Friday, October 20, 2017

Your Pet Visiting You in Your Hospital Bed? Yay or Nay?

Who would have heard of a pet in your hospital bed a couple years ago? Yet it is increasingly becoming an option to be considered for quicker healing. Marty Becker wrote a book about the healing power of pets. San Francisco scientists are finding that the kids may be actually less likely to develop asthma in homes where pet dust exists. Researchers in Australia discovered that dog owners visit their doctors less. Minnesota researchers found that those who never had a cat were more likely to die from a heart attack by 40% than those who did.

Many owners consider their pets a part of the family and long-term separation has a hidden adverse effect on the healing process. Close physical contact is where healing is much more likely- in petting, speaking and interacting with their pet. These activities are found to lower blood pressure and release an increase of mood altering neurochemicals into the blood system that gives a sense of bonding, much like what happens when a mother nurses her baby, sending feelings of love, safety, and tranquility. According to one study, simply watching the TV show “Lassie” calmed nerves with a drop in chemicals found to be linked with stress.

Long term patients facing daily structured medical care respond positively to their pet brought for a visit. Pain, comfort levels and even moods have been impacted positively. More and more hospitals are leaning toward programs that involve pet visits. Patients are instructed to wash their hands after a visit and the bed sheets are changed, a small inconvenience in comparison with the trade-off in a patient's overall well-being.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Beds Are More Than Meets the Eye

Beds are everywhere. Although millions own at least one, very few fully understand the privilege they provide. Beds, like most things, have changed and improved throughout the course of history. So, what did our common, comfortable beds resemble before modern achievements shaped today’s culture? Truly, to appreciate what is offered today, (because there is always a lesson in history,) we must recognize it’s beginning. To believe that modern comforts have always existed is wrong. Providing an under-appreciated blessing, a bed is a perfect example of a privilege which took centuries to arise.

Although taken for granted today, beds were very rare and expensive assets in the past. In medieval times, the most common resting place was a pile of hay and perhaps a sheet. From the 13th century until recent history, more luxurious beds were made, but unfortunately, were only available to the noble and wealthy. These beds consisted of a wooden bed frame and a possibly lumpy mattress, which was supported by ropes fastened and tightened to the frame. Hardly affordable, these expensive pieces of furniture were topped with the best pillows, sheets, blankets and quilts, while being surrounded by exquisite canopies or curtains. These canopies were decorative as well as useful. Dropping from the ceiling or
climbing from the floor, bed bugs living in and around the bed proved a constant threat. These canopies warded them off. Despite their expense and usefulness, even these luxurious beds still had flaws. Mattresses and pillows were made from straw, cotton or feathers stuffed in a bag. Sadly, this caused scratchy or lumpy surfaces. These ancient beds resulted in the popular term “hit the hay.” While these beds were highly prized in the past, they were nothing compared to the improvements to come.

This design prevailed for centuries. Throughout history, very few aspects of the bed changed. Eventually, improvements developed with the idea of bedsprings. Although invented in the 1870’s, they weren’t manufactured and sold for many years. Providing wonderful, novel comfort, these springs removed the loathed lumps which had prevented a satisfying night’s sleep. Also invented in the 19th century, the metal bed frame proved inhospitable to bed bugs, while wood frames were weakened by them. The new bed frame would continue to support up to 10 layers of sheets, blankets, quilts and more at that time. Resulting from countless, uncomfortable nights, a flawed design was ultimately changed.

As the 20th century passed, the modern idea of beds was conceived and formed. Among the improvements in that era were bedsprings, which, although they were invented in the previous century, were introduced into popular use in the 1900s. Bedrooms also became more private, which was a trait they lacked before. Since servants had regularly aided in dressing and bathing, and because warmth was acquired in numbers for less luxurious living, bedrooms used to bustle with activity. Recently, new additions to the bed have appeared, such as bed-foam, comforters, bedspreads, and fascinating, multipurpose pillows. Beds are now widely available. Now serving individuals with much greater quality, a bed is a common asset in millions of homes.

Because of all they provide, beds should never be taken for granted. Their present state far surpasses that of the 13th century. Until the late 19th century little of what is known today existed. Unless the privilege we now have is recognized, it won’t be given the proper respect. Unfortunately, there are many things in this advanced and blessed era which never receive a second thought. Too often the simple pleasures of life are mindlessly disregarded and passed over. It's like they’ve always existed for everyone. This isn’t true. Being significantly more blessed than they realize, people must learn to give thanks. So be grateful for what is provided for you, because there is more there than meets the eye. 

By Shelly Livengood

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Does Melatonin Really Help You Sleep?

There are a lot of factors that determine how well we sleep in bed at night.  This has become a huge source of struggle for many of us.  

Melatonin is the sleep hormone that is your body's natural clock to tell your brain when to sleep and when to wake up. It is stimulated by darkness and reduced by light. As you get older, it decreases. Around 50 it drops around 50% and by 70 around 75%.

So if you crawl under the blankets and find you are having trouble sleeping at night or wake up in the middle of the night, the a popular solution would be to take melatonin as a supplement. How much do you take? Common sense would tell you that children should be given a much lower dose than say, a 70 year old. And taking too much can result in unwanted side effects.

For an adult, it is suggested to start out on a low dosage, ie .03 mg at bedtime and work up if needed. If you take too much, it could cause morning drowsiness, headaches, more restless sleep than before or have no effect at all.  

Studies have been done on the effects of melatonin supplements on jet lag symptoms, children with sleep disorders, blind people, Alzheimer's disease, inflamation, chronic fatigue syndrom, asthma, cancer and many other diseases.  For each, doses vary and and some studies have come to inconclusive results in the end.  More information on these studies are found at

The final determination is that every person is different, and each one has to find their own slot that works for them.  Melatonin may help to sleep when you pull the sheets back and climb into bed at night.  But the cause of sleeplessness is what really needs to be addressed.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

How Deep Does Your Fitted Sheet Pocket Need To Be?

While the standard size mattresses have been 7 inches deep, in the last several years demand has led to the production of thicker mattresses, some even as thick as 24 inches. A mattress with a depth of more than the standard 7 inches can be referred to as a pillow top mattress and you will want a fitted sheet with a deep pocket.  You can also purchase mattress pads that will increase the depth of the mattress.

Thicker mattresses do not mean they are a higher quality mattresses as some would assume. High quality depends on what is on the inside. The linen industry has upgraded production to meet the demand of the deeper mattresses. But mattresses deeper than 20 inches may require custom made sheets.

Before you shop for fitted sheets for your mattress, measure the actual depth overall of your mattress not just at the edge where the cord is. You will want to get down and look across the top of the mattress from the edge when you measure to get the accurate depth. Your fitted sheet should have a pocket of somewhere around 3 inches deeper, enough to fit under the mattress so that it doesn't work out during the nighttime.  If the pocket on your fitted sheet is deeper than your mattress requires, it shouldn't be a problem. Fitted sheets with elastic around the entire sheet will pull in snugly even if the pocket is deeper than it needs to be.

Typical mattress sizes as listed by Consumer Reports are:
  • Twin or single: 38” wide x 75” long
  • Twin Extra Long (TXL): 39” wide x 80” long
  • Full or double: 53” wide x 74” long
  • Queen: 60” wide x 80” long
  • King: 76” wide x 80” long
  • California King: 72” wide x 84” long
  • Crib: 27” wide x 52” long

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Quaint Bed & Breakfast in Newport, RI

Admiral Weaver Bed and Breakfast
In touring a couple mansions in Newport, Rhode Island we met up with a quaint bed and breakfast and slept in the room where Admiral Weaver slept when he returned from his voyages.  It was a home he built for his daughter.

This town is so old and in it is the oldest tavern in the States built in the 1600's, still standing.  The streets are narrow and the shops and houses are just right there.  But that's part of the nostalgia.  So much history there, right on the ocean.

The Breakers rear view facing the ocean
We toured the Breakers mansion, a summer "cottage" built by Cornelius Vanderbuilt II, the railroad tycoon; the Elms built by Edward Julius Berwinda, a coal tycoon, as a summer "cottage" and the Marble House - another - with lots of marble inside and out, built by Mr. and Mrs. William K Vanderbilt.

The Elms dining room
There are 13 mansions altogether available to tour and believe it or not, some have been torn down years ago because they were "old fashioned and outdated".  The architecture and detail are extravagant and real treasures, with sculptures, tapestry and gold overlays.

While these are truly beautiful, I don't want one.  You could get lost in these, and the upkeep - can't imagine the work involved in coordinating all that and keeping track of all the staff.

We want to go back to Newport again when we have much more time.  There is so much to see. Ships go in and out and there are sailboats.  We'll tour more of the mansions.  We'll imagine the life we
The Marble House entrance
don't want to live - airs and pretenses, keeping up with the neighbors - or outdoing them.  I'm sure they weren't all like that.  But anyway I like my life - simple and real.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

Have you ever been frustrated trying to get your fitted sheet to lay flat or even have a resemblance of a
folded sheet? Here is a video to help you fold it quick and easy and your sheet will fit well inside your cabinet when you're done.  You can also tie a ribbon around your entire sheet set to easily pull out without having to search for matching items.  Pretty, tidy and organized.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

9 Necessities for Your Car Include a Blanket and a Travel Pillow

Is your vehicle stocked with the necessities? Are you prepared?

What happens if you have a flat tire?

What happens if you run out of gas?

Or are stranded at night?

What if you are the first on the scene of an accident?

Here is a list of necessities to keep in your car so you are never left unprepared:

1. Blanke

2. Travel pillow

3. Portable tire inflater

4. Set of screwdrivers

5. First aid kit

6. Tissues

7. Small note pad and pencil

8. Vehicle manual

9.  Small flashlight

None of these take up much room and you will be glad you have them when something unforeseen happens. Plan ahead. Always expect the best but be prepared for the worst.