Recent research has strongly linked instances of back pain to poor mattress quality.
So you think you know all there is to know about mattresses? OK.
So you’ve been to the store, “tested it out” in about 3 minutes while listening to a salesmen waiting to make his first close of the day, and landed on your best ever mattress? OK
So you’ve had your mattresses for only 8 years, and it’s still in perfect order, and you even have a 2 year warranty? Sure.
Well these are all great and I’m sure you have had an amazing night of sleep on your mattress, once or twice. Do you honestly feel you made a fully informed decision about your mattress, or, was it just made very simple, with a well-tailored sales pitch, with brilliant lighting reminiscent of a pre-sleep reading setting?
Hard to tell.
If you’re anything like me then you answered yes to all of the above. Hey – I never said I was perfect or that I got it all right the first time either. But after “dealing with” the most “ok” mattress on the planet for 5 years and finding it fraying and frizzing in the areas that received the most use, I decided to find out what else I could do to improve the quality of sleep I was getting.
There has been a recent and apparently, booming trend of “Mattresses in a Box” and although I have been following sleep and sleep quality for quite a while, I often wondered how well these businesses flourished when most people keep their mattresses for years at a time, if they ever change them at all.
Anyway, enough rambling, according to the “professionals”, a mattress should last at least 7 years. So for those of you who may have been feeling some guilt after reading the intro, fear not. 7-10 years is the accepted amount of usage one can get out of a mattress.
Now, show of hands, how many of those who relaxed actually own a “high end” mattress? Because that 7+ years only refers to such mattresses.
If you didn’t raise your hand, then you have probably been sleeping on bedrock.
The reality is, that depending on the type of mattress the length of time you can use it comfortably will change.
Types of mattresses
Apparently there are at least 8 very different types of mattresses for you to choose from. This obviously doesn’t make deciding on one particular mattress easy. For the majority, a well-made foam mattress is the most common, and can be considered “all-purpose” when it comes to our needs.
For a look at a list of each type of mattress click here.
Tip #1: More Coils, Better Quality Surface.
The greater the number of coils the more points of support the mattress will offer. This means your weight is better distributed around the mattress and will lower the incidence of waking up with aches and pains.
Tip #2: Invest in a mattress protector
A mattress protector, or simply cover, will add time to the lifespan of your new mattress. Statistics say we release up to 2 pints of sweat – each night! That’s 2 full beers seeping directly into your bed. Along with that the continued pile up of dead skin cells and bacteria settle at the top layer of the mattress and serve to ruin the freshness.
A mattress protector also slows the creation of body prints and indentations so your mattress stays closer to its original firmness for longer.
Tip #3: Flip Your Mattress
This quickly solves the problem of bacteria and dead skin in the short term. It will also feel like you’ve just found a new mattress in your bedroom. For those who would rather not throw out a “perfectly good” mattress, and haven’t experienced significant problems with their current one, you could practically double its lifespan.
Flipping the mattress also allows the “used” side to flatten out and restore some of its original function. In effect you should regularly flip the mattress consistently – some say at least twice a year for maximum effectiveness.
Before buying a new mattress, see if any of the above 3 tips apply to you or your mattress. You should confirm for yourself whether or not you’re waking up with aches and pains, ones that did not exist just a few months ago.
You should also see if you have the highest quality mattress (or the quality you want) – if you can easily feel the springs in the mattress, if the surface is worn and how long you’ve used it to know if bacteria has piled into the mattress affecting the quality of your sleep.
Check our comprehensive list which contains an example of each of the 8 types of mattresses and you can work out what best fits your needs.