When it comes to sleep, eight really is the magic number. There’s the optimal eight hours a night shut-eye (although, some claim to function perfectly well on less, of course). And eight is also the figure to keep in mind when it comes to mattresses: apparently we should be replacing them every eight years.
Sleep is vital for our health and well being and is something we cannot live without, not only do we not function properly after a bad nights sleep but it can lead to long term health problems. But how many of us really take as much care about making sure we sleep well?
Its so easy to concentrate on our day time lives that many of us forget that we could vastly improve our waking hours by addressing our sleeping conditions. You only need ask a new parent how they feel after a few weeks without sleep to know how a bad nights sleep can impact your whole life.
On average most adults seem to need around 7-8 hours sleep per night though this can vary from person to person. As we grow older our sleep patterns change and as we go through our life stages we tend to get less and less sleep. Older adults tend to sleep less, not because they need less sleep, but because we’re more likely to experience disturbed sleep as we grow older.
The longer you keep the same mattress, the less comfortable it becomes, fact. It’d be easy to dismiss this as merely a marketing ploy. But its advice that’s often backed up by health experts – an old, worn-out mattress isn’t going to be very supportive after all, and this could contribute to things like back and neck pain and trapped nerves.
Mattresses don’t always help people obtain a good night’s sleep. Low-quality, uncomfortable mattresses have been linked to sleep discomfort and pain, and chronic pain can prevent quality sleep.
Look for a mattress that fits your body. Chiropractors advocate finding a mattress that’s designed to conform to the spine’s natural curve and distribute pressure evenly across the body. The best way to figure out if a mattress correctly supports the body is to bring a friend along to the store. Lie on the mattress in your normal sleeping position and ask your friend to observe whether your spine remains fairly neutral. If your spine is obviously sagging or curved exaggeratedly in any given direction, then keep searching for a mattress that helps maintain neutral spine alignment.
Mattresses don’t just become ache-causing, flattened versions of their former super-sprung selves as time goes by – they can also become ‘hot beds of bacteria’.
“Most people would be rather surprised by the things you can find in an old mattress,” notes leading environmental hygiene expert, Dr Lisa Ackerley. “Mould spores and bacteria build up over the years and although invisible, you could be breathing in these harmful spores at night. Due to the amount of human contact with the average mattress, it’s inevitable that microbes and unwanted guests will develop over time.”
People tend to focus on cleaning the things they can see – pillows and sheets, but the mattress itself can be a ‘hot bed’ of potential illness.” So if your mattress is not giving you a good night sleep or is older than 8 years old you may want to think about replacing it.
Looking for a new bed of mattress? Here are two local companies that can help you.