Sleep Care

Mattresses and Sleep

Your mattress can significantly affect your quality of sleep. A poor mattress can cause discomfort, back pain, tossing and turning and sleeplessness, whereas a comfortable mattress can help you sleep better, relieve body pain and improve your overall health by enabling you to get a good night of sleep. A mattress that is a good match for your body should help to align your spine at night and take pressure off your hips and joints. When evaluating a mattress you should look at the three main components: support, comfort and durability.

Support can refer to the firmness of a mattress. This support usually comes from the innerspring or coils; however, in an air mattress, this can be used to describe how fully inflated the mattress is. The comfort is often described as the softness. Softness in a mattress is found in the cushioning. Pillowtop mattresses as well as foam and waterbeds tend to be high in comfort but lower in support. The last factor is durability. This refers to how well the mattress is made and the quality of the materials from which it is made. All three of these qualities should be considered when you look for the perfect mattress for yourself.

Things to keep in mind when shopping for a mattress:

Personal preference – Try out the mattress; either by sleeping on one at a hotel or friend’s house, or by making sure you lie down on several of the mattresses at the store. Not all the mattresses will feel comfortable and relieve stress on your back.

Understand and ask questions about the mattress’s construction – Know how your mattress should be made. Check to see if it is made from high-quality materials.

Balance support and comfort – You need to find the perfect balance of firmness and softness for your body. Don’t just take someone’s word for it. Your body is unique and will be better suited to a specific mattress.

Know when to get a new mattress – It is highly suggested that you purchase a new mattress every 5 to 8 years. Most mattresses were not built to last longer than this with constant use. You will know your mattress needs replacing if it begins to sag in the middle or becomes increasingly more uncomfortable when you sleep on it.

Know the different mattress types and where to purchase them – A brief list is given below to help you with your search.

Different Kinds of Mattresses:

Innerspring – Traditional wooden frame with coils, springs, inner padding and outer padding (i.e. pillowtop);

Foam – A mattress made entirely from foam such as the memory-foam beds;

Air – These can vary from a traditional air mattress to the more complex sleep-number beds;

Waterbed – Plastic mattress filled with water, often heated and in a wooden frame;

Latex – Very similar to foam, but made from a latex-based material;

Adjustable – These beds are traditionally innerspring beds that can be adjusted to lift the head and leg areas;

Dual purpose – Such as a sofa bed or futon. These beds serve more than one purpose and are often not suggested for long-term sleep.


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