Articles from May 2015

What is Satin?

Satin, rather than being a type of fiber, is a type of weave. It is the weave that creates the characteristic shiny look and the incredibly smooth feel of satin. Satin is typically woven from silk, polyester, or other synthetic material.

The Weave

To understand how satin works, it is important to know how materials are woven. describes two important terms, warp and weft.  satinThe warp strands run vertically and the weft strands run horizontally. There are many different ways to weave together the warp and weft strands to create different feels and appearances. In a regular weave, the warp and weft strands are woven singly, one over the top of each other. In a satin weave, at least four warp strands must be woven over the top of every weft strand. This is called “floating.” Floating the four strands gives the material a very smooth feel and one shiny side.  This smooth, silky feel, makes satin sheets perfect for hot summer nights,  making your bed a cool, and comfortable. This weave also makes satin sheets very durable.


Silk vs. Synthetic

Wikipedia explains that the most commonly known silk comes from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. Silk must be harvested and transformed into fibers in a process that is very involved. This is usually reflected in its price, silk being much more expensive than many other fibers.

Satin sheets made of silk are usually very expensive and also difficult to care for. As a natural fabric, silk is prone to shrinking and can be easily discolored. For this reason, they most often must be dry cleaned. According to, polyester and other synthetic satin can usually be washed on the gentle cycle, with cold water in your washing machine. They can also be dried on low or no heat settings in your dryer.  This ease of care, and lower cost make polyester satin sheets more feasible for everyday use.


Satin sheets or even a satin comforter can give your bedroom a luxurious look and feel. They can also give you a cool and comfortable night of sleep. With the availability of synthetic satin sheets, there are a number of affordable options, so you can enjoy luxury satin in your home.


Photo “Purple Satin Fabric” courtesy of Sherrie Thai

Now is the Time for Leafy Greens

Spring is the perfect time to either grow leafy greens or find them fresh in supermarkets and farmers markets. It is important for your health to take advantage of these delicious vegetables. Eating the proper amounts of vegetables have a variety of benefits for your health, but the often overlooked green, leafy vegetables have particular advantages.

Now is the time for Leafy GreensEating the right amount of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk for diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease. It can lower blood pressure and possibly even prevent cancer. According to a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, people who are 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day had a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.


The Colorado State University Extension discusses that leafy greens are particularly special because they contain phytonutrients along with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate, and fiber.  Phytonutrients act as antioxidants which prevent both cancer and heart disease.

Diabetes points out that the high magnesium and low glycemic index found in greens helps prevent type 2 diabetes. The article states “An increase of 1 serving/day of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of diabetes.”


Iceberg lettuce is one of the most common greens eaten in the United States. While it is a healthy way to curb an appetite, it does not contain the high levels of nutritious vitamins that darker green, leafy vegetables have. Spinach, mesclun, and romaine lettuce, are good alternatives to iceberg lettuce for salads.


Other leafy greens are a good source of nutrition and can be sautéed and served as a side dish. Swiss chard is a beautiful leafy green with bright red ribs and veins that is high in nutrients. Beet greens, turnip greens, and collard greens are other greens that are delicious cooked.

Cool Weather Crops

Most greens grow in cool weather and are readily available in the fall and spring. In mild climates they can be grown all winter long. When other fresh vegetables are hard to come by, greens are in their prime.

A healthy lifestyle that includes a diet high in fruits and vegetables, particularly greens, can lead to overall improved health. Feeling better can help you sleep better and conversely sleeping better can help you feel better. This cycle makes it important to eat well and rest well!


Photo “Swiss Chard Rainbow” courtesy of eflon.

3 Reasons Bamboo Sheets Are Great For Summer

Are you looking for the perfect hot weather sheets to keep you comfortable during summer nights? There are three reasons you should consider using bamboo sheets instead of traditional cotton blends.

Bamboo is also a sustainable material.

Bamboo is also a sustainable material.

1) Wicking

Bamboo fibers have natural properties that wick moisture away from your body. Bamboo sheets will help you feel dry when you sweat during the night. Wicking also reduces the humidity around your body. Water in the air conducts hot or cold quickly so that it is difficult to regulate your body temperature. By reducing the moisture in the air around your body you can stay cooler on a warm night. Moisture wicking also eliminates the discomfort of feeling damp.

2) Anti-Microbial

Bamboo fibers have natural bacteria fighting properties. Bacteria and germs just can’t hang around in these sheets.According to eHow, in 2003 the China Industrial Testing Center did a study that placed bacteria on bamboo sheets. In 24 hours the sheets were 99% bacteria free. This special quality means you don’t have to wash bamboo sheets as often as cotton sheets and you don’t have to use really hot water to get rid of any bacteria. This reduces the amount of wear and tear on the sheets so you can keep them longer.

3) Insulating

Bamboo sheets are great insulators. Hot or cold temperatures outside of the bed will move slowly between the fibers towards your body. With materials that are good insulators your body temperature is preserved so you can stay warm on a cold night and cool on a hot night.

In addition to these three very practical reasons for using bamboo in the summer, bamboo fabric is also very soft and smooth. Everyone wants soft and comfortable sheets for a good night’s rest no matter what the temperature.

Finding the right sheets so that you can sleep well can make a big difference in your overall health and well being. Sleeping well will reduce stress and improve productivity. Don’t let a hot summer leave you feeling worn out and stressed. Use bamboo sheets to feel comfortable even when temperatures soar. How do you keep your bedroom cool in the summer?

Image: “Bamboo Shining” by TheBusyBrain

Should you be counting sheep?

Can occupying your mind with sheep help you fall asleep?

Can occupying your mind with sheep help you fall asleep?


Have you ever laid in bed watching the minutes tick by, knowing the alarm is set for early in the morning and you just can’t drift off? Counting sheep is a timeless suggestion to help you fall asleep, but where does it come from and does it really help?

The History

Sheep counting may go back to very early shepherds. These shepherds would have needed to literally count their sheep to make sure they were all safe before they could go to sleep.

Why it Doesn’t Work

Sleep specialist Michael Decker PhD, says that counting actually activates parts of the brain that processes information. Putting this part of the brain to work may stimulate you rather than help you fall asleep.


Other studies suggest you should try a different method.  A study performed by Oxford researchers that found people who were told to visualize a relaxing scene such as a beach, waterfall or walk in the woods fell asleep on average twenty minutes faster than those who were given no instruction.

The idea is that you can occupy your mind with something relaxing so that you are not thinking about tasks, relationships or other worries that might cause stress instead of help you fall asleep. These relaxing scenes are enough to keep you busy without stimulating your brain.

Try Again

If you can’t fall asleep after thirty minutes, you should get up. Move to a different room and read or listen to relaxing music until you feel sleepy. Then return to bed and try again. Try not to read or do other activities in bed. Doing so can help train your body to stay awake in bed.

Worth a Try

While the research shows counting sheep may not be the best option for drifting off to sleep, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try. Picturing relaxing scenes or counting sheep will not have any of the side effects of sleeping pills or other medications.

If your insomnia is not severe or it is related to a short terms stress, feel free to try any at home tricks to help you drift off. However, if your sleeplessness is interfering with your day to day activities, counting sheep certainly won’t help. See a doctor so that you can get some rest and feel healthy again.


Image: Counting Sheep by Amen Clinic