35% of American adults report that they don’t get enough sleep. If you are one of those people, your mattress might be the problem. Let’s take a look at some common sleep inhibitors to find out if your mattress is affecting your sleep.
Chemicals in You and Your Mattress
What you put into your body before bed (and what goes into it in bed) will have a significant effect on how much sleep you get. Here are some chemicals to avoid:
- Caffeine: Even though the effects of caffeine wear off within one hour, the chemical itself can linger in your system for up to five hours. If you drink coffee in the afternoon, consider shifting your consumption to morning only.
- Tyramine: A slew of typical “midnight snacks” like chocolate, red wine, cheese, and bananas contain this naturally-occurring chemical. It’s perfect for producing adrenaline and dopamine, which is just the burst of energy you don’t need right before bed. Do yourself a favor and avoid eating anything for at least 45 minutes before bed. If the munchies strike, choose low-tyramine foods like noodles, peanut butter, or vegetables.
- Alcohol: That nightcap of yours may initially relax you enough to help you fall asleep, but it will also disrupt your sleep patterns. Avoid alcohol consumption at least two to three hours before bed for better sleep.
- EDCs (Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals): This is where you mattress comes in. Every mattress is required by federal law to be treated with flame retardants, a primary source of EDCs. As you can imagine, these chemicals cause problems with your body’s natural chemistry. Thankfully, we can make BioPosture mattresses without these, with a Letter of Medical Necessity from your doctor.
As always, consult your doctor about which chemicals in your mattress and environment might be affecting your sleep.
Your Mattress Could Affect Your Melatonin
In a world tethered to the smartphone, it’s no surprise that our relationship with light is not as it should be. The light you receive during the day affects your body’s natural circadian rhythms. In fact, several studies show that extra exposure to sunlight during the daytime hours can enhance your sleep efficiency by over 85%. Conversely, the amount of artificial light your body gets in the evening (blue light from screens being the biggest culprit) has a negative effect on your sleep efficiency.
Artificial lighting reduces your body’s production of the melatonin. This hormone is produced by your endocrine system, so the EDCs in your mattress could also affect how your body produces it. Melatonin relaxes your body most effectively in dim lighting. When you expose yourself to blue light from your computer or smartphone, you are tricking it into believing that it’s still daytime. This stops it from producing melatonin, which is a huge problem for your quality of sleep.
Get outside for several hours during the day to align your circadian rhythms. Then, unplug for several hours before bed to increase your sleep efficiency. Keep screens out of your environment. Then, ask your doctor if eliminating the flame retardant in your mattress might be how you can better help your body prep for sleep.
A Cool Mattress Affects Your Sleep
In addition to your light exposure, another common sleep factor is temperature. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60-67 degrees, so using a cool mattress will help you to get those seven recommended hours.
Unfortunately, the most comfortable mattresses (like most of those made with memory foam) have a tendency to sleep hot. If you find yourself waking up sweaty in the middle of the night, you are not just losing sleep. You are also creating the perfect conditions for mold and mildew in your sleep environment.
Take a good hard look at your mattress and bedding with temperature in mind. Look for thinner, more breathable sheets and blankets. Be sure to clean your bedding at least once every two weeks. Then talk to your doctor about sleep solutions that will help you beat the heat at night. One solution is to use a BioPosture mattress covered with Celliant, a technology which regulates your body temperature while recycling it as infrared energy to enhance sleep efficiency.
If you are experiencing pain at night, the very first thing you should do is consult your chiropractor or orthopedic professional. They can help you diagnose the issues you are facing and target them by changing your environment and mattress.
In general, mattresses that are too firm or too old (7-10 years or more) do not conform as well to your unique body shape and posture. This reduces the amount of support they provide and increases pressure points. Pressure points result in pain. Innerspring mattresses are much more likely to have this problem. Ask your doctor about sleep solutions that provide ample support without rigidity.
Ultimately, getting better sleep is a health issue. Your mattress can contribute to the quality and quantity of your sleep. This in turn affects your performance and concentration during the day. Take some time to improve your sleep (and your quality of life!) by consulting your doctor about the best mattress for you.