When looking for a cause to donate to, most people don’t consider sleep issues to be a priority. Yet, a cursory search of the Internet will yield limitless polls, surveys, and research on the ways in which children benefit from a good night’s sleep. Searchers will also find a host of variables that interfere with optimal rest, and among the most prominent of these is the lack of a proper bed.
Luckily, several groups have formed to address childhood sleep concerns. Ashley Furniture HomeStore, for example, developed its A Hope to Dream initiative, a program of the company’s charitable arm, the Furnishing Dreams organization. Through the initiative, Ashley Furniture HomeStore donates new mattresses set, a pillow, and a comforter to children aged 3-16, who are identified as needing a bed by people in the community. A Hope to Dream centers on children because of the potential they have for improving their respective communities, and a child’s contribution starts with performing well in school and in any extracurricular activities—all of which require adequate rest.
Ashley Furniture HomeStore funds the project through percentages of every mattress it sells in more than 170 stores in over 40 states, as well as in Mexico and Canada. It also holds special fundraising events at select showrooms. Since it launched the A Hope to Dream initiative in 2012, the company has facilitated the donation of nearly 4,000 twin-size mattress sets in the U.S. and certain international cities.
In the case of providing beds to children in need, the motivation to engage in the effort may seem self-evident, but several research-based insights further point to the importance and urgency of funding quality mattress donations. The importance of quality sleep cannot be overstated.
Children need a bed that will offer nighttime support during their formative years. The ongoing and significant physical changes that children experience as they grow create a heavy toll on their backs in particular. Unfortunately, many parents and families are without the resources to spend a little extra, if anything at all, up front on a mattress to ensure that their child has a secure place to rest and dream.
In addition to back support, quality mattresses help facilitate a full night of sleep, which is around 10 hours for children between the ages of 3 and 16. When an old and poorly cared for mattress interferes with this amount of rest, a number of ill effects can result. Studies have suggested that children who don’t get enough sleep have a greater struggle with obesity and diabetes. Sleep-deprived kids also battle with staying on top of their school work, and some even receive a misdiagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) simply because they tend to act more frantic and out of control when they are not rested.
According to some research, sleep loss can lead to depression and unhealthy habits, such as smoking. It can also negatively impact the immune system, increasing a child’s risk of falling ill. For example, if sleep-deprived kids receive a vaccination, they are unable to sufficiently develop an immune response. Proper sleep allows the brain to remove unnecessary information while simultaneously storing crucial facts for long-term retention. With a low-quality bed, this process is interrupted.
One reason that children often end up on old and worn-out mattresses is that it’s hard to measure the lifespan of a mattress. Aside from a spring protruding from the fabric or some other blatant malfunction, most people don’t know how to tell if a mattress needs replacing. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that many children in need of quality bedroom furniture sleep on hand-me-down beds that have been in use for an unknown length of time. In most cases, these mattresses were deemed uncomfortable by their previous owner.
To learn more about the A Hope to Dream initiative or to nominate a child in need of a good bed, visit http://ift.tt/1nLCma3.
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