Thursday, February 11, 2016

Regular Sleep Can Improve Your Mental Health

Everyone has woken up groggy, in fact, we've all done it a number of times. There's no denying that on these days, you feel less than prepared to take on the world. Rather than refreshed and energized after waking, you feel tired, cranky, and essentially like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Sometimes, this is just an unfortunate turn of events. For whatever reason, you weren't able to sleep soundly that night, and sometimes there's nothing that can be done. 

Other times, however, you set yourself up for failure. By going to bed too late (or waking up too early), not letting your mind calm down, or not sticking to a routine, you could actually be causing un-restful sleep through your habits. Because, without enough deep, productive sleep, your body just can't function like it should. Your brain isn't as quick, causing you to be slower with reactions, speech, and even body functions. In fact, reduced sleep, over time, can cause brain damage, memory loss, and have an effect on everyday mood. Just like we need sleep after a long day, the brain needs time to rest and recharge itself. 

Think of it like a battery. It's best to charge a phone, computer, etc. on a routine – once it's low, charge it completely. Failing to do so, or charging a little here and there can lower the battery's quality. Other times, a battery can be just fine – they, like the brain, are prone to different factors. 

However, by keeping a regular charge, or sleeping on a schedule, you can do your best to combat these negative side effects. Talk with your doctor or set a regular routine in order to give the brain, and the rest of the body, as much rest as possible.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What is the Best CPAP Pillow?

What is it that truly qualifies something as the "best"? Is it style? Function? Comfort? A combination of all of the above? Opinions on what contributes to best status will certainly vary from person to person. But in the case of the CPAP pillow – or even a slew of them – it can be argued that the best pillow is the one who sets out to do its specialized function. In this case: to help CPAP machine users get a better night's rest, and to not feel bogged down by their machine. 

Through years of CPAP machine usage, a number of sleeping problems, or rather discomforts, have come to light. Pillows that get in the way of the mask, even ones that push it back into one's face. Those that are too heavy, or don't allow for sufficient movement throughout the night (or if traveling). As well as pillows that can actually hinder the air tube, the very bones behind the CPAP machine itself. 

That's also why Contour Living worked so hard to create options that address all of the above, and more. 

Choose from our various CPAP pillows to find the best model for your comfort needs. However, each version comes with a few key features. They can cradle and support the head and neck, they have special cutouts to accommodate the CPAP mask and other equipment, like tubes, and they're made to sleep on either side. Who wants to worry about choosing their sleeping position when ordering a pillow? These CPAP accessories allow you to adjust and move as needed, without hindering your treatment. 

With a specialized pillow, those suffering from sleep apnea can get better use out of their CPAP therapy options. Head to Contour Living's CPAP pillow page to learn more, or start a chat with one of representatives for answers to your personalized questions. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

De-stress and Loosen Your Muscles

Whether you are aware of your stress level at any given time, it can greatly affect your personal health. Your mood, your comfort level, how well you're able to interact with others – it's all affected by the amount of stress (or lack thereof) you're dealing with. 

Why Stress Matters

When you aren't able to relax, when your mind is racing and constantly worried about something, your body follows suit. Your shoulders clench in, muscles become tense, you're tight and ready to twinge a body part any time you move too quickly. Being stressed comes with the inability to relax – that's part of the definition. When your mind isn't able to calm itself, neither is anything else; you will carry that tension for as long as you're worked up. 

However, relaxing is an important part of creating rest. Even if you're unable to sleep, you can do the body plenty of good by sitting and letting your muscles breathe. A small catnap or "resting your eyes" can provide similar results. It's a short amount of time where the body lays still, isn't exerting energy, and can catch up on its necessary functions. 

When this can't be done all on your own, it's a good idea to locate the source of your stress and do your best to eliminate it. Problem solve or move the most stressful of daily tasks off of your plate (as realistically as possible). Then look toward relaxation techniques like soothing scents, massage, exercise, or talk to a loved one about what has you so worked up all the time. Hopefully, by approaching your stress from various areas you can work to eliminate as much of it as possible. And, in the process, allow your body some much needed muscle relaxation and some hard-earned rest.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Can a Wedge Help Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is painful. It's uncomfortable, it makes it difficult to sleep. And at its absolute worst, no matter what you eat or when you eat it, you can feel the repercussions. 

How you sleep, however, can work to combat these same side effects each and every night; one of the best ways – you guessed it – is by sleeping on a wedge. Whether it's a specialized pillow (like these), or pillows that are propped up and made into their own makeshift wedge, sleeping on an incline allows you to use gravity in your favor. 

Acid reflux is caused by stomach contents (along with acid) that creeps back into the esophagus. This is most common when eating heavy or spicy foods, as they require more time and effort from the stomach to break down and digest. This slightly more vigorous process can mean acid that's felt higher into the chest and resulting in pain. 

One of the best natural methods of combatting the acid reflux process is with gravity. Giving acid a steeper slope to climb before it's felt up into the chest will help naturally keep it down in the stomach. 

A wedge also provides a comfortable sleeping surface so you can rest soundly while combatting the pains of acid reflux. (In contrast to home remedies that require uncomfortable positions or staying completely upright.) This can allow for ample amounts of sleep that are uninterrupted by pain, and all while receiving quality support. 

Can a wedge help with acid reflux? Absolutely, and with an incredibly easy fix. If you're a regular sufferer (or even an occasional sufferer), consider this simple and effective healing method. Talk to your doctor to learn more, or ask a Contour Living representative about your wedge pillow options today. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Should You Crack Your Own Neck?

Bone popping is a common habit. People will press in their knuckles, crane their back, and even pull on their own necks in order to feel that oh-so-satisfying cracking sound. Not to mention the feeling of relief that comes with it, releasing pent-up joint pressure, and providing immediate endorphins that are said to reduce pains and increase relaxation. It's also why so many are popping their own joints. 

But it is a practice that's safe?

Depends where you're popping. There's a reason physical therapists and chiropractors go to school for years – they learn about how the body is put together, how it works, and where bones should sit. Then with this training in tow, they set out to help others stay aligned. One of the most dangerous areas is the neck, where the spine is narrowed, and where a wrong move can seriously injure a patient, or send aches and pains down into their back. Possibly even worse.

Should we be attempting to do the same on our own? Probably not. It's one thing when joints give and pop when prompted only by your movements. But it's another to pull and press until a sound is heard. In fact, it's actually a dangerous way to strain muscles in a very sensitive area. 

Instead, it's best to stick with a professional and let them put your bones where they need to be. Steps like sleeping on an alignment pillow, regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help with neck health. And better yet, each of these can be done on your own. When paired, they can help eliminate the need to "crack" your neck all on their own. Or, visit your medical professional to keep everything in check, then ask their advice for making their handy work last. 

These simple steps, when combined, can help increase neck and spine health for the long-term, and eliminate pains.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Can a Knee Pillow Help Back Pain?

For years folks have been talking about using knee pillows to help with all types of back issues. That, even though the support isn't directly located on the painful area (the lower back), a pillow can bring on all levels of relief. The reasoning behind this claim, however, is solid, no matter how unrelated the actual treatment might sound. Here's why:

When we experience lower back pain, it's often caused by a secondary issue – a part of the body that's acting up and putting strain elsewhere. Likely hips, knees, etc. that's moving pressure up into the back. Nerves can be touchy and send pain signals, or sciatic areas can be making up for other areas that are failing to do their intended job. But no matter the cause, lower backs are one of the most common areas to experience pain. It's a center hub for functions, and takes a brunt of our daily tasks, even when that means we're sleeping.

However, by providing better alignment and reducing those same pressure points, back pain can be eliminated all on its own. Like with a knee pillow that's designed to keep the spine steady, reduce gravity on the hips, and promote blood and oxygen circulation. The pillow can also keep pressure from setting in on the lower back, which can cause pain round-the-clock, not just while lying down. 

Whether or not your knees and their alignment are the culprit, using a knee pillow will allow you to obtain better spine health through virtually any sleeping position. In fact, regular back pain patients often feel immediate relief when sleeping with this type of pillow. 

To learn more about how a knee pillow can help eliminate back pains, or to start shopping today, head to Contour Living's product page

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Dangers of Too-Dry Air

In the summer, humidity is one of our biggest complaints. It's hot, it's sticky, it makes the temperature feel 10+ degrees warmer than it actually is. Then come winter, we have the absolute opposite problem: the air is dry as can be. It makes it colder, our skin flaky and unprotected, and when it's cold enough, it downright hurts to breathe. Of course, on either end there is an easy fix for the inside of your home. And in winter that means running a humidifier or boiling a pot of water on the stove – keep one simmering slowly all day long for maximum effects. (That is, when you're close enough to keep an eye out.)

But is adding humidity really necessary? What exactly are the dangers of a house that's too dry? And why do we need a humidifier – homemade or otherwise – anyway?

When Your Home is Too Dry:

There's an abundance of static electricity. This makes sweaters and long hair annoying, whether on a human or your fur-baby rolling on the carpet. However, it can also mean giving out shocks every time you touch a light switch or anything metal. Small ones won't do much harm, but the bigger the shock, the harsher it's felt. (And more dangerous they can become.) 

Other symptoms play their toll directly on the body, like dry and itchy skin, watery or burning eyes, sinuses and throats that are irritated or in pain, which in turn, can make you more susceptible to germs and colds. Flu viruses can also live longer in low humidity, increasing your chance at being exposed. Finally, the nose can feel congested simply from being too dry. All of these symptoms can make you achy and feeling sick all on their own, whether or not you're actually sick. 

To avoid some serious health side effects, consider running your humidifier all winter long, or whenever moisture levels are low. It's an easy, affordable, and natural way to help feel your best, even through the height of cold season. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Foam or Fiber? Which is Better?

What type of pillow should you buy? Foam or fiber? Fiber or foam? It's the age-old question that seems to come up time and again. Or rather, it's one that comes up each time you browse or consider getting a new pillow. Some models are made from memory foams, others come from fiber blends. Each of which come with a different shape and feel, varied comfort levels, as well as specialties. But which offers which? And what's the difference between the pillows and their make-ups?

Foam Pillows

Each foam version comes with durable material that is made to withstand wear and tear, meaning it won't break down even when slept on every single night. Contour pillows are also made with multiple layers to create maximum comfort, and to retain their specialized shape. Memory foam pillows help create a customized head cradle, while each piece of foam won't flatten or lump over time.

Foam pillows are also considered to be more supportive as they cradle the head, no matter how one moves throughout the night. Depending on the foam, certain compositions will ward off molds or other allergens too, an option that's ideal for those who are susceptible to triggers.

Fiber Pillows

One of the biggest perks to fiber pillows is that of flexibility. They're found fairly inexpensively, and can be used to customize the perfect pillow; fiber pillows can also be mashed and folded so that they match user comfort levels. They're often a softer material, creating a more gentle sleeping space

However, fiber pillows also come with their share of cons. When purchasing a fiber pillow, ensure it's one of high quality so it won't wear down or host an array of allergens. Simply put, these types of pillows offer more head depth when sleeping, but without the proper materials, can become flat or lumpy even a few months into use.

When choosing the right pillow, look to all of the above and more for an informative decision. And check back in for even more stats on buying the right pillow! 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to Stay Active in Cold Weather … And Why You Should Do It

For those who didn't grow up in extreme weather conditions, the effects can hit you much harder as an adult, especially when dealing with cold. That's a stat that's been proven time and again with cross-country moves and re-locations. We also feel extreme weather deeper as we age – another stat that's been shown with snowbirds and entire generations who are getting away as often as possible. There are, of course, those who actually like the cold weather and who go out of their way for chilly runs. 

But for the rest of the population – whether you're not as young as you use to be or have never liked the chill – winter can be a rough season for staying healthy. It's harder to exercise when freezing wind and moisture are a factor, yet the need to exercise remains. In fact, staying active in winter actually helps in a number of ways, like boosting your mood, encouraging the metabolism, and offsetting heavier meals that we crave on the worst of days. 

Staying Active in All Seasons

One way to get moving while avoiding the cold is to join a gym, which will provide a comfortable environment for exercise. However, if you can stomach it, outdoor workouts offer fresh air, a perk that helps the immune system and expands the lungs, and rougher terrain, which can advance your workout.    

Another route is to dress for the occasion. Layers are ideal, but you should also look into the type of clothing you're wearing; dry-fit and wind-blocking materials will do you the most good. 

Or, mix and match by getting outside when it's (somewhat) nice, then plan longer workouts inside when it's just too unpleasant. But no matter how you plan your winter activities, try to stay active all season long. It's a method that will do wonders for your health – and on all levels – and make it much easier for you to transition back into spring with a healthier, more fit you. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Product: Kabooti Ice!

Great news for Kabooti lovers and the entire Contour Living community, we have a new product, the Kabooti Ice Therapeutic Seat Cushion! Still hosting all of our favorite Kabooti support options, customers can now receive cooling relief every time they sit down. Whether suffering from aches and pains or are recovering from surgery, this cool-pack option helps alleviate layers of discomfort. 

Best of all, it comes in the same product you've grown to know and love; the Kabooti Seat Cushion has long-since been a Contour best seller. With its supportive foam and coccyx cut out, it's the perfect combination to encourage posture while providing rear relief. The Kabooti is also great for long-term sitting whether at the office, in the car, or while seated at home. 

Its latest addition now brings an icepack directly to the coccyx cutout, reducing pressure and creating a blast of cold to some of your most sensitive pains. Perfect for those suffering from hemorrhoids, post-partum discomfort, testicular pain, perineal wounds, as well as post-surgery recovery. Or, if you have regular lower back or coccyx aches, Kabooti Ice can continue to reduce pressure, only now with added soothing abilities. 

Use the new Kabooti to stick to doctor-recommend icing schedules. Or, remove the cold pack and use your seat cushion as normal. With this versatile product, you're bound to find multiple pain relief efforts. And, because it comes with an ergonomic design and discreet look, only you know it's a specialty model! Use it whenever you need cooling comfort, or simply sit pretty (and supported) on your classic Kabooti for everyday support. 

To learn more about Kabooti Ice and how it can help your personal needs – from medical condition(s), to wanted comfort – check out our product page. Start shopping today and experience the Kabooti difference – now with ice!