You wouldn’t dare to run a marathon or hike a mountain without the right gear. But still, despite spending a third of our lives sleeping, many of us haven’t well prepared in the bedroom — when it comes to mattresses, that is.

 

Not that we don’t understand the value of a comfy mattress. In a 2011 poll, the National Sleep Foundation found that 92 percent of people assume a comfortable mattress is essential for a good night’s sleep.

 

You might be tempted to accuse your budget of continuing to doze on a less-than-ideal mattress, but considering just a little bit more shut-eye can encourage you lose weight, improve your memory and live longer, can you actually put a price tag on good sleep?

 

But the wrong mattress — or the mattress that’s just too old — can be the cause of more than that pain in your neck or your low back pain. Here are five trickier ways your mattress affects your sleep — and of course your health.

Buying A New Mattress Might Decrease Your Stress

In a small 2009 study, 59 healthy men and women slept for 28 consecutive nights on their conventional mattresses, then another 28 nights on different, medium-firm mattresses. They were asked to estimate their stress levels based on factors like worrying, racing thoughts, nervousness, irritability, headaches, trembling and more. The new beds resulted in “a meaningful decrease in stress,” according to the study, probably because of the related increase in sleep quality and a decrease in pain compared with the firmer setup.

 

You Might Be Allergic To Your Mattress

Rightly, to the dust mites calling it home. The microscopic creatures feed on the dead skin cells you shed generally, a whole host of which are found in and on your bed. Around 20 million Americans are allergic to the buggers, according to WebMD, and they’re especially questionable for people with asthma, CNN announced.

 

Washing sheets and pillowcases regularly in hot water can help rid your linens of dust mites. And a slipcover designated “allergy-proof” can help keep them from traveling from the mattress to your sheets and pillows going forward. If dust mites are a difficulty, polish the actual mattress with a vacuum, according to the Better Sleep Council.

“Medium-Firm” Is A Personal Label

There’s no regulated definition of what makes a mattress soft and what makes a mattress firm. “A 250-pound person will describe a mattress as soft while a 125-pound person may report the same mattress as firm,” Robert Oexman, D.C., director of the Sleep to Live Institute, wrote in a 2012 HuffPost blog. Words like “ultra-plush” sound appealing, but you’ll really only know what’s plush if you spend some time horizontally. There’s also little evidence to demonstrate a firm or a soft mattress is much better for your sleep — it just about all comes down to comfort. So be sure you spend at least 20 minutes “test-driving” a mattress before purchasing it.

 

Tossing And Turning Is A Sign It’s Time For A New One

A hole with stuffing streaming out or a spring sticking into the small of your back are clear signs it’s time to restore your mattress. But they’re not the single reasons to head to the store. If you’re just not sleeping as well as you used to at home, it might be time to make an investment, particularly if you find you sleep better away from home, USA Today reported.

 

Using Your Mattress As Your Home Office Might Keep You Up

Experts admit that the bedroom should be reserved for sleep and sex — otherwise, your brain can start to require to answer work emails when you hit the hay, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Electronics definitely don’t associate with you on your mattress; the blue light they emit is especially disruptive to the brain’s natural bedtime mechanism and can you up longer.

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