Sleep is an essential part in a healthy life. Just like eating right and exercising, good sleep is needed to feel your best. Sleep, or lack of sleep, affects every aspect of your life. While you sleep your brain processes the day’s activities and re-energizes the body.
Most adults need between seven and eight hours of quality sleep nightly, but this can differ widely from person to person. Some people only need six, while others need ten hours. Most children require nine hours of sleep a night. If you sleep longer on the weekends, this may indicate you have a “sleep debt” and probably need more sleep during the week.
To help improve sleep make sure you try these tips: Go to bed early enough that you wake up most days without an alarm and on a regular schedule. Exercise regularly. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow. Don’t eat, drink caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime. Keep your bedroom quiet, cool and dark; keep computers and TV’s out of the bedroom. If you find yourself stressed before bedtime take a few moments to relax, set the days worries aside and tell yourself its ok to sleep.
Your mattress can help or hinder your healthy sleep. If your mattress is good for you, you may not notice it much. If you are tossing and turning all night, or waking up more sore and achy than when you went to bed, it's probably your body's way of saying you need a new mattress. Two to three times a year you should do a visual inspection of your mattress set. Is it looking worn? Ask yourself if you're sleeping as well as you did six months ago. Some people don't do this simple check and go for years sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress! Most manufactures and raw material suppliers say a good quality mattress will provide 7 to 10 years of comfortable service.
Mattresses wear out at different times. Remember that you spend a third of your life in bed, that's a lot of use for any item. A mattress may wear out after just a few years, some of the new mattress materials will last ten to twenty years. Just because a mattress has warranty time left doesn't mean you will still find it comfortable. How a mattress is used (master bedroom, guest room, or kids trampoline) and the quality of the mattress will determine its longevity. Another thing to consider is your body changes over the years, what you found comfortable in your twenties may cause you to toss and turn in your thirty's. Do you still find your mattress comfortable?
Bettersleep.org recommends this SLEEP test for choosing a mattress:
Select a mattress
Lie down in your sleep position
Evaluate the comfort and support
Educate yourself about each selection
Partners should try each mattress together
Understand your sleep needs and think about your lifestyle. Has anything changed (marital status, children, injury, new home, etc.) since you got your last mattress? How do these changes affect your comfort and support needs? How much space do you have in your bedroom? Some things to keep in mind are support, comfort, space and cost. The right mattress will keep your spine in proper alignment and supporting you along the curves of your body. The Horton Firmness Index (HFI) was developed to indicate the initial surface feel of a mattress, lower numbers indicate a softer feeling and higher numbers indicate a firmer surface. HFI relates to whether a mattresses comfort falls into a firm or soft category, mattresses of varying components and costs may share the same HFI. Make sure you have enough room to move around, couples should sleep on a queen or king size mattress. You don't want to sleep in a bed that makes you feel confined. Figuring a 7 year lifespan a $500 mattress costs less than $ .20 a day. A $1000 mattress $ .39 and a $2000 mattress is only $ .78! Much less than a dollar a day for comfortable restful sleep!
Ultimately the best mattress for you is a matter of individual taste. There is no one size fits all in mattresses, what your neighbor finds comfortable might cause you to wake up stiff and sore. Cost can generally determine the quality (a better mattress will have better materials in its construction) of a mattress but it doesn't determine comfort. Don't get tricked into thinking the most expensive bed on the market is the best, some of the most expensive mattresses made are filled with nothing more than air! You'll spend about one-third of your time (at eight hours a night) in bed. That's 220,000 hours in a lifetime! Don't shortchange yourself, spend the time to find a high quality, comfortable mattress set at a price you can afford, after all your mattress is the most frequently used piece of furniture you have!