Sleepless nights, tossing, turning and tired mornings — we all understand the feeling. But did you know that sleeping on the right mattress can help relieve these problems and suggest you what it feels like to be rested? We now understand that mattresses really do matter when it comes to receiving a good night’s sleep!
According to a study by Research Triangle International and Drs. Andy Krystal and Jack Edinger from Duke University, you might not have to be a princess to feel the pea under your mattress. Their four-year study examined how different support levels of mattresses impacted sleep, pain and daytime functioning. More than 16,000 nights of sleep were judged on 128 subjects, making this one of the largest studies ever performed on normal pain-free sleepers and how mattresses impact their health.
Previous Studies Stumble
Very few studies have examined the effect mattresses have on sleep and pain, and the ones that have been made only looked at small numbers of people or small numbers of mattresses. The small sample sizes often led to the judgment that “medium-firm” mattresses are the best for sleep. The fault in this conclusion is two-fold. First, there is no accepted definition for what a “medium-firm” mattress would feel like. A 250-pound person may define a mattress as soft while a 125-pound person may represent the same mattress as firm. Second, there were people in the study that slept well on different mattresses. Should they rest on medium-firm mattresses even though they slept better on a softer or firmer mattress?
Other studies have come to the conclusion that mattresses have no influence on sleep. These studies have typically utilized small numbers of subjects or have used university students. The use of university students is a poor choice since this group is usually very sleep-deprived. These scholars, given an opportunity, can sleep just about anywhere — laying on the floor or sitting in the classroom!
The study by Krystal and Edinger defeated the shortcomings of previous studies by examining a large number of people (128), a wide variety of different firmness of mattresses (seven), and a large number of nights on each mattress (four weeks). After estimating more than 16,000 nights of sleep it was clear that even small differences in mattress support (soft, medium, firm) associated with changes in sleep and pain. This is a definite indication that mattresses really do matter. Nevertheless, the study had a second important conclusion: We may not be able to decide which mattresses are best for us when we are conscious.
The fact that people are very bad at selecting which mattresses would allow them to sleep pain-free should quickly interest consumers in the midst of mattress shopping. What’s the cause for this phenomenon? The answer is in what happens to our body while relaxing. We pass through different stages of sleep every night. One of those stages called “rapid eye movement” (REM) is the stage of sleep when our most lucid dreams take place. In order to prevent us from acting out our dreams, we lose our skeletal muscle tone. The skeletal muscles that strengthen our back relax and we lose spinal support. So, a mattress that felt supportive while you were awake with the muscles active might perform differently when you are in REM sleep.
It would seem that we can all be a princess (or prince) when we sleep, suggesting we really can feel those mattress differences, particularly when we’re catching some Zzzs.
You knew it was going to happen finally. All those long nights (and even all those short ones) together had to get to an end at some point. But the trouble with endings is always determining when the time is right.
When has the spring eventually gone out? When are you tired of all the lumps and sagging? Is it time to restore your mattress? We’ve talked before about how to know when it’s time to split up with your mattress, but it’s such an essential topic, it bears repeating.
Even with the best mattresses, there comes a time to restore it. While common wisdom says you need to return your mattress every 10 years or so due to wear and tear, there may be symptoms your mattress and you need to part ways even earlier.
Waking up isn’t just difficult, it’s absolutely painful.
If you’re waking up to new pains in your neck, shoulders, back and lower back, your mattress may not be carrying you right through the night. Mattresses are one of the most utilized items in your home. Over time and use, mattresses fail their ability to support your body properly. Body pain may also be a sign that your sleeping on the mistaken firmness level for your body.
One lump or two?
Do adjectives like lumpy or saggy explain the state of your mattress? You may need to start looking for a replacement. Body impressions can appear over time as your body breaks in your mattress. If you feel body pain, examine your mattress for lumps and impressions. If the results are more than 1.5 inches deep, you may need to start looking for a replacement.
There are more sneezes than snoozes.
Over time beds attract household allergens, and except you’ve upgraded to a bed with comfort response latex or you’ve bought a great mattress protector, your bed may be clinging on to more and more of them.
Maybe there is a chocolate on your pillow?
Sleeping away from home can be difficult, particularly in unfamiliar enclosings with unfamiliar sounds. So if you find that you obtain a better night’s sleep away from your own mattress, it might be time to consider why.
Age is before beauty sleep.
The older you get, the harder your mattress may need to be to combat back pain. On top of that, the best mattress for you may vary every 7 to 8 years after the age of 40. Of course, how firm it should be can depend on whether you sleep on your back or on your side.
The good news is, technology is improving.
When you make the decision to dismiss your old bed in favor of a fresh, clean, comfortable new one, you’ll be back in dreamland in no time. Of course, once you have your new mattress, you’ll want to take some measures to extend its life. Here are a few ways to keep your mattress stay good (and feeling good) longer.
Poor body alignment and an inappropriate mattress may stop you from enjoying deep, restorative sleep. Sleep ergonomics can assist you to improve your sleep quantity and sleep quality. Read on to find out more about this.
How well your body is adjusted during sleep is, in essence, a strange, yet a very serious, question. It is a strange question because common sense dictates that any position in which you are able to sleep comfortably is a good one for you.
Yet, it is an essential question on two counts: the position you are comfortable sleeping in may stop your body from realigning itself, and misalignment can create various health issues in the long run.
Besides other things, misalignment can create or worsen back pain and influence both the quality and quantity of your sleep. Sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality, in turn, can affect your physical and psychological health.
Why do we get comfortable with an incorrect sleeping posture?
A comfortable sleeping position may not be forever a perfect one, but why do we get content with an improper sleeping posture in the first place? The answer lies in the basic nature of the human body.
The human body, as you can see, is very adaptive. It automatically adapts itself to counter any misalignment. If your body is not adjusted properly, it will position itself in such a way as to showcase any prevailing misalignment.
Importance of alignment when we sleep
Here’s one test question for you: do you usually experience daytime sleepiness, headache, fatigue, and/or lack of focus after a night’s sleep?
If yes, chances are your body is poorly adjusted during sleep.
To be more specific, you may be breathing shallowly throughout sleep. There is a clear and strong relationship within body alignment and breathing and sleep quality.
Structural imbalance in the body influences breathing, which, in turn, affects sleep quality. When our spine is in its original position – a position in which the neck (cervical), middle back (thoracic), and lower back (lumbar) are in good alignment – our lungs are ready to hold more oxygen. Sufficient intake of oxygen during sleep facilitates smooth functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), which produces and supports relaxation.
On the other hand, reduced oxygen intake produces an excess production of cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline, which stops the body from relaxing. Right body alignment during sleep also promotes proper blood circulation throughout the body and relieves joint pain, both of which assist you get a good night’s sleep.
In whatever position you sleep, it is crucial that you maintain a ‘spine-neutral’ position (neutral spine position is the same as the spine’s natural position).
The mattress you sleep on has a large influence on your structural balance. If the mattress is not suitable, it can create, mask, and/or worsen structural imbalances, which can be harmful to good sleep. It can also point to health conditions such as sleep apnea and back pain.
Hard Mattress vs. Soft Mattress
Some say a hard mattress is better than a soft mattress, some say a soft mattress is better, and some say whichever type of mattress you are satisfied with is the best one for you.
Nevertheless, it is now thought that it’s not only the firmness of the mattress but its capacity to support the right parts of your body accurately. Proper alignment is critical to the prevention of tossing and turning which leads to sleep disruption. We put together a special web class that goes deeper into this…
Advantage of Hard Mattress
The new ergonomics of sleep prescribes that when it comes to mattresses, less is usually better. The less cushioning the mattress provides, the more it is prone to support or help a neutral-spine position during sleep.
According to the ergonomics of sleep, it is important that bones have some resistance for good sleep. When you lay down on a hard bed with a thin, hard mattress, your bones carries the most, if not all, of the pressure.
This, in turn, frees your muscles and supports your arteries and veins to relax. As a result, the blood circulation in the body changes, helping you sleep better. The other benefit of a hard mattress is that it stops your lower back from collapsing when you lay on it. This ensures that your airways are not compressed, permitting you to inhale more oxygen. Ample oxygen consumption, as we’ve seen already, is important for good sleep. Switching to a hard mattress after sleeping for many years on a soft mattress may not be simple.
You may feel a bit awkward during the first few nights. The feeling of discomfort usually disappears on its own within a few days. That said, people who have health issues like back pain, rheumatism, arthritis, weak capillaries, or scoliosis oughtn’t not go for a hard mattress.
Advantage of a soft mattress
A new study has pointed out that a soft mattress may be helpful to people with back problems, refusing the age-old idea that people with back issues need to sleep only on hard surfaces. Here are the details of the experimental study: In the study, Spanish researchers examined the effect of mattresses on 313 participants who had back pain. The participants were randomly separated into two groups.
One group was required to sleep on a firm mattress that had a softness rating of 2.3 out of 10. The other group was demanded to sleep on a medium-firm mattress that had a softness rating of 5.6. The continuation of the study was 90 days. The researchers evaluated the patients at the start of the study and upon the completion of the trial.
Patients were also asked to evaluate their condition on a daily basis and to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 the intensity of pain they felt on rising from the bed, the power of pain while sleeping, and the level of discomfort, disability, or pain they experienced during the day on a scale of 1 to 10.
At the end of the study, all members experienced improvement in their condition. However, the members who slept on a medium-firm mattress for 90 days experienced better results. The condition of participants who experienced back pain while lying down raised by as much as 80% on a medium-firm mattress, and 70% on a firm mattress.
The degree of discomfort encountered during the day decreased by an impressive 50% for participants who practiced a medium-firm mattress, and 30% for those who slept on a firm mattress. In general, the participants who slept on a medium-firm mattress for the duration of the trial were less likely to expect any pain-relieving drug treatment.
Again, it’s essential to have the “right firmness”.
Deciding what mattress you need shouldn’t be a challenging experience.
We have to sleep. We love to sleep. It’s good for all of us! And since we spend a great deal of time doing it, you’ve probably given some thought to your mattress. It’s too bumpy! It’s pretty hard! But maybe, if you’re fortunate, it’s just right! But there comes a time when you need to restore your old mattress and get a new one. What to do then? Here are six questions to think about before you buy a new mattress.
- What’s in a mattress?
These days most mattresses are both made of innerspring coils, memory foam or some combination of the two. Innerspring mattresses also contain layers of polyurethane foam over the coils to increase comfort. Memory foam, a popular mattress choice today, was firstly developed by NASA for more convenient space travel for astronauts. Lately, gel memory foam has also hit the market and has become a favorite choice because the foam has the same viscoelastic properties of normal memory foam but is more breathable and allows you to stay cooler throughout sleep.
- When’s the best time to purchase one?
The best time to purchase a mattress is a holiday, especially around Presidents’ Day (which falls on Feb. 15 this year), Memorial Day and Labor Day when mattress markets typically run annual sales. Purchasing around these times will guarantee you get a discount, whether that be free delivery or an extra 10-15 percent off.
- Where should I purchase one?
We spend a third of our lives sleeping, so purchasing a mattress is an outstanding purchase. There are so many various “flavors” — one company’s definition of “firm” will be another company’s “soft” — so you’ll probably want to try it out for yourself before buying. Most stores offer a three-month return policy, during which they will pick up your mattress and send you a new one free of charge within the first 90 days after purchase.
- What about bedbugs and dust mites?
Dust mites are omnipresent in your house, as they feast on dead skin cells, of which we shed about a third of an ounce a week. As little as 100,000 or as many as 10 million dust mites might be lurking in your mattress. And here’s the point: they’re not the problem, but their feces is. They’re a part of life, but there are actions you can take to reduce the number of your sheets in hot water and vacuuming your mattress. You can also attempt encasing your mattress and pillows in hypoallergenic dust mite covers.
- How about chemicals?
Most mattresses made over 10 years ago contain a chemical in them called Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), which acts as a flame-retardant and was done by mattress companies to meet fire-retardant standards in mattresses. The problem? PBDE is great at reducing flammability, but it’s also great at hormone disruption, decreasing fertility and influencing brain development. It’s been banned in the European Union and is not used in the United States anymore, although it’s unclear what is being used in its stead. But the problems don’t end there. Believe it or not, mattresses release dozens of chemicals that are probably harmful, though it’s hard to prove or pin down specific effects. That’s why more and more people are searching for organic, non-chemical options. Speaking of …
- Are there green alternatives?
If you want to reduce your exposure to the chemicals contained in traditional mattresses, you can opt for a cotton or wool organic mattress, or even normal latex mattresses, which are made from rubber trees and are biodegradable. You might shell out more for these mattresses, but it also might help you rest easy — literally.
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.
It’s important to know how to clean a mattress considering the type of stuff that builds up on (and on) this smooth surface where we waste so much time.
You probably know about dust mites and other critters in your mattress, but many also include sweat, blood, urine and other bodily fluids along with mold and mildew. Except you shower before bed every night, your mattress might also include dirt, oils and trace chemicals from various toiletries, and even pollen.
Just grasp this guide, and you’ll know how to pick a mattress so the only thing that will keep you up at night are the forgotten to-do’s that pop into your head the instant you switch the light off. (Or is that just me?)
Before cleaning your mattress, you should strip the bed and launder your linens. You should wash and dry your mattress pad first, then after that the sheets, and eventually your bedspread/comforter/duvet. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s labels first and use the hottest water and dryer heat setting allowed because heat will kill dust mites in your bedding. Since the washer and dryer are doing their thing, pay your attention to the mattress.
Step 1. You Ought to Vacuum it
Your vacuum cleaner’s filling attachment is your Number One ally in mattress cleaning. Begin at the top of the mattress and work your way down in overlapping, linear paths and next vacuum the sides of your mattress the same way.
Step 2. You Should Deodorize it
Although we don’t normally notice our own bodily smells, over time sweat can build up and lead to an obvious unusual aroma. To rid your mattress of rankness, you should sprinkle it well with baking soda and softly rub it in with a scrub brush, so it works into the mattress fabric where the stink lives. Let the soda sit for 10 minutes, and then…
Step 3. Vacuum It Again
By rubbing the baking soda into your mattress you’ve improved it bond with moisture and body oils in the top layers of material. Cleaning it a second time pulls that moisture out, simultaneously with the cause of the odors.
Step 4. Take the stains out
Mattresses usually acquire three types of stains: blood, urine, and what we’ll just call “other bodily fluids.” While it’s beneficial to treat stains immediately, let’s face it, sometimes rest is more important. Here’s the guide how to clean stains on your mattress:
Dried blood stains can be handled by making a paste of 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide (3%) mixed with 1 tbsp. each liquid dish soap and table salt. Carefully spread this onto the stain and allow it to sit until dry before rubbing the residue off. Dab at any residual stain with a white rag* dipped into hydrogen peroxide, rotating the cloth as the stain lifts off.
Urine stains are tough but not difficult to get out once they’re dry, but this two-step method assists a lot when my kids were little.
Flux 3 tbsp. baking soda in 8 oz. of hydrogen peroxide then join a drop or two of liquid dish soap. Pat this solution onto the spot. (Do NOT drench your mattress!)
If the stain endures, wait until the area is dry then flit together 3 tablespoons dry laundry detergent powder (NOT Oxiclean or anything containing oxygenated bleach) and 1 tablespoon water in order to make a dry foam. Softly spread this on the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Rub the dried paste away with a spoon. Apply a white cloth dipped into hydrogen peroxide to remove any stubborn bits of paste.
Vacuum this area.
Other biological fluids (vomit, etc.): Open the windows then, utilizing a white rag, sponge the stain with undiluted, unscented household ammonia. Do NOT cover your mattress! Clean the area with a clean, damp cloth and sprinkle the spot with baking soda to neutralize the ammonia odor and pull out any lingering moisture. Let this dry then clean the area thoroughly.
Step 5. Flip it and redo steps 1-4
Innerspring or coil mattresses ought to be flipped side-to-side and top-to-bottom per week for the first three months of ownership, then quarterly after that. If yours is a pillow-top mattress you should not flip it over but should still rotate it top to bottom periodically.
While you’ve got the materials handy, redo the cleaning process above after you flip your mattress.
Preventing Mattress Stains
Since cleaning a mattress is such a demanding task, I wholeheartedly support using a washable mattress cover. I’m not talking about the curly, plastic kind you might remember from childhood. These days, mattress covers are made from fabric bonded to an impermeable layer that prevents liquids and dead skin from affecting your mattress. (Here’s the one I use.)
Protrude the mattress cover into the wash if you have a spill, and make laundering it part of your routine, so you’ll never have to clean a mattress