How much of your life is affected by your mattress? Although you might assume that your mattress is only something you need to worry about when you are trying to drift off to sleep, a bad mattress might be causing more problems than you realize. Here are some of the ways a worn-out or low-quality mattress can impact your life.
Lower Back Pain
Over time, mattress springs and coils can become weaker, which can create large divots in your sleeping surface that make it uncomfortable to sleep. Some spring systems can even become completely unsupportive, putting the spine in an uncomfortable resting position as you sleep. Both of these problems can create pressure points that can hurt the lower back, which is why you should consider keeping a journal of how well you are sleeping. To test whether your lower back pain or neck discomfort may be related to your mattress, keep a sleeping journal for a month. Record your level of back pain (from 1-10) every morning, and make a note of how long it takes the back pain to go away.
If you experience back pain in the morning, the likely culprit is your uncomfortable mattress. On average, mattresses only last for about 5-7 years before needing to be replaced. Fortunately, newer mattresses are designed with features such as wrapped inner coils and edge support, which help to keep your bed even and comfortable.
Do you ever have a hard time concentrating? Issues with concentration, focus, and attention span have been directly linked to poor sleep quality, which is where your mattress comes into play. Sleeping on a bad mattress might prompt you to toss and turn more than you would otherwise, which can cause serious problems with fatigue during the day.
When people are tired, their minds wander more easily and their reaction times are slower, which can also contribute to workplace incidents, car wrecks, and a greater risk of everyday accidents. Concentration problems can also make it more difficult to communicate effectively with the people around you, leading to problems in both work and personal relationships.
Stress has been shown to increase adrenaline production, which signals a “fight or flight” response throughout your body. Unfortunately, when adrenaline production runs rampant, it can make the digestive valves in your body remain open, causing problems like heartburn and acid reflux.
Think carefully about how much you stress over your mattress and sleep quality, and whether or not you lay awake stewing over your uncomfortable bed. If you do, it might be time to replace that old mattress for a newer, more comfortable version.
Depression and Irritability
Fatigue has also been tied to mood problems. According to an article in Psychology Today, sleep deprivation has been clinically associated with negativity, low energy and emotional reactivity. People who do not get regular and good quality sleep are more emotionally volatile, less friendly, and become angry more often, thanks in part to increased amygdala activity in the brain. When tired, the amygdala (which regulates the processing of memories, learning and emotion), takes a “fight or flight” stance when it receives stimuli that the body is stressed.
Your mattress has a large surface area, which naturally puts it at a higher risk for collecting dust, pollen, pet hair, and other microscopic airborne allergens. As time goes on, your mattress can actually gain weight due to collecting things like the sloughed-off skin cells of the person who is sleeping, or dust mites which feed on them.
Unfortunately, some people are allergic to these contaminants, which is why it is important to replace your mattress regularly. If you only seem to have allergies at night when you try to go to bed, your mattress might be at fault.
How to Protect Your Health
In order to protect your health, invest in a high-quality mattress from reputable retailers in your area. Test different mattresses for at least twenty minutes at a time before making your decision. Talk with mattress dealers about things like returns and manufacturer’s warranties to make sure that you are covered in the event that you aren’t satisfied with your purchase. Some businesses stand behind their products so that you can rest assured that you will get the best sleep of your life.
Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to find a used mattress, which may have been exposed to mold, mildew, and a large variety of other potentially dangerous pathogens. Always buy new mattresses, and protect your investment with a high-quality mattress cover.
Sleep is more than a luxury; it is a necessity to maintain health and wellness. The best mattress is one that offers the right level of support for your body.