to choose products that help to reduce their carbon footprint. Choose cotton if you want up to 15 years of durability.  Wool is great for regulating sleep temperature (attention hot sleepers), and latex harvested from rubber plants is fire-resistant. Because these mattresses come from different sources it’s important to try them before you buy as each lends itself to different sleeping styles.

Memory Foam

You’ve probably heard a lot about memory foam mattresses, and there’s a good chance you own other products that already use memory foam technology. They are incredibly popular and known for conforming to your body shape and returning back to “normal” a few minutes after getting out of bed.

Some features of a memory foam mattress include:

  • Very comfortable
  • Can help in pressure point and pain reduction
  • Offers better spine alignment
  • Won’t move when your partner does
  • Bonus: they fit adjustable beds

Latex

As we mentioned above, latex is harvested from rubber plants and latex mattresses can be both affordable and durable while being a “green” option. Remember that all latex manufacturing processes are different, so make sure to research how brands produce their specific mattresses. On the plus side, they don’t require flipping and rotating and are chemical-free.  The downside is that they happen to be heavy to move and are pricier than innerspring mattresses.

Along with these common styles, there are hybrids, custom options, and highly specialized mattresses available as well. The best way to find the right one for you is to visit us in-store and test them out for yourself. Our mattress pros are here to consult with you to make sure you end up getting the best night’s sleep possible!

Finding the Perfect Mattress

What do Sleeping Beauty, the Princess and the Pea, and Goldilocks have in common? They all know the importance of finding the perfect mattress. For most of us, though, that can be an even bigger and more confusing task than buying a new car! Fear not — a good night’s sleep is within reach, and we can help get you there.

The first step is finding the right store. Talk to your well-rested friends and family members to see where they got their mattress. Check online reviews or even give your local Better Business Bureau chapter a call to see which store has the best ratings. Most importantly, don’t go to a furniture store! Stick to the places that exclusively specialize in mattresses, bedding, and accessories to find employees with more experience and expertise like Princess and her finely-tuned ability to feel a pea 10 mattresses down.

Now, this is important: Make sure you take time to go mattress shopping! You won’t be able to find the right one if you’re in a rush, and you should block out about 3 hours — seriously! If you’re sharing the bed with a partner, bring them along and try out more than one option together. Spend about 15 minutes really testing out your choices by flopping, flipping, and contorting into every position you normally would when you sleep. Look for pressure points, back support, and movement on your side when your partner is moving. Ask Goldilocks — trying before you buy will help you eliminate any surprises after you get your mattress home and settled in the bedroom.

Something else to consider are the claims that “fancy” mattress can cure all your aches and pains as you sleep. While we’d all love to wake up looking and feeling like Sleeping Beauty, the only real way to get more beauty sleep is to take care of our bodies while we’re awake. Quitting smoking, eating better, and making sure to get 30 minutes of exercise a day can help us all improve sleep regardless of which mattress we choose. While we may not offer a cure-all in the form of a mattress, there are several firmness options to choose from along with different densities and fabrications. This is why it’s so important to really get comfortable in our showroom before you make a purchase.

Listen, we get it. Shopping for a new mattress is no fairy tale. But, if you’re armed with the right tips, a plan of action and a little customer service magic we can turn your dream of getting a great night’s sleep into a reality. We look forward to helping you write the perfect bedtime story!

What Is Your Sleep Style?

Starfish, snail, stick on the ground: No – we’re not going on a nature walk! We’re talking about your sleep style. Surprisingly enough, how you sleep at night could say a lot about your personality. (It can also tell you if it’s time for a new mattress!)

The Starfish

Starfish Sleep PositionIf you sleep on your back with your arms and legs spread out, you’re one of these sea-dwellers. According to surveys, it’s the least popular way to sleep — especially for those who have to sleep in bed with someone else. Starfishes make time to be good to their friends, listening to their problems and always offering help.

The Snail

Also known as the fetal position, you’re a Snail if you tuck yourself into a tight ball to slumber. The Snail is popular, and although it may seem uncomfortable, many people enjoy sleeping like this. Snails have tough exteriors but on the inside are sensitive and can be shy.

The Stick

Sticks sleep on their sides in a straight line with arms close to their body. They don’t move much throughout the night, and thankfully for their partners they don’t take up too much room. Sticks are very sociable and popular, but they’re also a little too trusting for their own good.

The Eagle

Freefallers, or Eagles, sleep on their stomachs with their arms by the pillows and their heads turned to one side. Eagles love to be sociable and hang out with their friends — but be careful with what you say, they’re not known to have the thick skin to deal with criticism.

The Koala

Pillow-snuggling Koalas can’t sleep without grabbing some bedding and cuddling all night long. (When was the last time you invested in good pillows for your Koala?) Koalas really value the relationship bonds in their lives, whether it’s friends or family, and will do anything they can to help those they love.

The Sloth

Sloths are a little different. Sloth sleepers spend their nights tossing and turning on the couch, because their mattress just isn’t cutting it. Sloth sleepers are grumpy, always tired, and their body has created an imprint on the sofa.

If it’s time to find a new sleep style — and a new mattress — start by taking a look at our selection online or coming in to shop our in-store inventory. Nobody likes being the Sloth!

Winter is Coming…So is Sleep

In some areas of the country, it may not feel like fall yet, but the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer.  Also, Daylight Saving Time ends soon – which means winter is coming. (Just ask your Game of Thrones fan friends).  While bears deal with this awful season by hibernating, we humans can’t be so lucky. For many of us, the winter weather and extended darkness can really mess with our sleep schedule, so here are a few tips to keep in mind as the chill sets in.

Keep Your Cool, but Don’t Get Cold

If you’re someone who likes to crank the heat all winter long, we’d love to come over and hang out for a few months if that’s okay? We’ll also remind you that you’ll sleep much better when your bedroom is around 65 degrees, so your dad may have had a point when he constantly yelled at you growing up for having the heat too high.

Don’t Stop Moving…

…but not to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. Exercise can help improve sleep and can keep weight gain at bay, which can help those who suffer from sleep apnea. If the weather is preventing you from going outside, check YouTube for any number of free videos of exercise you can do in the comfort and warmth of your own home. Bonus: Your increased body heat means you can turn down the thermostat for an hour or two.

Keep Your Nose Wet

It sounds kind of gross, but dry nasal passages from dry, heated indoor air can lead to all sorts of sleep problems. You’ll snore more and that could interrupt your sleep (or your partner’s sleep), which could leave you waking throughout the night and tired during the day. Use a humidifier and saline spray to keep the dull roar to a minimum.

Lighten Up!  Your Dinners, That Is.

You know those heavy winter meals that you just love to savor? Well, put down that chili, mashed potatoes and stews, and stick to lighter dinners that are easier to digest. Heavier meals at night can lead to indigestion or stomach discomfort that can keep you awake.

Even though pumpkin spice lattes are still all the rage, winter is around the corner and you should be ready to sleep like the hibernating bear we all have inside of us. If you try all of these tips and you’re still not catching your ZZZs like Winnie the Pooh, it might be time to talk to us about a buying a new mattress or how you can refresh your bedding.

3 Tips for Better Sleep This Fall

Ahh, do you smell that? It’s the scent of crisp falling leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and adorable seasonal decor. As you switch out your flip flops and cut-offs for chunky knits and fuzzy boots, maybe it’s time to switch up your sleeping routine too. Here are 3 great tips for transforming your bedroom and bed into a cozy corner as the nights get longer and the temperatures drop.

Tip #1: Choose versatile bedding

Sure, flannel sheets and heavy down comforters are cozy during the winter, but during the still-warm evenings of autumn, they’re not quite right. Invest in easy-care fabrics like microfiber or bamboo that still allow for breathability as the nights slowly become colder. You can also use sheets in these fabrics as a base layer as the months go on, piling on down or down alternative blankets depending on which direction the weather decides to take. Better yet: Splurge on luxury sheets to create a spa-like retreat as you lounge about in chunky knits and fuzzy boots.

Tip #2: Buy a new mattress

When was the last time you bought a new mattress? Sure, we sell mattresses so we’re obligated to ask — but we’re all friends here, right? If you’d be embarrassed to say the answer out loud, perhaps you should really think about taking the plunge. Sure it’s an investment, but there are options for every budget and sleeping style. If you’re really not ready or you just need some tweaking for your newer mattress, consider a mattress topper to create a cozy foundation.

Tip #3: Get Accessories to Help You Sleep Better

If you’re not getting enough sleep, welcome to the ever-growing club. (And if you are getting enough, we’d love to know your secrets). Everyone has their little trick or tip to help them doze off, but we could all use a little help from time to time. Consider trying a white noise machine to drown out sounds which might prevent you from falling asleep.  If you suffer from acid reflux at night, look into getting a bed wedge to help with that.  Both of these items can help you sleep more soundly. Make these tools a part of your regular bedtime routine and consistent schedule to help better quality sleep.

To get you started, we’ve put together a great buyer’s guide to help you choose the right bedding, mattress, and accessories for your lifestyle. Still have questions?  Take a look at our items we sell online.  If you are local, come visit us in the shop, we’d love to help you get a better night’s sleep this fall! (Pumpkin spice lattes not included with purchase.)

Good Grades Start with Good Sleep

It’s that time of year again when parents cheer silently and children grumble out loud: School is starting! Gone are the long days of summer and the joys of sleeping in. Gone are the late mornings of hitting the “snooze” button 73 times. If you want to avoid the whole “5 more minutes” debate every morning, you should start (and maintain) healthy sleep habits now. Here are some tips for both parents and kids to help get a night of good sleep at the beginning of the school year.

Finish homework and housework early

The last thing anyone wants to do is wrestle with algebra (or a mop) right before hitting the hay. Set aside time during the day or in the afternoon to get work done so you’re not pushing off bedtime just to complete that last assignment or make that counter top sparkle.

Establish a relaxing bedtime routine

Create some quiet time each night before bed for reading, baths, or quiet games to help everyone unwind. This is a great time to put away distractions like phone or tablets, and ideally the TV should be turned off too. Take a break and connect with your family!

Know how much sleep you need

Children ages 5-8 need 10-11 hours a night, especially if this is their first year at school. (Kindergarten is exhausting, all that Play-Doh takes a toll!) Pre-teens between the ages of 9-12 need about 9 hours, and those teenagers of yours need at least 8. Grownups: Don’t neglect your pillow either — listen to Dr. Oz and make sure you get a solid 7 hours every night.

Prepare your body for sleeping

Do you ever let your kids “run it out”? It’s a great way to let them burn off extra energy so they wind down faster at bedtime. And unless you want them bouncing around like pinballs, skip the caffeinated drinks for a few hours leading up to sleepy-time. (Bonus: These tips also apply to adults! Who knew?!)

Dress your nest

This is probably the most important tip of all! The routines and schedules and sleep suggestions don’t mean a thing if your bedroom is less than ideal for getting some ZZZs. Having the right mattress makes all the difference, and so does the bedding you choose along with it. Picking luxurious linens and cloud-like pillows makes bedtime even more of a special event.

Good sleep helps everyone start their school days on the right foot! Looking to upgrade your mattress and bedding to build a great foundation for a great night’s sleep? Come in and visit us in-store or stay in bed and shop our awesome selection online. Sweet dreams!