There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing a mattress.
While we’ve all noticed the benefits of a good night’s sleep, for some, this rest doesn’t come easy. In fact, US-based Sleep Foundation puts the number of people in America suffering from sleep disorders – conditions that affect quality of sleep - between 50 million and 70 million. And in the UAE, insomnia – an umbrella term that refers to when people have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting good quality sleep -affects about 30 per cent of the population, say experts.
One element that can alleviate concerns and help sleepers is taking a hard look at whether the mattress and linen they are using is right for them.
Praveen Bhatnagar, CEO, ZeroG Beds & Mattresses, Vanity kart General Trading LLC, explains: “Your choice of mattress can either make or break your sleep experience. The right mattress will align your spine, relieve pressure points, and offer tailored support to match your body type and sleeping preferences.”
Dr Manisha Gupta, GP with Prime Medical Center AlBarari branch, concurs. She says: “An unsuitable mattress can cause discomfort, night awakenings, back pain if the mattress is very hard and headaches due to inadequate sleep and fatigue.” And the right pillow, she explains, helps in healthy spinal alignment during sleep, preventing neck pain, shoulder pain and neck stiffness.
Time for change?
Old mattresses can also cause other, more serious, problems. “Old mattresses cause allergy problems: The older a mattress gets, the more likely it is to cause allergy issues. Sweat, body oils and dead skin cells will build up over time, which is the perfect environment for dust mites to thrive. These bugs have been shown to promote a plethora of complaints, from rashes to asthma attacks,” says Dr Sandeep Pargi, Specialist Pulmonologist at UAE-based Prime Medical Center.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR MATTRESS?
Sleep Foundation states that under normal conditions, a mattress should be changed every six to eight years.
When deciding on a mattress one must account for their sleeping habits – a person who sleeps on their side will have different needs than one who sleeps on their back, for instance. What works for one person may not work for another. “People have diverse sleeping habits, and these habits necessitate different mattress and pillow types. Whether you're a back, side, or stomach sleeper, finding the right mattress and pillow that aligns with your body's unique needs is essential. Tailoring your sleep essentials to your specific position ensures the ultimate sleep comfort,” says Bhatnagar.
Poor sleep, meanwhile, leads to loss of concentration, weakened immune system and indirectly to obesity, blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
On average, an adult needs seven or more hours of sleep for optimum health, agree experts. And creating an ideal sleep environment is key to good naps. “Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in quality bedding and pillows that suit your preferred sleeping position. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine can also signal to your body that it's time to unwind and prepare for a restful night's sleep,” suggests Bhatnagar.
Another thing to keep in mind is the bed linen you are using. “Soft, breathable, and high-quality bedding can make a world of difference in your sleep experience. Opt for materials that regulate temperature and wick away moisture [such as cotton], promoting a comfortable and undisturbed rest throughout the night,” says Bhatnagar.
While sleep can prove an elusive goal, there are plenty of things one can do to help it along. Step one is to take cognizance of the equipment – mattress, pillows and linen – that one is using. A few tweaks can make all the difference between interrupted sleep and a good night’s rest.
THINGS THAT CAN HELP DEAL WITH INSOMNIA
US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following tips to help people sleep better:
• Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
• Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
• Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom
• Avoid large meals and caffeine before bedtime
• Get some exercise