Friday, November 2, 2018

Up All Night: How Your Mattress Can Affect Your Sleep... and Health

There’s no such thing as the perfect mattress. Nighttime comfort is an individual preference. It’s uncommon for two people who share the same bed to want the same things in their sleep zone. Comfort aside, there are plenty of ways a bad mattress is a universal health hazard. Keep reading for a few quick tips on how the eight hours you spend in bed at night can negatively impact your well-being 24/7.

Signs of a mattress gone bad

       Snoring. Some people just snore, but others develop this intrusive habit over time when sleeping on an unsupportive mattress. Sleep Number explains that even weight distribution can minimize the effects of snoring. In addition to lacking support, an old mattress is a haven for dust, which can linger in dry air and can amplify these midnight roars. A humidifier will keep the air moist, which can reduce snoring. Change the filter regularly to ensure your humidifier continues to operate properly, which will also lower pollutants in the air.

       Back pain. A low-quality or past-its-prime mattress can lead to back pain by changing your spinal alignment little by little each night. When your mattress wears out, it becomes a concave structure instead of the flat sleeping surface you need.

       Bed bugs. Bed bugs are tiny little bloodsuckers that like to hide in your mattress. An old mattress is the ideal habitat for these alarmingly tick-like creatures. They are difficult and expensive to get rid of; the most effective way to control an infestation is to simply buy a new mattress and box spring. One surefire sign of overnight bed bug contact is small bite marks on exposed skin that may be itchy and resemble a rash. MedicineNet Medical Author Melissa Conrad St√∂ppler, MD, explains that bites on the hands, neck, and face are common.

       Impaired memory. Poor sleep is undeniably linked to impaired memory, information retention, and overall cognition. Even if you think you’re sleeping through the night, failure to cycle through all stages of sleep can leave you struggling to remember even the most familiar and repetitive aspects of your day.

       Dust mites. Unlike bed bugs, dust mites don’t turn into tiny Draculas (Draculi?) at night, but they do feed on flaked-off flesh. No matter how clean your home is, you have dust mites. While these arachnids aren’t dangerous in a normal quantity, an old mattress can be home to them in numbers you don’t want to see. Too many, and they can become an allergy issue and trigger upper respiratory distress, especially in children and those with a sensitivity to airborne particles.

       Weight gain. Here’s a fun fact: poor sleep can contribute to weight gain. There are a number of reasons, including a change in your hormone production and craving more sugary foods. When the brain isn’t rested, it is more susceptible to impulse, meaning that midnight bowl of cereal you usually bypass makes more sense than an apple. Sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus touches on more ways that sleep deprivation and weight gain are connected. When it’s time to invest in a new mattress, make sure to find one that suits your sleep preferences. If you share a bed, an adjustable mattress can help you and your partner settle in and wind down.

Buying a new mattress is one of the most effective ways to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep, but it’s not the only factor. Eat a balanced diet, get enough exercise, and pay attention to your health. 
Image by Pixabay

Guest author ~ Dylan Foster