How important is a good night’s sleep? So much so that in a recent survey, 6 out of 10 Americans chose sleep over sex. Not surprisingly, 9 out of 10 respondents cited their mattress as an important factor in getting that coveted good night’s rest. Americans love their beds so much that they are willing to spend thousands of dollars for a single mattress. But is an expensive mattress a superior choice? Does more money justify the purchase? Let’s take a closer look to see what considerations you should make to choose the right mattress for you.
Before I get into that, let me be clear that mattresses don’t always help people get a good night’s sleep. Low-quality, uncomfortable mattresses have been linked to sleep discomfort and pain, and it’s no secret that chronic pain can prevent quality sleep! Those who struggle with sleep deprivation may suffer from a bad mood, slower metabolism, and impaired immune function.
The bright side is that it’s not all bad news. While mattresses can hinder sleep quality, they can also improve it. Better mattresses have been linked to decreased pain and discomfort, especially in women. Quality sleep on a good mattress may also help to reduce stress.
Obviously, a bad mattress can contribute to poor sleep quality while a good mattress can improve it. Given that we spend on average 1/3 of our life sleeping, it is certainly worth investing the time (and money) to find the right mattress for you.
Your Guide To Better Bedding
When searching for the perfect mattress, it turns out that there are an awful lot of mixed messages out there. For instance, some research suggests that foam mattresses create backaches. Others say that foam helps to decrease pain. Some studies advocate for regular cotton mattresses while others say that coils create backaches and that airbeds are the way to go. There’s even disagreement over whether a firm mattress really is better for lower back pain.
The reason for all of this controversy just may lie in the fact that quality of sleep and comfort are so darn subjective! Fact is, when buying a mattress, the most important consideration is most likely personal comfort! So if you find yourself in the market for a new mattress, follow these guidelines for a better shot at getting that elusive good night’s sleep.
1. Make comfort your goal–Purchasing a mattress is all about finding the best one for you. You may like firm, you may like soft, or you may like one in between. The experts say it basically comes down to personal preference. If you’re comfortable, then obviously you have a better chance of sleeping well.
2. Try before you buy–Spend at least 20 minutes in your most comfortable sleeping position before making a decision.
3. Replace a mattress approximately every 8 years–The materials may start to degrade after this amount of time which might make the mattress less comfortable to sleep on. If you wake up in pain every day, sleep poorly, or feel disgruntled all the time then consider upgrading sooner.
4. Replace the box spring along with the mattress–Over time, the compression of the springs will start to change the structure of the box spring. To retain proper structure, replace it every 8 years or so…or just eliminate the box spring altogether!
5. Choose a mattress that fits your body–Physical Therapists advocate finding a mattress that is designed to conform to the spine’s natural curve and distribute pressure evenly across the body. This can be tricky, because the surface curve on the mattress doesn’t necessarily represent the way your spine will curve while sleeping on it. Since everyone’s pressure points are different, the best way to figure out if a mattress correctly supports the body is to bring a spouse, relative, friend, etc. along with you to the store. Lie on the mattress in your normal sleeping position and ask the person you brought with you to observe whether your spine remains fairly neutral. If your spine is obviously sagging, then keep looking.
6. Don’t buy vintage–Not only is the mattress likely to have lost its proper structure, but it’s important if you’re worried about your bed catching on fire. Only mattresses made after July 2007 must meet regulations for fire resistance.
7. Ignore brand names–Virtually all mattress coils are made by the same manufacturer. Likewise, don’t be duped by dollar signs…a higher price does not necessarily equate to better quality.
8. Bigger is not always better–Thickness is often just a visual ploy designed to get people to think that they’re buying a comfier mattress. Listen to your body and find the bed that feels the most comfortable, not the one that just looks that way.
9. Consider adjustable–If you share a bed, consider a mattress that allows you to adjust their own individual firmness on their respective sides. That way, neither of you will have to sacrifice comfort or spinal alignment.
10. Don’t be too quick to judge–Even if you loved your new mattress in the store, you might not sleep better on it the first night you get it home. It can take several days to adjust to a new sleeping surface.
11. Make sure you know the return policy–This way, you won’t be stuck with an expensive mattress that does not provide the sleep of your dreams.
As usual, if you or someone you know has questions about sleep in general, don’t hesitate to reach out. Call me at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at www.wildermanphysicaltherapy.com to schedule your FREE 30 minute Discovery Visit to see how Physical Therapy can help. Don’t delay–schedule now!