Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weird Stuff

I recently ran across an article on something called Oil Pulling.  It intrigued me, because it said it could do miracles across the board, including sleep.  Normally I am a skeptic, and this is no exception.  I like to be shown that something works, but I also am willing to try things that I deem could not be harmful.

So I am experimenting.  The article I read suggested to use coconut oil or sesame seed oil.  Since I am not fond of coconut, I am using the sesame oil.  They recommended it be cold pressed.  On further research, I have found that either sesame or coconut is touted by different people.  Often because of economics, like the site that sells coconut oil!

One of the benefits is supposed to be better, deeper sleep.  I'm not sure how that happens, but I am experimenting with this to see if it indeed helps.  The problem is I already sleep pretty good, with all the research I have done, I have the basics in hand.

This is day 5.  It took some getting used to, the recommended time I have seen most is 20 minutes.  I bore easily, so this may be the biggest hurdle.  Since starting, I have noticed my breath seems fresher.  My allergies, considering it is spring, seem to be lessened, but I have not noticed any difference in my sleep.

Being a skeptic, I see crazy claims all the time.  I will continue the experiment for at least this bottle of oil, and if anything sleep related happens, I will share.  In the meantime, if any one out there has used it and noticed any changes in sleep, in particular, I would be interested in hearing from you.

If Oil Pulling does all it is supposed to do, expect to be reading this blog for another 50 to 70 years!  It has, like I mentioned helped in some things, but it seems mostly in the mouth at this time.  The primary reason I waned to try it is that I have some gingivitis, and if I can fix that, I would be happy.  That seems a little better, but I'm sure its too early to know for sure.  Connect with us here, or leave a comment with this blog with your experience with Oil Pulling.

Oil Pulling may help sleep, but great sleep is a great goal.  As always, we are in it for you to...

Sleep Well!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Closet Full of Pillows?

One of the advantages, if it is, to being in the bedding business, is that you hear what people want.  When we posted a blog on how to buy a pillow, it was one of our most read blogs.  It is then that you want to reprise that blog, perhaps going into deeper analysis of what we feel is the problem of buying a pillow today.

The biggest problem, we see, is that in so many cases, we can't 'test' the pillow.  Especially in the mass merchants like department stores and big box bedding stores.  And the pillow must 'fit' the individual.  As with other articles of clothing, a poor fit is not comfortable.  And also as with clothing, pillows do eventually wear out.  The wear out process is slow, and at some point, we determine that the pillow just isn't feeling right.  That's not unusual, since everything made by man is going to wear out.

The pillow is used to support the neck, not so much the head.  That's why so many people scrunch their pillows.  Scrunching is easier on more traditional materials like down, or alternative down.  It is almost impossible to scrunch a memory foam pillow, as an example.

Then there is quality, in our store, we found a pillow that at face value looked to be a good pillow.   It was contoured to support the neck, it wasn't too heavy, which is a problem with many memory foam pillows, and it was reasonable in price, under $30.  The problem turned out that the quality just wasn't there.  And it was too short for most people, especially men.

We constantly look for the perfect pillow.  You probably have seen the commercials and infomercials for the next great pillow.  You may also have a closet full of pillows that you have tried, and either didn't like, or have liked, but they are worn out.  Mostly because with traditional materials, it no longer fluffs. 

The thing is, most natural materials like down, can last a very long time, if cared for properly.   It is important that they have quality ingredients, like good down and high tread count covers.  We need to also make sure the pillow is washable, because over time oils and other things can mat the material down, washing will take those substances out of the pillow. We don't want to wash the pillow too much though, as that will contribute to wear.  That is why pillow protectors are so important.  They will offer a washable layer that will absorb many of the oils and sweats that we put into our pillows, without having to wash the pillow as frequently.  Yet the protector can be removed and washed regularly, and replaced if it starts to wear, at a lower price than a good quality pillow.

Having seen this, our company has come up with a solution to the closet full of pillows.  We introduced our Generation Pillow with a Limited Lifetime Warranty on the fluffiness of the pillow.  If it ever fails to fluff, with normal care, we will replace it for a small shipping and handling charge.  You can see this pillow on our web site, or buy it on eBay at a discount.  Mention you heard it here, and we will double orders coming from our web site, and a free pillow protector. Along with the pillow will be a detailed care guide.  We are confident that following this guide will keep your pillow fluffy for the rest of your life, if it doesn't, we will replace it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Future

This is more of an advertisement than a traditional blog, and we will get back to talking all things sleep in future posts.  Late last week, we were approached by our landlord.  The pharmacy next to us is looking to expand, and our space fits the bill best.  We will be moving our store.  Here's how we see the timeline.  Over the next 30 to 45 days, we will be reducing our inventory drastically.  We are intending to sell our display beds and pillows as well.  It only makes sense to start everything fresh.

With the sudden approach, we do not have a new store lined up.  That will take some time.   Since we have worked most all days in the last three years, first we need a vacation.  That does not mean we cannot meet the needs of our customers, existing and in to the future.  We also want to take time to evaluate what makes sense as our next move.  We have seen where our sales have come from, and that will help.

There is no real timeline on reopening, at this point.  We will continue to process orders on a timely basis, and we are able to accept new orders as well.  It also gives us a chance to reduce expenses in the short term improving the value we can offer our customers.  The economy is still ailing, and political turmoil has hindered economic growth, so lower expenses make sense.


We do appreciate our customers, and we will be there for you if you have questions or problems.  We will work with our vendors to ensure you have no issues.  We are a different type of mattress store, and that is why we usually call ourselves a bed store.

We intend to be back in our local market!  We appreciate our neighbors, and look forward to helping them sleep better, now and for years to come.  Interested in a great Comfortaire bed or Sleep Harmony bed?  Visit our web site for information on how to order.  We ship across the United States, and still offer the best value in sleep.  Perhaps you would like to help us as we help you?  That is possible as well by visiting our crowd funding promotion at Indiegogo.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Gel Infused Foam

The history of bedding is replete with innovation and enhancements to make a great night's sleep attainable for the masses.  Consider that the earliest humans had no bedding stores, so they had to make do with things that were available to them.  Our early ancestors slept on the ground, and there are some today that as push back to the sales process still say they could do that.  Early sleepers slept on grass or moss.  Then came the elevated beds, to get some distance from some vermin that were getting in to the materials.  In the middle ages further enhancements included putting these materials in a sack, or using feathers instead of grass kept it more tidy.  In the late 1800s, not that long ago, innerspring replaced these materials to give a more consistent feel, and a longer lasting bed.

Then the improvements on springs, enhanced the sleep surface.  Cotton batting, and later foams softened the feel of this technology.  In the 1960s, experimentation began with other technologies, first to hit the market was water.  Water offered a pliable surface that would mold to the individual sleeper, and these alternatives had moderate success.  Latex foams were also coming in to their own with some beds becoming all foam.  In the late 1980s two new technologies were introduced, memory foam and air technology.

The technologies often overlapped, foam on top of springs, soft side water beds, waveless water beds are all hybrids of different technology.  Memory foam found success and the innovator, Tempurpedic has grown vastly in size.  Air also found acceptance, and firms like Sleep Number and Comfortaire were born.  Today there are four basic technologies, and they have all enhanced their products over the years.  As an example, Tempurpedic combined their foam with air, and Sleep Number and Comfortaire have found ways to add memory foam to their products.

A few years ago, Serta introduced the first gel foam bed to the market.  It was an almost instant success, and bred a number of copies.  The Serta bed was gel infused, offering a cooler sleep surface.  Cool sleep has become the new goal, in fact we had a customer in our store the other day with a thermometer in hand to see how the beds warmed, or didn't warm more specifically.  Our store recently added a gel latex bed to our mix.  Right now, we can only find it from one manufacturer, but with success, we are sure more will be coming.  Do they work?

All things made by man are in some ways imperfect.  However, these materials seem to be offering a cooler night sleep than previous beds.  Our customer, also found that some of our materials did very well in his test.  The thing is, if you think you can turn off the air conditioner and rely on the bed to keep you cool, it won't.  And many of the new fabrics are what are called temperature regulators.


These temperature regulators, like Outlast, are designed to regulate temperature, not always cool.  When Outlast first hit the market some sales people would encourage customers to feel the cool, which when you first lay on them they are.  Outlast pulls heat from the sleeper and stores it.  When the metabolism starts to lower, it releases the heat back, regulating temperature.

Getting back to the gel products, we found that the gel foams stay cool to the touch for an extended period.  The gel seems to repel heat producing a cooling effect.  At first there was only gel memory foam.  As we noted earlier, we introduced a gel latex bed recently.  The latex in this particular bed is talalay latex, which has always been a product that encouraged air flow.  When the gel was added it produced a great feel, and stayed reasonably cool.  Some prefer the feel of latex, it is similar to the feel of the recliner in the family room.  Rather than sinking deeply in to it, it does offer posturization, but springs back nicely when you move.

These materials will help the average person sleep a bit more comfortably, it is important to choose which one based on your personal preferences and needs.  There are some people who may get hot even with these great materials, there is hope for them as well.  Some add ons have been marketed that actually allow for active cooling, or heating.  The most popular, and we feel the best, is circulating water that is either heated or chilled in a device under the bed.  These are energy efficient semi conductor machines that are small, yet effective.  There is also one recently offered using air to warm or cool the mattress, this seems like it might be good, but this early model has limited range of temperature change, and is not thermostatically controlled.

What ever your needs, now may be the best time to find a new bed, these awesome materials make it hard to believe the technologies can get much better, but we are sure they will!  Even if you are not in the market right now for a new mattress, stop by and try some of these materials, learn what is available to make it easier when it is time to replace your mattress.  What ever your needs are, as always, we hope you....

Sleep Well!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mattress Toppers, Are They Worth It?

We all see them in major retailers.  The memory foam mattress topper.  They seem to be inexpensive, especially compared to a new mattress, but are they worth the money?

The quick answer is it depends.  It depends on what you intend to use them for, and this is critical.  If you are looking for a mattress topper because you have an old mattress with little support left.  If you are looking for a topper because you have heard good things about memory foam mattresses, the answer to that question is no.  But why?  While memory foam is very comfortable, and offers a great night's sleep, it can't do it all by itself.  The reason memory foam mattresses are gaining in popularity is because of the system, not just the memory foam on top.  The major memory foam bed makers have anywhere from 1 to 4 inches of memory foam as the top layer.  Under this layer is the support structure for the bed.  Most use more foam, just a different kind, and mostly latex for the support in the mattress.  And that is specifically why the answer is no.  If you have an older bed, which is no longer comfortable, putting a layer of foam on top will not correct the support issues of the mattress.  Of course it will be softer, but it will rarely solve the problems you are attempting to solve with the topper.

So when is a topper a good idea?  OK, we all want to save some money right?  And that is the primary driver for the topper sales, extending the mattress to avoid buying a new one.  That is the wrong way of thinking of it.  If you are looking to save some money with a topper, and get a good night's sleep, consider buying the topper when you buy a mattress.  We hear the question now... How does that save money?

Let's use our store as an example.  We sell a very nice air technology bed with 4 inches of memory foam as the comfort materials.  A queen set is $2999.  We also sell an entry level bed with a couple inches of latex comfort material.  A queen set is $1150.  That's a wide gap.  Let me just note that getting the memory foam option from the factory will provide a higher quality memory foam than is generally available, especially at discount stores.  That being said, for a couple hundred dollars you can get a 2 inch topper, and it will work well with the lower priced bed, just not as long, and not as conveniently.  The big point is that you have saved money over the more expensive bed, and have great support for the topper.


To be completely honest, the topper will not last as long.  You may have to replace that topper every 5 years.  Either of the beds mentioned come with a 25 year limited warranty, and can last for much longer than that.  25 divided by 5 is 5, so the total cost of going the topper route is going to be around $1000 over 25 years.  if you add that to the initial cost of the bed, it nears the price of the more expensive bed, especially considering the foam in that bed is twice as thick, and a higher quality foam, and generally a bit more dense.

It's up to the customer in our store.  We want to sell the support end any way.  With the proper support, you may not even need the topper to begin with.  And our entry level beds in queen start around $500, so just a few hundred dollars more than the topper alone.  The support of the bed is what eliminates, or at least minimizes, aches and pains.  It's the support that helps our customers sleep all night and awake refreshed.  It is the support that will limit tossing and turning.  It is the support that is important in a new mattress, and the first thing to go in spring beds.  That is why they want you to replace every 8, while we say this may be the last mattress you will HAVE to buy.

At any rate, that is our take on mattress toppers, it depends on where you are financially as to whether it makes sense for you.  But again, toppers will not fix a broken support bed.

We hope that helps...

Sleep Well!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Mystery of Buying Sheets

Sheets seem to be available everywhere.  Go to the Home Show, and there is a guy hawking 2000 TC Egyptian Cotton sheets for a ridiculously low price.  Go to Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's, Kmart, Macy's, Dillard's, Mattress Stores or almost anywhere, you find sheets.  It seems every so often there is a story about sheets.  All any of us want are sheets that will feel good for the long haul and not pill, oh and we don't want to pay a high price for them. 

There are four things that will determine the quality of sheets. Let's take a moment to look at all four.

First, and this is what most people concentrate on, is thread count.  Thread count will tell you how tightly woven the sheet is as long as they are being truthful.  There is no standard for thread count, except it is the total amount of threads in a one inch square of the fabric.  Some manufactures define thread as all the ply's in the yarn that makes the sheet.  If he uses 6 ply yarn, and has 100 yarns then he claims he has 600 thread count sheets.  Most people if they looked at the sheet would see 100 thread count.  Then there is the physics of space.  There is only one square inch, there is a maximum number of threads that will fit.  In most cases that is a maximum of just under 600 thread count.  That tells us that anyone who has a higher count is fudging.  Or maybe worse, using a thinner thread than would be best for the sheet.  Any time someone stresses the thread count, they are either lazy, or that is their sheet claim to fame.  Buy from better stores, and know that most are competitively priced for the quality of their sheets, in other words you get what you pay for.

Second is the material that makes the sheets.  There are cottons, wools, synthetics like polyester and blended.  Depending on what you want out of the sheet the type of material is important.  Some of the best cottons in the world are grown in Egypt.  But not all Egyptian cotton is necessarily the same varietal.  Like anything else, there are quality strains and lesser strains.  The same cotton grown in the US may be branded as Supima. Supima is a self regulating association that makes sure the cotton is pima quality.  Always look for this key word when shopping cotton sheets:  Long Staple.  The staple is the length of individual fibers, and the longer the fiber the less likely it will pill.  The natural fibers like cotton or wool will allow more breathability in the sheets and help make the surface a little less warm.  Synthetics will perform the best coming out of the dryer with less wrinkles.


Next is the weave pattern of the fabric.  In sheets, the two most popular are sateen and percale.  Each weave imparts different qualities into the sheet material.  Sateen is the softest weave, but it is also the worse to come out of the dryer.  There is something to be said for the feel of the sateen weave!  Percale is a stiffer weave, less wrinkles and more crisp feel on the bed.  Mostly the weave is just personal preference, one is not better than the other.  When you find sheets that feel good to you, make note of the weave.

Lastly, it is the over all feel and durability of the sheets.  Assuming we found the best cotton, it is important how we feel as we lay on them.  Most of the time, better quality translates into better feel.  When you find a brand that feels good, go back to it over and over, unless they disappoint you.  Only time will tell durability, and how we maintain the sheets will impact the durability.  Most people will wash their sheets about once per week.  Sheets should be washed separately from other items to avoid pilling.  If you want, an iron can make them nice and smooth.  Keep in mind that some weavers treat their fabric with enhancers that will wash out after a few washes.

Hope that helps, to recap the four things to look for in sheets is: Thread Count, Weave pattern, Material, and feel.  With the internet there are many resources available from consumer reviews, to the BBB, to consumer organizations.  Use them and find a great sheet!  That way you will...

Sleep Well!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How to Get a Great Pillow

Let's see a show of hands, who has a closet full of pillows that didn't quite work for you?  Pillows seem to be one of the hardest things in the world to find, that help you sleep well.  We see infomercials on TV touting the greatest pillow ever.  We see all kinds of stores that sell pillows.  There are many different fills, and covers.  But it's so darn hard to find one that works for us.  We believe there is a methodical way to help find the right pillow, follow along, let us know what you think.

In some ways, the art of finding the right pillow has been lost.  Consider a pillow as a wearable item, and we believe it will help.  A pillow is used to stabilize your head, and support your neck.  Like feet or waistline we all have different dimensions of head and neck.  Because of this it is important to determine fit.  Another consideration is the materials in the fill.  Fill materials are many, from down (feathers) to polyester, to memory foam, to latex foam, to even things like buckwheat.  Is that any different from different fabrics in clothes?  Or materials in shoes?  Perhaps the best way then to buy a pillow is somewhere at which you can "try it on."

Consider a department store that also sells mattresses, or even a mattress store.  Why there?  Because to try on a pillow you need to lay on it, which is hard to do in a store that doesn't have mattresses.  Also, discount stores tend to sell on price alone, so anything a vendor can do to lessen the price, the more likely he will get shelf space. That means lesser quality fill materials, lesser quality cover fabrics.  Lesser quality will not perform as long, or as well as higher quality materials.


So you are in the store, now what?  Ask for samples that you can test out in the store.  Find a mattress that is similar in feel and construction to the one at home.  Now just as you would go in to a changing room or sit on a stool to try out shoes, lay on the pillow.  To fit a pillow properly, the pillow should support your neck, and cushion your head.  As you lay on the pillow, in your preferred sleep position, a good fit will allow your head and neck to be in a good posture position.  If, for instance, you are a side sleeper, your head should not be cocked to the side, rather it should be in alignment with your spine.  If there is too much or too little fill in the pillow, it will stretch your neck, and over 8 hours you will not feel comfortable.  And it will cause neck pain in the long run.

That's where, now let's talk about fill material.  There are three main materials used today:  Down, Polyester, and Foam.  All of these are good choices.  All of them, if fit right will offer a good night's sleep.  The fill material comes down to what feels best to you.  So our advice is to try examples of all of them.  Down is a very natural material where the structure provides good support.  Polyester was originally used for those who were allergic to down, and are sometimes called down alternative.  Both can be adjusted to provide support to the neck by moving the materials around.  Foam comes in two basic forms:  Memory and latex.  These two have different feels and different support qualities.  Latex will work more like down or polyester pillows to provide support to the neck.  Memory foam reacts to body heat and weight to mold more automatically to the support you need.  Latex and memory foam will also retain heat more than the other styles of pillow, which is important to consider.

The cover material wouldn't seem to be important, but in a way it is.  The cover material should be as natural as possible.  There are many good cottons, some wools, and even bamboo materials that are very good choices.  These materials will help dissipate heat.  Other man made materials sometimes will retain heat, which is not good in a pillow.  So while it does not go toward support, it will go to the comfort of the pillow.

Last consider the size.  The four main sizes of sleeping pillows are travel, standard, queen, and king sizes.  Most people buy the pillow based on the size of their bed, so that it fills the area when the bed is made.  Frankly, standard and queen will both fit either full size or queen beds, so choose the size that feels the best.  King size pillows are much longer than standard, almost twice as long. Sometimes the standard size, or queen size are more comfortable to some people, if you have a king size bed, buy the standard size, but save the old pillow for when you make the bed, that way you get the best of both worlds.

We hope that this helps a little in your quest to find a great pillow!  A great pillow can help you to....

Sleep Well!