It’s frustrating, right? Sometimes, the mattress is too hard. Sometimes, too soft. How do you get the perfect night’s sleep?
How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep: The Basics
Before you get too caught up in the marketing gimmicks of manufacturers and retail outlets, keep in mind that the basics of getting a good night’s sleep will always matter more than the specific mattress you buy. The mattress is the tool you use.
Anyway, some good basic sleep hygiene includes getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night, making sure you shut off all electronics when the sun goes down (or wear blue blocking sunglasses or protective eyeware to shield your eyes from short-wave blue light), eating a whole foods diet.
Research consistently shows that people who get 8 hours of sleep per night are more alert and cognitively ready to face the day compared to people who get less than 8 hours of sleep.
Research from Harvard University shows that blue light is especially disruptive to hormones in the human body — specifically, melatonin and cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that acts as the “fight or flight” mechanism in your body. When cortisol levels rise, you are awake and alert. When they drop, you tend to become relaxed and perhaps even sleepy.
Melatonin is a hormone that’s referred to as “the darkness hormone.” It helps put you to sleep, and is triggered in the evening, when short-wave blue light from the sun can no longer pierce the atmosphere and make its way to the Earth.
However, LED screens, from modern electronics like iPhones and T.V.s, and tablet computers, all emit the same short-wave blue light as the sun. This blue light has a disruptive effect on melatonin, making it harder for you to get to sleep.
Finally, eating a whole foods diet consisting of lean muscle meats, fatty organ meats, nuts, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables will ensure that you’re getting a high dose of all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. And, when that happens, your body has all the resources it needs to perform its daily functions. And, you won’t be overeating calories. Which means that you’re going to be able to burn up sufficient calories and balancing your hormone levels so that you can actually get to bed at a decent hour and stay asleep for a full 8 hours.
What Type Of Mattress Do You Need?
There are a few types of mattresses out there that you should check out, but only once your lifestyle and diet are in order. For example, a tuft and needle bed gives you a good balance of firmness and comfort, sleeps cool, and is generally a good buy for people who need firm, but supportive, mattresses.
An innerspring mattress type is by far the most commonly used type on the market. They will support you with a series of coil springs. And, most of them built today contain coils that are individually enclosed and contained. This helps with longevity of the bed, since the springs are not subject to undue stress or compression.
It also helps prevent coils from popping out of the mattress. On top of the coils are a variety of materials that are added for comfort purposes. When you buy an innerspring mattress, it’s likely that a salesman will try to sell you on the idea that more coils mean more comfort, but that’s not always true. As long as there are at least 390 coils in the bed, you don’t need any more and adding more won’t improve the noticeable comfort of the bed.
The only downside is that there is no direct relationship between price and comfort, so unlike most things, you don’t always get what you pay for.
A Memory Foam Mattress
These mattresses are some of the most popular, and they’re growing in popularity every year. First introduced by Tempur Pedic, they’re made of layers of different densities of foam which respond to your weight and body temperature. As the foam heats up, the foam softens and provides support because it molds to your body. They call this “contouring.”
By molding to your body, the mattress actually shifts and changes while you sleep. When you roll over, it moves with you. So, ideally, you shouldn’t ever be in an uncomfortable position. These mattresses also do not transfer motion, so you should never feel uncomfortable or be disturbed when your partner moves in the middle of the night.
One of the biggest drawbacks to these mattresses is that because they’re temperature sensitive, they can feel really hot in the middle of the night. They trap heat and act like an insulating material. They can also emit a chemical smell that bothers some people.
Latex isn’t just for condoms. They make mattresses out of them too, if you can believe it. Latex is made from either natural or synthetic rubber, and is known for providing a very firm and bouncy support that’s uniform throughout the entire bed.
It’s one of the best materials you can have for a bed. But, if you don’t like firm mattresses, it will be a nightmare to sleep on. Also, if you have an allergy to rubber, this bed is not for you.
Ted Wilson started working in the orthopedic industry in 1982 in Portland, OR and was involved in several health-related initiatives nationwide until 1998, when after a car accident, Ted started to suffer from chronic back pain and focused his attention on people suffering from the same conditions. Among other things, Ted and his team run a successful website, www.mattress-guides.net, independently reviewing beds and mattresses for the public.