The Stars of Sleep

The Stars of Natural Sleep Remedies
It happens to us all. Sometimes there are nights where it seems impossible to either fall asleep AND stay asleep. We can will ourselves all we want, but when it comes down to it, the sleep process involves a lot more than willpower.
There are actually four different chemicals that aid in proper sleep. The first, tryptophan, is what is needed to start the process of sleep. Tryptophan is the only one of the four chemicals not produced naturally by the body. This is one chemical that you must consume. Once it’s consumed, it gets converted into 5-HTP, which then converts into serotonin. The serotonin then converts into melatonin. It’s the melatonin that tells our body when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake. If you don’t get enough tryptophan to start your sleep process, your body will be lacking in the other three essential sleep chemicals.
If you regularly have trouble sleeping, make sure that you are consuming foods that contain tryptophan. These include: cheese, chicken, eggs, fish, milk, nuts, oats, peanut butter, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy, and turkey.
Once you know that you are eating foods that give your body the tryptophan it needs to start you on your sleep journey, you can look further into how to naturally increase your sleep time and quality. Many answers can be found in plants and minerals.
Stars
The Two Stars of Sleep Remedies 
These two seem to be the most powerful of natural remedies. In fact, the first, tart cherry juice, has been found to provide better sleep than Valerian Root, a commonly prescribed natural sleep aid. 
Tart Cherry Juice – Two studies, one performed in 2009 and one in 2011, show that drinking tart cherry juice every day increased melatonin levels and provided participants in the study with more sleep time and better sleep efficiency. Why does it work? Cherries help to increase the availability of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that coverts to serotonin, which then coverts to melatonin. Cherries are also a source of naturally occurring melatonin. Concentrated tart cherry juice is the best as it is a much smaller serving size with a lot less sugar than the not from concentrate. This ‘remedy’ is particularly helpful for staying asleep through the night.
Magnesium – Magnesium plays a huge roll in calming the nervous system, thus getting the body ready for sleep. Surprisingly, many people are deficient in this mineral. If you are experiencing muscle spasms or heart palpitations, these could both be signs that you need more magnesium in your diet. Magnesium can be found in foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, fish, dark chocolate, avocados and bananas. Though important to ingest through foods, you can also get it through soaking in an Epsom salt bath. In this way you are absorbing the mineral into your skin. Make sure to follow the dosage directions that come with the salts.
Two Herbal Remedies for Sleep
These two provide great sleep on a lesser scale of potency than the two aforementioned remedies. While the cherry juice and magnesium can both be used with children, these two herbals/oils can be used on very young kids and babies as well.  
Chamomile – Chamomile contains properties that act as a mild sedative and helps to aid in calming. The properties of the plant can be used in two ways to induce sleep. It can be made into a tea, or the essential oil can be used on the bottom of the feet or diffused in the air. Chamomile is great for inducing sleep.
Lavender – For sleep purposes, lavender is best used as an essential oil as it is the inhalation of it that helps to reduce stress and to provide a calming and sedative effect. It can be diffused or put directly on the soles of the feet to be absorbed into the skin.
It’s important to note that a great night’s sleep starts with your sleep environment and the routine you have for getting to sleep. Please see “Bed-time Tips for Your Child” for more information on this because the same tips that apply to children also apply to adults!
Resources
Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. NCBI. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia: A Pilot Study. Journal of Medicinal Food. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133468/
Lavender, University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender

DIY Mattress Freshening

At least one third of our lives is spent sleeping on a mattress. Add in time spent reading, watching television, cuddling, nursing, and playing on one and the amount of time that we spend on our mattresses increases significantly.

If you think about the activities that take place in the bed, be it a bed you sleep alone in or one that you share with another adult and/or children, you will see how a mattress needs to be refreshed every now and then.

Many mattress are found to contain sweat, blood, urine, and other bodily fluids, along with dirt and dust. Some without a good, natural moisture barrier also contain mold and mildew.

Gross to think about? Absolutely. The good news is that it’s easy to freshen a mattress, even though it’s not something many of us think to doYOU SAID THERE'S

Here’s How You Can Freshen Your Mattress

1. Start with washing all of the bedding including the mattress protector. In order to insure that any nasty germs are killed off, add about 10 drops of tea tree oil to your laundry detergent. Tea tree has been proven to kill off everything from the flu virus to MRSA!

2. Vacuum the mattress in every crease and crevice with the upholstery attachment. This will get rid of any dead skin cells, dust and other debris that have made their way there.

3. Mix some baking soda with 10 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of lavender oil. You can use a mason jar, shaking the mixture to combine the oils with the baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture over the bed and let it sit for a few hours. The baking soda will neutralize and odors and absorb any moisture. The oils will help to kill any germs on the surface of the mattress.

4. Vacuum up the baking soda once again using the upholstery attachment.

5. Spot clean any stains. The stains on mattresses are usually those of body fluid, and if you are finding them after freshening your mattress for the first time, then they have most likely been there for a while. You may not be able to fully remove them at this point, but here are some recipes to try. Please note that you do not want to get a lot of fluid on your mattress, so use as little as possible when cleaning it.

For blood: Make a paste of 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1 tbsp liquid dish soap and 1 tbsp of salt. Rub it in, let it sit and then scrape it off.

For urine and sweat: Mix 3 tbsp baking soda into 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide with 2 small drops of dish soap. Mix until the baking soda is dissolved and dab this on the spot.

For vomit: Make a paste using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Set it on the stain, let it sit and then scrape it off.

If you needed to do any spot treatments, wait until any damp spots on the mattress are dry before putting any bedding back on.
When you are sure that your mattress is dry from any spot cleaning, put all of the bedding back on and relax knowing that you will sleep ‘fresh’ tonight!

 

 

 

Sweet Sleep

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Taking the Big Kid Bed Plunge – Strategies to get a Child to Move into a Big Kid Bed

While there is no ‘right’ age for moving your child into his or her own big kid bed, there does come a point where it’s simply necessary for one reason or another. The appropriate time is different for each family, depending on their sleeping arrangements and what’s comfortable for the family and the child.
Timing is Everything. Moving into a big kid bed is a big transition for a young child. While exciting, it can also be scary and overwhelming. The move has to happen when everything else in the child’s life is consistent. Do not do it if the child is experiencing another major change at the same time. If he/she is potty training, weaning from nursing or a bottle, or starting school or daycare, wait until the child is comfortable with that transition first. If the move to the bed is coming because a new baby is expected, do the move months before the baby comes.
 How to make the-2
Continue with your bedtime routine. If you don’t have a routine, now is the time to set one up. For ideas on what this routine should include, you can see Bed-Time Tips for your Child.
Let your child be involved in the process. When a child is involved, it gives him ownership over the situation and allows him to feel that he is part of the decision. This can mean letting him pick out the bed, the comforter or a pillow cover and perhaps a stuffed animal to keep on the bed to snuggle with.
Talk about it. Start the big kid bed conversation a couple of weeks before the actual move. Start talking about other family members or friends who sleep in big kid beds. Get some children books, such as Your Own Big Bed and A Bed of Your Own to read together.
Expect that it will take some time. Chances are that your child won’t just go into his new bed and sleep through the night right away and that’s okay. Give him positive encouragement just for staying in it however long he does, even if it’s only a minute. Then remind the child he has to stay in his own bed. It make take a week or two before he/she is comfortable enough to stay put.
Stay with your child. You want your child to feel safe. The first few nights, get in bed and cuddle until he/she falls asleep. Then gently walk away once the child is asleep. If he/she wakes, go back in and cuddle. After a few days, if you decide that cuddling is not to be part of the bedtime routine, you can stay by the door to reassure your child you are still there, spending less time at the door each night.

Why change the Pure Echo?

Our main focus at My Green Mattress is not only to provide a healthy chemical-free mattress, but to also make it as comfortable as possible. Last year we upgraded our inner-spring unit to a posturized coil system to contour to the body better. This along with our ticking fabric made a bit firmer mattress. Well, with some customer concerns and product research, we felt it was time for a change! 

After numerous tests working with our fabric distributor and adjusting our quilting pattern design, we managed to gain an ideal soft sleep surface while maintaining the proper support underneath. And yes, our beds still are made with organic cotton and natural wool. Which means no flame retardant chemicals are needed.

Meg-2
Redesigned Pure Echo Mattress Jan. 2016

The model beds in our local showroom can testify that our customers are beyond happy as we sold out of our “sample” run and have pre-orders waiting to be shipped. (hang tight, they are coming soon)

We are so excited here and know you will enjoy a new Pure Echo in your household! 

(BTW, look for our updated website to launch soon)

 

 

 

 

Shop “Small” with My Green Mattress!

Did you know that My Green Mattress, a division of Quality Sleep Shop, is a small, independently owned business in LaGrange, IL?  Quality Sleep Shop is owned by Tim and Cindy Masters who are both Illinois natives and are busy parents to 5 young children. The company has 11 dedicated employees, 6 of which, including Tim, are full time.  Quality Sleep Shop opened its doors in 1969 with the My Green Mattress division starting in 2006.  Tim started working at Quality Sleep Shop shortly after High School and immediately fell in love with making mattresses. After working at Quality Sleep Shop for 5 years, Tim purchased the business from its original owner, Mr. Brixie.

What this means is that with every My Green Mattress product purchased, you are not only buying a high-quality, natural, handcrafted mattress; you are supporting an independently owned, small American business!   Those who work at My Green Mattress take great pride in their work as quality tradespeople making every single bed in LaGrange, IL with a majority of USA sourced components.

Instead of buying an imported bed or mass-produced mattress from a larger corporation, take into consideration the possibility of purchasing a handcrafted, made-to-order mattress from My Green Mattress.  You can sleep well on your new natural mattress knowing that your dollars will stay in the USA and will directly support American jobs!

 

Our New Arrival!!

Introducing our NEW ARRIVAL at My Green Mattress

Our newest product is now available for you to purchase just in time for YOUR new arrival! We are very excited to offer the My Green Crib mattress made with organic cotton and natural wool for just $249 with free shipping. It’s important to know that not all crib mattresses are made the same, and that choosing a crib mattress warrants careful consideration.

You know that new babies need love, attention, nourishment, and up to 18 hours of sleep each day to grow up healthy. We want to keep your baby safe and as close to nature as possible when he is sleeping all those hours (fingers crossed). Many conventional mattresses are made with dangerous flame retardant chemicals and petroleum based foams that off~gas and can cause sleep disturbances, allergies, and illness. We know you want something better!

Like us, you want to offer your little one the most non-toxic and natural products you possibly can. At My Green Mattress, we now offer our customers a crib mattress of the highest quality, handcrafted with an organic cotton and natural wool quilted cover. The wool acts as a natural flame retardant meaning your baby won’t be exposed to any dangerous flame retardant chemicals. We use a heavy batting of organic cotton to provide your baby comfort and a natural night’s sleep. The mattress contains a firm 150 coil innerspring unit with a supportive edge. (Recommended by the Consumers Safety Commision – http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/129289/202.pdf)  And, we’ve made the mattress two-sided for longer wear and the ability to flip it in case of an accident or spill. All of our My Green Mattresses are proudly handcrafted in the USA.

Each crib mattress is made to order and shipped to your doorstep via Fed Ex within 7 days. We’re very excited about our new arrival and we hope you are too!

Perfect for your baby, the My Green Crib Mattress:

  • is handcrafted using organic cotton and premium wool
  • contains no chemical flame retardants
  • uses non-synthetic fabrics
  • latex free
  • free of polyurethane foams
  • passes all open flame testing required by law
  • is certified to be free of lead by UL Laboratories
  • Dimensions: 27.5″ width x 52.5″ length x 6″ height
  • Proudly Made in the USA

 

Crib USA

 

 

Tradition, Craftsmanship and the Best US Sourced Materials: Our Story

TIM MAKING MATTRESS

It seemed timely to us, with the current conditions in our job market and many people struggling to find work in what were once great manufacturing areas of the county, to write our story and speak to the “why’s” of what we do at My Green Mattress.  Everyone is familiar with the trends in manufacturing over the last 20-30 years that have deployed many manufacturing and production jobs and businesses overseas.  At My Green Mattress, we have not only extended a legacy of an outstanding local business in Illinois, but have helped suppliers nationwide by way of our purchasing practices and commitment to finding the finest organic and natural inputs, sourced almost entirely here in the US.  The story begins with Tim Masters, founder of My Green Mattress.

Tim attended Township High School in La Grange, Illinois, and shortly after, took a mattress crafting apprenticeship under the tutelage of Mr. Brixie, owner of Quality Sleep Shop, a local mattress manufacturer that began business in 1969.  Tim was honored to work with Mr. Brixie, who to him was a businessman of exemplary order; he was honest, and a true “stand-up guy,” in Tim’s own words.  The art of making mattresses spoke to Tim from the beginning, he loved that he could create something tangible, be innovative and work with his hands.  He also enjoyed fixing the machines in the shop and ensuring the entire manufacturing process ran smoothly.  

After five years of honing his craft, Tim decided that he wanted to open a mattress factory of his own.  When he approached Mr. Brixie with the idea, Mr. Brixie happily sold him Quality Sleep Shop, saying he could not continue the business without Tim.  And so, Tim carried on the traditions in craftsmanship and an heirloom local business, maintaining local jobs and even created more.  My Green Mattress employs 11 people, some who have been with the Company for 11 years.

Together, Tim and his workers carefully create each mattress by hand, each made to order.  To make the perfect mattress, they maintain time honored techniques, taught to Tim by Mr. Brixie.  As a full cut and sew factory, they hand quilt the fabrics with a multi-needle quilter.  Cotton batting, natural latex and wool are all carefully layered over an individually wrapped innerspring coil system, covered, then closed by a tape edge machine.  The quality of all materials and their craftsmanship are controlled from top to bottom of the mattress.

The result?  The perfect mattress.  Tim has taken great care in discerningly selecting all of his material inputs, and our customers can rest easy knowing that almost all of these materials were sourced right here in the US.  Our steel components for the innerspring systems and box springs are from Hickory, North Carolina, our fabric also hails from the South, cotton from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and foam is sourced in Omaha, Nebraska.  US based companies, large or small, depend on companies like My Green Mattress, to maintain and grow prosperity.  Tim and his family are very proud to offer a product made with the finest US sourced organic and natural inputs, made in their hometown of La Grange, Illinois.

It has now been 25 years since Tim started making mattresses, and his dedication to creating the perfect mattress is still evident as he continues to work side by side with his employees every day, making mattresses and speaking to his customers to ensure they each receive the perfect bed.

At My Green Mattress, the product isn’t just a mattress that feels good, we truly produce good feelings.  Moreover, to offer someone a perfect night’s sleep, well, what could be better than that?

Pea Season, Easter… SALAD!!!

iStock_Sweet Peas

(photo credit: bonnieplants.com)

It’s Spring and things are green, literally.  This is a green blog, green things are growing, Easter is almost upon us.  What better way to celebrate all things healthy and green than with a recipe showcasing fresh peas, which are at the peak of their season.

We like peas.  Peas are green, peas are good for you and peas are tasty.  Peas are packed with anti-cancer phytonutrients that also provide key anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.  Peas have a low glycemic index coupled with a high fiber and protein content which, combined with their phytonutrients, makes the benefits of eating peas far-reaching.  Peas are also beneficial to the soil in which they are grown.  They are considered a “nitrogen fixing” crop, taking in nitrogen from the air and with the help of bacteria in the soil, converting it into more usable forms, thus increasing essential nitrogen levels in the soil and eliminating the need for fertilizers.  Now, back to the “peas are tasty” part.

This fresh pea salad showcases them in their freshest form, with lemon brightening up the flavor and heirloom carrots adding a pop of color.  I’ve set forth this recipe in a less structured manner, so that you can adjust it to whatever number guests you have.  As it is currently, the recipe will serve 2 people.

For this recipe, you’ll need the following:

A handful of pea tendrils (or pea shoots) if you can get them.  If you’re looking, don’t go to Whole Foods in El Segundo, they’re not there.
1 lb fresh, organic garden peas in the pod
2 organic heirloom carrots (grated)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 lemon
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 springs of mint, (about 10 leaves), julienned
salt
pepper

Directions:

Remove the peas from their pods, rinse and set aside.  Rinse and julienne mint leaves.  Rinse and grate carrots.

Make vinaigrette – zest the lemon (be careful to only scrape off the top layer, the white part of the rind is very sour), mix the zest with juice of 1/2 the lemon, salt and pepper to taste.  Emulsify with olive oil.

Mix the peas, (pea shoots if you’ve got ‘em), carrots, mint and feta cheese in a bowl, dress with vinaigrette and serve.

FullSizeRender

Not only is this fresh pea salad incredibly tasty, but it will leave you energized and better looking.  (Just kidding about the better looking thing, you’re perfect as you are.)  If you eat meat, this will be a refreshing compliment to your Easter rack of lamb.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Eco-Friendly Easter Eggs

We now have only 2 days to prepare for the annual celebration of egg hiding and discovery that we call Easter.  For those of us who would like to try something different and leave behind the fizzy Alka-Seltzer-on-steroids dye tablets, I have just the thing for you.  From the folks at DIY-Enthusiasts, I found several eco-conscious egg decorating ideas that have brilliant results.

Making Egg Dye from Plants, Fruits and Herbs

natural dye eggs

(Photo Credit: kitchn.com)

Making your own natural egg dye is a great way to teach children about green living, and the results are just as fab, if not more so, than the store-bought alternative.  The recipe to make dye is essentially 1 cup of each particular veggie or fruit per 1 cup water.  For herbs (say for example, turmeric) you’ll only need a few tablespoons of the ground herb.  You can also use tea bags to make your dye, in which case you’ll only need 1 bag per 1 cup of water.  Boil the dye material in the water for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is a few shades darker than your intended final color, strain the solids and then chill the dye.  Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to each cup of strained dye liquid after chilled and you’re ready to go!

Here are some ideas for colors and what to use.  Please note that the color listed is the color you’ll get if you’re using white eggs.  Brown eggs will result in a different color!

Blue: Purple Cabbage

Gray: Dried Hibiscus Flowers

Pink: Shredded Beets

Mustard Yellow: Ground Tumeric

Lavender: Red Onion Skin or Grape Juice or Red Zinger Tea 

Orange: Yellow Onion Skin

Brown: Coffee

Rich Yellow: Carrot

Pale Green: Spinach

Various Shades: Bags of Chamomile or Green Tea

Decorating with Seeds, Cereal and Pasta

WTF Easter Eggs

(Photo credit: DIY-enthusiast.com)

This is an advanced move, no seriously, it’s difficult.  To start, you use raw eggs, but blow the egg yolk and whites out so it’s an empty egg shell.  (This is accomplished by poking a small hole in each end of the egg and blowing out the insides.)  Totally easy, right?  I remember trying this when I was 10, it didn’t go well.  Just be prepared for a certain level of…frustration.  That being said, the end result is spectacular, I mean, just look at that photo!  If you have the patience of a saint, some experience with mosaic tile laying, a full set of surgical tools and 2 assistants, you can create works of art that will rival the ones in the photo.  

I decided that I should give this egg decorating method another try.  It’s been 28 years since my last attempt to disembowel a raw egg and decorate it, and I figure with this much life experience it’ll be “in the bag” this time around.  Here goes!

Because this is an eco-friendly DIY project, I selected my seeds and beans from the bulk section at Whole Foods, because when you buy in bulk you reduce your carbon footprint.  I chose “Lundberg Family Farm” Organic Olde World Pilaf, baby lima beans, and sprouted mung beans.  I also picked up some chocolate covered chia seeds to give my egg that healthy but “fun” design element.  Note: don’t use chocolate covered anything in this project, the chocolate melts.  Also, don’t use sprouted mung beans, their skin falls off, it’s no good.

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Removing the innards of the egg was less tricky than I remembered.  I took two thumbtacks, poked holes in each end of the egg, one larger than the other.  Here’s the important part: you must stab the inside of the egg with a chopstick to break up the yolk, otherwise it will NOT come out.  After “scrambling” the inside of the egg, blow into the smaller hole and the insides will come out of the other one.  This process is not for the faint of heart.

Decorating the egg.  If you use Elmer’s glue, you have to glue one side at a time, allowing the first side to dry completely before attacking the second side.  The egg decorating process will then take at least a day.  If you use Krazy Glue or a hot glue gun, you will achieve a quicker and higher success rate, but the toxicity level of your faux fabergé egg will be increased.  I elected to use Krazy Glue, in the interest of saving time.  I also attempted to create an egg with Elmer’s and sadly I don’t recommend it; the decorations oozed all over and I was unable to achieve any sort of “design.”

That aside, I think my egg turned out OK!  This is the “good” egg. 😉

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I hope you enjoy trying some of these eco-friendly egg decorating techniques.  I can honestly say I had a great deal of fun preparing mine! 

Here’s a link to the full article on DIY-Enthusiasts: Eco-Friendly Easter Eggs