Friday, June 29, 2012

Make Your Bed! For Productivity, Profit and Peace

Are you a regular bed-maker? If not, you may want to become one. Turns out that making your bed daily can have some seriously cool benefits (besides, of course, coming home to a fresh, tidy room!)

At the risk of sounding childish or lazy (maybe both?) I'll just be honest: I hate making my bed. Rather, I used to hate making my bed. Why should I bother? I often reasoned. I'm just going to get right back into it later, and no one except my immediate family will see it (and as it turns out, they are stuck with me and my covers-tossed-in-disarray).

But something I read last week in Charles Duhigg's "The Power of Habit" changed my mind. According to Duhigg, making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity and stronger skills at sticking with a budget. It has also been suggested that making your bed boosts happiness. My interest was piqued. Happiness? Yes, I'll take it. Productivity? Yep, I'll take that too. Sticking to a budget? Sounds good to me.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestselling book "The Happiness Project", explains that making the bed was "the number one most impactful change that people brought up over and over" as she researched her book on inspiring happiness. Can an act that takes three minutes (yes, I timed it) really make that much of a difference in your life?

Apparently, making your bed (and other feel-good tasks like exercising and cooking your own food) is something called a keystone habit. Keystone habits are those routines that, if you can identify them, spill over to other habits. According to Duhigg, changing or cultivating keystone habits "helps other habits to flourish by creating new structures, and they establish cultures where change becomes contagious." A keystone habit is essentially a catalyst for other good habits.

I figured that I was the perfect test case for the Make Your Bed to Achieve Happiness Theory (reminder: I never make my bed) and that it was worth a try. So far I've made by bed for 10 days in a row. And here's what I've noticed: Making my bed inspires me to get my kids to make their beds. Which inspires me to get them to clean their rooms. Which inspires me to do the laundry, the dishes, and to pick up abandoned stuffed animals, dropped underwear (theirs! not mine), and newspapers-turned-light-sabers as I corral my two toddlers out the door to school. I look at my watch to see that it is 8am and the house is an unusual shade of clean before coffee. I'm smiling.

Karen Miller, wife, mother, Zen priest, and author of "Hand Wash Cold" and "Momma Zen", explains: "the state of your bed is the state of your head." I think she is on to something. When I leave my bed in a heap, I leave the bedroom feeling defeated by my bed, my alarm clock, and my general sleepy mood. I'm groggy and reluctant to get the day started. My internal voice sounds a bit like the strewn covers, "Noooooo morning! Gooooo awaaaaaay!"

But when I look at my freshly made bed, I have to admit it: I smile a little. I feel just a bit more motivated. Productive, even. I leave the room saying, "Goodbye beautiful little den of tranquility that I have created with my bare hands!" And I'm ready to tackle the day — crush it, even.

But sticking to a budget? That part is still up for debate. I just bought some adorable grey and white chevron pillows with hot pink trim for my freshly made bed. I can't leave that beautiful bed half-dressed, can I?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

5 Myths About Sleep from The Bed Boss

There's a lot of misinformation floating around out there, including some well-entrenched myths about sleep, how much you should get, and what the best way is to do it. These myth-busters from The Bed Boss, our memory foam mattress vendor, should help clear things up.

MYTH #1: Sleep is optional. We live in an always-on, communications-driven world where Jay Leno and the Internet are just a few of life’s many distractions that cut into our sleep The average American is only getting six to seven hours of sleep each night, and many are convinced they can function with even fewer. Although some people appear unaffected by pulling an all-nighter, most of us struggle to perform after a night of tossing and turning, with our attention spans and reaction time being the first skills to suffer. However, it is important to be realistic. Because of outside factors like work schedules, social lives and children, eight hours of sleep each night is hard to come by. Focusing on the quality of sleep you do get is the key. Although sleep isn’t optional, your sleep environment is, and making sure you’re resting under optimum circumstances puts you in control of your sleep cycle and energy level. You might not be able to sleep longer, but you can certainly sleep better. 

MYTH #2: Medication is the only answer to sound sleep. There’s a time and place for sleeping medications, but poor sleepers commonly overlook simple things they can do to help themselves, including taking control of their sleep environment. Constant tossing and turning is one of the leading inhibitors of a sound sleep, and often stems from the uncomfortable pressure points created by a mattress. Many manufacturers are designing mattresses with technology to alleviate pressure points, like the Bed Boss Heir ET line. Additionally, eliminating sound and light, removing pets from the bed and optimizing the bedroom temperature are necessary first steps to getting a better night’s sleep.

MYTH #3: Coffee in the morning won’t keep me awake at night. Drinking coffee is as common as waking up in the morning for many Americans. And caffeine is the most frequently used social drug in the United States. Yes, it’s a drug; the effects of caffeine are much more powerful than we give them credit for. Caffeine can last up to 12 hours or more in certain individuals and can seriously prohibit your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Anyone who regularly tosses and turns at night should consider removing some or all caffeine from their diet.

MYTH #4: It’s OK to ignore insomnia, if it’s mild. Some types of psychiatric disorders, including depression, have a strong association with consistent, long-term problems falling and staying asleep. Although it has yet to be proven that correcting sleep disorders reduces and normalizes the risk of these problems, it’s smart to pursue professional help if do-it-yourself sleep methods aren’t working. 

MYTH #5: It’s normal to sleep poorly as we age. While it’s true that people sleep lighter and wake up more often as they get older, it is not normal or acceptable to feel fatigued or sleepy during the day on a regular basis. Grogginess during the day is not normal and should not be blamed solely on your sleep habits at night. If you’re constantly tired during the day, consult with your doctor to get to the root of the problem. 

Of course, the Bed Boss Mattresses provide the 9 Zone Comfort and cradle you in a supportive posture. You can rest easier and sleep more peaceful. Even 5 hours in a peaceful sleep is better that 8-10 hours tossing and turning.  

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Apartment Therapy says red seating is "IN"

We think red is always a popular color. But Apartment Therapy says that red is even more "in" right now, especially when it comes to seating.

The color red is meant for inciting, don't you think? It's almost like it was put on this planet to grab attention, raise the heart rate and make a piece of furniture pop like no other color. It's available in such a large gamut of hues there's bound to be a red that fits your personality, and we know just what sort of furniture piece to use as a vehicle for this bold color.

Seating: It's something many rooms require and many more benefit from, and if you have been wondering what type of furniture piece you should choose to bring a pop of red in a space, we humbly submit seating as an option. From benches, to chairs, to sofas and more, a red seat in a room is a bright and bold beacon beckoning guests (and yourself) to take a load off.

In the center of a room in a seating arrangement, a red chair will tie a space together, and along the wall in a vignette the color red will keep a piece from becoming a wallflower. If you don't believe us, just check out the evidence found in recent Apartment Therapy house tours:

See more fabulous red decor at Apartment Therapy.

And here are a few of our top-selling, always popular red pieces (not just seating!)

How do you use red to decorate?

Friday, June 8, 2012

eHow's Rules for Table Lamps

Many people feel overwhelmed when it comes time to pick out table lamps. But there's no reason to. Picking lamps can be a lot of fun, especially if you've done your homework first! This guide from eHow tells you just what you need.

Imagine your home without table lamps. A gathering of friends would feel stark and impersonal rather than warm and convivial . There would be no place to curl up and read the latest best seller. Table lamps are part of what gives the home personality. Yet the average person knows very little about selecting and decorating with table lamps. These six key points should help.

Table lamps are the most versatile types of household illumination. They can be easily moved from one location to another and are commonly used as accent, general and task lighting in the home.   
(Accent lighting is secondary light that provides points of visual interest in a room. General lighting supplies a comfortable level of illumination throughout a room. Task lighting is light focused on a particular activity.)

Table lamps are functional, but also serve as decorative accessories in a room. Choice of lamp styles is strictly a matter of personal taste. It is not necessary match the style of table lamp to your room's particular decor, but do make an effort to coordinate the look. An early American lamp is obviously a poor choice for an ultra-modern room.

Proportion and Height
Scale is one of the main elements to consider when choosing the right table lamp. Your overall lamp size should be in proportion to the room's furnishings. The proper height for a table lamp is based on the height of your seating and table. The lower rim of the lampshade should be between shoulder and eye level of the person seated next to the table lamp.

Lamp Shade Tips
Lampshades for table lamps should never exceed the diameter of the table surface. It is wise to bring your lamp to the store to select the proper size in relation to the lamp base. If you are unsure of which shape shade to buy, simply mirror the shape of the shade to that of the lamp base. (At Home Decor, you don't need to worry about this one. All of our lamps come with proportional, matching shades!)

Number of Lamps
There is no set rule regarding the acceptable number of table lamps per room. It is recommended to  
use multiple table lamps in larger rooms to maintain even ambient light distribution. You should also 
place a table lamp on each table next to chairs, sofas and beds unless you are relying on another direct light source such as a floor lamp, wall lamp, track or recessed lights.

Hiding Lamp Cords
For those of us who enjoy table lamps, one big dilemma is how to conceal the lamp cords. For homes with open floor plans, this can be a particularly tricky issue. Martha Stewart recommends hiring an electrician to install floor outlets. Cords can also be run along baseboards in molded plastic channels and hidden under rugs in non-traffic areas. Another suggestion is to use decorative fabric covers to "dress up" unsightly bare cords.

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