Most people intuitively understand that their mattress is important, but they underestimate just how important it is. With the wrong mattress, you could end up damaging your health, ruining your mood, and even sabotaging your career – whereas investing in a high-quality conventional mattress or futon mattress could improve your life in a multitude of measurable ways.
So how is it that a mattress can have that big of an impact? And what steps should you take to choose the right one for your needs?
The most important role your mattress serves is supporting good sleep. This is where you’ll spend most of your nights – and a third of your life, if you follow the standard recommendations of getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
Mattresses can impact sleep quality in several ways:
· Subjective comfort. This one’s a no-brainer. If your mattress is uncomfortable, you won’t be able to fall asleep or stay asleep reliably. There are several ways your mattress can be uncomfortable, as well. For example, it might be too soft or too firm. It might be lumpy. It might be made of a material you don’t like. It could even be the wrong shape or size. No matter what, if you’re not relaxed, you won’t sleep well.
· Physical support. The physical support conferred by your mattress can also impact your sleep. Without sufficient support, your body will grow out of alignment, forcing you to toss and turn uncomfortably. But if your mattress is too firm, you may have trouble finding a comfortable position in the first place.
· Heat retention. Some mattresses are better at distributing heat than others, while some retain heat. That heat retention might be a boon in cold winter months, but it can make sleeping in summertime almost unbearable – even if you have a good air conditioner to keep the rest of the room cool.
· Positioning. Some people can only sleep comfortably in a certain position. For example, they may prefer side sleeping, or they may want to sit up slightly. Certain mattresses are designed to provide support for specific positions, making it easier and more comfortable to achieve them throughout the night. If you’re not getting that extra support, it may make it harder to sleep comfortably.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’ll suffer a variety of physical and mental effects, including:
· Fatigue. We’ve all felt the fatigue of a missed or lackluster night of sleep. Feeling tired, sluggish, and without energy can impact you in many areas of life, including your career, hobbies, and family time.
· Cognitive impairment. A lack of sleep can also introduce cognitive impairments of many varieties. You might experience a slower reaction time, impaired creative thinking, and difficulty solving problems that would otherwise be easy.
· Mood volatility. Sleep deprivation almost always impacts your mood. You might feel more irritated or more depressed, or be subject to volatile swings in mood.
· Susceptibility to health conditions. Missing sleep on a chronic basis can even make you more likely to suffer from certain conditions and diseases, like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Hygiene and Allergies
Even if you change your sheets on a regular basis, your mattress is going to become filthy over time. It’s going to accumulate dirt, dust, mites, and microorganisms that fester as a micro-colony below you as you sleep. While this may not have much of a direct health impact, it can aggravate your allergies, making you less comfortable and less able to sleep.
Even if you do get a good night’s sleep, there’s a chance your mattress could be impacting your physical health in a negative way. If your mattress is too firm, it could lead to aches and joint pain. And if your mattress is too soft, it might not be able to give you the back support you need – resulting in chronic back pain if you use the mattress for an extended period of time.
The Solution: A Better Mattress
As we’ve seen, a low-quality mattress, or an old mattress that’s worn out, can have a massive detrimental impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. The solution is obvious; you have to buy a new, high-quality mattress.
Unfortunately, the “right” mattress is going to differ based on individual preferences and priorities. While one person may prefer a firm, supportive mattress, another may prefer a softer, more responsive one.
Consider your personal priorities carefully and review multiple options before making your final decision; your health depends on it.