A good night’s rest is an important part of your overall health, and not getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night can eventually play havoc on both your mental and physical state. Long term sleep debt results in not only a sluggish you, but can even increase your risk for cardiovascular problems, obesity, and even stroke. If you struggle with insomnia, tossing and turning, or pain throughout the night, you may want to consider a few factors contributing to your discomfort.
Your sleep comfort is generally the first thing you should consider when you have determined that sleep is either elusive, or chronically interrupted. Many people are completely unaware of how the age of their mattress plays into a good night’s sleep, or how important their unique sleep comfort is supported by said mattress. Fortunately, a few simple explanations should help you better determine what role your mattress plays in your restless nights, and what, exactly, you can do about it.
Your sleep comfort is generally the first thing you should consider when you have determined that sleep is either elusive or chronically interrupted.
What is a Firm Mattress?
Mattress firmness depends upon the indention load deflection, or ILD, and is measured by weight that is placed upon the material surface and the responsiveness of said material layer. The scale runs from a 12 to 50, with 12 being softer, and more responsive to weight, where a 50 if the most firm and unlikely to give much to pressure. It’s important to note that the firmness level of a mattress has nothing to do with material density. They are two separate measurements.
The firmness level of your mattress has everything to do with how well you sleep, and is incredibly influential on how quickly you get to sleep each night. Firmness levels deal directly with your comfort, and if your body is unable to rest in a natural, supportive position, you are unknowingly creating stress your body is constantly trying to accommodate. When you are searching for the perfect mattress, look for a product that offers multiple choices of firmness, such as the Serta iComfort Series in order to see the specific differences between each to best fit your needs.
Side sleepers need a more plush surface to help cushion and give to pressure points such as hips and shoulder to keep your spine in alignment. Unfortunately, many people who sleep on their sides believe they need a very soft choice that often sinks too much, causing strain upon these areas and an uncomfortable night of rest. Your bed should be firm enough to support and distribute weight (the heavier you weigh, the firmer your choice would be), but have a soft enough surface to give to these pressure points.
Back and stomach sleepers need a firmer surface in order to support these areas and not allow them to sink into the mattress. Doing so causes the natural curve of the spine to be increased, placing uneven strain upon the surrounding soft tissues, resulting in pain.
Pros of a More Firm Mattress
They support a more neutral spinal position, especially for back and stomach sleepers.
Blood flow increases due to a reduction in pressure points.
The lower back is supported, allowing for deeper breathing and increased oxygen flow.
Sleep comfort aides, such as body pillows, can be used more effectively.
Your body is more inclined to adapt to a more firm surface rather than a too soft surface.
Often less expensive than softer choices.
Firmer mattresses can support heavier weight for longer, as well as not compress and reduce support as easily as a softer surface.
What to Watch For in Mattress Firmness
You may find the initial switch from a soft to firmer surface uncomfortable at first. Allow for at least a 30-day break in and adaptation period before deciding if it isn’t for you (most mattress companies offer sleep trials that are more than adequate for this).
Try to check out the difference between a soft, medium, medium-firm, and firm choice in order to better understand the differences.
Certain disabilities may not be supported by too firm a surface.
Many firm options also offer a softer first few inches of comfort. Be sure to ask about pillow tops, Eurotops, and hybrid type foam layers for pressure point reduction.
Unless you suffer from disabilities or injuries that require a softer surface or your doctor is concerned about a firm surface, you should consider something a bit firmer to provide spinal support. Responsive comfort layers can more than adequately provide the sink and contouring needed for pressure point reduction while providing the support your overall health deserves.
Although you may be used to a much softer surface, it may be the reason you are getting a poor night’s rest, and trying out something more firm for a trial period may be more than surprising.
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