Many of my patients ask me how important is a mattress and how do I select the proper one?
Shakespeare said it best in Macbeth when he stated that sleep is the “balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course and chief nourisher of life’s feast.” I agree.
Proper sleep is not only a convenience, but also a necessity for proper health.
If you are not sleeping well, you just simply are not as healthy as you could be.
It is during sleep, and only sleep, that the body allows itself to repair from the day’s activities.
I take mattresses very seriously as there is no one single possession of yours that you will use more.
We will sleep 3,000 hours a year and by the age of 50 will have spent over 150,000 hours in bed.
The importance of proper sleep cannot be underestimated.
In a recent study published in the Journal Sleep, the importance of REM sleep became all too important.
The study subjects were allowed to sleep until they approached the REM phase, whereupon they were awoken and asked to do simple cognitive tests.
They were allowed to fall asleep whenever they wanted, once they approached REM phase of sleep they were once again woken.
The study only lasted three days.
These individuals demonstrated a profound decline in their ability to concentrate, cognitive abilities and memory function.
Subjectively, they stated that they felt irritable, moody and at times aggressive.
They were unable to solve simple addition problems by the end of the study.
If your mattress predates the Mulroney era and has become somewhat of a hammock when you and your partner are sleeping side by side, it may be time for this sag monster to go.
Here are some indications that you may need a new mattress.
If you wake up feeling stiff, or complain of aches, pains or numbness anywhere, you may need a new mattress.
If you find that you have a better night’s sleep somewhere other than in your own bed, or your mattress is greater than eight years old, it may be time to go shopping.
There are many different types of mattresses:, air beds, foam, synthetic and natural latex, waterbeds, adjustable beds and if your student; the trusty futon.
The bottom line of mattresses is that you simply get what you pay for and if the mattress is comfortable to you then it is probably the mattress for you.
It would be unrealistic to expect that you could go to Markus’s Mattress Emporium and outfit your family of four for $2,000.
You should never feel you have to negotiate with your mattress to be comfortable, it should be an immediate comfort.
When shopping for a new mattress it’s important that you take your shoes off and lay on the mattress in various positions.
It is also important that your partner be with you to see if the mattress is a bit of a funnel when you’re both laying on it.
Have the salesperson show you a cutaway sample of the mattress to determine the density of the coils and the distribution of the foam.
In addition, compare the stores for their services such as removal of your old mattress and return policy.
Most reputable mattress stores will give you a certain grace period to determine whether the mattress is for you or not.
They should have a return or trade-in policy until you’re completely satisfied.
Make sure you sample at least 10 different mattresses and above all, make sure your wife or husband is happy with it.
I cannot stress this enough. I know better than to make a decision like this unsupervised.
Markus Thiel is a doctor of chiropractic practicing in Kelowna.