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Sleep Matters – an Action Plan for Better Bedding

Six out of ten Americans desire sleep more than sex

You read that right. In our sleep-deprived society, more than half the population is so tired all the time, that if given the choice, they’d probably just take a nap. According to this study, performed by the Better Sleep Council, a lot of this can be chalked up to the mattresses involved. A full two thirds of Americans expressed dissatisfaction with time spent on their mattress – and just as many confess to hating their mattress (8 percent) as loving it (7 percent). And in another study, 90 percent of the respondents singled out their mattress as a primary contributor to their ability to sleep.

Which makes sense. Your mattress is the functional part of the bed; the piece most responsible for the feel of your bed. To be sure, Americans are aware of this; routinely dropping thousands of dollars on a mattress in a single go. But, as too many have found out, expensive isn’t the same thing as high quality; it’s important to get the right mattress for your needs. After all, your mattress can negatively affect your sleep just as easily as it can help.

But don’t worry; we’re here to help.

Mattress Foundations

Just sleeping on a mattress by itself isn’t going to grant you a restful night’s sleep. Uncomfortable, cheap mattresses can cause pain and discomfort; the kinds of things that prevent a good night’s rest. Sleep deprivation is linked to slower metabolisms, impaired immune system functionality, and (most recognizably) a cranky mood.

But, there’s still hope. While bad mattresses can certainly impair the quality of your sleep, good ones can absolutely improve and enhance it. Quality bedding systems – the academic term for “stuff you sleep on,” like mattresses – have been shown to decrease discomfort and pain; most notably in women, but also in men. Getting a good night’s sleep on a quality mattress has also been shown to reduce stress levels.

Basically, a bad mattress can make things worse; but a good mattress can make them better. You’re going to spend about a third of your life sleeping. It’s absolutely worth the time and money to do it right.


Building a Restful Sleep Action Plan
So! Sleep is important, and a good mattress means good sleep. Got it.


So how do you tell a good mattress from a bad one?

The research can send some mixed messages. Some suggests that foam mattresses contribute to achy backs, while others say that the foam helps with pain. Some research suggests cotton mattresses, while others find detrimental effects in coils, and recommend airbeds. And a firm mattress has been shown to be better for lower back pain – except for the studies which show otherwise.

How can this all be true at the same time? Simple:


Comfort is subjective

Human beings are remarkably varied creatures; your body is going to be different than someone else’s, to the point where the single most important aspect of buying a mattress is going to be your personal comfort levels. Bottom line; if it works for you, go for it.

With that in mind, when you’re shopping for a new mattress, these guidelines will help steer you in the right direction.

Try it out first. If you can manage it, go for 20 minutes of “test sleep” on a mattress before making the purchase.

Make comfort your goal. Remember Goldilocks? Finding the mattress that’s “just right” should be your goal.

Replace your mattress every eight years or so. Any longer, and materials are going to degrade, as will the mattress’ quality.

Don’t forget the box springs. Time wears on the box too! When you replace the mattress, it’s a good idea to replace these as well.

Ignore vintage. Seriously. Even if it’s somehow maintained its shape, if the mattress was made before July of 2007, it doesn’t meet modern fire codes. Don’t sleep in an uncomfortable death trap.

While you’re at it, ignore name brands as well. Mattress coils all pretty much come from the same manufacturer; nobody’s got the market cornered. Pick something nice, that works for you.

Bigger =/= better. A thick mattress can be smoke and mirrors; don’t go with what looks comfortable, focus on what is comfortable.

No matter what you sleep on, the point is to get something that works for you. Satisfy your sleep craving, and… well, we’ll leave the rest up to you

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