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Happy Better Sleep Month!

better-sleep-month

Welcome to May, also known as “Better Sleep Month”! (But really, shouldn’t every month be a better sleep month?) If you’re like most Americans you either aren’t getting enough sleep or you aren’t getting quality sleep – both of which have a huge impact upon your life. In fact, 8 out of 10 people say they would feel better if they got more sleep. What does good quality sleep do for you?

We can tell you what the lack of it can do. Inadequate sleep can increase your blood pressure and cause your body to become more stressed. Poor sleep can also create brain fog, increase irritability, cause mood swings, and weaken the immune system. It creates a lack of productivity and decline in judgement in the work place. And serious sleep problems cause issues like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and insomnia. Yikes.

There are A LOT of factors that can interrupt your sleep and cause you to sleep poorly. The most common one is, of course, stress. Stress can manifest in different ways such as family drama, trouble with friends, break-ups, financial worries, and anxiety in general (let’s face it, we can all find something to be anxious about at any given time). Physical factors can also disrupt your sleep – factors such as body aches & pain, a frequent need to urinate, or snoring from a partner. Then there are external factors – caffeine intake (especially close to bedtime), how light or dark the room is, room temperature, and noise. Looking at it this way, it seems like there’s a lot keeping us from sleep.

BUT there are plenty of ways to change things up and create an environment in which you can sleep well. The whole aim of “Better Sleep Month” is to encourage people to establish better sleep patterns after all! Here are some fabulous tips from the Better Sleep Council designed to help you get a good night’s rest.

  1. Make a sleep schedule and stick to it. We’re talking going to bed and waking up at the same time each & every day, including weekends. This helps your body find its natural rhythm and settle into a consistent sleep-wake cycle.
  2. Exercise regularly – just not in the two hours before bedtime. Exercise will wake you up which is what you want to avoid.
  3. Don’t eat large meals right before bed. Going to bed while your body is digesting a large meal can lead to problems like heartburn and indigestion.
  4. Do something relaxing before bed. Instead of stimulating activities that will wake you up, do some light reading or meditating, just whatever you find relaxes you.
  5. That said – turn off the television and other screens an hour before bed. “But I find TV relaxing!”…”How can I read without my Kindle?”…yes, well, the light your screens give off affects the production of melatonin in your body – and melatonin is one of the sleep-inducing chemicals your brain produces. So, unfortunately, electronic devices close to bedtime are a bad idea.
  6. Something else to avoid before bed? Alcohol and nicotine. A glass of wine before bed may help you relax, but it will actually disrupt your sleep because it reduces REM sleep (the most important kind). And nicotine is a stimulant.
  7. Re-evaluate your mattress every 7 years to make sure it’s still giving you the same level of comfort and firmness. If your mattress has become saggy, lumpy, or uncomfortable in any way, it clearly will not make for a good night’s sleep. If you find it lacking, go get a new one that provides ultimate comfort.
  8. Replace your pillow once a year. Pillows are important – they provide neck support. Make sure yours is doing it’s job.
  9. Create the optimal sleep environment. Make sure your room is dark as it can be (black out blinds help here), make sure you have enough room in the bed if you share with a partner (or pet!), and make sure the temperature is right.
  10. Remember it’s the quality of your sleep, not necessarily how much you get that determines how rested you are. Many experts believe between 7 1/2 & 8 1/2 hours of sleep are needed each night, but studies have shown that people who sleep between 6 & 7 hours a night might actually live longer. And 6 hours of quality sleep will always be better than 8 hours of poor sleep!

A good night’s rest is vitally important to good health, so we hope these tips help you reach your perfect night’s sleep! Believe us, you’ll notice a difference. Not only will your physical & mental health improve, but some people even think better sleep helps spark their creativity and improves their memory. Pretty powerful!

And if it’s a mattress that’s the cause of your sleep issues, we are more than happy to help you out. Our mattress center, Everything Sleep, in Succasunna has your mattress needs covered. We offer great mattresses at amazing prices + our sleep experts will help you find the mattress that’s right size and comfort level for you. Together we’ll find the perfect fit. Happy sleeping!

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Feng Shui for Kids

Feng-Shui-for-Your-Child

You’ve heard of feng shui before but what exactly is it and what is it good for? Feng shui is an ancient art and science that was formalized over 3,000 years ago in China (though some elements date back at least 6000 years!). It contains elements of physics, philosophy, astronomy, astrology, and other branches of scholarly study. Basically, it’s thought to be the art of placement – understanding how the placement of yourself and objects within a space affects your life in various areas of experience. What’s the point of that? Well, it teaches us how to balance the energies in a space and aims to assure good fortune (hey, we’re down with that!). Plenty of people think it’s just mumbo jumbo, while plenty of other people swear by it. We figure it never hurts to give something a try at least once, right? And when it comes to feng shui and kids’ rooms, feng shui is supposed to help create a space where your child feels genuinely happy, empowered and loved by balancing their creativity and freedom with structures and boundaries. (Also, one of the supposed benefits of feng shui is that it can help children feel more calm and centered, which can translate to better sleep at night – and as parents, we understand the importance of good sleep!) If you’re interested in giving it a go, check out these tips to get started.

  1. A Good Foundation. To start, you need a good foundation. What does that look like? It looks like a clean, clutter free space! We know the words “kids” and “clutter-free” don’t exactly always go together, but clutter clearing and organizing are absolutely necessary steps for good feng shui in your child’s room. Not having a clear organization system and clear space can lead to chaos and low energy. Create a clutter clearing system that really works and stick to it! Creating space and visual openness helps your child to feel less pressured, and more likely to be imaginative and creative. And if you need help clearing that clutter, Suburban Furniture has fabulous solutions!

  2. The Bed. Align the child’s bed to the widest part of the room. Make sure your child can see the door from his or her bed easily, but is not in direct line of the door.

  3. Subtle Authority. Be sure to place a happy picture of the parents in kids’ rooms. Why? It subtly exerts authority and prominence of parents as heads of household. Plus, if you child is a bit unruly, this is a subtle feng shui solution to calm their energy.

  4. Let’s Study! Having a dedicated space where your child can study, such as a specific desk or beanbag, etc., demonstrates the importance you place on education. As to where you should have this dedicated study space – if your child has been having issues in school (ie low grades), place the study area in the NE corner of the bedroom. And, if possible, celebrate your child’s accomplishments with an area along the south wall! Displaying awards, trophies, ribbons, crafts, etc. here reinforces that you’re proud of your child and their efforts.

  5. Colors. This one might be a bit tougher, if only because there’s more to take into account. Your child’s bedroom should have the right balance of yin & yang energy – meaning not too bright and not too dark – but should also fit their personal taste/personality. When painting a room, it’s recommended that you avoid bright colors like neon (or even busy wallpaper) because it can overstimulate a child and disrupt their sleep and go with pastel blues, greens, or pinks to create a calming, healing atmosphere.

  6. Fresh Air. Houses can get a little stale from time to time and Febreeze is not a fix-all, and kids definitely need to get plenty of fresh air! Monitor the air quality in kids’ rooms and open the windows when possible. You can also add some air-purifying plants to keep things healthy & green!

  7. Encourage Free Expression. Boundaries are good and necessary, but so is freedom. Let your child choose art for their room (and especially display their own art!) and help develop the look and feel of the room. The more control your child has over his or her space, the more empowered they will feel, and this is always good feng shui!

Feng shui doesn’t have to be complicated; there are lots of simple little tricks you can try out to see if they have an effect on your home before committing to anything in depth and more complicated. And Suburban Furniture is here to help you feng shui away with plenty of storage options, amazing mattresses and beds, and more! Right now our entire store is ½ off with 6 months interest-free financing, so it’s a fabuous time to try some feng shui of your own!