Were you aware that sleep deprivation is a public health problem? I’m sure you know that a poor night’s sleep often results in less mental awareness and physical exhaustion, but you may not have known that it also affects your overall health, the longevity of life, and can have a direct impact of those around you. Not only is a lack of sleep linked to an increase in vehicular accidents, occupational errors, and industrial disasters, it may very well be killing you.
Insufficient sleep is linked to heart disease, elevated blood pressure, obesity, an increase in stroke over time, and can also alter your mood and perception of the world around you. In a success is driven the world, it seems easy to eschew sleep to get ahead, but you are actually increasing your chances of failure in your quest for success when you don’t get the rest you need. On average, and adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep, and it is estimated that only one-third of the adult population is clocking in with at least 7 hours each night.
In short, sleep rests your brain and allows it to recharge in order to better acquire knowledge, process new information, and recall it later to tackle problem-solving- all a part of our daily function.
Not all sleep is equal. When you close your eyes each night, your brain enters into a series of stages that help you drift off into a relaxed state and the eventual sleep process that involves spikes in brain function that is believed to be important to both learning and memory. During these sleep stages, waking for any reason can result in a feeling of restlessness, and many people who have been involved with sleep studies report a feeling of not having slept at all despite being asleep for many hours.
You can, of course, control your sleep schedule, but what if you are heading to bed regularly and still wake exhausted? Poor sleep is often attributed to poor sleep habits, but many times the culprit to a restless night is right under you: your mattress. Old, poor quality mattresses, or simply poor mattresses choices are often part of a much larger problem that results in a restless, and pain filled sleep that provides a continual cycle of interruptions that keep you from getting a true night’s rest.
Often we are unaware of just how much our mattress affects our sleep until we are provided with an alternate choice away from home. That may be enough to motivate you to consider a mattress replacement, but with all the choices available, how exactly do you find the one that will help you get the sleep you deserve?
The most obvious answer to kicking off your search for the perfect mattress is to visit a nearby showroom or look online. But I assure you it won’t take long to get confused with the incredible variety of choices you will be faced with – not to mention the vocabulary that will be thrown at you. Therefore it’s prudent to do a little homework in advance in order to understand what you are looking at to avoid walking away with something you didn’t need or want simply because you don’t know the difference between memory foam and latex and it’s effect on your sleep quality.
I’ve included some of the most common terms found in the mattress industry to help you determine your best fit. What you should consider before committing to a purchase is your sleep position, any existing joint or pain issues you have, and your budget. Surprisingly you will find that with a little bit of patience, you can most likely find exactly what you want within your price range.
- Air flow: the amount of air that can be expressed through foam materials. This is important to take note of, especially if you are a hot sleeper.
- Box Spring: used as a foundation for traditional mattresses. Not an approved base for memory foam mattress construction.
- Continuous Coil: An innerspring mattress coil that is one continuous piece.
- Density: measurement of weight per cubic square foot used to determine the quality of foam. Higher densities equal higher qualities.
- Firmness: How much resistance is noticeable when weight is applied. This determines your soft, or firm mattress surfaces.
- Foam Types: Refers to the type of foam consistency and often have differing density weights. ES (extra soft), standard, HD (high density), HR (high resiliency), and viscoelastic (memory) are all common in the industry.
- Gel: a cooling agent often added as a layer, or mixed into foam layers, to provide a cooling effect.
- Hybrid Mattress: A combination of materials which may include foam, latex, coils, and pillow tops.
- ILD: Indention Load Deflection- a measurement of the softness of foam and is not related to the density or quality of the foam.
- Latex: Sap from the rubber tree which is processed to create a high-quality foam used in mattresses.
- Motion Transfer refers to the transfer of energy from one side of the mattress to the other.
- Pillow Top or Eurotop: An extra layer of padding added onto a mattress surface without sacrificing support. Some can be unzipped as well.
- Pocket Coils or Innerspring: Spring coils wrapped in foam to reduce noise and improve contouring.
- Polyurethane Foam or Synthetic Foam: What all foams, other than latex, are made from, including memory foam.
- Resilience: the ability of the foam to ‘spring back’ to shape after applied weight.
- Sleep Trial: Offered by most online retailers in order to allow you a period of time to test out whether the mattress is the right pick for you. These vary from company to company.
If you know you are headed to bed each night with plenty of time to get a good night’s rest, but rise each morning stiff, sore, and tired- you need to consider the causes. Mattresses are likely culprits to a consistently poor rest but are also easy to replace once you’ve armed yourself with a little bit of knowledge.
If you’ve been failing to get the sleep you both need and deserve to live a healthy, productive life, consider replacing your sleeping surface.
About The Author:
Frank Apodaca strives to find the best night’s sleep possible for you through the testing of a variety of products and unbiased reviews you can find at The Sleep Judge. Through his years in the business, he has come across a quite a few products, both good and bad, and knows quality when he sees it. His experience in the industry provides you with the best advice possible to get you what you need. Follow us on Facebook, Youtube, or Twitter