May 17, 2010

The Benefits of Sleep and How to Get Them, Pt. 2

Last week, we looked at some of the benefits of a good night’s sleep. This week, we’re focusing on what you can do to ensure you get that quality sleep.

Sleep is a surprisingly complex activity; a number of factors can affect the quality of your sleep. Your age, physical health, lifestyle, and mattress are just some of those factors. Because of this, there is no single, surefire way to ensure a good night’s rest. But here are some things you can do to help improve your sleep, so you can reap its rewards. Always check with your doctor before making any lifestyle changes.

  • Only use your bed for sleeping and the other “s”-word. Like most people today, chances are you have a TV and maybe even a computer in your bedroom. While this isn’t the most ideal bedroom setup, it can still be conducive to sleep, so long as you’re not watching your favorite soaps and checking your e-mail from your bed. The bed should only be used for sleep and sex. Once you’re in bed, give yourself at least 15 minutes to fall asleep. If you’re not sleepy after 15 minutes, get out of bed until you are, but avoid stimulating activities like watching TV or reading an exciting book.

  • Sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Keep a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends. It’s tempting to stay up late or sleep in on the weekend, but just an hour change in your sleep schedule can disrupt your entire sleep cycle. Your body adjusts to your sleep schedule at a rate of one hour per day. So if you usually wake up at 6:30, but decide to wake up at 8:30 on the weekend, your body will need two full days to re-adjust. Is two days of bad sleep worth two hours of sleeping in?

  • Have a bedtime. The term “bedtime” shouldn’t just refer to the moment you get into bed and turn out the light. We all have things we do before settling in for the night. Doing those same things every night will let our bodies know that it’s time to start winding down. This nightly ritual should be performed about 30 minutes prior to going to bed. Whatever your ritual is, do it every night to let your body know it’s time for bed.

  • Exercise. Daily exercise provides innumerable health benefits, and that includes a good night’s sleep. Try to exercise every day, but not within three hours of your bedtime as this will make it harder to fall asleep.

  • Get some sun. Expose yourself to some sunlight every day. The sun’s light helps the body’s internal clock keep track of day and night. So the next time the sun’s out, step outside for a brisk morning walk, or at the very least, open the drapes to let some sunlight in.

  • Darken the bedroom. Darkness helps regulate the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you fall and stay asleep. Just like sunlight lets the body know it’s day time, darkness signals night. Don’t undermine your body’s internal clock by fooling it with artificial or unnecessary light. Close the drapes and turn off all the lights when you’re ready to sleep.

  • Change your mattress. One commonly overlooked factor in sleeping conditions is actually the most important: The mattress. Mattresses can be a fairly big investment, and as such, we expect them to last for years with minimal maintenance. While a good quality mattress is built to last about five to seven years, you may need to change yours before that time. As we age, our body’s needs change. Because of this, your mattress may feel comfortable, but it’s not actually giving you the support your body needs. This can lead to trouble sleeping at night, and pain when you wake up in the morning. To find out more about how your mattress can affect your sleep, check out El Dorado Furniture’s Mattress Buying Guide, where you’ll also learn about our exclusive Comfort Scale, which makes it easier than ever to find the perfect mattress.

Narratives are for entertainment purposes only and frequently employ literary point of view; the narratives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of El Dorado Furniture, its officers, or employees.


"Need a New Mattress?" The Better Sleep Council Website, (accessed May 17, 2010).

Stibich, Mark, Ph.D. "Top 10 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep," Website, October 30,2008, (accessed May 17, 2010).

May 10, 2010

The Benefits of Sleep and How to Get Them, Pt. 1

Question: How did you sleep last night?

This simple question is often overlooked when trying to pinpoint the cause of problems in our daily lives -- problems like feeling tired, back pain, trouble concentrating, unusually high stress, and depression. These are just some of the issues that can stem from lack of quality sleep.

Researchers have only recently begun to discover that sleep has innumerable health benefits; sleep deprivation, on the other hand, can seriously hinder the most basic body functions and impair cognitive abilities.

May is national Better Sleep Month, making it the perfect time to re-evaluate your sleeping habits. In this two-part series, we'll explore the many benefits sleep can provide, as well as several ways you can improve the quality of your sleep.

Before getting started, let's see how much sleep you should be getting. These numbers may change depending on your age, lifestyle, and overall health. Check with your doctor before making any changes to your sleep habits. On average, experts recommend the following sleep times:

Infants: 16 hours a day

Young Children: 10-14 hours a day

Teenagers: 9 hours a day

Adults and Older Adults: 7-9 hours a day

Pregnant Women: Several extra hours a day during the first trimester

Getting a good night's sleep every night can yield the following health benefits:

Heart Health – Heart attacks and strokes most commonly occur during the early morning hours. This may be explained by the way sleep interacts with the blood vessels. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Sufficient sleep can lead to a healthier heart.

Cancer Prevention – Researchers believe that melatonin, a hormone that induces and maintains sleep, can also protect against certain types of cancer and suppress the growth of tumors. Exposure to light reduces melatonin production, so be sure your room is dark when you sleep.

Youth Extension – Stress-related hormones can raise the level of inflammation in your body, creating more risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes. Inflammation is thought to be one of the causes of deterioration of your body as you age. Sleep can help decrease the level of inflammation in your body.

Body Reparation – Sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by stress, UV rays, and other harmful exposures. While you sleep, your cells produce more protein molecules, which form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair damage.

Memory Boost – While you sleep, your brain is busy processing your day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings, and memories. This is a process known as memory consolidation. Getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.

Alertness – A good night's sleep makes you feel energized and alert the next day. Being engaged and active not only feels great, it increases your chances for another good night's sleep. When you wake up feeling refreshed, use that energy to get out into the daylight, be active, and engage in your world. You'll sleep better the next night and increase your daily energy level.

Weight Loss – Researchers have found that people who sleep less than seven hours a night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is believed that the lack of sleep disrupts the balance of hormones that affect appetite. So if you're trying to lose weight and have hit a plateau, make sure you're getting a good night's sleep.

Be sure to check in next week when we look at several things you can do to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

Narratives are for entertainment purposes only and frequently employ literary point of view; the narratives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of El Dorado Furniture, its officers, or employees.


"Consumers Connect Quality Bedding to Quality Sleep and Quality of Life," The Better Sleep Council Website, (accessed May 10, 2010).

Stibich, Mark, Ph.D. "Getting Enough Sleep," Website, October 30,2008, (accessed May 10, 2010).

Stibich, Mark, Ph.D. "Top 10 Health Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep," Website, May 8, 2009, (accessed May 10, 2010).

May 3, 2010

Mysterious Furniture: The Cursed Chair of the Busby Stoop Inn

Settle in, dear readers. This week’s blog leaves behind the here and now, transcending far into the realms of the unknown and unexplained.

But wait — isn’t this a blog about furniture?

Indeed, it is! But who says furniture can’t be adventurous? Like most everything in this world, sometimes there is more to furniture than meets the eye…

And thus begins a new installment at the Official EDF Blog: Mysterious Furniture.

From time to time, we’ll regale you with creepy, unnerving tales of phantom futons, cursed credenzas, and possessed pedestals. So sit back and grab a flashlight if you must, as we delve into this week’s tale: The cursed chair of the Busby Stoop Inn.

Inside the Thirsk Museum, in North Yorkshire, England, is the infamous chair of Thomas Busby. The chair hangs on a wall, about five to six feet up, in order to prevent anyone from sitting on it. Legend holds that the chair is cursed, and anyone who dares sit in it will meet an untimely end soon after.

The story behind the chair dates back to the 18th century. In the summer of 1702, coin-forger Daniel Awety moved to the rural area of Kirby Wiske, where he bought a farm and renamed it ”Danotty Hall” (a play on the name Dan Awety). From there, he would continue his illicit coin-forging business.

Soon after, Awety partnered with his son-in-law, Thomas Busby. Busby, a reputed thief as well as a drunk and a bully, owned an inn just three miles from Danotty Hall.

One day, Busby returned to his inn and found Awety had sat in his favorite chair. A heated argument ensued and Busby kicked Awety out. Before leaving, Awety threatened to take his daughter back to Danotty Hall with him.

Later that night, Busby snuck into Danotty Hall, murdered Daniel Awety, and hid his body in a nearby wood. Awety’s sudden disappearance aroused suspicion and police organized a search. They eventually found Awety’s body and Thomas Busby was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging.

On the day of his execution, a drunken Busby had to be pulled and dragged from his favorite chair inside his inn. As he was being led to the gallows (located at a crossroads near the inn), he cursed the chair, vowing that anyone who dared sit in it would die a sudden and violent death, just like the one he was about to face. After Busby’s death, the inn was renamed the Busby Stoop Inn.

More than 300 years later, the Busby Stoop Inn still stands and the tale of Busby’s cursed chair continues to dare the foolhardy and fill men’s hearts with fear. When the inn was taken over, the new owners kept Busby’s chair out on display. Stories about the curse, as well as alleged sightings of Busby’s ghost wandering the second floor, drew many curious customers to the inn. Friends stopping by for a drink would dare one another to sit on the chair, though very few did.

But according to several reports and eyewitnesses, those who were brave enough to sit in Busby’s chair all met an untimely demise.

Consider the following:

  • Across the road from the inn lies an old airfield. It was home to four squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII. Their crews would regularly drink at the Busby Stoop Inn. It is said that those airmen who sat in the Busby chair never returned home after bombing sorties over Germany.

  • The inn’s previous owner recalls two airmen daring each other to sit in the chair. Both airmen sat in Busby’s Chair. Later that day, their car hit a tree and both men died.

  • A group of builders having lunch at the inn dared a young worker to sit in the chair. The brave young man obliged. After returning to their building site, the young man fell through a roof and died. After the young worker’s death, the inn’s landlord locked the chair away in the cellar.

  • In 1978, a delivery man sat in the Busby chair in the cellar. He told the landlord how comfortable the chair was and suggested such a fine piece of furniture should be in the bar and not locked away in a damp cellar. Hours later, the delivery man’s vehicle inexplicably veered off the road and crashed, killing him.

There are countless other stories about the chair’s victims, including a Royal Air Force pilot who was killed a day after sitting in the chair, a motorcyclist who died on his bike shortly after leaving the inn, a hitchhiker who was knocked down and killed two days after visiting the inn, and a local man in his late thirties who died of a massive heart attack the night after sitting in the chair.

Busby’s chair has since been moved out of harm’s way, at the innkeeper’s request. It is still one of the most popular pieces on display at the Thirsk Museum. Though it hangs on a wall several feet above the ground, many patrons still ask to sit in it, but it has never been taken down.

But the question still remains: Is there really a curse on Thomas Busby’s chair, or are people letting their imaginations get the best of them? More importantly, if you had the chance, would you sit in his chair?

Narratives are for entertainment purposes only and frequently employ literary point of view; the narratives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of El Dorado Furniture, its officers, or employees.