The Sleep Expert is back to answer the questions our readers submitted here on our blog and on our social media accounts! (Click here if you missed part one.)
ABOUT THE SERIES:
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.
What is the difference between a “high end mattress” and a “low/medium end (price-wise) mattress”? Is there really any benefit to spending more money if I am comfortable on a less expensive mattress?
As with most things in life, you normally get what you pay for – but if you find a cheaper mattress comfortable, that’s awesome! It’s all about what you’re looking to achieve. If longevity is important to you, I’d avoid the “cheapies.” More expensive mattresses are made with higher quality, durable materials that will retain their feel and shape for many years. Make sure to compare the types of springs/foam (higher quality will conform to the body and take pressure off the joints better). The mattress’s outer fabrics can make a difference too. This is an area where cheaper mattresses like to cut corners, but higher end mattresses normally have heat/moisture wicking fabrics to help you sleep cooler. Finally, higher end mattresses will often have great warranties – usually 10 years or more.
I’m in need of new mattress but haven’t a clue where to begin and how to begin. Any suggestions? My husband and I are troubled sleepers.
I suggest you first visit a mattress store and try the main 3 types of technologies: foam mattresses, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses (which means both foam and innerspring in the same mattress). Once you decide which you like, try some different brands that use that technology. The main thing is to trust your body over specs. Even if it looks good on paper, if it just doesn’t feel right, go with something else. There’s not really such a thing as a one-size-fits-all bed, because different body types interact with each mattress differently. We’d love to help you at The Great American Sleep Shop even if you’re just looking for some help knowing how to shop.
What’s the difference between mattress fill types?
The more popular fill types are springs, memory foam and latex.
Springs primarily resist compression and the push-back of resistance is the support. Memory foam is a visco-elastic foam that allows the body to sink into support layers. This foam can be manufactured with different ratings of density to give different feelings of comfort. Latex is a springy material that almost mimics the feeling of springs without the push-back against the body.
What type of mattress is best for side/back/stomach sleepers?
Side sleepers need a medium mattress with an element of softness to it. Too firm will cut off circulation to extremities and too soft would give improper spinal alignment, which leads to back pain.
Back sleepers benefit from a firm mattress. The body can be in total contact with the mattress and the spine would be supported.
Stomach sleepers would benefit from a medium to firm mattress. If the mattress is too soft, the stomach sleeper would get too much bowing in the lower back (putting the body into a U shape) which would cause pain over time.
What is the optimal room temperature for sleeping/Will I sleep better if it’s colder?
Everyone seems to have their own opinion on this, so it all comes down to personal preference. However, many studies conclude that 65 degrees is the average person’s ideal room temperature for sleeping, especially if you sleep under a comforter. Per the National Sleep Foundation: “As you become drowsy, your temperature goes down, reaches its lowest level around 5:00 a.m., and climbs slightly as morning begins. This is why the air in your room can affect the quality of your sleep: if it’s too hot, it may interfere with your body’s natural dip and make you more restless through the night.”
If 65 seems too cold for you, try lowering the temperature a couple of degrees from the norm as an experiment and see if you notice a difference in your sleep quality.
If you don’t get enough sleep, how does it affect you the next day?
Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your body in many different ways. Drowsiness and a mental fog are common, but there are also other consequences such as increased likelinesss to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes if chronic sleep deprivation occurs. It’s very important that you sleep well each and every night!
We hope you enjoyed reading Trey’s answers and learning more about how to get the best night’s sleep of your life. (And remember – this is a series, so feel free to send any of your questions our way for one of our Sleep Experts to answer in a future post!)
If you’d like to consult with a Sleep Expert in person, they’re available Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at our Cordova, TN and Olive Branch, MS Sleep Shops.