Lack of sleep will have a direct impact on our health and with our 24/7 lifestyles, we’re guilty of cutting sleep short. Many of us blame white noise, light or having a messy bedroom as preventing us from getting some decent shut eye. Yet it could actually be our mattress which is the main culprit.
For some it is only when a mattress becomes old and sagging that we think about changing it. However, according to The Sleep Council, our mattresses should be changed every seven years. The key to a great night’s sleep is having the right mattress for your individual needs. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine “A mattress can impact a person’s sleep”. Here are some of the health implications as a result of the wrong mattress:
The most common problem with having an old unfirm mattress is back pain. When the structure goes, there will be a lack of spinal support causing aches and pains. Similarly if the mattress is too firm it can cause spinal problems. If you have a manual job which causes a lot of pressure on muscles and joints, the memory foam mattress may be the one for you. The memory foam mattress helps to relieve pressure points, as your body heat reacts with the mattress to create a protective mould which contours and supports the body.
A mattress is supposed to be turned over every three months in order to spread out the strain on the mattress. A non-turn mattress is created with a single sleeping side which means there’s no need to turn the mattress over, just rotate it. If you have back pain, this mattress will take some of the strain off.
If you’re sharing a bed and you and your partner have differing weights, you may find yourself rolling into the middle of the mattress and not having any support. A coil based mattress will have individually created springs which will support each of your individually but simultaneously.
Asthma and Allergies
You may not know the reason for waking up at night but it could be the dust mites lurking in your mattress. Dust mites and insects can keep you awake at night by getting into the respiratory system and causing you to sneeze and cough waking you up. Dust mites will live anywhere there is food and that food is your dead skin cells. A hypoallergenic mattress has a protective layer which helps keep dust and insects from entering the mattress.
If you’re sleeping on a poor quality mattress, you may find yourself tossing and turning at night. Distribution of sleep at certain stages will have a direct impact on memory consolidation as memories are created at certain parts of the sleep cycle. In slow wave sleep, declarative memories are formed which are memories that can be recalled such as facts and knowledge. This sleep is deep and restorative and is vital for consolidating new information. In sleep where rapid eye movement occurs, non declarative memories are formed which relate to unconscious memories and skills such as riding a bike.
If we don’t sleep well enough we can actually gain weight. Two hormones occur during sleep; ghrelin which tells the body when you’re hungry and leptin which tells your brain when you’re full. When sleep is broken or hasn’t occurred, ghrelin increases and leptin decreases which leads to weight gain. When your body signals you’re hungry, you will in fact be tired but may reach for the comfort food to satisfy yourself and keep yourself awake.
Choosing the right mattress is about finding one for your individual needs. The most important factor is comfort and a good supporting structure. Always ensure you try before you buy.