Articles from July 2010

Is a Buckwheat Pillow Right for You?

buckwheat pillowsYou might be asking, “What is a buckwheat pillow? What are they like and why would I want one?  Those are all good questions. Although buckwheat has been around for hundreds of years, buckwheat pillows have become increasingly popular in the last couple of decades. If you’re in the market for one, here are some interesting facts you should know:

1)  Buckwheat is in fact not wheat, but a fruit (fagopyrum esculentum) related to rhubarb. Buckwheat hulls are what fill a buckwheat pillow. The hulls are the husks that protect the buckwheat kernel. The hulls are not just chaff, but are a highly sought after product that is usually more valuable than the buckwheat kernel.

2)  Natural buckwheat pillows seem to harbor fewer mites than synthetic pillows, possibly due to the buckwheat hulls natural usage as an organism barrier.

3)  Sleeping on a buckwheat pillow allows your body to rest in a natural position, and since snoring is often caused by an unnatural alignment of the neck, a buckwheat pillow, with its ability to maintain proper support, can reduce or eliminate snoring!

4)  Buckwheat pillows work well with all types of beds including memory foam, waterbeds, and air mattresses. The pillows can also be adjusted for firmness and loft by adding or removing buckwheat. (Most quality buckwheat pillows come with a zipper so you can do this easily.)

5)  The hulls allow air to circulate freely through the pillow, acting as a natural thermostat ~ warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It helps keep your head dry and comfortable and ensures that your head remains at a constant normal temperature. It’s a perfect choice for those you tend to perspire in their sleep.

6)  On average, buckwheat pillows last about ten years. Although it is reported that the hulls do not actually break down but become polished like sea glass over time, the fact is that after several years of use the pillow will lose a bit of its fullness. With that, if you remove some of the hulls to adjust for comfort when you first get the pillow, save them for future use so that you can add them back into the pillow to maintain the same level of comfort. Most quality pillows are made with a zipper for this very reason.

Whatever type of pillow you decide to use………As Lawrence Welk used to say,

“Good night, sleep tight and pleasant dreams to you.”

Ways to Reduce Stress

ways to relieve stress

We all experience stress every day of our lives. Whether it be from work, school, family, friends, or that old woman that drives 30 MPH in a 50, we all have stress in our lives. You may be wondering what you can do to eliminate some of the stress, but the truth is, it is how we deal with that stress that makes all the difference. Here are just a few helpful tips to help you deal with the irritating situations in your life.

1) Listen to music: listen to your favorite songs. It has been proven that listening to music can reduce stress and have a positive effect on overall health.

2) Journal: Writing in a journal even once a day is a great way to stay focused, process emotions, and solve every day problems.

3) Laugh: It is scientifically proven that laughing really is the “best medicine”. Laughing exercises your diaphragm muscle and heart, as well as your abdominals, leaving them feeling more relaxed. Laughter also distracts us from negative emotions, possibly better than any other mere distractions.

4) Reduce Caffeine: Reduce your caffeine intake throughout your day. Caffeine tends to bother sleeping habits at night, leaving you feeling tired and cranky in the morning. Feeling tired throughout your day is just what the body needs to be easily stressed.

5) Take up a hobby: Even though life may already be busy enough, it’s still important to take time to do things you enjoy such as reading, playing an instrument or sport, crocheting, scrap booking, etc. An enjoyable break is much needed and good for the soul.

These are just a few examples of how to reduce stress, and you probably have a few techniques of your own.  Whatever works for you, place it high on your priority list. Take the time to relax your body and your mind so that you can enjoy every moment of every day.

Tips for Buying Absorbent Towels

Did you ever purchase a hand towel, dish towel, or bath towel that felt soft to the touch, only to discover that it’s not that absorbent?  Here are a couple of important tips to keep in mind the next time you shop for towels:

Look at the fabric content and consider towels that are made of 100% cotton. Cotton terry cloth towels are the most absorbent. Cotton along with a terry cloth weave are a perfect combination because cotton can absorb up to seven times its weight in water and the terry loops act as small sponges. The highest-quality terry products consist of more yarns used in the background fabric and very close loops packed into the pile. The more loops there are, the more absorbent the towel will be.

Avoid velour towels.  Although they look and feel beautiful, they have limited absorbency due to the shorter pile.  Velour towels are produced in the same fashion as terry, but with an additional process that shears the terry loops to a shorter length on one side.

Cool Tips for a Restful Summer Night

Now that the heat of summer is in full force, it’s sometimes hard to get a comfortable and restful night sleep.  We all know that the best way to keep cool is with an air conditioner, but even if you don’t have one, there are some things you can do to help you cool down and rest up.

1)  When you know it’s going to be a hot and humid day, start early in the morning by keeping the window curtains, blinds and/or shades drawn to keep out the hot sun. Although it’s uplifting to be in a sun-lit room, the rays of sun actually increase the temperature in the room.

2)  Before climbing into bed, cool your body down with a refreshing shower.

3)  Just as you dress yourself with cooler clothing on a hot summer day, dress your bed with cooler linens, such as cotton or bamboo sheets. Each are an excellent choice because the fabric is breathable and absorbs moisture, keeping your body temperature cooler. Avoid bed sheets that contain polyester because they tend to be hot. And believe it or not, a wool mattress pad not only keeps you warm in the winter, but also helps to keep you cool in the summer by wicking moisture away from your body.

4)  If the air temperature is cooler outside than inside, place a fan in a window facing outward. Open another window on the opposite end of your room, if possible. The cross ventilation will help to create more of breeze than by having just one window open and the fan will pull out the warm air and allow the cooler air to flow through the room.

5)  If possible, invest in a ceiling fan for your bedroom. They provide great air circulation and can make you feel up to 4 degrees cooler even without an air conditioner. In the summer, the blades should rotate in a ‘reverse’ counter-clockwise motion.