You spend around a third of your life sleeping. Whether you spend it blissfully dreaming away or tossing and turning depends on various factors, not least your health, but also your mattress and your bedroom environment.
Sleep is so crucial to your survival that your brain releases a hormone called melatonin (among others) to tell your body when it needs to sleep.
When you lack sleep, you feel tired because your brain amps up the melatonin release as a defence mechanism. Quite literally, your brain drugs you into sleep, a process that we share with most animals!
Everyone’s experienced the fatigue and irritability that follows a poor night’s sleep. An occasional night without sleep is terrible, but prolonged sleep deprivation causes brain fog, a dangerous symptom that affects mental cognition, which increases the risk of accidents and injuries (hence the “Tiredness kills!” signs on motorways).
Could your mattress be to blame for poor sleep?
If you toss and turn and can’t get comfortable, there’s a good chance your mattress is to blame because it doesn’t support your body. Mattresses play a crucial role in sleep quality because they align your spine, hips, and joints.
Not everyone is the same. Some people sleep on their side, while others sleep on their tummy. People also come in all shapes and sizes. So, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all mattress – there’s only the right mattress for you!
Signs your mattress is affecting your sleep include:
- Waking up with aches and pains
- Tossing and turning
- Overheating and sweating
- Struggling to get comfortable
If you can relate to these, you might like to try a new mattress. We also recommend getting a new one if your current one is over ten years old.
Choosing the perfect mattress
It would help if you chose a mattress that supports how you like to sleep:
- Firm mattresses – best for side sleepers
- Soft mattresses – best for tummy sleepers
- Medium mattresses – a jack of all trades for all positions.
- You can also get mattresses in soft-medium, medium-firm, etc.
Once you’ve figured out the best firmness for how you like to sleep, you can move on to what your mattress will be made from.
- Memory foam – layers of memory foam and support foam. Conforms to your body. No springs. Squishy. Available in soft, medium, and firm. Less breathable.
- Memory gel – pocket springs with a bed of memory gel underneath the top cover. The gel has cooling qualities and moulds to your body. More breathable.
- Pocket springs – thousands of springs with artificial padding. Available with up to 3,000 springs (higher number > more springs > better quality). Best breathability.
- Open coil springs – also known as Miracoil, are in the Silentnight range. Cheaper than pocket springs and less supportive. A budget choice.
- Natural fillings – pocket springs with natural fillings/padding, such as wool, bamboo, and cotton. The same rules apply to these as pocket spring mattresses.
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is the only opportunity your body has to heal and recover. It is essential to your physical and mental health, and it has been directly linked to obesity, diabetes, sex drive, heart disease, fertility, and immunity.
Your brain produces toxic waste as a by-product of functioning, and the glymphatic system can only flush it during sleep. During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away toxins.
A lack of sleep leads to physical and mental impairment because your body can’t repair cells, and your brain can’t get rid of toxic waste.
What happens when you don’t sleep? At first, you feel rough. After 24-hours without sleep, you feel ill and exhausted. Studies have shown that 24-hour sleep deprivation is the same as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10%!
Beyond 24-hours, your body starts shutting down, conserving energy for your brain and vital organs. At this stage, your brain and body are desperate.
Suffice to say, sleep is crucial to your mental and physical health, and a new mattress could be all you need to get some better shut-eye.