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Your Essential Guide To Buying The Right Mattress

Your Essential Guide To Buying The Right Mattress

Isn’t it surprising how little we know about the one essential piece of equipment we lie on for one third of our lives? Yes, mattresses are way down the list of our priorities and that should not be the case.

Investing in the right mattress is money well spent because it is crucial if we are to get restful sleep. The quality of our sleep is going to affect everything we do from productivity to relationships and our overall health. The average US worker misses about 11 days work a year because of lack of sleep. This adds up to a total annual cost of $63 billion in lost productivity!

Let’s face it. A bad mattress is going to steal your precious hours of sleep, while a good one will make sleep the luxurious and re-energizing force it is supposed to be.

You might think buying a really good mattress would be easy. It is not! For example, a high price tag does not always mean this might be the best one for you. Price tags can range from $300 to $30,000! You need to keep a few things in mind such as the materials used, the warranty, the chance of an in-home sleep trial, and shipping. Look at how much research you do before buying a new smartphone, car, or cooker which will marginally affect your lifestyle. A mattress will have a major impact on our lives, yet we rarely do enough research.

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Here are 5 tips to help you through the mattress buying process.

1. Look at your sleep patterns and positions

How well you sleep and also your position will help you to decide which type of mattress may be best for you. If you are tossing and turning all night, your mattress and you may need to part company. Some people sleep on their stomachs. Actually, most people seem to sleep on their side and back. If you are in this category, then you are more likely to need a softer mattress. Keep in mind that a good mattress must come up to support the curves and arches in your body as you lie down. It also keeps your spine with its natural curve which is vital to prevent you from waking up with a back ache! You will need this extra support to relieve the hip and shoulder pressure points which are more likely to be painful.

2. Get familiar with the different mattress types

The most famous one going the rounds now is the memory foam mattress which was developed by NASA in the 1970s to protect astronauts from the effects of impact. It is softer and can really help you sleep better. This is due to the fact that it gets softer at all the crucial pressure points.

However, there are a few disadvantages. There is an odd chemical smell from the mattress which may mean you have to give it a good airing before putting the sheets on. Some users complain that the memory lasts too long, so that rolling over takes quite an effort as you have to press up and out of the previous contour. Another problem is that as it functions by using body heat, it may become a little too warm during summer. Some companies have solved this problem by using an aerated latex foam containing gel which helps to keep things cooler by dissipating the heat.

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Another option is the pillow type mattress which has an extra layer of padding on top which will make for a much softer surface.

When couples have changing or individual needs, the air bed type of mattress allows for adjustable firmness and softness, which also prevents a lot of arguing and may be a good choice for you.

The Better Sleep Council has a very good description of the different mattress types which will help you to understand the salesman’s jargon.

3. You need to try the mattress out with a sleep trial

You know when you fake a sleep on a mattress in the showroom? This is not ideal! First, you have no pyjamas or bedclothes on, so it really is useless. You also have to ask for a test pillow, so the whole operation becomes rather embarrassing. Not to mention if you have to lie with your partner. You would also need at least 15 minutes to get an idea of whether the mattress is soft or firm enough.

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This is when you have to ask about details of a sleep trial. Companies will have various offers which go from one month to three months. This is extremely important if you are shopping online. It may take up to 30 nights to actually get accustomed to a new mattress, so the longer the trial, the better. You should also inquire about transportation costs in the event of a return.

4. Don’t let price be your top priority

Price is not always a good indicator. You should be looking at comfort, convenience, shipping costs, and materials. You might think that haggling is only for your trip to the Casablanca bazaar, but you may be surprised to know that you can often negotiate a better deal for a mattress in the American or European showroom. Mattresses tend to be on sale with huge markups.

You can try indicating what your ceiling is and whether there is room for flexibility. That could mean getting a better deal. You might also get some accessories thrown in, such as a box-spring foundation. If you have done your homework, you can also take advantage of holiday deals and special offers. If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for a discount.

5. Ask about the warranty

This is probably the most important thing to consider, since it regards protecting the mattress itself. Make sure you invest in a waterproof mattress cover, as sometimes stains will void the warranty. The warranty is usually dependent on whether a proper support base has been used. Normally, the outer cover is guaranteed for one year.

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Generally a mattress has a life expectancy of about 10 years, if you look after it. You may find a company such as Ghost Bed, who are offering a 20 year warranty. This is an indication that they are using top quality materials. You also need to ask about delivery, especially if they are offering this free.

Conclusion

As you can see, doing some research before you buy your mattress will pay handsome dividends. You will sleep better and look forward to one third of your life with pleasure. That’s one of the best investments you can make!

Featured photo credit: Opening mattress/Emily May via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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