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Feng Shui for the Bedroom

Feng shui is becoming more popular as people’s lives are becoming more stressful, it’s easy to find a variety of books, magazines, classes, and videos on the subject.  Feng shui simply translates to wind and water and is derived from the ancient Chinese art of placement. Feng shui is being used all around us and in many different ways, some popular feng shui arrangements are used for wealth, prosperity, fame, social life, family, relationships, children, health, good fortune, creativity, wisdom, career, spiritual life, and travel just to name a few. But, can feng shui really have that big of an effect on your life, and what about your sleep? Here are a few tips to get you started on how you can use feng shui in your bedroom to create a peaceful retreat, in hopes of losing all negativity to get your most restful nights of sleep.

  • Place your bed flush against a wall as far away from the door as possible while still having a direct view of the doorway; this will add a feeling of safety and security.
  • Your bed should also be centered on the wall with two rounded night stands on each side to create symmetry. (tables with hard edges can create “poison arrows” or harmful energy)
  • Mattresses – choose wisely and invest in one that will give you the best sleep and relaxation, the better you sleep at night the better your health is during the day.
  • Use different levels of lighting in your bedroom, dimmer switches are highly recommended as are lamps on either side of the bed to keep the symmetry; but candles are the best feng shui bedroom lighting choice.
  • Indulge your senses – Invest in luxurious bedding, pillows (pair these up to keep the room symmetrical), and plush rugs.
  • Paint your walls a soothing color, feng shui experts recommend staying within the so-called “skin colors” which vary from pale whites to rich browns. Bring in color by adding touches of “passion colors”.
  • Artwork is an important part of a bedroom, but use caution because art and images carry powerful feng shui energy. Your choices should be soothing and inspiring, not scary or depressing.
  • Open windows as often as possible to let in fresh air and if that isn’t an option then air purifiers are a great option to leave the air clean and full of oxygen.
  • Bring in nature, just not too close to the bed – flowers, plants, a sand/rock garden, or a water feature.
  • Try saying no to having TV’s, computers, exercise equipment, and office space in your bedroom. If this just isn’t an option try using a room divider or a folding screen to keep these out of view when falling asleep.
  • Clutter free is key when it comes to feng shui, the more organized the room the more peaceful it becomes and is easier to sleep at night. Experts also suggest cleaning out from under the bed so the energy flow isn’t interrupted or blocked off.

If you’re feeling drained and not getting the best sleep at night as you could be, then try to incorporated as many of these tips as possible. These little changes can make a huge difference in your sleep and quality of life.

Barrett, Jayme. Feng Shui Your Life. New York: Sterling Pub., 2003. Print.

“Feng Shui Tips to Turn Your Bedroom Into a Retreat.” Health.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2013. < http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307149,00.html >.

Hennen, Leah. “Feng Shui Your Bedroom.” Home & Garden Television. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. < http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/feng-shui-your-bedroom/index.html >.

Tchi, Rodika. “How To Feng Shui Your Bedroom.” About.com Feng Shui. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2013. < http://fengshui.about.com/od/love/qt/perfectbedroom.htm >.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes overwhelming sleepiness and frequent attacks of sleep throughout the day. Narcolepsy is caused when the brain doesn’t have the ability to regulate a normal sleep-wake cycle; which can lead narcoleptics to fall into REM sleep instead of falling into a light to deep sleep cycle. Narcolepsy seems to affect both genders equally and begins showing signs in adolescence or young adulthood, and is often left undiagnosed.

Narcolepsy is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, hypnagogic hallucinations, sleep paralysis, cataplexy, interrupted nocturnal sleep, leg jerks, nightmares and restlessness. Along with excessive sleepiness and sudden onset of sleep the next primary symptom is cataplexy; a momentary loss of muscle tonus typically causing the person to fall to the ground, this usually results from a strong emotion such as surprise, laughter, anger, or elation. Hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis are also common and can be extremely scary symptoms of narcolepsy, causing feelings of suffocation, being on fire, drowning, or being attacked.

What causes narcolepsy? While there isn’t one definite answer, doctors have found that people suffering from narcolepsy have low levels of Hypocretin and even lower levels were found in people who also suffered from cataplexy. Hypocretin is a chemical that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles and REM sleep, what causes the loss of Hypocretin producing cells in the brain is still unknown. There are studies being conducted on Hypocretin replacement, Hypocretin gene therapy, and stem cell transplant in hopes of finding a more effective treatment or cure.

How to cope with narcolepsy: start by adding several short naps to your daily routine, establish a routine sleep schedule, eat and exercise on a regular schedule, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. If the above behavior treatments don’t work on the narcolepsy then there are different treatment options available. Medications for narcolepsy include stimulants, drugs that stimulate the nervous system to help them stay awake during the day. If stimulants aren’t effective then amphetamines may be prescribed, but can produce side effects such as nervousness, heart palpitations, and can be addictive. Tricyclic antidepressants may be used with people who also suffer with cataplexy; and in more extreme cases Sodium Oxybate can be prescribed, but can include some serious side effects.

Maas, Dr. James B., Megan L. Wherry, David J Axelrod, Barbara R. Hogan, and Jennifer A. Blumin. Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance. New York : Villard, 1998.

“Narcolepsy and Sleep.” Narcolepsy Symptoms, Treatment & Remedies. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. <http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/narcolepsy-and-sleep&gt;.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Narcolepsy.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Oct. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/narcolepsy/DS00345/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs&gt;.

 

Cashmere Wool

Cashmere is a highly sought after luxury product that comes with an understandably high price tag and we’re about to dig a little deeper to see why that is.

The current Cashmere goats name is derived from Kashmir, a Province in India that borders with China and Pakistan. Kashmir has been producing cashmere for thousands of years, most commonly used in their well known shawls. The cashmere products from this area first started attracting attention from Europe in the 1800’s, and then continued to spread throughout the world.  Today the majority of cashmere comes from the high plateaus of Asia, major supplier countries being China, Mongolia, and Tibet.

The specialty fiber is collected during molting seasons when the goats naturally shed their hairs. Some countries such as China and Mongolia remove the fibers by hand with a course comb, while other countries like Iran, Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Australia shear the goats. Both methods are effective and from here the hair goes to be separated by a mechanical process known as dehairing, this is a very tedious process.

Today cashmere wool defined by The U.S. Wool Labeling Act of 1939 is the fine, dehaired, undercoat produced by Cashmere goats (Capra hircus laniger). The fiber should have a mean maximum diameter of 19 microns and the co-efficient of variation around the mean cannot exceed 24%. There also cannot be more than 3% (by weight) of cashmere fibers over 30 microns. This specialty fiber is not to be confused with the straighter and more course outer coat that is called guard hair. On average a cashmere goat will produce around one pound of fiber a year, of that only 4 to 6 ounces is the fine under hair used in the production of cashmere.

Cashmere is known mainly for its softness, and its insulation properties are often over looked. Cashmere fibers are highly adaptable, they have a high moisture content that allows insulation properties to change with the relative humidity in the air. This is what allows you to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer; making cashmere great for not only clothing, but also great for rugs, carpets, bedding, camping, and sports equipment.

“Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute.” Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://www.cashmere.org/cm/general.php >.

Harris, Aisha. “Why Is Cashmere More Expensive Than Other Kinds of Wool?” Slate Magazine. N.p., 27 Dec. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://www.slate.com/articles/life/luxury_explainer/2012/12/cashmere_why_is_it_so_soft_why_is_it_so_expensive.html >.

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses come in Natural, Synthetic, or a blend of the two. Latex mattresses are becoming increasingly popular these days, mainly due to the fact that some latex mattresses are 100% natural. This organic property appeals to the health conscious people as well as the Eco-friendly. Natural rubber is harvested by tapping; tapping is done by making a diagonal cut through the bark of a rubber tree and once the bark is removed, a milky white rubber fluid is collected. Trees can be re-tapped every couple of days, through careful tapping, an acre of rubber trees (around 180) can produce nearly 1,900 pounds of rubber annually. Since the trees are not permanently harmed, they continue to grow, making natural rubber a completely renewable resource. That same 1 acre of rubber trees is able to absorb enough carbon dioxide to cancel the output of 1 car driven 26,000 miles.

Synthetic latex is made by polymerizing a monomer that has been emulsified with surfactants; this synthetic rubber was first created in WWII to make products for the military due to a natural rubber shortage in the US. Synthetic latex does have the same basic properties of natural latex and is typically less expensive. There is also a blended latex option that is just a mixture of the natural latex and the synthetic latex, the most popular being 40% natural and 60% synthetic.

How does rubber become a latex mattress? Most companies make latex foam by using two popular methods, the Talalay or the Dunlop as seen below along with a new method called the Continuous, and is exclusive to Mountain Top Foam. After the latex mattress is made there are a few more options to choose from, is the entire mattress latex, latex over foam, or even foam over latex? Most latex mattresses can also be personalized with the options of soft, medium, or firm so you get the mattress that is just right for you.

The Dunlop Method
The Dunlop method (originally developed in the 1920’s) uses a gelling agent to set the latex and maintain the consistency of the foam structure, which is washed off at the end of production.

dunlop

The Talalay Method
The Talalay method (originally developed in the 1950’s) involves similar steps but flash freezes the molded foam in order to set the structure before vulcanizing it instead of gelling agents.

talalay

Continuous Production Method
Latex can also be made by using a continuous production process which, while technically a Dunlop method, does not use the traditional moulding process to shape the foam before vulcanizing it. Instead, by using a continuous moving conveyor they are able to more accurately control the mixture which ensures a more consistent product over the Dunlop method and used much less energy than the Talalay method.

latex-c

*Natural latex has a variety of benefits and since it’s made from natural rubber, it’s completely safe. Because it’s all natural, it’s hypoallergenic. It’s even safe for those with latex allergies. People with latex allergies are not allergic to the latex, but a protein found in rubber. Thanks to the washing process, the protein, which is water based, is completely removed.

“The Purity 100% Natural Latex Mattress W/Cashmere and Cotton Cover.”BedInABox.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://www.bedinabox.com/product/6533.html >.

Sleep Fact #9

Appearance of facial skin can be improved by simply sleeping on the back. Side and stomach sleeping causes individuals to press wrinkles into their faces from constant contact with a pillow. Also, sleeping on one’s back can help avoid morning puffiness from heat in the pillow.