Sleep: Who Needs it More?

8 Mar

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationDo women need more sleep than men? “Yes!” says  Jim Horne, author of Sleepfaring: A Journey through the Science of Sleep. Horne explains that women need about twenty more minutes of sleep than men each night. “Women tend to multi-task  –  they do lots at once and are flexible  –  and so they use more of their actual brain than men do. Because of that, their sleep need is greater.”

While women are supposed to be getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night, many women are actually chronically sleep-deprived. Aside from the daily grind, there are many other biological factors that affect a woman’s quality of sleep such as:

  •  Pregnancy: Most women experience discomfort from weight gain and the position of the fetus.
  •  Hot flashes due to menopause
  •  Anxiety and stress – (Science Daily reports that women have higher anxiety than men due to cell signals and hormones).

If women have a more difficult time sleeping, but also need more sleep than men, what can be done? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that women combat insomnia by limiting their caffeine and alcohol intake, increasing their daily exercise, and setting a routine sleep schedule.

Also, investing in a comfortable mattress will help improve an individual’s sleep environment, allowing for both comfort and relaxation.

Women of world: take a nap. Statistics show you need it!

Sleep and be well!

We <3 Cotton!

14 Feb

Cotton HeartIt’s Valentine’s Day and while others are filling their funnels with chocolates and red wine, we’re filling our premium mattresses with up to 83 lbs of 100% all natural cotton.

A good night’s sleep is all about comfort and cotton makes all the difference. Inside every Shifman mattress is the highest grade all-natural cotton, which pads both sides of the mattress to perfection.

Shifman loves cotton because cotton is quality. It’s good for our bodies and it’s great for the environment. Cotton is a natural, renewable, biodegradable and sustainable fiber. Additionally, it’s had mankind’s back for 7,000 years! Therefore it’s pretty much the superhero of upholstery materials.

Cotton has proven to be both resilient and durable, providing long-lasting comfort for many years. Processed on premises for over 100 years, Shifman utilizes a garnetting machine to effectively produce layer upon layer of luxurious cotton.

Why compromise true comfort when you can breathe easy on a two-sided Shifman mattress, made of all-natural cotton?

Love your body and love your mattress. Happy Valentine’s Day!

New Year’s Resolution #1

21 Jan

Happy WomanSleep Better Every Night!

Whether your New Year’s Resolution is getting more exercise, eating right, bringing up your grades, or living a less stressful life, sleeping better can actually help you to achieve all of those goals! Sleep is good for your body and great for your mind. Whatever your resolution may be, make sure you use sleep as a tool to enhance your results.

Remember these quick points:

  • Too little sleep leads to poorer eating choices and therefore weight gain!
  • Similar to stress, sleep deprivation affects the immune system!
  • A study conducted in 2012 showed that sleep can turn off the obesity gene.
  • Inadequate sleep can lead to poorer test scores for students.
  • Fatigue translates to a higher risk of error at your job.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation contributes to increased anxiety levels.
  • A 2012 study showed that too little sleep is linked to an increased risk of stroke!
  • Sleep is vital to help your body recover—even after one particularly challenging workout. On the flip-side, adequate sleep is also beneficial to prepare your body for daily exercise.
  • Researchers say that power naps regenerate the brain’s functioning abilities, and therefore contributes to improved memory and learning as well as increased alertness and productivity!
  • Sleeping more can effectively improve your physical attractiveness.

Don’t give up on your goals! You may encounter difficulties, but keep in mind that you can always sleep on it. Or you can sleep it off. Or you can keep the dream alive and work hard to enact positive change in your life.

All in all, better sleep can help you achieve your goals (and sleeping on the best mattress will contribute to a better night’s sleep).

Sleep and be well!

How To Sleep Better When You’re Sick

11 Jan

sickinbed“Nope! I rarely get sick!” I said proudly.

Flash forward two weeks and here I am… tissues, cough drops, a deep gargoyle-ly voice, and a puffy face to boot. Pretty!

During this unfriendly time, I started noticing that I was having difficulties getting a good night’s sleep. As I tossed and turned in bed, I could only concentrate on how my throat felt raw, that my body temperature was all over the place, and that I couldn’t breathe through my nose. Instead of waking up refreshed and re-energized, I woke up sore and sad.

Therefore, I decided to do some research on how to get a better night’s sleep during a cold. Here’s what I dug up:

  1. First off, make sure you drink plenty of fluids during the day. WebMD recommends that you drink 64 ounces. It sounds like a lot, but the fluids will help hydrate your nasal passages and throat, which can help you to feel more comfortable while you fall asleep. If your liquids include fruit juices high in vitamin C, you’ll also get a nutritional boost!
  2. Drink a cup of warm, caffeine-free liquid before bedtime! Teas, decaffeinated coffee, or clear broth can open nasal passages, soothe a sore throat, and help you sleep.
  3. Suck on a cough drop or hard candy before sleep to moisten the throat. Keep a water bottle nearby to hydrate. This will help to relieve a midnight coughing episode.
  4. Don’t take a sleeping pill – sleeping pills can make you feel groggy in the morning and are dangerous to take if you are also taking cold medicines.
  5. Turn on a humidifier. Humidifying the air will keep your mucous membranes moist and will help relieve coughs while you sleep.
  6. Raise the head of the bed, or prop yourself up with pillows. This will help improve your breathing by keeping your sinuses open.
  7. Follow your doctor’s orders and take medications as prescribed. Overlapping medication could be bad for your health and elongate the time-frame of your sickness.

All in all, when you sleep better, you feel better. It’s important to get a great night’s sleep the whole year round (not just when you’re sick). People who are chronically sleep deprived are more susceptible to illnesses than those who receive 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

Keep your immune system top-notch! Sleep and be well!

Two-Sided Mattresses: The Legend, The Myth.

13 Nov

Two-Sided Shifman Mattress

Having been through the wrath of Superstorm Sandy, I found myself waiting in a 45 minute gas-line one unreasonably cold and dark Friday night. As I finally inched up to the pump, I was met with a police officer directing traffic. We made small talk and he asked where I worked. I told him “Shifman Mattress Company in Newark”.

He smiled and responded, “Ha! I was just talking to somebody about mattresses!” Then stopped and said “Ugh, I can’t remember what it was about… something about why mattresses aren’t made…”

“…with two sides?” I quickly replied.

“EXACTLY!” he exclaimed smiling and pointing at me. At this point, I swiftly took the opportunity to tell him that our mattresses were in fact, two-sided.

“Shifman. S-H-I-F-M-A-N… two-sided and handmade!” He thanked me and I pulled up to the pump.

I loved this experience for three reasons:

  1. The police officer was really friendly which made the long line not a huge waste of time.
  2. I was able to glorify the company I work for (hey, where’s my bonus?!?!).
  3. I realized this man was one out of millions who truly believed that two-sided mattresses were extinct!

THE LEGEND

Once upon a time, manufacturers built products to be better than their competitors. Sure, profit margins and retail price points were given their rightful attention, but competition to create a better product was first and foremost.

The same manufacturing principles went into mattresses as well.

But throughout the last forty years, most manufacturers changed their procedures: new machines replaced hands, solid wood-foundations succeeded boxsprings, and low density polyurethane foam dethroned all-natural cotton. And to top it off, mattresses became one-sided.

So how did manufacturers get away with gutting their mattresses of all the good stuff? Well, great marketing like this: “A MATTRESS YOU DON’T HAVE TO FLIP” suggesting that their one-sided mattress is so skillfully constructed that it outsmarts gravity.

A MATTRESS THAT OUTSMARTS GRAVITY“. Yeah, right.

But really, cheapening a mattress does great things for the corporation and terrible things for the customer. Corporations increase their profit per mattress (by charging more money for less quality) and inevitably sell more mattresses (selling a cheaper mattress with a shorter life-span requires more mattress replacements per consumer). Clearly, these types of corporations are more concerned with manufacturing mattresses for their shareholders rather than their customers.

Are all of these extinct?

THE MYTH

They don’t make a two-sided mattress anymore. I’ve heard this a lot and it is simply false! The big brand names might not be making a flippable mattress, but there are several smaller companies that have maintained their commitment to manufacturing two-sided mattresses. Shifman’s two-sided mattresses, for instance, boast a firmness level and comfort life that lasts at least twice as long as its one-sided counterparts.

Why are two-sides better than one? Well, frankly, two is always better than one. Am I right? I mean, put that into context and it makes a lot of sense.

In the mattress industry,  many customers report experiencing minor sagging and body impressions after they’ve been sleeping on a new mattress for the first few weeks. This is a result of the mattress layers adjusting to the weight and shape of the customer’s body. Shifman recommends flipping the mattress every month side-to-side the first time and head-to-foot the next time for the first six months (and twice a year thereafter) so that the layers normalize as the mattress conforms to the individual’s body contours. A one-sided mattress completely restricts a customer from properly rotating their mattress which usually results in a saggy, worn-out mattress.

The truth of the matter is that too many manufacturers have cheapened their mattresses to make a better profit. You, as the consumer, need to decide what is ultimately better for you and your wallet. Our recommendation is that you invest in a two-sided mattress for the ultimate in comfort and long-lasting durability.

Aaahh!!! Bed Monsters

22 Oct

When I think about bed bugs, The Twilight Zone’s theme song immediately comes to mind.

Here’s why I’m slightly amused: as children we grow up worrying about the monsters under our bed. Our parents, clearly irritated by our “naive” adolescent anxieties, ensure us that there are NO monsters and we are coaxed to sleep. AND THEN ONE DAY in your 20s, you learn there has been a bed bug infestation in your city and you think to yourself: Wait a sec, there’s actually no difference between bed bugs and monsters… and everything you’ve ever learned growing up has been a complete and utter lie. At this point an existential crisis ensues, anxieties form and on top of it all, you might be sleeping with the enemy.

AT ANY RATE, bed bugs are pretty scary, and it is Halloween time, so let’s indulge, shall we?

First of all, if you’ve had a bed-bug outbreak in your home, you might be thinking: “Hey, I’m a CLEAN person. This is bologna.”  My answer to that is #1. Deli meat and bed-bugs have nothing in common. #2. Unless of course you’re feeding your bed-bug infested pet bologna in your bed.

What you need to know about bed-bugs:

  • Bed bugs are nocturnal parasites that feed on blood. (i.e. Vampires)
  • Bed bugs prefer dwellings inhabited by other animals or humans which is why they can be found in homes, vehicles, luggage, hotels, movie theaters, clothing AS WELL AS the nests of bats, birds and rodents.
  • Bed bugs use an adhesive substance to attach themselves to humans, pets, clothing or luggage.
  • Bed bugs are elusive and can sometimes go undetected.
  • Aside from bite symptoms, signs that you might have bed-bugs include fecal spots, blood smears on sheets, and molts.
  • Bed-Bugs were almost completely eradicated in the developed world in the 1940s, but sometime around 1995 they increased in prevalence. (You don’t really NEED to know this fact, I just thought it was really interesting).

What’s the difference between bed bugs and vampires? They’re both nocturnal, blood-sucking mattress dwellers. Except of course that BED-BUGS ARE REAL.

So how can you prevent bed bugs? Well, frankly, it’s not that easy. You certainly can’t live in a bubble your entire life. (Or maybe you could and then get your own reality show on TLC). The United States Environmental Protection Agency notes that although bed-bugs are “successful hitchhikers” a few simple precautions can help prevent a bed bug infestation in your home.

AT HOME:

  • Check secondhand furniture, beds, and couches for any signs of bed-bug infestation
  • Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs and eliminates many hiding spots. The light color of the encasement makes bed bugs easier to see. Be sure to purchase a high quality encasement that will resist tearing and check the encasements regularly for holes.
  • Reduce clutter in your home to reduce hiding places for bed bugs.

WHEN TRAVELING:

  • In hotel rooms, use luggage racks to hold your luggage when packing or unpacking rather than setting your luggage on the bed or floor.
  • Check the mattress and headboard before sleeping.
  • Upon returning home, unpack directly into a washing machine and inspect your luggage carefully.

With the Halloween backdrop upon us, it’s easy to make light of bed-bugs and the fear that is often associated with them. But, the reality is that they’re REAL and can be dangerous to your health. Keep in mind that bed-bugs aren’t just a seasonal problem; an infestation can happen at any time of the year. In fact, studies show that bed-bugs can live for an entire year without feeding! So be cautious when you travel and keep your home tidy.

And one day, when your kids are complaining about monsters under the bed, don’t lie to them, advise them: Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Hallo-Lean

17 Oct

Ahhh… the onset of Halloween. Endless bowls of candy replace your summer decor as the inevitable commencement of the holiday season subtly inches closer and closer.

Temperatures begin to fall, the days get shorter — and people put on weight. And aside from the obvious reasons why people gain weight –less exercise & heartier meals– a study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that chronically sleep deprived individuals are more likely to store fat than their well rested counterparts. Further, the study noted that those who were sleep deprived were also at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

YIKES! Now that’s something to scream over.

According to the study, not getting enough sleep reduces your fat cells’ ability to respond properly to the hormone insulin, which is crucial for regulating energy storage. So, in the same way that your brain becomes groggy when you’re sleepy, your fat cells do, too!

Are YOU getting enough sleep?

David Neubauer, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center said: “The study reinforces the importance of good sleep generally in promoting health… [The study] is an important step in our understanding of the relationship of sleep and physiological functioning, particularly regarding the increased risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity in people who have inadequate sleep.”

So the next time you’re straining to keep your eyes open to watch a little more late-night television, surrender! Just let sleep do its thing.

Fall – Asleep

17 Sep

The pungent aromas of pumpkin spice and chimney char permeate the atmosphere. The early morning fog brushed with an autumnal glow of crimson and gold saturates the scenery. The crispness of the air… the rolling leaves… the enduring night… all subtle indications of a dawning autumn.

You snuggle up to your favorite someone -windows open wide- inhaling authentic air (an air quality unconditioned) and warmly welcome the changing season.

A good night’s sleep is an effective way to calm your spirit and improve your mood so you can appreciate the little things (like the gently evolving seasons). Controlled breathing, a good morning stretch and a comfortable mattress can help relax your muscles and ease your mind.

Sleep and be well. Happy Fall.

Best Mattresses for Back Pain

28 Aug

Is back pain wreaking havoc on your mornings? Slamming your snooze button, stumbling to the shower and leaving your home with an unfriendly pain in the you-know-what, doesn’t have to be your morning routine! Don’t let early morning anguish pave the way for a bad day. (Right Daniel Powter?)

 

Cheer up! It’s not that you’re waking up on the wrong side of the bed, it simply could be that you’re waking up on the wrong mattress. In fact, sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause lower back pain or worsen existing back pain. A mattress that lacks support reinforces poor sleeping posture which absolutely contributes to body aches.

Everyone has a different definition of comfort. Finding a mattress that is both comfortable and supportive is the key to a good night’s sleep. It’s also important to invest in a mattress with a long comfort life as well (since buying a mattress is as much of a health decision as it is a financial decision).

  1. Choose Comfort! First and foremost, it’s important you choose a mattress that is comfortable. Make sure you try out all of your favorite sleep positions before you purchase. Lying flat on your back isn’t a great indicator of how comfortable a mattress is if that’s not normally how you sleep. Feel free to sprawl out and roll over. Remember, this is your hard-earned cash, spend it wisely. Also, if you share a bed with a partner, make sure that he/she finds it comfortable, too!
  2. Mattress Ingredients: Know what’s in your mattress! Having a little knowledge about what your mattress is made of goes a long way. Don’t buy a mattress that has a history of body impressions. Take advantage of the internet and online reviews. Keep in mind that you’re trying to solve your achy back problems, not add to them.
  3. Proper Support: Make sure your sales rep educates you on how the mattress components work together to provide proper support. Coil construction, upholstery materials and boxspring information are components you’ll want to know about. I highly recommend buying a mattress set with a true boxspring (not a solid wood foundation). A true boxspring acts as a shock-absorber and decreases the wear and tear of the mattress. In addition, investing in a two-sided mattress (and turning it regularly) will help decrease the onset of body-impressions. A lot of companies will tell you that their one-sided mattresses defy the laws of gravity and don’t need to be flipped. Sure it’s a great marketing tactic, but it’s simply not true. Always remember that two sides are better than one!
  4. Be A Discriminating Shopper: Know what mattress is right for you! If the goal of your purchase is to alleviate back pain, make sure that you buy a supportive mattress that caters to correct sleep posture, pressure relief and improved circulation. A mattress that adapts and reacts to contour the curves of your body will help reduce pressure on the spine and help you achieve a better night’s sleep.
  5. Know When To Buy A New Mattress: A quick fix is not what you need. If you see that your mattress is sagging and you’re waking up with back pain, then know that the solution to this problem isn’t a new mattress topper; it’s an entire new mattress set!

A good night’s sleep will leave you feeling refreshed and energized in the morning. Starting the day off with a negative attitude because of your saggy mattress is not the way to live your life. Make things easier on yourself, buy a supportive mattress. And then maybe, just maybe, you could be that person on a beach in the early morning silhouetting a sunrise, enamoured with the shining prospect of a new day.

“Do I Need A Boxspring?” LOL, yes.

7 Aug

Shifman’s eight-way, hand-tied boxspring.

Why are we laughing? As a mattress manufacturer, we understand the importance of boxsprings, but live in a world completely uneducated about them. Is it the world’s fault? Eh, not necessarily.

I often use Wikipedia for daily information and usually find a ton of material. The search term “mattress” for instance, produces a page full of information regarding the history of mattresses, what’s in them, what’s new about them, who makes them, etc..

Try typing “boxspring” into Wikipedia’s search field. The page result is sad. You don’t even have to use the scroll bar to read the entire article, which by the way, doesn’t cite any reliable sources or references. I’m using Wikipedia as an example, but the reality is that boxspring literature is almost non-existent.

And while the internet lacks information about boxsprings, other organizations discredit their importance. Just this month, the highly regarded organization, Consumer Reports released an article that critically undervalued the necessity of boxsprings without any explanation. This is not only confusing to the consumer, but frustrating as well. Especially because many mattress manufacturers require consumers to purchase the boxspring in order to receive a full warranty. And if consumers are reading information about why they shouldn’t buy a boxspring, and yet are still required to buy one, it’s not too suprising when a consumer becomes bitter about their purchase.

Poor ole’ Boxspring: the Eeyore to the Winnie-the-Pooh, the coleslaw to the burger and fries, the kid-brother to the high-school football jock.

For too long, boxsprings have been misunderstood, picked on, put down and forgotten about. Not buying it? According to Google, it took me .18 seconds to find a message-board that posed the question: “Do I need a boxspring?”

Luckily the people-of-the-world stopped living their lives for a few minutes and responded to (what I presume is) the best of their ability.

Below, the first four replies.

“A boxspring is good if you like your bed to squeak, other than that I’m not sure.”

Now, although, I do appreciate the ingenuity of the responses, I can’t say that I blame these Q&A moguls for thinking that way.

Boxspring vs. Foundation: A lot of the reason why people are bewildered by a boxspring’s functionality is because the boxspring has actually devolved over the years.

The boxspring was initially created to provide strong, flexible support and help prolong the life of the mattress. Its coils were designed to respond independently to movement and pressure for optimal weight transfer. Essentially, the boxspring functions as a shock absorber. So it doesn’t quite matter what happens above the mattress (uhem, uhem) because the mattress itself won’t take on all the brunt of the movement. Instead, the boxspring supports the mattress by providing some give so the mattress remains firm and durable.

Now think about what would happen to your mattress if it were only supported by a solid-wood foundation. If there is nothing below the mattress absorbing the shock, then you are likely damaging the inside of the mattress. It would be like driving a car without shock absorbers. Can you imagine what that would do to your tires (and your teeth)??

Unfortunately, modern bedding manufacturers are mostly to blame when it comes to the decline of the boxspring. Not all, but many manufacturers have purposely downgraded the boxspring to save on costs and maximize profits.  Instead of taking the time to create true boxsprings, the manufacturers build solid wood foundations, palm them off as boxsprings and get away with selling inferior products. And let me be clear about something: not all boxsprings are perfect. In the way the mattress manufacturers get away with selling wood-foundations labeled as “boxsprings”, other mattress manufacturers use a lower coil count and steel with little-to-no give. When shopping for a mattress set, don’t forget to ask two important questions: 1. What’s in the mattress? And 2: What’s in the boxspring?

So do you need a boxspring?

The answer is always yes. As long as it’s a true boxspring (and not a solid wood foundation), a boxspring will maximize your comfort by providing proper support and also prolong the life of your mattress, allowing you to achieve a great night’s sleep.

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