Athletes Need Sleep to Succeed

Sleep has been called the “magic pill” for improved athletic performance.

Joe Gomes Courtesy Oakland Raiders

Joe Gomes
Courtesy Oakland Raiders

Performance around the clock

More elite athletes are starting to focus on sleep as a path to succeed on the field. The Oakland Raiders just hired a new coach who has pledged to implement a new “24-hour Performance System” which will make sleep another important part of the player’s workout. The Raiders’ new Strength and Conditioning coach, Joe Gomes, is hoping a better “healing environment” will help injured players come back faster, and healthy players perform better on the field. He told the San Francisco Chronicle “The two biggest areas you can typically impact would be your recovery component and then your nutrition component. And if you just upgrade those areas, what you’ll find is that no matter what training they’re doing, you have already improved the level at which they can adapt to that.” Oakland has struggled the last few seasons, but if Gomes is right then perhaps Raiders fans can sleep a little better too.

Teen athletes need more sleep to stay healthy

Not just adult athletes need to rack up Zs along with TDs. A recent study found teenagers who got a good night sleep (8+ hours) were 68% less likely to sustain an injury while playing sports. The American Academy of Pediatrics said that the hours of sleep a night was a more important indicator of whether the teen might get injured than the hours spent on the playing field or hours spent weight training. They also found the older a teen athlete gets, the more sleep they need.

The research is piling up. Whether you are a star running back or aspire to be one in your athletic future, sleep does more than help you heal. Sleep helps you succeed.

Every Day is Earth Day at Somnium

We don’t usually need an excuse to celebrate around here, but Earth Day is one of our fave holidays. A lot of thought and effort went into making Somnium as green as is possible, so we like to take this annual opportunity to toot our (sustainably manufactured) horn.



Every day, thousands of mattresses end their useful life in America’s landfills. Taking up a whopping 35 cubic feet per queen-sized mattress, redundant metal coil mattresses are one household item that is notoriously difficult to recycle thanks to the innersprings, a heavyweight and complicated design that make them extraordinarily tricky to deconstruct.  Many end up on the street. In California, there’s even a Tumblr to mourn the fallen.

Somnium = Green By Design

Somnium disposes of all such complications. The mattress boasts impressive environmental credentials: removable and washable Oekotex-certified covers, bio foam made using renewable soy, and inherently flame retardant materials. And don’t forget: we don’t use any harmful chemicals, dyestuffs, or heavy metals,

Somnium mattresses are 100 percent recyclable and/or repurposable: The removable cover can simply be slipped off so all the fibers can be recycled. The highly-resilient foam and the patented elastomer innersprings can be easily separated and repurposed into anything from insulation to exercise mats to kid’s toys.

When the time comes to move on to your next Somnium mattress, we will take your old one away with us for recycling. You can be assured your old mattress will have a full, second life after you.

Now that’s something to celebrate!

Meet Watson: This Sleeping Dog Doesn’t Lie Around

narcoleptic dog 1This is Watson. He likes pork.

But when his human companion, Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, offers him a piece, the fabulous gift is a little too much for this little bouncing ball of fur. He takes a big sniff and staggers backward, struggling to ward off the attack paralyzing his muscles and pushing him toward sleep in just seconds.  Watson has narcolepsy. And the disorder makes him fall asleep when life gets too exciting.

Narcolepsy is caused when the immune system mistakenly attacks specific parts of the brain that regulate wakefulness and dreaming. Dogs are believed to be the only species other than humans that can develop the condition. Stanford researchers, including Dr Mignot, found the  cause in dogs by studying members of a narcoleptic dog colony. The last of the dogs, a beloved Schipperke named Bear, died last year.

Bear and Dr. Emanuel Mignot

Bear and Dr. Emanuel Mignot

But soon after, Mignot received an email from a veterinarian in the Northeast.  He had a Chihuahua puppy that collapsed to the ground when he got excited. Did Mignot want him? Mignot and his wife decided to adopt the dog as a family pet, rather than research subject. They named the puppy after Sherlock Holmes’ sidekick and IBM’s Watson computing project.

Watson is a hit with young patients. He calms frightened children and helps them understand their condition. The number of kids who suffer from narcolepsy is growing and some can develop severe symptoms, such as almost constant sleepiness or sudden episodes of muscle paralysis that occur with specific emotions. Mignot said Watson’s attacks can also be sparked by emotions, especially excitement.

narcoleptic dog 2But don’t worry: it sounds like Watson lives a pretty relaxing life. Mignot told KQED, “We often go to the beach and he runs around and loves to run around and very often, when he’s too happy – poof! – he collapses on the sand… [H]e looks at you with his eyes half closed and you have the feeling like he’s telling you ‘I love you,’ but in fact he’s falling asleep.”

Photo Credit: KQED

When the Mattress is The Star

Mattresses are rarely the star of the show. They are more like Oscar-winner JK Simmons: an indispensable Best Supporting Actor that classes up any room he’s in. But if you look hard, mattresses do occasionally get a spin in the spotlight:

Princess and the Pea

Princess and the peaThe classic fable comes from Hans Christian Andersen, the guy to blame for Disney earworms The Little Mermaid and Frozen. Our princely hero is just about to give up on finding a true princess-y mate, when one walks right in the door. A pile of mattresses and one lonely legume stand between a solitary lifetime among Danish social-climbers and his One True Love. The true moral of the tale: if Her Royal Highness had been sleeping on an ergonomic and hypoallergenic Somnium, she could have been pelted by peas all night and would have slept through it all.

Once Upon a Mattress

bf898bbe3e23bd846614c59d7ef3dd47A funny, sassy musical version of the fable. The Broadway original starred Carol Burnett as Princess Winnifred of Woebegone. Sarah Jessica Parker reprised it in 2005, and the production remains as light and airy as the well-ventilated core of a Somnium mattress.


Glee: “Mattress”

We almost forgot that Glee had an entire episode dedicated to mattresses. Of course there was some minor subplot involving a fake pregnancy, but LOOK AT ALL THOSE MATTRESSES. Unfortunately, our glee (sorry) turned to glum when we saw all that jumping around. We are all about preventing motion transfer. Our springs expand when you lie on it and close the gap with its neighbor. You can still sleep peacefully even if your partner is dancing in their sleep to the entire Van Halen catalog.

50 Shades of Style: Bedrooms Ripe for Romance

Romance comes in many styles

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the “50 Shades of Grey” phenomenon, romance means something different to everyone. We’ve found 5 bedroom design styles to fit a variety of tastes for those of you who want to make Valentine’s last throughout the year.


pic from vrayworld

There are some really beautiful gray bedroom ideas in this Apartment Therapy post. Our fave is the dramatic dark bedroom. We imagine a titan of industry like Christian Grey cuddled up in this bed (Does Christian Grey cuddle? We haven’t seen the movie yet, so don’t ruin the surprise!).


pic from Tikkat

pic from Tikkat

This is one way to bring a love of the outdoors inside the bedroom. We like how it manages to be romantic, playful and soft (I’m looking at you, feather floor covering!) without channeling Laura Ashley’s evil twin.


pic from Decoist

pic from Decoist

The design is sleek and modern, but a combination of the lighting and the family photo as focal point really brings an intimacy to the room that we think is, yes, quite romantic, sophisticated and chic.


After a day at your private beach on your private island, you retire for yet more privacy to this beautiful, airy bedroom. We love the view — and we would’t want to share it either. So thanks for letting us stop by!


British starlet Diana Dors was very proud of her “Pinup Palace”. Might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you have to agree it is at least visually stimulating!

Photo credits: Tikkat, Decoist,  Island Hideaways, The Apron Revolution, VrayWorld


How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Your teenager might not be playing you. He or she might actually need a bit more time in bed.

The National Sleep Foundation has upped its guidance for the amount of sleep needed for teens to between 8 and 10 hours a night. They also increased the range for younger children (see chart below). The major new study was conducted by not just sleep experts, but a wide range of specialists like psychiatrists, gynecologists and pediatricians.STREPchanges_1

A new range has been added, called “may be appropriate”, to acknowledge that some people might actually need more quality time with their Somnium. In order to figure out exactly how much sleep you need, the NSF recommend you answer these questions:

  • Are you productive, healthy and happy on seven hours of sleep? Or does it take you nine hours of quality ZZZs to get you into high gear?
  • Do you have health issues such as being overweight? Are you at risk for any disease?
  • Are you experiencing sleep problems ?
  • Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
  • Do you feel sleepy when driving ?

The single most important question to consider, according to the NSF, is: do you make sleep a priority? It should be. You need to consider it at the top of your to-do list every day, and not just another task to complete after you have watched “Scandal” or cleaned the bathroom.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do some very important work now. Wake me up in 7 to 9 hours.

Marfa: Sleeping Cool in the Desert

When one of our mattresses sold to a client in Marfa, Texas, we had to look it up on a map.  After talking to the customer and investigating the town further, we think we might have found our spiritual homeland.

A photo of the faux-Prada store in Marfa, Texas.

Marfa: Art & Design Mecca

If you are a fan of art and design you might have already heard of Marfa.  It is a town that appears to be just one big art installation.  Bolstered by minimalist artist Donald Judd who moved there in the 80’s, the town has become a destination for art lovers.  There is no gallery district, just art that is installed amid the spectacular Texas high desert, or smaller galleries that ask you to call them first so someone can let you in to have a look around.  And then there’s the weird Prada store in the middle of nowhere.  Actually, it’s not a real store, just an installation by artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset intended as a critique of the luxury goods market. Note to future prospective vandals: The shoes aren’t pairs and the purses have no bottoms.

Continue reading

Image courtesy of hin255 at

Peak Performance and the Pillow

We once knew a Division I volleyball coach who said: “Legs pay the bills.”

In between countless sets of squats, leg extensions and leg sled reps lied the key to success… along with hours of running, jump roping and sprinting.

There’s no doubt that resistance training and aerobic exercise are very important factors in an athlete’s physical performance.  Who doesn’t love the weight room, the suicide sprints and the tailored diets? They work.

Left out of that equation:  the role of sleep. Continue reading

Sweet Dreams! English Soccer Club Gets Serious About Slumber

One of England’s top soccer clubs is incorporating sleep science in their new $300 million training facility.

In an article published this past week by United Kingdom-based newspaper The Daily Mail, Manchester-based club Manchester City took a reporter for a tour of the facilities, which included a visit to the club’s high-tech sleeping quarters.



“I think this is one of the best, if not the best, facility in the world,” said Patrick Viera, a former Premier League star who now runs his former employer’s elite development program.

Continue reading


When should you replace your mattress?

We recently found this question on Quora where reader Michael Rasmussen contemplated the question and added: “The only references I find are tied to mattress manufactures and sellers. Their interests and mine are not aligned.”

We wanted to help him out:

We understand your reservations, but how is this for an independent opinion:

The University of Oklahoma conducted a study back in 2006 that compared the perceived sleep quality of 69 test subjects before and after replacing their own personal bedding system with a new medium-firm mattress.

There were two parts to the study: Phase one – the baseline phase – had subjects rate their individual perceived back pain, stiffness and sleep quality for each of 28 consecutive days while sleeping in their own bed. The mean ago of the personal bedding used was 9.73 years.

Phase two had people rate the same three markers each night after sleeping on new medium-firm bedding for 28 days.

The result, in a nutshell, was that all participants — whether they had rated their baseline sleep quality as good or poor — described their sleep quality as significantly improved during phase two. They also reported significant improvements in regard to back pain and stiffness.

Now, as to the exact time frame for change: This study shows that sleepers saw significant improvements replacing mattresses with an average mattress age of under ten years; from that you can deduct that you will reap plenty of benefits if you replace your mattress before ever reaching that benchmark.

My two cents: It is, of course, easy to assume that mattress manufactures only have their own interest at heart when they recommend to replace your bedding at certain intervals. But you could also conclude that some of us simply want to give you an honest answer and the best recommendation for your health and well-being when we suggest five to seven years as an ideal replacement time frame (as I do when I am asked). We do that in the same vein as the manufacturer of my running shoe wants me to replace them well before the shoe has a hole in it, to make sure I always get good support and the necessary cushioning.

We all warranty our mattresses for longer than five to seven years, but please remember that there are plenty of reasons to break with the longstanding, ridiculous mattress industry habit of offering 25-year or even lifetime warranties on a product that gets used more than your car, your shoes, your couch, your washing machine or really most anything else in your life.

Mattresses aren’t heirloom items – even though they used to be thought of as such in the old days; instead they are a piece of performance equipment with a huge impact on your daily life and thus the same rules apply:
Buy the best you can afford and replace when you feel it is time.

Read our original reply to the question on Quora

When should you replace your mattress?