Pillow Talk

You’ve decided it’s time to replace your old, worn out, pancake-thin pillows.  That’s great!  But where do you begin?  This is where I come in – I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to help you find your perfect pillow.

Have you ever heard the saying, “there’s a lid for every pot?”  Well, now there’s a pillow for every sleeping position.  The most important factor to consider when picking out a pillow is ensuring that your neck and spine stay in their natural alignment while you sleep.  This means that each sleeping position requires a different type of pillow.

If you’re a side sleeper, then you’re not alone.  57% of people fall asleep on their side according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.  While on your side, the fetal position tends to be the most comfortable because it allows your spine to curve naturally.  You’ll need a pillow that supports your neck and spine, while also distributing the weight of your head evenly, like the Bedgear pillow specifically designed for side sleepers.  For extra comfort, Dr. John Schubbe suggests using a rolled-up towel or smaller pillow under your waist to raise it slightly, making your spine into a straight line.

For back sleepers, extra support under your shoulders is necessary to alleviate pressure on your back and neck.  Using the right pillow is especially important in this position because it can help reduce snoring.  Pillows shaped like a wedge, such as the No-Snore Deluxe Pillow, are ideal for back sleepers because they align your neck and spine, opening up your airways and dissipating any snoring.  Dr. Schubbe also suggests placing a small pillow under your knees for added comfort.  Lifting your knees will mimic the natural C-curve of the spine, similar to the side sleeping fetal position.

Stomach-sleepers tend to have the most difficulty finding a pillow that’s right for them.  You need a pillow that’s thinner so it won’t arch or turn your neck.  The Bedgear pillow designed for stomach sleepers is ideal because it conforms to your facial features and helps to prevent airway constriction, all while still supporting your neck.  For extra relief from back pressure Dr. Schubbe says, “place another relatively flat pillow under the stomach to help the spine keep its natural alignment”.

So how many pillows should you use?  The number of pillows you sleep on depends entirely on your own personal preference.  Personally, I like two pillows under my head, while my fiancé is comfortable sleeping with only one.  No matter what your number is, just make sure that your neck and spine stay in line and adjust the thickness of your pillows accordingly.

When choosing your new pillow, remember that comfort is the key.  Make sure that you’ll love your pillow for at least a year or two (that’s about how long a pillow will last before you’ll need to replace it).  For a more in-depth explanation of how to determine when it’s time to replace your pillow, check back here for my first Snooze News video, coming soon! 

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and Snooze News.

 

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

How to Beat the Heat and Get Some Sleep

We’re well into the month of July, and here in New York that means we’re also well into a heat wave.  With no sign of the weather cooling off any time soon, it’s time to be proactive and figure out how to get some sleep, despite the heat.

Keep your home cool.  As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, the optimal temperature to fall asleep in is between 54 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit.  During the day, try to prevent some of the outdoor heat from getting inside.  Keep your blinds and curtains closed to block the sunlight from pouring in your windows, which will keep your home cooler.  At night, set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, turn on the AC, or use a fan to make sure your room is at the perfect temperature for a great night’s sleep.

Use your pillow as a cooling device.  At a barbeque over the weekend, my friend told me a trick he used to beat the heat, “put your pillow in a plastic bag and then put it in the freezer”.  As I listened in disbelief, I had to check it out for myself, and lo and behold when I opened the freezer door there it was… his pillow.  I thought to myself, “there has to be an easier way”, and there is!

Putting your pillow in the freezer? There's an easier way to stay cool!

There are now pillows and products that can give you the chill you’ve been searching for, without the hassle.  The Gellyroll Hot and Cold Pillow has a unique hot or cold gel pack, that you can either microwave or freeze depending on your desired pillow temperature.  This pillow also has heat sink technology that dissipates your body heat to reduce perspiration, which is great for these hot summer nights!  If you love your current pillow but wish there was a quick and easy way to cool it down, you’re in luck!  The Pillow Pad attaches to your pillow and absorbs your body heat as you fall asleep.  There’s no need to freeze or plug anything in, the Pillow Pad stays cool on its own with a layer of revolutionary ChillGel.  So get your pillow out of the freezer and try one of these instead!

Put away the flannel.  You’re bedding can have a direct effect on how you sleep.  For the hot summer months switch your bedding to something lightweight that won’t trap the heat, like cotton.  Cotton is soft and breathable, so it keeps your bed cooler and helps to prevent sweating.

Stay hydrated!  Go to bed with a cool glass of water on your bedside table.  The dry, hot summer air can cause you to wake up with a dry, scratchy throat.  Having a glass of water nearby to drink when you wake up can help to alleviate some of the discomfort.

 

This morning I visited Sleepy’s Levittown showroom where I met store manager Ted Goldspiel.  He gave me a tour of the showroom and reminded me that Sleepy’s Fourth of July Holiday Sale has been extended and is going on now!  If you’re in the market for a mattress, be sure to visit a showroom near you or go to sleepys.com.

I’ll be visiting a new showroom every week, so keep checking the Sleepy’s blog for pictures and information.  You never know when I may visit a showroom near you!

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is Sunday May 13th and if you’re looking for a unique gift idea, why not give Mom the gift of quality sleep?  I think we can all agree that moms are hard workers and that they deserve a great night’s sleep.  There is such a thing as beauty sleep!  No need to raid the cosmetic aisle for your mother’s day gift when you can get her a sleep related item that will aide quality sleep.  A study found that people who were sleep-deprived were perceived as less healthy, attractive and more tired than those who got a great night’s rest.

A mattress is the first gift idea that comes to mind since the mattress your mother sleeps on directly affects her waking life.  If she has been complaining about aches and pains or just not being able to get comfortable at night, she may be in need of a new mattress.  But a new mattress can be an expensive gift so here are a few more affordable sleep related Mother’s Day gift ides:

Pillows can be just as important as a mattress when it comes to quality sleep.  All too often people will buy a pillow out of preference as opposed to what their body needs.  Your pillow should fit your preferred sleeping position.  For example I know I like thin, flat pillows, but I’m primarily a side sleeper, so I’m actually doing my body a disservice by using the improper pillow while I sleep.  Side sleepers need a full but soft pillow; while back sleepers need a medium thickness pillow and stomach sleepers need the thinnest pillow (if any at all).  Find out what position your Mom prefers to sleep in and then find a pillow that suits her sleeping position.  Sleepys.com organizes their selection of pillows by what position they are best for.

Eye masks, white noise machines and lavender scented products are all apart of sleep hygiene.  It is easier to fall asleep when our bodies are relaxed and our sleep environment is conducive to sleep.  Lavender is used in aromatherapy as a way to relax the body and ease a person into sleep.  Having a dark, cool room is optimal for sleeping conditions, but sometimes it is hard to get a room truly dark enough.  You can try room darkening shades to block out excess lights from outdoors, but an eye mask is also a great way to get the same effects without trying to remember what color your mother’s bedroom is.  If you notice that your mom complains out noises keeping her up at night or preventing her from falling asleep, a white noise machine is a great Mother’s Day gift!  A white noise machine will drown out all the other noises that keep her awake with an even, monotonous sound that basically bores a person to sleep.

The gift of sleep is a great way to show your mom that you appreciate all she does.  From kissing boo-boos, to leaving work early to watch one of your games and just always supporting you in every way possible no matter where you are in life, this Mother’s Day, give your Mom the gift she really wants, a great night’s sleep.

 

Contributor: Emily Barrett

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The Pillow Test

Do you know when to replace your pillows?  Do you even know if you should replace your pillows?  Many of us might still be holding on to a beloved pillow that is near and dear to our hearts.  The one pillow that been on many road trips and has traveled from hotel to hotel since you can’t fall asleep on anything else.  But did you know that even though you think you’re comfortable, that pillow might not be properly supporting you after many years of use?

There’s a simple test you can use on your pillows to determine if they are still functional.  You’ll want to fold your pillow in half and place a light weight on it, such as a book or a shoe.  If your pillow unfolds with the weight on top of it, then your pillow is still supportive.  If your pillow remains folded in half, then your pillow needs to be replaced because it isn’t supportive enough.

Typically pillows should be replaced every 1-2 years.  Having a pillow protector pad will extend the life of your pillow because it will ward off mold and dust from building up inside of it.  The average head weighs about 8 pounds, so if you’re sleeping on an old, unsupportive pillow, you’ll be waking up with aches and pains.

How old is the pillow you sleep on?  Do you remember when you last replaced your pillow?  Tell me all about your pillow stories in the comment section below!

To see the Pillow Test in action, check out my video:

Contributor: Emily Barrett

Moving Back to School

We’re approaching the end of August and you know what that means… Move-in day is upon us!  Whether you’ve neatly organized your life into boxes already or you’ll just throw some clothes and school supplies in a bag the night before you leave, we all can agree that move-in day is one of the more exciting days of the school year.  For the freshmen it’s their first day of independence; for the rest of the students, it’s the first day to catch up with all their friends and roommates in person.

My move-in days were always a bit of an adventure because my dorm was in the heart of New York City.  I would be wheeling my cart of bedding essentials through a sea of dog walkers while dodging tourists in Union Square.  Once my mini-adventure ended, it was time to unpack and decorate my humble abode for the school year.

Space was limited in the car, so to make moving in easier on myself (and most importantly, my Mom) we decided to buy all my office and kitchen supplies from the Kmart that was a few blocks away.  All I really needed to unpack was my clothes and my bedding essentials.  I’m going to let you in on a little tip; no dorm mattress is comfortable on its own.  I bought a mattress topper from Sleepy’s and it was awesome.  Seriously, every time my friends would come over and they sat on my bed, they wouldn’t get up.  I loved my mattress topper because it made me feel like I was sleeping on my bed at home.  A mattress topper is a great purchase because it will give you more support and greater comfort than just the mattress in your dorm.  You’re going to want to have a comfortable place to sleep each night especially since studies prove that eight hours of quality sleep improves your memory (making it easier to remember how to conjugate your verbs in Latin).

Replace the sudoku puzzle for a Gaelic textbook; that's what I would look like the night before a test.

I treated myself to new pillows as well before I left for school.  I figured if I bought pillows for my dorm I wouldn’t have to bring them home whenever I would visit.  If you’re thinking about bringing your old pillow from home, you may want to reconsider.  This disturbing infographic about the germs growing in your old pillows will make you want a new one.  It’s always a good idea to get new pillows not only for proper support but also to keep you healthy.

This puppy has the right idea.

I used my comforter as the central color scheme for the rest of my half of the room.  I had a reversible light green and blue comforter so I made sure to buy green or blue office supplies for my desk to keep the theme going.  I even picked out green and blue towels as well.

There are so many emotions on move-in day.  You may be thrilled or nervous to be living on your own while your parents are either sad or ecstatic to have an empty house.  Through all the planning and all the emotions around the eventful day, don’t freak out if you forget something, especially when it comes to bedding.  Sleepy’s has nationwide delivery, so if you forgot sheets or a pillow or any bedding essentials, they can deliver it to your dorm.

Good luck with your move-in day!  Remember to bend your knees to lift heavy items and don’t forget to call your parents once in a while to check in with them as you enjoy the college experience.

 

Contributor: Emily Barrett

The Perfect Pillow

To get a great night’s sleep, not only do you need a comfortable and supportive mattress, but also a pillow that supports your preferred sleeping position.  Any old pillow won’t do when it comes to properly supporting your neck and keeping it aligned with your spine.  Depending on which position you primarily sleep in, you should have a certain type of pillow.  Here are the most common sleeping positions and what type of pillow best supports them:

  • Side Sleeper: When sleeping on your side, you will need a thicker pillow to support the weight of your head and bring your neck up into alignment with your spine.  If you are a side sleeper and you are waking up with a sore neck in the morning, your pillow may be too flat.  Also, you may want to consider putting a leg pillow between your knees while sleeping on your side because that will keep your knees from coming together which puts strain on your lower back.
  • Stomach Sleeper: If you sleep on your stomach you shouldn’t really use a pillow, but if you need one make sure it is a thin pillow.  A pillow that is too full will elevate your head and bring your neck out of alignment from your spine.  For extra comfort and support take your pillow and place it under your hips, as you sleep on your stomach.  Doing so will raise your lower back and alleviate stress on it.
  • Back Sleeper: For maximum comfort and support while sleeping on your back, a pillow that is soft and on the thinner side will do the job.  A soft pillow will allow your head to sink into it, and while providing support, it will keep your neck and spine in natural alignment.  A pillow that is too thick or has no give will force your head up too high and cause you aches and pains in the morning.

There are also pillows that suit your lifestyle as well.  Here are pillows that can help solve some of your daily (nightly?) grievances:

  • Allergy sufferers: Instead of traditional down and feather pillows, try a latex pillow which is naturally hypoallergenic.
  • Music Listeners: If you like to fall asleep while listening to music but your roommate/partner prefers silence, then try a pillow with a speaker built right into it.  Plugging your MP3 player into the pillow will let you, and only you, listen to your music as your drift off to sleep, while your roommate/partner enjoys silence.
  • The Jet-Setter: If I’m leaving for a trip, I’ll never leave home without my travel pillow.  I have one that fits around my neck which is great because every time I fall asleep en route, my head rolls back and it’s actually supported by a pillow.  I recommend to anyone who travels, even if it’s just once a year, to get a travel pillow so that you can be comfortable and supported when you fall asleep.

So now you have the perfect pillow that fulfills your needs, but how do you take care of it?  For washing instructions read the manufacturers label on the pillow.  Follow what those instructions say diligently to maximize the lifespan of your pillow.  Depending on the quality of the pillow, you may need to replace it anywhere from 6 months up to 2 years.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret tip on how to tell when your pillow needs replacing.  Fold your pillow in half and then place a book on top of your folded pillow.  If your pillow bounces back to regular form, then it is fine.  But if your pillow stays folded in half, then it is time to get a new pillow.

There you have it! Now you’re fully informed and can go out and find your perfect pillow and enjoy a great night’s sleep.

 

Contributor: Emily Barrett