You wouldn’t hike a mountain or run a marathon without the right gear. And yet, many of us don’t prepare our bedroom adequately, despite spending a third of our lives sleeping.
It’s not like we don’t understand the importance of a high-quality mattress. In fact, according to a 2011 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 92% of people believe comfortable mattress plays a significant role in providing good sleep.
Now, a lot of us are tempted to blame our budget for continuing to sleep on a poor quality mattress, but considering just a tad bit more shut-eye will help you lose weight, boost your memory, and lead a healthy lifestyle—you cannot possibly put a price tag on a good night’s sleep, can you?
On the other hand, the wrong type of mattress—or one that’s a bit too old—can cause severe neck pain and lower back pain. Here are five top ways your mattress affects your sleep and health.
#1: Relieves Neck Pain, Back Pain, Shoulder Pain, Etc.
If you sleep in a certain position for an extended period of time, you’ll end up with body misalignment—unless you have a high-quality mattress that is specially made for relieving neck pain. Anything that distorts your natural spinal alignment can be a risk factor to your physical wellness. And with spinal misalignments come body aches and pains.
How many times have you felt like your head was stuck in a certain position and it wouldn’t move left to right without some serious neck pain? To make it even worse, the pain just won’t go away throughout the whole day.
Back pain is no easy feat either. Any sort of discomfort in your lower back can easily make you feel like you’re 20 years older, and in this day and age when we spend most of our time in a sedentary position, the numbers of people complaining about back pain are too great to count.
By far, the trickiest of them all is shoulder pain. You might think you’ve positioned your pillow the right way to make you sleep more comfortably, but you end up with a hurting shoulder blade, almost as if you’ve played football and tackled a member of the opposing team to the ground.
If you keep using a deformed mattress, you might develop chronic neck pain, shoulder pain, and lower back pain. The muscles and tendons in your back need to relax while you sleep, and sleeping on an excessively hard or soft mattress won’t support your spine at your lower back or neck as it should.
To relieve neck pain, you will want to look for a mattress that offers the following three attributes:
- Spinal alignment
- Proper support
- Pressure point relief
That’s what addresses persistent neck and shoulder pain, as well as upper and lower back pain. Finding a mattress to address your neck pain is truly a life-changer.
#2: Acts as a Stress Reliever
If your mattress is frequently causing you to toss and turn, then wake up in the middle of your sleep, you could spend your day a bit more frustrated than usual. You begin worrying whether or not you can perform your best at work as you’re tired.
Furthermore, you aren’t sleeping well, which is causing you stress. According to a study conducted at Oklahoma State University, which also appeared in the 2009 Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, new and firmer beds caused a huge decrease in stress for 59 healthy men and women due to the new mattress offering more support and improved sleep.
Therefore, if you have an old mattress lying in your bedroom for years and are undergoing stress, maybe it’s time to upgrade it.
#3: Improves Memory, Productivity and Creativity
Sleeping helps to solidify things into your consciousness. So, if you’re sleeping on a less-than-ideal mattress, you won’t be getting any quality sleep—this reduces your chances to retain information in your brain.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your cognitive abilities can also decrease, which makes your mind feel cloudy. Therefore, you feel less aware of your surroundings.
Furthermore, you become less creative and start lacking in those problem-solving skills of yours. Lack of sleep can greatly reduce your creativity and productivity at home, school, workplace, and so on.
Getting the right type of mattress will help enhance your sleep and memory, which is why it should be your priority in life. A good night’s sleep can improve your life, productivity, and performance. Another thing to consider; sleeping on a cheap mattress may cause you to snore, which can be disruptive if you have a partner. Luckily, a good mattress can help to reduce snoring.
#4: Alleviates Potential Allergies
The microscopic creatures (e.g., dust mites) feed on the dead skin cells you shed, an entire host of which are found on your bed. About 20 million Americans are allergic to these little bugs, and they are especially harmful to people with asthma, according to a CNN report.
Washing pillowcases and sheets regularly in hot water will help rid your linens of dust mites. Also, an allergy-proof slipcover can help keep those microscopic creatures from traveling from your mattress to the pillows and sheets going forward.
The Better Sleep Council recommends cleaning the actual mattress with a vacuum if dust mites are a big issue.
#5: Enhances Your Immune System
Lack of sleep can contribute to a weaker immune system. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are more likely to fall sick. Poor quality sleep wears down your immune system, which can cause anything from a cold to a fever to occur more often.
A supportive, comfortable mattress can give you a good night’s sleep, so you never have to worry about catching a bad cold.
#6: “Medium-Firm” Is Subjective
There is no standardized definition of what makes a mattress firm or soft.
While a 200-pound person might describe a mattress as soft, a 100-pound person will likely describe the same mattress as firm. In fact, a 2012 article written by the director of the Sleep to Live Institute (STLI), Robert Oexman, D.C., indicated something similar.
Terms like “plush” or “ultra-plush” may sound appealing, but you never really know what is plush until you’ve spent some time horizontal. There is also little to no evidence to prove a soft, or a firm mattress is better for your sleep—it all comes down to comfort. Therefore, we recommend spending at least 10-20 minutes test-driving the mattress you’re considering.
#7: Wear and Tear
The springs in your mattress aren’t working properly if they’re making creaking noises whenever you toss and turn. If you have a spring-disabled mattress, it will give inadequate support to your neck and back, leading to severe health issues.
If you notice any lumps forming on your mattress or your back hurts from the torn spring, it’s time to get a new one. Torn mattresses can lead to body aches and cause sleep deprivation.
Shopping for a new mattress can be a daunting task, but with proper guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your best sleep yet.
By testing the mattress thoroughly, and sticking with natural-only materials (e.g., latex mattresses), you’ll have the best chance of finding the right type of mattress for your needs.