Employee Profile: Sleep Expert And American Idol Hopeful!

Talk about talented! We know our Steinhafels employees are pretty awesome, but check out our newest Employee Profile: Julica Kelly.

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Julica is a Sales Associate at our Madison West Store. We are so excited that she is embarking on an American Idol journey… and it’s not her first time! Julica took the time to tell us a little bit more about her journey as a singer/songwriter, and how her musical background has also helped her in her role at Steinhafels

How long have you worked for Steinhafels, and what do you do? What do you like most about it?

I’ve worked for Steinhafels going on 5 months now, and I’m a Sleep/Bedroom Specialist. (The best title ever haha!) This is one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had apart from taking care of people with disabilities. Most people don’t understand how important the correct pillow and mattress is for a great night’s sleep. We sometimes have customers come in with MS or Severe Osteoporosis. We are able to literally change their lives with a TempurPedic and adjustable base. That’s my favorite part of my job–helping people!

How long have you been singing? What do you love about it?

I was singing before I was talking!! In first grade, I used to ask my teacher if I could sing a song for the class everyday at the podium. A little embarrassing when I look back on it, but it’s also made me realize that being an entertainer is truly always something I’ve wanted to do. There aren’t enough words to explain my love for music and singing.  If I could explain it at all, I love the feeling/healing music brings. It’s the best form of release and expression of emotion for me.

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What first got you into music?

My passion for music started at a very young age and has always came very naturally to me.  Michael Jackson was my first musical inspiration aside from my parents/grandparents. I used to put in a Michael Jackson VHS my father taped for me every morning as my brothers left for school. I remember the first time I watched “Man In The Mirror” by MJ I cried and cried. I was only 4 years old.  

What’s your favorite kind of music to perform?

I would consider myself a very open and diverse musician.  I love all genres and styles of music, but the music I write is more funk/blues/soul and some alternative.

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How can people hear you… do you play in any local bands, at local bars, etc?

You can go to YouTube or Facebook and search “Julica Rose Kelly Videos.” There you can find a lot of my performances new and old. I currently play in two different classic rock bands. One is called “River Rockers” and the other is “Hammer Down.” I sing anything from Gunpowder and Lead to ACDC in these current bands and we have so much fun jammin together! I also play solo gigs as well. I’m originally a musician out of LaCrosse, WI. I have performed at local bars such as Popcorn Tavern, Dells Bar, and many more in the LaCrosse area. Currently I’ve been performing at local bars in the Dodgeville/Blanchardville area such as Jeffery’s House of Foolishness and Rachel N’ Rays. I’m looking to expand and start performing at more local venues in the Madison area.

What is the hardest thing about being a musician?

Being a singer/musician can be a rough road. Some of the most talented musicians go their whole life without being discovered in the music industry.  I think the hardest part is having drive and keeping faith. When you work hard year after year perfecting your skill and chasing your dreams with nothing to show for it, it can become discouraging. I’ve realized over the years that no matter what, I’ve accomplished a lot as a musician and I will never give up doing what I love most regardless of any fortune or fame.

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How has being a singer and performing helped you be a better worker and salesperson?

People and communication skills are super important as a singer/musician. I think being a singer has helped me to accommodate to different types and styles of people. Then you are able to kind of mold to their personalities–for a better customer experience.

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I know you can’t tell us too much about the American Idol journey so far.. but what has it been like? What’s been the coolest and most nerve-wracking parts? (And what’s the next step?)

This experience so far with Idol has been exciting, emotional, rewarding and so much more. I made it to Hollywood (Top 70) when I was 19, and many of those feeling rush back that I had then.

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A lot has changed since I was 19. I’m a mother now, and I have a whole new outlook on life.  I’ve also had more time to work on my skills. I’m feeling more confident, and I’m ready to give this all I’ve got. As far as the next steps, I can’t say too much but there is a link to my Story on WKOW with more info on the next steps.

Thanks so much Julica for taking us along on your journey, and all the best to you as it continues!

Julica also has a GoFundMe Page to raise money for travel, hotel, and expenses to get to the next round.  

Shut It Down and Get to Sleep!

The National Sleep Foundation is celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week March 6-13.  We’ve been wanting to write a blog about the importance of sleep for awhile, and this seems like the perfect time.  Mattresses are a huge part of our business at Steinhafels, but we want to take a step back and really think about just how important a quality night’s sleep is to our overall health.

So we decided to go right to the experts.  Dr. Louella Amos is a Sleep Physician. She specializes in Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Medical College.  She works with patients to make sure the entire family, especially children, are getting a good night’s sleep.

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Our first question for Dr. Amos was pretty simple:  What does sleep really do for our bodies?  We all know that if we don’t get enough sleep we tend to be drowsy, cranky, and lazy… but is there more to it than that?  The answer is yes!  Dr. Amos explains, “Nighttime sleep is really important for the body to recover from whatever happened during the day.  Another function of sleep is really going back to the information we obtain during the day, the learning that goes on during the day–you need to process that.  Certain stages of sleep are really important for memory, cognitive development, and processing information–that’s really important for children.”

Dr. Amos says the last main function of sleep is fighting off illness.  “When we’re sick, you’ll notice you might want to sleep more, and that’s a normal response, because your body is saying it needs to relax and recover, and when you don’t sleep you’ll find you’re not going to recover as quickly.”

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Now we know it’s not always realistic to get that glorious 8 hours of sleep (for adults) and 9+ hours for kids and adolescents.  Schedules these days are packed with work, school, extra curricular activities, sports, evening events, etc.  Often our kids are more busy than we are!!  However, there are some ways to practice good ‘Sleep Hygiene’ as Dr. Amos calls it. (Adults–these are for you too!!)

1.) Turn off all electronic devices one hour before bed.  This should give your mind time to wind down.  Our brains produce Melatonin as it gets dark outside, so if we are exposed to extra light in the evening, our brain may not think it’s dark out, and that can delay Melatonin production.

2.) Set a bedtime and stick to it.  Once you set a time, try to avoid caffeine 8 hours before that time.

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3.) Exercise at the peak time to promote Restorative Sleep.  Exercise is good in general for health, but we’re looking at timing.  After school or right after work is ideal.  Usually any time from 3 to 6 p.m. is a good time for moderate to vigorous intensity exercise.  This will help tire your body so you sleep better and longer come bedtime.  This is called ‘Restorative Sleep.’  But if you exercise too close to bedtime, it may take a little longer to fall asleep.  If you exercise in the morning that’s fine, but it won’t really have that extra calming effect on your sleep later.

4.) Don’t go to bed hungry!  This is especially important for kids.  Hunger at night may wake them from their sleep.  A small snack at night is fine, but clearly nothing with caffeine or too much sugar right before bedtime.

5.) Use the bed only for sleep.  If you read before bed do it the old fashioned way–with a paperback book, and sit in a chair near your bed.  This helps you only associate the bed with sleep.  This is especially important for kids.

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6.) Follow a Family Sleep Routine.  Even if the adults and older kids stay up a little later, it’s important to sort of ‘shut down’ the house when the young kiddos go to sleep–turn off the music, lower the volume on the TV, dim the lights, etc.

The mattress staff at Steinhafels is dedicated to making sure we provide the highest quality at the best value.  LeeJean Williams is the lead buyer for Mattresses and Bedding.  We asked Williams what her number one priority is when selecting the mattresses to sell at our stores.   She replied, “Comfort and to ensure a customer’s sleep system (pillow, mattress, and foundation) is providing the right support and spinal alignment.”

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The good news is that, like everything, sleep ‘technology’ has vastly improved over the years.  As Williams explains, “There is technology to help customers sleep cooler, provide the right amount of body support, and foundations that allow a customer to position the mattress to help reduce snoring, acid reflux, and pressure in the lower back.”

Sleep is such a personal thing.  We all have different routines and techniques.  That’s why there is such a wide variety of mattresses in the Steinhafels showroom and on our website.  Dr. Amos admits she is no expert when it comes to sleep products and mattresses, but acknowledges that a good mattress and overall sleep environment is very important for overall wellness.

Dr. Amos suggests involving your child in the mattress selection process.  She explains, “I’ve had children or adolescents who have developed a bad relationship with their current bed, or current surface.  I think the children should sort of play a role in determining what they’re going to sleep on, so I’ve told parents to kinda make a clean slate.  Try to take them when you buy a bed for them.  Have them play a role in that.  First of all, they’ll appreciate it and enjoy it, and then it’s kinda a new beginning.”

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Of course there are some serious sleep issues that require more than just a good mattress:  Sleep Apnea, Night Terrors, and Narcolepsy–just to name a few.  In these cases you may need to see a doctor for yourself or your child.

The big takeaways we hope you get from this post:  Sleep truly is important, shut down your technology at night, and try to follow a routine.  Even if you sleep like a baby, we hope you got something out of reading this.  Sleep is a vital component of overall health and wellness, and it’s a lot easier to have sweet dreams on a comfortable mattress.

Williams said it best when asked how she hopes customers react when they lie on their new Steinhafels mattresses for the first time.  She says, “I hope they sleep like they have never slept before, and they wake up feeling like they just had the best night’s sleep of their lives.”

So get off your computer or mobile device, get in bed, and enjoy #SleepAwarenessWeek!!

Do you have any Sleep Tips you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear them!!  Please post them in the Comments section below.