Getting a great night’s sleep shouldn’t be complicated, right? In a perfect world, we’d get tired at 10 p.m. and fall asleep the second we lay down. After waking up to the sound of chirping birds, we’d spring out of bed to take on the day (feeling rejuvenated and pain-free).
Unfortunately, life isn’t always perfect… in fact, it’s not perfect MOST of the time. Maybe you have pets or children who keep you awake at all hours. Maybe you sleep hot and wake up sweating throughout the night. Maybe you can’t find a comfortable position, so you toss and turn. Maybe you experience back pain in the mornings because your mattress doesn’t provide the support you need.
Whatever the case may be, it’s likely you have some sleep-related problems that negatively affect you the next day. You may brush them aside and soldier on, but they’re there. And that’s where the inspiration for our new Ask the Sleep Expert series came from.
In future posts, several of our sleep experts will be answering the questions YOU submit to us, either in the comments section here on our blog or on any of our social media channels. But to kick this off, we asked sleep expert Trey Wolfe to answer the questions people ask him most often.
How do you know when your mattress is too old?
Your mattress is too old when its inner support system reaches the end of its life. If you wake up in the morning with a little back pain or stiffness that works itself out once you’ve been up and moving for a while, that’s the main indicator. Other outside forces (like working out, tending to the garden, etc.) can certainly cause these symptoms, but if you’ve experienced consistent morning pain for a few weeks or months, it’s probably time for a new mattress. This muscle stiffness usually happens because your body was trying to compensate for a lack of support and pressure-point relief throughout the night.
A visual inspection of the mattress, with the sheets off, is another good way to know if it’s time to shop for a new bed. You definitely need to replace if you see valleys/areas of sinkage, because that means the mattress fill has stopped bouncing back to its original position.
Are mattress protectors a waste of money?
Absolutely not! Moisture is a killer to every type of mattress technology, so I always recommend putting a waterproof protector on your mattress. We all sweat in our sleep as our bodies are “rebooting” – some more than others. This moisture will seep into the layers of your mattress, and over time, mat down the materials to where they can no longer fluff or provide adequate comfort. The protector will also help guard your investment from things like drink spills or pet accidents, which helps protect your warranty.
Just make sure the protector you choose doesn’t have rubber or plastic backing, as these will trap heat against the body.
I have a mattress pad on my bed. Will it work the same way as a mattress protector?
Though they may look somewhat similar, there’s a distinct difference between mattress pads and mattress protectors.
Mattress pads are more for comfort and don’t keep moisture from getting into your investment. They’re usually just an extra layer of pillowtop cushion you can put on your mattress, underneath the fitted sheet. A mattress protector is a waterproof layer of protection that also goes under the fitted sheet, but shouldn’t alter the feel of your mattress. Quality protectors are also hypoallergenic and dust mite proof to help those with allergies.
Adjustable bases seem expensive. Are the benefits worth the cost?
In my opinion, yes. I’m a big fan of adjustable bases and find they can increase the overall feel of a mattress by tenfold. They’re especially beneficial if you have:
- Chronic lower back pain
- Sleep apnea
- Acid reflux
- Sinus drainage
- Foot swelling
- Restless legs
- Poor circulation
- A loud snoring problem that bothers your significant other
- A tendency to watch TV, read, or use your laptop in bed
Should I be rotating my mattress?
Yes! There are many schools of thought on how often you should rotate, but I personally rotate quarterly. That might be a bit much for most people, but I find it works for me. At the very least, I’d recommend rotating at least twice a year.
The heaviest portion of the human body is from the waist up – our legs, not so much. Rotating is beneficial because it gives the top half of your bed time to rest and recoup as the new bottom half of your bed. Think of it like getting a tire rotation on your car to get an even tread lifespan. By rotating your mattress, you can get a more even sleeping surface for longer.
We hope you enjoyed (and learned something from!) this first post of our Ask the Sleep Expert series. Make sure to send us your sleep-related questions so we can answer them in our next post!