Most people realize that a decent mattress can make it easier to drift off to sleep, but did you know that the right mattress could actually improve your health? Multiple studies have shown a strong correlation between sleep and staying strong and healthy, which is why it is so important to choose your next mattress carefully. Here are four ways a good mattress can improve your health, and what to look for the next time you go shopping.
1. Fewer Pressure Points
Mattress shopping is about so much more than simply choosing a firm or soft mattress. Because everyone weighs a different amount and has individual physical and anatomical characteristics, the soft mattress that works well for your spouse might not be right for you.
Research has shown that when mattresses are too firm, they press against the body, restricting blood flow to your skin and underlying tissues. Staying in the same position for too long when pressure points are present could even lead to cell death, causing problems like bedsores. For these reasons, Michael Decker, a spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, recommends selecting a mattress that reduces pressure points on your body.
To improve your health, keep in mind that soft mattresses are less likely to cause pressure points, but that mattresses should be firm enough to keep your body in a neutral sleep position. When mattresses are too soft, they don’t support your body properly, which can also aggravate pressure points. As you test mattresses, pay attention to any part of your body that feels uncomfortable. Don’t ignore a lower back that is struggling or a leg that is falling asleep.
2. Healthier Eating Habits
Choosing a comfortable mattress that helps you to prevent pressure points can also help you to roll over less as you sleep, which can improve the quality of your rest. When blood flow is restricted, your brain automatically signals to your body that it is time to roll over, and the sleeper wakens slightly to move. However, the right mattress could help you to sleep deeper, which might also prompt healthier eating.
A 2012 study that followed the sleeping and eating habits of participants found that people who lived on less sleep tended to eat as much as 549 extra calories per day. This extra calorie intake is thought to be tied to the body’s natural response to sleep deprivation. When people sleep less, their bodies tend to produce more ghrelin, a chemical that sparks feelings of hunter. Researchers also discovered that sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to snack throughout the day, which causes excessive weight gain.
Choosing a mattress suited to your individual needs will help you to sleep more soundly, experience fewer hunger cravings, and ultimately, keep your waistline in check.
3. Increased Immune Function
When you sleep well, your body can operate more effectively. Because your cells repair themselves as you sleep and your body has a chance to relax, better sleep can reduce your chances of being susceptible to cold and flu viruses. For example, one study published in 2015 found that adults who didn’t sleep well were 4-5 times more likely to develop a cold than people who got at least 7 hours of sleep a night. The most interesting part of the study is that the researchers found that the risk remained the same, even when other factors were figured in. Study participants who smoked or were overweight were just as likely to avoid getting colds as long as they received adequate sleep.
To improve your immune function, don’t ignore those nights where you wake up tossing and turning. You can enjoy healthier sleep by doing something as simple as replacing that old mattress with a newer, more comfortable version.
4. Less Risk of Injury or Death
When people are tired, they experience a reduced reaction time, which can contribute to workplace accidents and car wrecks. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, over 100,000 car accidents can be attributed to drowsy driving each and every year in the United States alone. Slower reaction times can also be dangerous for people who work in the construction or manufacturing sectors, who frequently encounter dangerous situations involving heavy machinery, heights, and electricity. Also, because sleep deprivation has been tied to heart health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke, not getting a good night’s sleep could increase your risk factors for sudden, life-threatening emergencies. However, research has shown that your risks for these types of incidents is reduced when you sleep well.
Stay on the safe side when you purchase your next mattress. Talk with your doctor or chiropractor about which type of bed would be right for you. If you have lower back pain, previous spinal problems, or issues with your general health, your doctor might have helpful advice that could guide you in the right direction. Choose a high-quality mattress store, such as Best Mattress, to do your shopping. As you look for mattresses, don’t be shy about trying out the different models and asking questions. A little due diligence now might make a big difference in the future.