For many people, the thought of having a restful sleep must seem like a fantasy. This is largely because many of us are either sleeping on the wrong type of mattress, performing jobs that disturb our natural body clocks, or experiencing stressors that make restful sleep almost an impossibility. As a consequence, millions of people worldwide simply get by on what little sleep they have.
The biggest problem with bad sleep is that it can have many consequences, including the following:
- Exhaustion: We are likely all very familiar with the lethargy associated with night after night of poor sleep. The trouble is that over time our brain and bodies simply adjust to functioning on the little sleep that we do get. While it may seem like a natural state, we have simply habituated ourselves to this state of exhaustion and it becomes a hard pattern to break.
- Memory: The impact of poor sleep on our ability to retain information can be devastating. Our short-term memories and our ability to learn and think deeply are damaged by poor sleeping patterns. For people at work or for students, this can have terrible consequences over a long period of time.
- Stress: When we are surviving on poor quality sleep, we are vulnerable to stressors in life and become more easily stressed. Poor sleep patterns are also linked to the increase of cortisol—the so-called stress chemical—in our bloodstream. Increased levels of cortisol over a period of time can have devastating health effects.
Advice on Getting Better Sleep
A lot of advice on improving sleeping patterns focusses on improving your diet, getting more exercise, and eliminating as many stressors as possible. While this is all very good advice, many people miss the one thing that could significantly help to improve sleep: the humble mattress.
A mattress that is too hot, too hard, too soft, or simply too uncomfortable is sure to cause poor sleep. There are a wide range of mattresses on the market today that are aimed at improving our sleep, including two of the biggest names: Tempurpedic and Serta iComfort. In fact, the web is filled with heated debates about the merits of both mattress types, which you can read more about here: http://www.mattress-inquirer.com/serta-icomfort-vs-tempurpedic/
Tips on Buying a New Mattress
If you are about to make a decision on buying a new mattress, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Support: The way that a mattress supports the body mostly comes down to subjective factors. You must consider your body shape, weight, and favoured sleeping positions when looking at the best kind of support. Memory foam mattress, such as the aforementioned Tempurpedic and the Serta iComfort, are available and may seem like wise investments, but they each have advantages and disadvantages.
- Comfort: In much the same way that the support of a mattress comes down to many individualised factors, overall comfort is a combination of a wide number of factors. You may have a highly supportive mattress and find it to be good for your back, for example, but it may not be the most comfortable option overall. Ultimately, you must strike a balance between comfort and support. This translates into a more restful night of sleep.
As much as we understand the importance of good sleep, we probably don’t consider the type of mattress we sleep on seriously enough. Diet, exercise, and stress factors all play a vital role in the quality of sleep that we experience, but the mattress is also an important factor that should not be forgotten.