Laurie Tokarz is CEO and president of Restonic Mattress Corp. She has been in the home furnishings industry for 40 years, starting as a buyer of mattresses in a department store before moving into sales and marketing on the wholesale side. Tokarz just celebrated her 23rd year with Restonic. She is currently vice chair of the International Sleep Products Association’s board. In her free time, she loves to research genealogy, put together jigsaw puzzles and root for her beloved Buffalo Bills and quarterback Josh Allen.
BedTimes: Tell us about your bedtime routine.
Laurie Tokarz: I always read for around 30 minutes, usually in bed, before going to sleep. The only time this doesn’t work is if I’m reading a super suspenseful book. I frequently have a cup of herbal tea before bed also.
BT: What do you avoid before bed?
LT: Caffeine – I usually drink two cups of coffee before noon, and no caffeine after noon.
BT: How many hours of sleep do you typically get?
LT: I try to get seven to eight hours a night. I used to think I had to fill each day to the brim and get by with only five hours of sleep. However, with age comes wisdom, and I now embrace the importance of a good night’s sleep. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that many people now understand the value of sleep.
BT: Pets in the bed – yay or nay?
LT: No pets in bed – although I do have a small Westie. She has her own bed.
BT: Barefoot or socks?
LT: I live in western New York, and the winters are cold and long — so, in the winter, socks. Summer, barefoot.
BT: What’s on your nightstand?
LT: Whatever book I’m reading, my reading glasses, a bottle of water and my Echo clock — I always ask Alexa what the weather is going to be tomorrow when going to bed.
BT: Are you a napper?
LT: Nope! I would love to be able to nap, but if I go to sleep in the middle of the day, I go into a deep sleep and wake up groggy. (Some would say grouchy. Ha-ha!). My husband can take a 20-minute power nap and be good to go. Wish I could!
BT: What are your best sleep tips?
LT: Besides your mattress, be sure you love your pillow and invest in good sheets. The bedroom should be cool and dark.
I unplug in the evening — no emails. My family kids me, but I don’t like phone calls after 9 p.m. I’m on the phone all day and look forward to no calls at night.
BT: What are your secrets for getting a good night’s sleep while traveling?
LT: Getting a good night’s sleep while traveling can be challenging due to changes in environment, time zones and disruption to my typical routine. I typically choose a hotel that is quiet, and I try to still read for 30 minutes. If all else fails, a little melatonin helps.
BT: Is there anything else you would like to add?
LT: I encourage everyone to be an advocate for a good night’s sleep. You can ask my friends — I’m always quizzing them on how much sleep they get. Sleep plays a crucial role in consolidating memories, problem-solving, attention, concentration and creativity. With proper sleep, you can boost your immune system, and have a positive influence on your mood and emotional state, not to mention your overall physical health. As our friends and licensee in South Africa say, “Make sleep your superpower!”