The Best Mattress for a Better Night’s Sleep
Buying a new mattress? Here are tips for finding the right mattress for you.
You spend about a third of every day in bed whether that time is spent blissfully slumbering or, tossing and turning, depends a lot on your mattress.
One way that your mattress affects your sleep has to do with the network of fine blood vessels, called capillaries, that runs beneath your skin. When you lie on any part of your body for an extended period of time, the weight of it reduces the flow of blood through those blood vessels, which deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients.
This in turn causes nerve cells and pain sensors in your skin to send a message to your brain for you to roll over. Rolling over restores blood flow to the area, but it also briefly interrupts your sleep.
Which Mattress Is Right for You?
Finding the right mattress isn’t about searching out the highest-tech brand or spending the most money and buying a much more expensive mattress doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. A high price tag is a product of both the materials that go into the mattress and the marketing that helps sell it.
Instead of focusing on price and brand name, think about what you want in a mattress because a mattress is very personal. Some people prefer a firmer mattress; others favour a softer style.
Although there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to prove that one type of mattress will help you sleep better than another, people with certain medical conditions do seem to rest easier on a particular mattress style.
Anyone with back or neck pain should take a Goldilocks approach to mattress buying: not too hard, and not too soft. If you have a mattress that is too soft, you’ll start to sink down to the bottom but conversely, one that is too hard applies too much pressure on the sacrum, on the shoulders, and on the back of the head.
Suggested Mattress Type
A medium-firm mattress, or a firm mattress with a softer pillow top, will give your spine that “just-right” balance of support and cushioning. An adjustable bed can be a good buy if you need to sleep with your head raised.
Doctors sometimes recommend elevating the head to help people breathe easier, or to prevent nighttime heartburn. These beds can also allow you to adjust your knees and hips to a 90-degree angle, relieving some of the pressure on sore joints.
If you have allergies or asthma, you might have considered buying a bed labeled “hypoallergenic.”
There are a lot of claims made by mattress manufacturers that their mattresses are hypoallergenic or don’t support the growth of dust mites, but there isn’t any scientific evidence to support these claims. Dust mites will live anywhere where there’s food — and that food is your dead skin cells!
Instead of investing in an allergy-free mattress, slip on a washable mattress encasing. It will form a barrier that prevents dust mites from getting to you. A mattress encasing cuts allergen growth by robbing dust mites of their food supply.
And what about those space-age memory foam mattresses, which can cost thousands of £pounds?
There is some evidence they can help with back problems and improve sleep, but their advantage over a regular coil mattress is only slight.
Where memory foam mattresses can really help you sleep is if you have an active bed partner who is keeping you awake. Foam mattresses reduce motion transfer, letting you lie still while your partner tosses and turns.
Test Drive a Mattress Before You Buy
You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, right?
So why would you invest hundreds — or even thousands of pounds in a mattress without first trying it out? Take any new mattress you’re considering for a test nap. People should not be embarrassed to go into a bed store and lay on a mattress for 20 minutes.
For a more realistic test, sleep in the beds at different hotels when you travel. If you get an especially good night’s sleep on one of them, ask them what brand it is or pull over the mattress and fin the label!
When you test out a mattress, make sure it feels comfortable in every position, especially the side you favour for sleeping. The mattress should be supportive where you need it, without putting too much pressure on your body.
Time for a New Mattress
If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, the problem might not be your mattress type, it could be your age, so it’s really important for people to realise that mattresses have a certain lifespan so keep your mattress way too long, the foam and other materials inside it will start to break down, compromising its ability to support your body.
The general school of thought is to change your mattress every 10 years and if you’re already feeling pains or generally un-rested after a night’s sleep – it’s time to go mattress shopping again!
The Holistic Approach
One other thing that we should also be mindful of – learning how to sleep well – it may be that you have a sleeping disorder which is preventing you from having a good, restful night’s sleep. If this is the case and before you trundle off to your local bed store, try the holistic approach!
Take a look at our Bedroom Section for additional help and advice.
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