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Better Sleep Month

We currently live in a time where you earn bragging rights for being able to function like an energizer bunny with only 4 hours of sleep a night.  But, the reality is quite the opposite.  The Better Sleep Council conducted a survey in February and they’ve exposed American’s dirty little secret.

What is it? Would you believe us if we told you that nearly 8 in 10 Americans admit that getting one extra hour of sleep would make them feel better and more prepared for the day? The findings of this survey might shock you, but it’s not too late to #getontop of the sleep deprivation epidemic and get the sleep you secretly know you need.  We’ve pulled some of the most interesting findings for you to check out here.

To read more results of the study, visit www.bettersleep.org. Spill the beans! Let us know which of these sleep stealing secrets you’re guilty of!

This Mother’s Day Celebrate Mom!

30736_104896869557966_6041655_nMother’s Day is around the corner which means it’s time to celebrate moms everywhere! One of my favorite things to hear from others are their favorite mom-isms.   I think all moms can remember a time when we would tell ourselves that we would never become our mothers.

Twenty something years later, we find ourselves uttering the same sayings that our mothers would say.  You know – the ones that would drive you crazy?  My mother would say things that didn’t even make sense to me like, “Make sure you always have on clean underwear in case you get into an accident” or “Don’t make me wash your mouth out with soap!” 

If I ever got into an accident, the last thing I would be thinking about is if I had clean underwear on and these days, a lot of soaps are made to actually taste like fruits so it wouldn’t be that bad, right? 

Reflecting on some of the things I endured growing up with my mother almost seems as if Diary of a Wimpy Kid was based on my teenage years.

Perhaps the best story I have about my mom is something I can laugh about now, but at the time it wasn’t funny.  Like most teenage girls, I had a habit of just throwing clothes on my bedroom floor – clean or dirty.  I had a system and it drove my mother crazy.  One day she was so fed up she decided to do something about it. 

I came home from school and went up to my room.  Everything was gone.  All of my clothes and anything else that was on my floor was gone.  My mom was standing in the doorway and said, “If you treat your things like garbage, I’ll just keep throwing them out.”  

I thought to myself that she wouldn’t have thrown out all of my stuff.  That’s ridiculous! She probably had them in garbage bags hiding somewhere just to teach me a lesson.  Turns out, I was wrong.  She did throw out all of my stuff – out of my bedroom window onto the front lawn. 

I spent the next two hours picking everything up off the yard and even had to fish stuff out of the trees with a fishing pole.  Needless to say, I never put another piece of clothing on my bedroom floor ever again! 

Even though our moms embarrass us, drive us crazy, make us mad or say the wrong things at the wrong time, it’s what we love most about them.  We might not admit it, but they are.  The random things we endure because of our mothers make the best stories.  In fact, when my 8 year old daughter throws her clothes on the bedroom floor, I remind her of what my mom did and she runs straight to her room and picks everything up. 

S, thank you, mom! Without going through some of the craziest moments of my life with you, I wouldn’t be the most awesome mom in the world (according to my daughter).  What are your favorite mom-isms?  Share them with us and then check out our Facebook page for our celebrate mom contest! 

Mattress Firm Putting Hunger to Bed

FarmShare_MattressFirmflyer2It’s normal for most of us to go to bed each night with a full belly. In fact, most of us go about our day without thinking twice about if we’re going to eat today, but more about what we’re going to eat today.  What if that inner question became,”Am I going to eat today?”

Mattress Firm employees in Miami, Florida have decided to help more people ask themselves what are they going to eat today instead of if they are going to eat today.

According to feedingamerica.org, 1 in 6 people living in the US are hungry. The current national average for hungry households is 14.7% and several states are above that average.  The truth is, the face of hunger isn’t what you think. 

Did you know…

  • 36% of households served by the Feeding America network had one or more adults working
  • 39% of adults served by Feeding America network have completed high school or equivalent degree
  • Female headed households are twice as likely to be among the working poor as male-headed households
  • 34% of households served by Feeding America network have been faced with the choice of paying for food or medicine/medical care
  • 65% of working families that received SNAP were single-parent families.
  • Only 10% of households served by Feeding America network were homeless
  • 23% of adults interviews during a Hunger Study have attended college or technical school 

Mattress Firm employees in Miami, Florida will collect food in their stores to help provide meals to the 384,390 hungry people in their community.  For the months of May and June, these stores are offering 20% of the purchase of an accessory when you donate canned goods.  Mattress Firm aims to help Farm Share provide food to the more than one-million low-income households across Florida.  This is more than 23.4 million pounds of food.   

Want to help end hunger?  Visit www.feedingamerica.org for local food banks in your area and to learn more about how hunger affects your community.  To learn more about Farm Share, please visit www.FarmShare.org.

Mattress recycling has a big impact

 

Dream Green Mattress Recycling

Dream Green Mattress Recycling

When we hear about recycling, the first things we tend to think of are paper, plastic and glass.  As many businesses become more eco-friendly, it can be hard to keep track of what you can and can’t recycle.  Many consumers don’t know that mattresses can be recycled.  In fact, one company in Texas recycled over 60,000 mattresses and box springs last year.

Sleep Inc, is a family-owned bedding company that has taken the steps to approach an industry-wide problem.  Each year over 30 million beds go into landfills.  If you were to lay these mattresses head to head, they would be over 4,000 miles long.  To put that into perspective, it’s only 2,790 miles from Los Angeles to New York. 

The Dream Green initiative is the only true end-of-life mattress recycling program in the bedding industry.  This program not only addresses environmental issues but also an all too common bedding industry issue – how to get old, unhealthy mattresses out of the marketplace.  

 Where does it go?

  • Padding and foam are bailed and sold to be used in carpet pads and bike, car and motorcycled seats.
  • Wood is bailed and sold to companies that press and sell it as compressed wood, wood pellets, etc.
  • Wire and metal springs are bailed and sold to make benches, metal posts, light poles, etc.

The biggest misconception about mattress recycling is that it literally means taking an old mattress and making it new again.  What many don’t know about mattress recycling is that none of the materials are reused for bedding purposes.  Sleep Inc. takes mattresses and foundations and breaks them down to their core components.  These are then ground or shredded and repurposed for many other industries.

Mattress Firm, the largest specialty bedding retailer in the country, has partnered with Sleep, Inc. in their Dream Green program.  Currently, all Mattress Firm locations in the state of Texas participate in the recycling program.   

“We recognize that effective recycling programs for the bedding industry are very important,” says Steve Stagner, president and chief executive officer of Mattress Firm.  “As we continue to grow, we want to ensure that our environmental footprint does not grow and this is why we are proud of our partnership with Sleep Inc.’s Dream Green program.” 

The recycling program is actually very easy to execute.  Mattresses and foundations are picked up and transported to the recycling facility where Sleep Inc. takes care of the rest.  So what do you get from recycling 60,000 mattresses?  Over 8 million pounds of raw material including metal, plastic, foam, mattress scraps, cardboard, cotton and wood chips. 

Dream Green’s program is just the beginning to an eco-friendly approach within the bedding industry.  In June, Connecticut passed the nation’s first extended producer responsibility (ERP) mattress recycling law.  This will require that the mattress industry assembles a council to organize and manage a mattress recycling program.   

Helping to keep used mattresses out of the marketplace and landfills is a priority for the bedding industry.  The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) even played a role in formulating the bill.   

“This legislation serves as a model for solving the problem of mattress disposal without negatively impacting our industry,” Ryan Trainer, ISPA President, said in a press release. 

ISPA is working on legislation in other states to help establish mattress recycling standards and keep mattresses out of the landfills. 

For more information on Sleep Inc. and their Dream Green program, please visit www.sleepinc.com.   Check out our version of ‘Dirty Jobs’ on our YouTube channel by clicking here.

Get Up and Do Something

Steve in purple strideMany might think that Mattress Firm is only in the business of selling beds.  Truth be told, it’s much more than that.  Every day, our employees help improve the lives of those around them.  Whether it’s helping a guest pick out the right bed to alleviate chronic back pain or collecting canned goods for a local food drive, Mattress Firm is so much more than a mattress company.

In 2011, we announced our national charitable focus of fighting pancreatic cancer and took steps to help every market make a difference in their local community.  At the time, we had no idea how close to home our efforts would hit.

Very few know about pancreatic cancer primarily because nobody talks about it.  It’s very similar to what breast cancer was in the 70′s.  All people knew was that if you got it, you could pretty much count on dying.  The same goes for pancreatic cancer today.  It’s the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death and it’s expected to jump to number two by 2015.  One reason why the survival rate is only 6% is due to the lack of an early detection method.  Another reason is the lack of funding for research and clinical trials.  In fact, 75% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are already in the advanced stages which leaves minimal treatment options.

Throughout 2011 and 2012, we continued to educate our employees, guests and communities about pancreatic cancer and successfully raised over $500k.  In 2013, pancreatic cancer came to Mattress Firm.  One of our own at the young age of 30, was diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer.  Suddenly, it became real.  Pancreatic cancer was standing right in front of us, talking to us, sharing with us, working with us and impacting us. The fact that this could happen to one of our own and at such a young age opened our eyes to what we needed to do.

It’s easy to turn away when something doesn’t affect you directly.  We all think that it will never happen to us.  Truth be told, unless we take action, the chances of it happening to us or someone close to us keeps increasing.  Our employees recognize the dire need for awareness and funding for clinical trials and research.  Every day they seek out ways to educate one more person, raise one more dollar and give one more ounce of hope.  We’d like to share a story about one of our employees that knows all too well the impact cancer has.

Meet Kyle Eades. He is a store manager in Houston, TX. Though he is fairly new to the Mattress Firm family, it’s not stopping him from getting involved in activities near and dear to his heart. Eades joined others from Mattress Firm and signed up for the PurpleStride Houston 2014 walk to raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer.  The event is put on by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and takes place in cities all over the country throughout the year.
Eades began his fund raising campaign by sending out emails to as many Mattress Firm employees as he could asking for support. He set a personal goal to raise $1000 and because of those who helped, Eades now has raised the most money in Houston.
Why does this matter to Eades? In 2012, he lost his wife Amy at age 29 to stage 4 colo-rectal cancer. “We had so much support during her fight that I feel it is only right to Pay It Forward,” said Eades.
The effects of cancer on Eades’ life continued. In May 2013, his long-time friend and now girlfriend, Candace, lost her dad to pancreatic cancer.
Eades said, “Cancer, and any form of it, definitely hits very close to home with me for numerous reasons. I believe those who have fought and won, those who are fighting, and those who have lost their battle to cancer deserve all our support. This is why I choose to do this.”
 PurpleStride events are growing and expanding to new cities, but will this ever become an event similar to the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure events?  That’s up to you.  The more awareness we create, the more money we can raise.  With funding, clinical trials and research can lead to an accurate and cost-effective early detection method, new treatment options, increased survival rate and most of all hope.

We encourage and invite you to join us at a PurpleStride event near you.  Visit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network website for a listing of events and to register.  We’d love to have you on our team!  Simply select join a team and see if Mattress Firm is listed.

Feeling lazy or not compelled to do something? Well, you really don’t have an excuse.  In fact, about 6 months after our fellow employee had the whipple procedure to treat his pancreatic cancer, he walked in the Kansas City PurpleStride.  If he can get up and walk for a cause, why are you still sitting down?

We Love to Give Big

cincinnatidonation

April is actually National Volunteer Month with the week of April 6-12 as the official National Volunteer Week.  Companies all over are encouraging employees to engage with their local communities in numerous projects.  One thing that we can say is every week is volunteer week at Mattress Firm!

In 2013, we gave over 6200 hours of our personal time to local communities.  For 2014, our goal is 10,000 hours.  We’d love to share this local giving story from our Cincinnati market.

When the Miami Township Fire and EMS department started looking into replacing their 15 year old beds, they quickly realized that the estimated replacement cost would be close to $25,000. Luckily, their story made it into the right hands and before the Fire Department knew it, Mattress Firm had stepped up to donate beds that would replace the bedding at the Township’s three fire stations.

When the delivery truck arrived last month, District Manager Ralph Soegaard, Operations Manager Alan Klavon, Nicholle Martin and numerous other Mattress Firm employees quickly began unloading boxes of new merchandise. The fire department employees were shocked at what they saw. In total, Mattress Firm delivered twenty Tempur-Pedic sets along with bed frames and mattress pads.

Why losing sleep freaks me out

melatonin_sleep_better_1_xlargeEvery day I get to educate people on the importance of sleep.  It affects all aspects of your emotional, physical and mental well-being.  Studies have shown that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll most likely crave some oh-so-good but not-so-good for you carbs, your mood will be a little more touchy, your skin looks drab and overall your brain just doesn’t work right.

If you’re anything like me, being in a fog does not help my mom brain remember where I put my keys at all!  Even though I know all of the various ways sleep can affect a person, it never fails to shock me when it’s actually put into a visual format.  While surfing through Huffington Post, I came across this article that has a pretty powerful infographic.

I think my Monday night ‘Bates Motel’ watching ritual can take a backseat to dark undereye circles and losing brain tissue!  Click here to check out the article and infographic.

What fact do you find most shocking?

Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl?

 

MattressFirm_Infographic_8_NotEditable

In today’s hustle and bustle it seems that everything is set for early birds.  What does that mean for night owls?  Just for fun, check out our infographic quiz to see if you’re truly an early bird or night owl.  I recently came across an article posted on Fast Company’s site by Laura Vanderkam that has some tips for night owls to harness productivity at any hour.  Read my take on them below:

#1 Identify a feasible schedule. Sleep is a necessity so just because you’re a night owl, it doesn’t mean you don’t need a certain amount of shut eye.  Figure out a schedule that works best for you that allows you to maximize your most productive hours of the night.

#2 Shorten your commute.  Workdays starting around 8:30 or 9 really isn’t that early.  But if you live far enough away from your place of business, an hour-long morning commute means one less hour of sleep.  Consider moving closer to work or discuss working from home two days a week.

#3 Ask for Flexibility.  If working 8-5 just won’t work, see if you can shift your work schedule to 9-6.  Most bosses like to see quality work and regular accomplishments instead of a sleepy head at their desk at 8am.

#4 Take turns with your spouse.  For any night owl parents out there, you know how hard it is to pry yourself much less sleepy kiddos out of bed in the morning.  If your spouse is a morning person, take turns or even work out schedules to where the morning person gets the kids up and out the door in the morning while the night owl gets them bathed and in bed.  This balancing act could work out to benefit everyone in your household.

#5 Plan the right work at the right time.  If you find you’re most creative between 10pm and midnight, then save your creative tasks or brainstorming for that time.  This will allow you to complete other tasks throughout the day.

To read the full article, please click here.  Do you have tips for night owls or early birds?  We’d love to hear them.

 

Get Happy!

happy day

“Happiness may have different meanings for different people.  But we can all agree that it means working to end conflict, poverty and other unfortunate conditions in which so many of our fellow human beings live.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

You may not know it, but March 20th is the International Day of Happiness.  Seriously!  The United Nations declared it in 2012 with the goal of “recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and  aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of  their recognition in public policy objectives. ”

In layman’s terms, have a coke and a smile!  In all seriousness, do you consider yourself to be happy? TIME magazine did a poll in June 2013 to find out what makes Americans happy and unhappy.  Check out these results:

Pick your Party: Republicans say they’re  happier than Democrats. Poll results show slightly more Republicans (85%) reporting they were happy most of the time, compared to 79% of Democrats. Republicans were also much more satisfied with marriages.

Don’t Grow Old + Bitter: When asked if it was possible to make yourself happier or if you are just born with a certain level of happiness, 94% of those aged 18-34 believed that they could become happier. As the age increased, the percentage of optimism dropped to 82% for 35-54-year-olds and 77% for participants 55 and older.

He Said, She Said: 42% of women reported to label themselves as pessimists since the economic downturn compared to 38% of men.  On the other side of the coin, 64% of women feel they have a strong work/life balance with only 52% of men saying the same.

Love + Marriage: Shocker!!! 95% of men are happier as the result of getting married compared to 86% of women.  When it comes to divorce it’s just as shocking.  92% of women are happier after a divorce compared to 86% of men.

FB Posing: We all have that annoying friend on Facebook that always looks super happy and fun.  Well, get this – 76% of respondents believe that people portray themselves as happier, more successful and more attractive than they really are on their social media profiles. That’s a lot of catfish!  The irony is 79% of the respondents said their own Facebook profile showed them as they truly are.  Hmmmmm.  The upside is that 38% said that  just browsing around on social media sites gives them a mood boost.

Granted these numbers are interesting, are they really a true measure of happiness?  There are millions of things that make each 9C09of us happy.  Funny emails, people watching, unexpected text messages, surprises, hugs, smiles and even sleep.  As a single mom, there are lots of moments that would annoy some people, but to me they are the best moments!  Just looking at a picture of my daughter will do it every time!

So, on International Day of Happiness , what’s your go to happy booster?

P.S. my FB profile shows me in all my imperfectly perfect glory!

Eat to Sleep

food-that-help-you-sleep-better

We’ve all heard that age old saying ‘you are what you eat’. Recent research is actually beginning to prove that the food we put in our bodies directly affects how we feel, sleep, think and more.  When it comes to picking foods that help you sleep, we did a little research and found some interesting tidbits.

Warm Milk + Turkey: We all hate to admit it, but sometimes mom was right. If you ever thought that drinking warm milk was a trick your mom used to get you to drink more of it that is only the half truth. Milk is rich in tryptophan which is a naturally occurring sleep-promoting amino acid. If you’re lactose intolerant go for some turkey, nuts and seeds or bananas.

Carb It Up: There are tons of reports and recommendations that carbohydrates should be consumed in moderation, but the right carbs are actually good for you. In fact, they can actually help you sleep. You can get a quick boost of tryptophan by pairing carbohydrate-rich foods with complimentary dairy foods. A few late night snacks could be a bowl of cereal and milk, yogurt and crackers or go French and have some bread and cheese.

Flip-Flop: Most Americans are accustomed to eating their heaviest meal in the evening. There are a few reasons why you might want to flip-flop that filling evening meal to a morning meal. We all know that high-fat foods can add a few pounds, crank up cholesterol and more, but did you know that they also disrupt your sleep cycle? Heavy meals trigger digestion which can leave you with an overly full feeling, indigestion, stomach aches and more. Some studies show that people who eat their heaviest meal in the morning followed by a moderate size lunch and light dinner actually sleep better.

Hide + Seek: I don’t think there is a single morning that I can go without stopping at Starbucks, but caffeine can also pop up in other unsuspecting foods and drinks.  Nothing’s better than a nice cup of hot cocoa on a cold night before going to bed, but did you know caffeine is hiding in that steaming mug? Even if you have a cup of decaffeinated coffee or tea, you’re still getting some caffeine. Try avoiding all caffeine at least four to six hours before you go to bed.

Here’s another caffeine hiding spot you might not have known about. Medicine! That’s right – some over-the-counter and prescription drugs contain caffeine. These include some pain relievers, weight loss pills, diuretics and cold medicines. Believe it or not, some of these have as much or more caffeine than a cup of coffee. Always check with your pharmacist if you suspect something is affecting your sleep.

Nightcaps: I’ve always wondered why they’re called nightcaps, especially now that we know they are anything but helpful. Sure alcohol will help you fall asleep faster, but you won’t sleep better.  Even if you get a full eight hours of sleep, you can wake up feeling as if you only got four. If you are enjoying a few drinks, balance each drink with a glass of water to dilute the alcohol’s effects.

Some Like It Hot: Some people love spicy food and can eat it any time of day. If you’re one who experiences heartburn at night after a spicy meal, this is your sign to adjust your eating habits. If you just can’t say no to a spicy craving, make sure you finish it at least four hours before bedtime.

Uh-Oh Paleos: If you’re part of the Paleo diet crew or prefer a diet high in protein, you might not be sleeping as well as you could. It takes longer and it’s harder for our bodies to digest protein. For an easy and effective snack, choose a glass of warm milk or some crackers to help you drift away.

Put the Glass Down: It’s important to stay hydrated during the day, however, at the end of the day, starting to slow down your fluid intake before bed will actually help you sleep better. Why?  You’re eliminating the need for midnight bathroom breaks.

What are some of your tips or tricks to get a better night’s sleep?

 

What you need to sleep happy.