The Bedding Snob

Cultivating relaxation need not leave you starving for style …

3 easy ways to wrap large gifts

One big bag of presents by Steve Baty via Flickr

Have a big gift that would be hard to hide using ordinary wrapping paper, like one of our plush comforters or lofty featherbeds? We’ve got your solution!

1. The easiest way to wrap a large gift is to use an extra large gift bag! If you want to make the gift even more special, try something reusable, like our Cotton Velvet Gift Bags. It’s like two gifts in one! They’re big enough to hold pillows, blankets and even comforters!

2. During the holidays, it’s easy to find inexpensive and festive vinyl tablecloths. Since the material is much stronger than wrapping paper, it will be easier to wrap a large gift without worrying about crinkles and tears in the paper. The large surface area will help you conceal that gift in no time! You could also look for holiday printed fabric at a craft store.

3. Another idea to conceal the gift is to put it in a discreet location and give the person an envelope with clues as to where it is. This will make the gift opening experience even more fun and exciting!

If you have any ideas for wrapping a large or oddly shaped gift, we’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!

Is your guest room ready for the holidays?

The fast approaching holiday season means spending more time with friends and family. If they’re coming from out of town, you’ll want to make sure your guest room is ready. Impress them by making it luxury hotel worthy with these helpful tips!

The most important part of any bedroom or guest room is, of course, the bed. To get the iconic elegant hotel look, go with an all-white color scheme. Erin Hoover, vice president of design for Westin and Sheraton hotels, explains, “The all-white bed created this halo effect — people thought a room had been renovated, even if it was just the bed that had been changed.” In addition to having an all-white color scheme, add a supportive featherbed, fluffy comforter, extra blanket and several pillows since people have different sleeping preferences. These bedding essentials give it that ultra-comfy hotel feel.

Another element to consider is refreshments. Making your guests feel comfortable doesn’t require a fully stocked minibar. Simply leaving out a water-filled carafe with glasses or an ice bucket with some juice and water bottles on the bedside table makes a big impression. That way, if your guests get thirsty during the night, they aren’t left with the awkward task of fumbling through an unfamiliar kitchen.

Lastly, if extra bath towels, toiletries and other amenities aren’t in plain sight, let your guests know where they are. It’s also a good idea to write down the Wi-Fi password and any codes they might need. This keeps guests from that uncomfortable feeling of having to ask for everything.

We hope you have fun hosting holiday gatherings and enjoying the company of your friends and family. If you have any helpful tips for preparing your guest room, we’d love to hear about them in the comment section below!

P.S. If you need any inspiration for creating a guest room reminiscent of a five-star hotel, visit a hotel or inn that carries our bedding, like the award winning Miraval Resort!

Eat your way to a better night’s sleep

Cherries by Luis Cerezo via Flickr

If you have trouble falling and staying asleep, changing the foods you eat and drink could be the solution. Plus, who doesn’t love a yummy snack?

1.  Tree Nuts and Peanuts- The unsaturated fat in nuts can help increase serotonin levels, which regulates (among other things) sleep. The next time you’re in the mood for an evening snack, have a handful of almonds, cashews, walnuts or pistachios to help you nod off at bedtime.

2. Tart Cherry Juice- In a recent study, participants who drank two glasses of tart cherry juice every day for two weeks slept 90 minutes longer on average than those who took a placebo. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin and a safe alternative to sleeping pills. So if you’re having trouble staying asleep, this might be worth trying!

3. Bananas- Bananas are a natural source of tryptophan, which the body uses to produce the important sleep regulators serotonin and melatonin. Enjoy a sliced banana on whole grain bread with natural peanut butter for the ultimate filling and sleep friendly snack!

4.  Honey- The glucose in honey inhibits the production of orexin, which regulates alertness.  For the perfect bedtime beverage, steep a cup of chamomile tea and add a tablespoon of honey. Chamomile is linked to an increase in glycine, which helps you relax and feel sleepy.

5. Hummus- Like bananas, the chickpeas in hummus are another source of tryptophan. If you often wake up in the middle of the night, try having hummus with fruits and veggies as a snack during the day. If you often wake up very hungry in the middle of the night, it may also indicate that you don’t consume enough calories during the day.

What snacks help you get a good night’s sleep? We’d love to learn about any tips or tricks you have – share with us in the comments section below!

2014 Fall Décor Trends

A change in seasons is the perfect time to update your home décor. Fall weather always welcomes warm color palettes and foliage accents, but if you’re looking for a twist, try one of these popular 2014 decorating trends. And, updating the look of your home doesn’t have to be a huge project. Simple solutions, like switching out your dining room centerpiece, changing decorative pillows or simply incorporating a few seasonal pieces can make a big difference.

1. New Neutrals- Nix the expected orange hues and focus on textures and shapes instead of colors this fall. Furs, knits and burlap are all very fall-centric and keep the neutral tones from falling flat. Our plush faux fur throw keeps you on-trend and also provides extra warmth!

katewalshbedroom by coco+kelley via Flickr

2. Vintage charm- Amplify the cozy feeling that comes with fall by adding pieces of furniture and décor that have a well-loved look (i.e. distressed, washed finishes and antique inspired designs). Our Vintage Inspired Marlowe Stars, Rowling Bookcase (below) and Riviera Mahogany Round Table are great options!

3. Turquoise- Whether you decide to add a few candle holders or paint an entire wall this gorgeous color, turquoise will fit in perfectly with the earthy fall tones you probably already have. It also adds a pop of color while maintaining the calm, cozy feel of fall. Our Trevi Sateen bedding lets you easily incorporate the popular color.

Check out our website for more home décor options. If you’re interested in do-it-yourself fall decorating projects, Southern Living and Pinterest both have lots of ideas. We hope you have fun getting crafty and decorating your home! Please feel free to share any of your decorating ideas or photos of your home with us, we’d love to see them!

Fall weather essentials

Fall Decorations by Sharon Mollerus via Flickr

Fall is back and despite earlier sunsets and cooler weather, it is a season loved by many. In preparation for the change in temperature, it’s time to put those shorts and swimsuits into storage and make room for toasty knits and soft fleece. To help you prepare, here’s a list of some of our top picks for fall weather essentials.

1. Cozy sweaters and slippers are definitely musts when it comes to staying warm. We love UGG‘s fleece lined clothing and sheepskin lined slippers, which are perfect for chilly fall weather. Slippers with durable outsoles also mean you don’t have to change shoes when running a quick errand or going out to check the mailbox.

 

 

2. Don’t forget about your furry family members. During the cooler months, it is especially important that your pets have comfortable beds to sleep on. If your bare feet ever get chilly walking on the cold floor, imagine trying to sleep on it! It’s also a great time for outdoor activities with your pets without having to worry as much about dehydration or heat exhaustion.

3. As temperatures begin to drop, it’s also a good idea to start adding extra layers to your bedding. Try slowly transitioning from warm to cold weather by adding cozy throws, thicker sheeting such as flannel or a loftier comforter. We love the look of mixing plaid flannel with adorably embroidered flannel sheeting.

4. Lastly, make sure to enjoy pumpkin flavored treats! We love pumpkin spiced lattes, coffee and pastries. If you happen to be in the Yarmouth/Freeport area (where our store and office are located), make sure to try the delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookie from Clayton’s Cafe and Bakery! What’s your favorite pumpkin treat? It can be so hard to choose!

Crisis in the pumpkin patch by Rob Holland via Flickr

Stress relief in minutes

Green Tea by Martin Phox via Flickr

Excessive stress can cause many health issues, such as depression, weight problems and autoimmune diseases. With that in mind, it’s important to take proactive steps to reduce its toll. On days when there isn’t time for a yoga session or long, mind-clearing walk, try one of the following quick and simple methods. You can experience stress relief in a matter of minutes.

  1. Meditation is a great way to relieve stress and regain focus. Contrary to what many people believe, meditation doesn’t require sitting cross-legged on a floor in a silent room for hours. Simply close your eyes and focus on deep, even-paced breathing for five minutes while sitting in an upright position.
  2. Lavender has been known to reduce muscle pain, headaches and stress. The next time you need some calming relief, try using lavender scented lotion or lighting a candle infused with the relaxing scent. We also recommend trying our lavender scented luxury spa pillow for additional comfort.
  3. Green tea is not only high in antioxidants, it also reduces stress and increases focus. Brewing a cup is both quick and easy.
  4. Exercise aids in stress relief by releasing mood improving endorphins. When time is an issue, try short, Tabata type workouts. Research has shown that exercising for as little as ten minutes a day has positive effects on overall health.
  5. Massages are effective at reducing both stress and tension. Getting a good massage doesn’t require making a lengthy appointment at a spa. Chair massages, which range from 10-30 minutes, are often offered in shopping centers, airports and other convenient locations.

If you have any additional tips for stress relief, please share your ideas in the comment section below!

Shake up your routine! Tips for a healthy, happy retirement

Officially Retired Tiara Crown by Steven Repolo via Flickr

If you’re retired and find that you don’t always know what to do with your extra time, then keep on reading!

  1. Join a club- there are clubs for almost every hobby out there, whether it’s sports, arts and crafts, reading or playing card games. If you’re not sure what to join, start by making a list of the activities you enjoy the most or have always wanted to try but never had time to pursue.
  2. Be a foodie- who doesn’t like eating food? Designate a day of the week or month when you try a new restaurant or dish. Researching and planning the trip can be a fun and exciting experience for yourself or for you and your spouse. It’s also a great reason to go somewhere you’ve never been and meet new people.
  3. Find a part-time job or volunteer work- this may sound like the exact opposite of why you retired, but having a low-stress, part-time job is a great way to meet new people and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with it. Try choosing a job or volunteer position related to your hobbies and interests to make it even more fun.
  4. Go exploring- if traveling to a different country or state isn’t an option, then check out places in your own community or neighboring towns that you’ve never been to before. You can visit museums, parks, concerts, community events, libraries or scenic walking trails. If you live in Maine, visit our Maine places page for the inside scoop on hidden gems around the state. Or, if there aren’t many community events offered in your area and you enjoy event planning, volunteer to organize some!
  5. Spend quality time with your family- now that you have more control over your time, make sure to spend some of it with your loved ones. Plan visits with your children, grandchildren, relatives and friends.

Most retirees love post-work life, so reaching out to your retired friends for advice on what to do is another great idea. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you spend your retirement years happy, healthy and active! 

Grand parents on the North Pier by Snapshooter46 via Flickr

Apps and devices made to help you sleep- good or bad?

Photo: "Sleeptime" by Kengo via Flickr

Have you ever monitored the light, sounds and movements that occur while you sleep? It sounds like something you’d see in a lab with scientists conducting research, but with today’s technology, we can now do all of that at home with easily obtainable apps and other devices. These range from apps you can download for free to masks that sell for a few hundred dollars.

Although these technologies aim to help you get a better night’s sleep, can some of them actually cause more harm than good? The newly developed sleep tracker from Sense, for example, monitors light, sounds and movement while you sleep and then provides a sleep score while also charting previous ones. Focusing on these grade-like scores, however, might just add another item to your list of things to stress about. Other devices go as far as monitoring your muscle tension, eye movements and brain activity. The NeuroOn does this while encouraging a 20 minute nap every four hours instead of the 7-8 hours that most sleep experts recommend.

Outside of supervised labs conducting research, do we really need all of these sleep devices? Recently, a smartphone caught fire when it slipped under the sleeper’s pillow and overheated. Since sleep apps require placing the smartphone near your pillow, it’s something to keep in mind. Getting a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be stressful or dangerous!

We would love you hear your thoughts about sleep apps and devices. Let us know by leaving a comment below!

 

Back-to-school: Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

Sleeping by Timothy Krause via Flickr

If your child is heading back to school in a couple weeks, then it’s important to understand the significance of getting a good night’s sleep and transition into more consistent bed time habits now that summer is sadly almost over. This is because studies have shown that sleep is not only critical for memory- leading to better grades- but that it has a big impact on one’s overall health. A good night’s sleep can help with grades, sports performance and alertness, which is crucial if they are driving to school or have to walk across busy streets. Going over the following tips with your child will help lead to a better night’s sleep.

1. Sunlight is a natural alarm clock, so if your child doesn’t need to get up at sunrise, try using blackout curtains or shades to keep the rays out. An extra tip for waking up less abruptly than a traditional alarm clock is to use a wake up light that gradually increases its brightness, simulating sunrise.

2. Although a nice long nap after a tiring school day sounds relaxing, it will disturb the body’s natural sleep cycle and make it harder to fall asleep later on. A short 15 minute nap will give a boost of energy without keeping your child awake at night.

3. Lastly, going to sleep at the same time every day helps set the circadian rhythm. With that in mind, it’s important to have a consistent bed time. Winding down about 30 minutes before bed also helps relax the mind and prepare it for sleep. Avoid high energy activities or using electronics that stimulate the mind.

On average, school-age children between the ages of five and twelve need about ten hours of sleep, while teenagers need nine. The infographic below shows just how important sleep is!

Infographic by Alissa Scheller for The Huffington Post

Back-to-School: Dorm Room Essentials

Warren | Moore Colleges: Double Room by Vanderbilt University via Flickr

This summer is flying by and many college students will be heading off to campus in just a few weeks. If your child happens to be in that group, then you’ve probably been hearing about all kinds of decorating ideas. As much fun as decorating a new space can be, it’s important to remember that comfort should also be a top priority. These 3 easy tips will be helpful in creating a much more comfortable living space, even if that space happens to be the size of a large closet.

1. The first thing to tackle is that questionable dorm mattress, which often comes with mysterious stains and odors. A featherbed will help to make it more comfortable and a quality mattress protector will help separate your child from all of the allergens, bed bugs and dust mites that could be lurking. Our Student Bed Protection Kit is a great option, as it includes protectors for the mattress and pillows. Plus, it has earned the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

2. In addition to bed protection, soft sheets are also essential for sleeping comfortably. Finding high-quality sheets in twin XL, however, can be a struggle. Our 350 thread count twin XL sheets won’t fall apart after years of use, and come in a variety of colors to match any room. They’re also easy to clean, which your child will definitely appreciate!

3. Since space is limited and dorm room chairs can be uncomfortable, reading and studying away from the desk often happens. When studying in bed, reading pillows are great for helping your child sit comfortably. And when studying or hanging out in the student lounge or common area, cozy slippers are definitely necessary. UGG® slippers are warm, comfy and also trendy!

Check out our previous posts for even more tips on creating a cozy dorm space and for decorating ideas.

and so it begins by Stevie Rae via Flickr

Napping at work- forward thinking or faux pas?

Nap pod at Google HQ by Joe Loong via Flickr

Falling asleep at work has traditionally been a big no-no. Many employers think of it as a sign of laziness or an unproductive use of time. Research, however, shows that a short power nap can actually increase productivity by 34% and alertness by 100%. This leads to a much more efficient worker who is less likely to have accidents or make mistakes.

With such an increase in efficiency, some companies have started encouraging post-lunch naps. Just a few of those forward-thinking companies include Nike, Google and Ben & Jerry’s. Google has even installed napping pods and has designated certain areas as quiet space.

If you find yourself getting hit by the afternoon slump, but your office isn’t equipped with high-tech napping pods, try bringing a small pillow and travel blanket to work. You just may find that a quick 15 minute power nap will allow you to get much more work done than if you had decided to slog through the afternoon. For additional napping help, check out our previous blog post for more tips.

Let us know in the comment section below what your thoughts about napping at work are and if you happen to do it!

5 Tips to Sleep Cool this Summer

Hot summer weather is great for planning beach trips and BBQs, but it can be a nightmare to sleep in. If air conditioning isn’t an option, then try these five tips to beat the summer heat and get a good night’s sleep.

1. Increase air circulation- Fans make you feel cooler by increasing the rate sweat evaporates from the skin and also by redistributing the air. To maximize the fan’s effectiveness, try placing the fan in front of a window if it’s cooler outside. If it’s hotter outside, then place a bucket of ice between the fan and your bed.

2. Change your sheets- It’s time to ditch the flannel sheets for something more lightweight. Look for natural fibers since they’ll help wick away moisture and are much more breathable than synthetics. Linen and percale are great choices.

3. Take a cold shower- Before hopping into bed, take a cold shower to temporarily cool off, which will help you fall asleep faster. It will also make you more comfortable in bed by removing the sweat and stickiness built up during the day. For additional cooling relief, try using a peppermint infused shower gel.

4. Keep the sun out- Sunlight shining through the window will increase the temperature of your home. Closing the blinds during the day will maintain a cooler temperature that will carry into the night.

5. Freeze your bedding- Place your pillowcases, or all of your sheets, into a reclosable bag and then leave them in the freezer until you’re ready for bed. You can also try using items specifically made to be put in the freezer, like this soothing neck pillow. This simple trick takes sleeping on the cool side of the pillow to a whole other level.

Sweet dreams!

Sleepy Time via Alexandra Guerson on Flickr

American marathoner Shalane Flanagan races for the win in Boston

Shalane Flanagan (center) in 2010. Photo courtesy of outsideonline.com/Don Feria/Corbis

Shalane Flanagan (center) in 2010. Photo courtesy of outsideonline.com/Don Feria/Corbis

For elite runner Shalane Flanagan, this year’s Boston Marathon is especially meaningful. Growing up just north of Boston in Marblehead, Massachusetts, she had a love of running from a young age and thought that “Patriots’ Day was a national holiday and that everything revolved around the Boston Marathon.” Both of her parents competed in the marathon and she remembers standing at the finish as a child, cheering them on. Last year, Flanagan herself finished fourth in the race and recalls feeling disappointed about her finish, until hearing about the bombings. She then became the first runner to commit to the 2014 race, and has dedicated herself not only to running a personal best, but to winning the women’s division.

Recently, Anderson Cooper of 60 Minutes sat down with (or rather, laced up his sneakers and ran with) Flanagan, who talked about her training plan and strategy. The “pony-tailed assassin in knee socks” described the learning curve associated with marathon running, and how proper pacing is critical to success. Currently, she runs up to 120 miles per week, fitting in weight training and high-altitude runs to achieve peak fitness.

We’ll be cheering on Shalane today when she races in the 118th Boston Marathon, as we keep those impacted by last year’s tragic events in our thoughts. We’re so inspired by the strength and dedication of those racing, and wish the best of luck to all of the athletes!

It’s National Plant a Flower Day!

We’re not quite ready to plant flowers here in Maine, as we brace for yet another large snowstorm heading our way this evening. However, even if it’s too early for us to start gardening, we’re thinking spring with fresh florals … on our beds!

Cotton Percale Garden Floral Bedding at cuddledown.com

Cotton Percale Garden Floral Bedding at cuddledown.com

To find more spring bedding, sleepwear, and slippers, head over to cuddledown.com. You’ll also find a large selection of clearance items – up to 75% off – with more being added regularly. Happy shopping!

Spring forward without losing sleep

Sure sign of spring by blmiers2, on flickr

Sure sign of spring by blmiers2, on flickr

We’re looking forward to the unofficial start of spring this weekend as we set our clocks forward and jump into daylight saving time. However, even this small transition can throw our circadian rhythm out of sync, leading to increased fatigue and grogginess. Luckily, there are several simple ways to get back on track and wake up well-rested Monday morning.

1. Soak up sunlight at the right time  Since our circadian rhythm is affected by the balance of light and darkness, you can help to reset yours by heading outside at dawn this Saturday and Sunday. If that’s not feasible, limiting your time outside at sunset can also help with the transition.

2. Exercise  Spending time exercising outdoors on Sunday is a great way to ease into the time change, as you’ll most likely feel tired and ready for bed earlier. Although it’s frequently debated, sleep experts recommend exercising in the morning for better sleep, as vigorous exercise before bedtime can keep you up later.

3. Eat dinner a little earlier To fully prepare for your earlier bedtime, you might want to eat dinner a bit earlier Sunday night (particularly important if you are typically a night owl)! You also might consider having a meal that promotes sleep, while avoiding caffeine intake late in the day.

How do you deal with the transition to daylight saving time? We’d love to read your feedback in the comments section below!

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