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.

DS Tip of the Week: Dress Your Windows

Most of us love to have the beauty and warmth of natural light in our homes.  The one exception might be at 6 a.m. on a lazy Sunday morning in the middle of the summer, when the beaming sun wakes us from a restful slumber.  But as we Wisconsinites know all too well, we still have a few months until we have to worry about that.

In the meantime, the sun is a welcome sight during these late winter and early spring months.  However, you can’t count on the sun to do all the work.  You have to make sure you show your windows some love!  Windows are the topic of this week’s Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week.

Patti Stindt is an Interior Designer at our Madison Beltline store.  Her recommendation to homeowners:  Don’t forget about dressing the windows!

Patti says, “No matter what the size of the window or how high the ceilings, a vertical line in your designed space adds interest and warmth.  It is also a great way to add color, texture, or introduce another pattern.”

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As you see in these pictures, some simple drapes add interest and depth to the room.  Our designers are hard at work on many more quick and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

DS Tip Of The Week: Timeless Textures

We all have hectic lives.  Let Steinhafels help make your life just a little simpler!  Every Monday we post an interior design tip that’s easy even for those who are design-challenged.  This week, we look at textures.

Our Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week comes from Interior Designer Dawn Adamec.  Dawn works at our Waukesha Corporate store, and helps customers across the state create the homes of their dreams.

Dawn’s tip on textures:  “If you are trying to keep a home’s design somewhat simple and classic, focus on the textures, not all the ‘extra stuff.’  People lead busy lives, and many want to keep their home design neutral, so it doesn’t go out of style in a few years.  One way to make a space look unique, without lots of different colors and patterns, is through various textures.  Textures are timeless, and a great way to add some dimension to a space!”

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As you see in these pictures… the options are endless!  Our designers are hard at work on many more quick and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

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Don’t Overlook the Accents!

When it comes time to buy furniture, we often think about the big ticket item–like a new couch, dining room table, or a bed.  Well, those high profile items look a lot better in our home if they are surrounded by a strong supporting cast!  That’s why Accent Furniture is such an important piece of our inventory at Steinhafels–so we can provide our customers with every piece necessary to round out an entire room.

Big statement items help fill a room, but it’s the accent pieces that truly show a homeowner’s personality, and tie a room together.

Step inside Steinhafels, and it’s easy to see some of the principal trends in Accent Furniture right now:  Metal and Wood Combos, Reclaimed Furniture, and the colors Turquoise and Red.

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Jenny Kordus is the Accent Furniture Buyer for Steinhafels.  She says she has seen some interesting changes in the industry lately, along with some tried and true constants:

-Customers are reacting to “mixed media” pieces that feature both metal & wood accents.

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-Some pieces have “chicken wire” in place of glass on the doors.

-Some pieces have caster wheels.

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-Some items feature “barn doors” with rolling doors.

-Occasional pieces usually feature wood tops with metal bases, frames, etc.  This trend is working in transitional and contemporary styles and at low and high price points.

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Kordus notes we are also seeing some changes in the furniture that is designed for entertainment areas.  Flat screen TVs have basically replaced tube televisions. As for TV consoles, The smaller and sleeker the better!  Most do not look like big, bulky walls anymore.  In many cases, homeowners are simply putting wall-mounted or pedestal-mounted TVs over slimmer consoles–providing for a more modern look, but still supplying space for storage of various media and gaming devices.

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Many Accent vendors are also adding “wire management” to pieces.  These are ways to make it easier to plug electronics into the wall, without a wiry mess.  For example, many furniture manufacturers now cut a hole or several holes in the back of a piece, so wires can remain hidden in the back.

There are many other accent pieces we haven’t touched on–fireplaces, curios, clocks, and benches–just to name a few!  Go ahead, get out of your comfort zone and show your personality with a unique accent piece you won’t find anywhere else.

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DS Tip of the Week: Make it ‘Fierce’ With Plaid and Fur

When it comes to interior design, sometimes the combinations you least expect yield the greatest results!

That brings us to this week’s #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week:  Plaid + Fur.  It’s a little bit of country meets chic, and looks oh so good!

This week’s tip comes from Madison Interior Decorator Hannah Peller.

Hannah’s words of wisdom:  “Plaids tend to be rather rustic and masculine.  Fur is feminine and delicate, yet fierce.  What they both have in common is a sense of warmth, which is perfect for winter.  Some of the best combinations are those that are least likely.  I love the balance this pattern and texture bring to a space.  It is unpredictable, and very inviting!”

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So quit playing it safe, channel your inner Beyonce, and make your home “fierce.”  We post a quick and easy decor tip each Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

DS Tip of the Week: Cover That Carpet!

As we can tell from the arctic temperatures, Winter is still going strong here in the Midwest.  Cozy comfort is the style many of us are seeking.

A soft carpet beneath your feet is comforting this time of year, but are you sick of the same old boring carpet?  You don’t have the time or money to do a reinstallation?  There is a way to make a subtle change without undergoing a complete redesign.  It’s time for another Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week to give you a burst of motivation!

This week’s comes from Interior Decorator Rhonda Vivoda of our Waukesha Corporate store.  Rhonda explains, “It’s okay to use an area rug over carpeting.  It anchors the room together, while adding color and texture.”

That’s right.  It may seem like a decorating taboo, but it’s OK to put an area rug over carpeting.  This is especially true in apartments, where tenants are often stuck with a drab wall to wall carpet.  Get a snazzy area rug to add some personality!  It can be a textured, patterned, or simple flat woven rug–whatever works best for you space.

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We post a different quick and easy decor tip every Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

DS Tip of the Week: Establish a Neutral Base

Are you looking to redesign your room, but are worried you’ll be sick of it in a few months?  The key is to start simple!

Our Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week asks you to look at neutrals in a new way.  Beige doesn’t have to equal boring.  Instead, look at it as a tool of versatility!

This week’s design tip comes from Appleton Interior Decorator Laura Hoffman.

Laura suggests, “Design the base of your room in neutral color hues, then add your pops of color with pillows, throws, art, candles, etc.  That way when you get tired of a certain color, or want to add your seasonal color scheme you can give your room a whole new look in a few minutes!  Simply replace those candles, pillows, and other accessories with similar items of a different color.  Your room will look totally different, and very put together, with little work involved.”

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Take some of the guesswork out of interior design.  We post a quick and easy #DSTipOfTheWeek each Monday.

DS Tip of the Week: Adding Height to a Room

In a world of sofas, coffee tables, console tables, and beautiful accent rugs–it’s easy to forget the need to bring your eye “up” in a room.  Remember, interior design is all about creating even balance in a room.

The designers on Steinhafels’ Decorating Solutions team are experts at utilizing a space to its fullest.  You can speak to a designer at any of our furniture stores.

In the meantime, there are some simple ways you can add height to a space on your own.  This week’s tip comes from Vernon Hills interior designer Michelle Micolta.

Michelle explains, “People often forget that aside from throwing up some artwork, there are other ways to add height to your room.  Combining tall pieces with artwork on walls is the best way to bring your eye up.  You can use bookcases or etageres, a faux tree, a grandfather clock…even room dividers!  Adding tall pieces to a room evens out the bare feeling that comes with crown molding details, window treatments, and ceiling fixtures.”

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So go ahead–take your space to the next “level”!  Check out our #DSTipOfTheWeek each Monday on our blog.  Our blog also includes various stories and articles about current design trends, and the role furniture plays in our lives.

DS Tip of the Week: Glorious Greenery

It’s the dead of winter… about that time when you begin to wonder if you’ll ever seen grass and leaves on the trees again.

One way to fight the winter doldrums is to bring that greenery inside!

It’s time for your Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week to give you a tiny taste of Spring!

This week’s tip is from Oak Creek Interior Decorator Jenii Kluver:
“Foliage and greenery are great ways to liven up a space and fill empty corners!”

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Check out the wide range of decorative greenery available at your neighborhood Steinhafels, and be sure to tune in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

DS Tip of the Week: Stylish Storage

It’s Monday, and you’re probably feeling tired and a little uninspired.  Well, here’s your Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week to give you a burst of motivation!

This week we look at ways to make your storage stylish.  Just because it’s functional doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and trendy.

That brings us to our tip from Interior Decorator Laura Hoffman of our Appleton store:
“Incorporate storage wherever you can.  It’s easy–just measure the space and add fun baskets, containers, or other organizers.  These were just plain shelves at the end of a kitchen island before I transformed them into a fun and functional focal point!”

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We post a different quick and easy decor tip every Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.