Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fibromyalgia and Sleep

Fibromyalgia is a disease that can impact sleep.  It can mimic arthritis, but is generally more related to muscles, a deep pain, and it generally is more widespread than arthritis.  Because of the pain, this disease will impact sleep, both quantity and quality.  So what should we do?

There are many who say they sleep enough at night, but feel fatigued when they wake.  The pain from Fibro is probably impacting the sleep cycles, preventing them from staying in the sleep cycles long enough to be productive.  Lack of sleep over a long term can affect other parts of your health.  So the trick would seem to be how to get enough sleep.  Getting enough sleep and the right kind can help your body to handle the pain better.

Sleep can be elusive, but is necessary, so it is important to learn to sleep better.  Sufferers from fibro need to be sleep experts.  And of course (here come the shameless self promotion), your bed can make a major impact.  If the bed conforms to you, it will spread the pressure out over more of your body, lessening it at any given point.  Less pressure means you can sleep better.  Our store sells beds that, if purchased correctly can mitigate pressure.  Whether it is our great Comfortaire air chambered beds, or our amazing Sleep Harmony foam products, good sleep can go a long way to helping you manage this issue.

Of course there are medical treatments to help with the pain, and since pain is the primary culprit, these would be a good thing, especially in more aggressive cases.  One thing not to rule out is other more natural ways to help your body sleep better.  For instance, low impact and aerobic exercise.  Exercise can do two things:  Help keep the stiffness in check, and help your body sleep better.  Just remember, you do not want to exercise close to bed time because it will bring up your body temperature, and increase your blood flow and tendency to be awake by decreasing certain hormones.


If exercise is good for people in general, then it is crucial for the sufferers of fibro.  Diet can also impact your sleep, and with all health related issues, a good balanced diet is a very good thing.  The pain and lethargy of fibro will sometimes cause sufferers to not want to cook or exercise.  It is our spirit that can help keep us going.  And, if it helps that is even more encouraging.  A good body weight would also mean that the muscles have less work when at rest, which may help.  Strong muscles may also help over ride some pain, perhaps not all, but is it worth a try?

Most of fibro treatment is managing the disease.  We have not heard of a cure.  And that can be frustrating.  So a positive mental attitude is also important.  That may be the hardest part of this regimen, after all, chronic pain never goes completely away.  If you live with a person suffering, first understand it is real pain, then help support a healthy lifestyle, and perhaps get a book of jokes to try to keep your partner's attitude up.

The last thing for this post is to control stress.  Stress seems to be part of the equation, and many of us do not handle stress well.  Stress also increases our propensity to eat bad, and to save energy by not using any unnecessary movements, IE exercise.  So study stress management, and exercise to increase endorphins, the body's natural pain killers.  Find ways to control stress levels in your life, again different people react differently, but there is a method that will work, don't give up trying!

There is much we are learning on this disease.  It is important to keep watching the news on this, especially if you or a loved one suffer from it.  We hope that in the near future there will be strides towards eliminating this, and help those inflicted with it.  But until then...  try to...

Sleep Well!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Internet Reviews

Just a quick vent today.  I was out on the Internet earlier.  I like to see the competitive landscape, since we are in the mattress business, we need to know we are aggressively competitive in the market place.  I ran in to a similar product to what we sell.  And like most in our particular end of the mattress universe, this was another air adjustable bed site, which I only briefly explored earlier.  This particular site had a YouTube video on how to assemble their mattress, and I thought it would show insight in to how their beds were made.  And it did.

Have you ever noticed how at the end of a YouTube video, there are always options that show tie ins to the video you just watched?  This one did too.  I clicked on a random video, and up pops a review, actually a second review by the same person, of Sleep Number Beds.  As some or all of you may know, I am not a fan of Sleep Number Inc., they are my largest competitor, and they seem to be able to suck up a vast majority of sales.  And my attitude has always been:  good for them, and I explore to see if there is anything that might help us.  Before I go any further, let me just state, Sleep Number makes a great mattress.  And, the mattresses we sell are made by the second largest name in the industry, Comfortaire.  There are similarities between the 2, I believe the Comfortaire product is just a little better in materials and value. 

This reviewer starts out by saying he doesn't like Sleep Number, he doesn't like Tempurpedic, he doesn't like iComfort by Serta, he doesn't like "cheap" spring beds, and he doesn't like water beds.  Ladies and gentleman, that leaves only one technology he does like, and that is springs.  He does admit that you have to buy high end springs at about "$4,000 to $10,000" to find a bed he does like.  And while we think better beds is a good idea, they do not have to cost that much.  He lists off a litany of complaints against Sleep number.  And frankly it sounds like most of his problems were of his own doing.  One he mentioned twice was a broken screen on the remote, and it can happen, but usually there is some force involved.  We only wish that his complaints were true, it might help our business. 


Rather, often when I hear complaints like these, one of two things is going on.  Either he works for a high end spring maker, or he is mad at Sleep Number and in his own way is trying to damage their business.  And honestly, like most of us, they are not perfect.  It reminds me, and this is the point of this article, that always read with a grain of salt anything on the Internet.  Having said that, there are several good sources to look to about all beds, the BBB and  Both of these have legitimate reviews good and bad of the beds, as well as, in the BBB's case, letter grades.  Both these sites look at the industry, not from what they like or don't but rather how the company treats their customers.  Does Sleep Number have complaints?  Yes they do, and they tend to have more than #2 Comfortaire, probably because they sell more.  There is not a spring maker that comes even close to the rating of either Sleep Number or Comfortaire, in fact Mattress Firm, who sells primarily springs and foam has an F with the BBB, compare that to Comfortaire's A+, or the fact that our store has never had a complaint lodged with the BBB.

Our industry has some public relations to do, there is a little apprehension from customers and they generally think of us like a used car salesman, but at least we're above politicians!  There are some very fine beds out there, and they don't cost $10,000.  In fact most chiropractors would recommend air or foam products over springs when it comes to keeping your posture in a good position, and eliminating pressure points.  There is clinical research to back that up.  And most importantly, there are a lot of people out there who are pleased with their air adjustable bed.

So save money, and consider air technology to...

Sleep Well!

Monday, June 10, 2013

You read About the $175,00 Matress, What About the Other Extreme?

Admittedly, the $175,000 mattress story sounded good for a blog on sleep.  Sometimes it's just a gift!  One thing we also look at is the other extreme.  You've seen the ads "Queen Mattress Sets $299".  And while something is better than nothing, some times maybe going to WalMart and getting a blow up camping mattress might be better!

There are certain costs in making a mattress.  Material, especially good material, is not cheap.  Steel for the spring costs something, and frankly there is not many people who make the steel springs, so the cost will not fall because of competitiveness.  Foam costs as well.  So how can the BIG BLASTING WAREHOUSE STORE sell beds that cheap?

Honestly they can't.  There are some things, like paper towels, toilet paper, and mattresses, that have a pretty standard cost structure.  And that's what we dislike so much about those selling these extremely cheap mattresses.  Some time take a look at paper towels in the store.  Use your smart phone and divide the price by the number of towels.  Bet you will find that the name brands and the store brands are about the same price.  Now go in to a store that sells the cheap mattress.  Ask them the coil count, bet it is much less than the quality brands we have all heard about.  Check the warranty, bet is much less than those same brands, and there is probably exclusions that will keep this warranty from ever applying.

Look at the amount of foam.  Unfortunately, you can't open these beds up and see the quality of the foam, it is not pretty.  Feel the fabric.  Lay on the bed.  The point we are trying to make is that the only way to make these mattresses cost so little is to take shortcuts.  Lower quality, less life expectancy, and purchases more often.  When we started in mattresses, most manufacturers suggested replacing your mattress every 10 years.  Now I see commercials that state:  "Replace Every 8".

We have talked to people who are shopping again, and say their beds is 3 or 4 years old, some even younger.  So let's take the $299.  Now since they will not last as long as a good mattress, let's adjust.  Since the standard is 10 years on good mattresses, and these seem to last about 3, would it be fair to use a factor of 3? (10/3=3.3333)  So now take the $299 and multiply by 3.  That's almost $900!  Now look in that same store at mattresses costing $900, and lay on them. 


Longevity is one thing, comfort is the second thing.  The better mattresses will just feel better.  So while you are considering the cheapo mattress, realize it will not feel as good either.  But that's part of the reason... You see, you went to that store, didn't you.  You laid on the cheapo and didn't like it didn't you?  The Sales person showed you a better mattress, didn't they.  And more often than not, you bought the better mattress.  It achieved it's main objective, it brought you into their store.  And of course, since they had the cheapo, you assumed all their mattresses were spectacularly priced.  It's marketing.  WalMart does it, Kmart does it, Sears does it, as well as most other retailers in the world.  And it isn't just beds.

Grandma said it best:  "you get what you pay for."  And while we are capitalists, and believe that we should all compete in the market, this is not serving the customer well.  Buying on price alone is not a great way to buy. 

Now what if we had a mattress that had a 20 year limited warranty, and is constructed in such a way that it may last 30 or more years?  Using the same math would you pay $3000 for a bed?  Would that bed be a good value at $2000?  Or how about that bed at $1000?  We sell that bed, it's a Comfortaire, and some models are less than $600.  Is paying twice as much for a bed that will last 3 times as long, has higher quality materials, improves sleep, is more comfortable, supports better,  a value?  Let us know...  Until you do...

Sleep well! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kids Sleep

Have you ever been in a mall at 8 or 9 PM? After being in retail for as long as I have, my answer is yes. It is amazing to me to see the number of really young children there, even in strollers. Now, it is important to note that most all of the kids I'm talking about are accompanied by their parents, and this is what we need to talk about today.

It is important that kids get enough rest. At young ages, they are easily distracted, and frankly do not even consider sleep an option a lot of times, they just drift off when ever they are tired. The problem is that when they are young, it is important to set habits that will follow them through their lives.

Improper sleep in adults is a major concern. We sleep too little these days, how many seem to boast about "I got 5 hours sleep, and feel great". And maybe they do, however, lack of sleep like many things will eventually cause health concerns. It is important to get our kids in the proper habit. But what is the proper habit?


How about first a consistent routine. Our bodies, and theirs, are programed on a roughly 24 hour clock, broken into 12 hour segments. If we are not consistent, then our bodies get confused and when we do sleep it is not the best quality. A certain bed time and wake time is important (and it should be 7 days a week, 365 days a year). Then our bodies will react and thrive.

When we are sleep deprived, our bodies make products related to stress, which among other things can cause us to gain weight, and be less productive than if the stress is controlled or eliminated. In the case of kids, we know that many are concerned about childhood obesity, while other things like overall activity would help improve that, a simple thing like a consistent bed time can help them be more active, because they got great rest. In kids we have a great way to judge productivity, maybe better than adults do, its called grades.

So getting the proper amount and quality of sleep may help 2 of the biggest problems our kids face today, obesity, and grades (could all the ADHD be sleep related as well? Is it not?). Grades will affect their choice of college, or job opportunities as will their appearance. So as my Mom always said "It's your bedtime, no discussion..."

Sleep Well!