How Your Mattress and Sleep Are a Vital Element to Your Health

I’ve always been a heavy sleeper, you could set dynamite off next to me and I’d sleep right through it most likely! What I didn’t learn until later in life is just how important sleep is to your health, and how your mattress is as much a vital element to your health as sleep is.

Once you’re past your teenage years, 7 or more hours of sleep per evening is recommended according to the Centers for Disease Control, and exact amounts vary from person to person. YOU know your body best as I always say! Over 61, the CDC recommends 7 to 9 hours, and for those 65 and older 7 to 8 hours.

So Why Is Sleep So Important?

Think back to a time when you had your recommended amount of sleep. Now think back to a time when you only had a few hours of sleep. See the difference it made? On the night when you got the recommended amount of sleep, we are fairly certain you woke refreshed, alert, and in a good mood. That’s because when we sleep, our body goes into what I call “repair mode” and your body takes care of everything that needs to be taken care of.

Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness, and mood.

Dr. Merill Mitler, National Institute of Health

It has been scientifically proven that people who get the recommended amount of sleep each night get sick less often, have an easier time staying at a healthy weight, experience reduced stress, improved mood, and think more clearly – thus doing better at work and school – then their sleep-deprived counterparts.

My Quest for a New Mattress

We have needed a new mattress for YEARS. I’m serious. We just haven’t bought one because we didn’t have the money to spend when we were trying to just keep the lights on and a roof over our heads for so many years. Now that I have returned to work full-time, this is one of the biggest priorities on my list because quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of sleeping on the couch! That’s where I have been sleeping for at least the past 5 years because our mattress is too hard for me and I wake up with horrid back pain and can’t go back to sleep.

Type & Cost of Mattresses

There are seemingly endless mattress options on the market today, and the prices range from low to exorbitantly high. So to narrow down your choices, you have to determine what TYPE of mattress you choose. There are four common types – foam, innerspring, latex, and hybrid. The average cost of each depends on its materials, size, layers, technology, manufacturing process, and each mattress’s individual features. Before you can decide how much should you spend on a mattress, you need to know what features are most important to YOU, so get busy and make a list! My personal favorite is a hybrid mattress, like the one shown below.

Know Your Sleep Position

Are you a side sleeper? Sleep on your stomach? On your back? How you sleep is also something you need to consider before purchasing a new mattress. Sleeping on your back is considered to be the best way to sleep, but it isn’t common among US adults. Back sleepers don’t need support pillows because when they sleep, they are naturally aligning their spine, neck, and pelvis which helps to eliminate aches and pains. For back sleepers, they would need a medium to medium-firm mattress for an average-weight adult. If you are lighter, you would naturally want something softer, and heavier adults will want something more firm according to the experts. I’m a heavier adult and we have a firm mattress, which, as I stated, does NOT work for me. My advice is to test it out and see how you feel laying on the mattress. Most reputable places will allow you to return the mattress after you test it a few nights if it doesn’t work for you.

Often it’s the mattress that does us over when it comes to trying to get some good rest. If you’re not comfortable as soon as you slip under the covers, you can usually feel that you’ll be in for a rough night; tossing and turning and maybe even a spot of snoring is on the routine for the next few hours.

Don’t Forget the Base

There are many different types of bases for your bed – not like the “old days” when I was growing up. Back then you had your choice of a metal frame with wooden slats or a metal frame with a mesh bottom. That was it. Now there are mattresses that need no box spring or base, adjustable bases, bases that come with wireless remote, zero gravity and anti-snore settings, USB ports, massage, under-bed lighting – you name it I’m sure you can find it!

ghost bed adjustable base

My personal preference is an adjustable base that will raise my head automatically if I start snoring or one that my husband can raise if I start snoring (which is the main reason why I’ve been on the couch for so many years). The massage feature would be nice but it isn’t a deal-breaker. I would prefer a base that sits higher off the floor for storage underneath that would not require a box spring as well. The base is another area that you can customize to YOUR wants and needs.

Ready to Buy!

Now that you have done your research and figured out what features are most important to you along with the type of material you want your mattress to consist of, and the base, it’s time to shop! One of the best times to shop is Memorial Day weekend when many bedding stores are having huge discount sales on all of their products – including pillows! Check your local listings, check out the online stores, and see where you can get your best deal.

With that being said, I’m off to do some bed shopping myself!

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