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The Cardiologist's Wife - Tips on A Good Night's Sleep
Jun 20, 2018

At the end of a long hard day, nothing feels better than sinking into bed and drifting off to sleep unless it’s waking up the next morning, refreshed, energized and ready to tackle the world. But if a night in your bed leaves you feeling more exhausted than replenished, perhaps you need to take a hard look at your pillow and mattress. Many don’t realize that the wrong pillow or mattress, or an ancient set, could be contributing to their sleep problems.

A poor night’s sleep can be detrimental to your health if it happens frequently. Not only are you tired, but those who don’t get enough rest often find themselves suffering from high blood pressure, inability to remember or fuzzy thinking, irritability, distractibility, depression and obesity. Though there are many reasons for insomnia, you should consider the condition of your mattress and pillow along with other causes.

A good sleeping posture is key to sleeping soundly and waking up refreshed, not stiff and sore. A mattress should form to your body and provide a good amount of support while the pillow helps support your head and neck to maintain that good posture. When you don’t have the proper pillow and mattress, or they are worn out, you may be sleeping with your body out of alignment which leads to strain and discomfort and ultimately, sleep issues.

Take your pillow out of the case and the sheets and mattress cover off the bed for a good inspection. Sleep experts recommend replacing your pillow after 18 months, though memory foam pillows may last up to 3 years. Does your pillow have stains? Is it torn or smelly? If you bend it in half, does it spring back to its original shape or does it lie folded? Pillows harbor collections of dead skin cells, mildew, mold, fungus and dust mites. No wonder some people have allergies or acne - their pillow is the cause!

If your pillow fails any of the above tests, get a new one. No one pillow is best for everyone so do your own shopping. There are pillows made for side sleepers, back sleepers and stomach sleepers. If you like soft cuddly pillows, a down or synthetic down or polyester fill pillow might work. If you want something firmer that holds it’s shape, look for latex or memory foam. A firmer pillow is usually better for side sleepers while back and stomach sleepers may want a softer, flatter pillow. Take the time to try pillows in the store, don’t just grab whatever is on sale.

Now move on to your mattress. Look for body indentations and sag. Impressions and sagging of as little as 1 1/2 inches can lead to aching joints, muscles and backs. Look for stains and tears. Mattresses are also wonderful breeding grounds for dust mites so if you frequently wake up with a stuffy nose, your mattress may be to blame. Mattresses only last between 8 to 10 years; if you’ve been sleeping on the same mattress since Seinfeld went off the air, get a new one. If your mattress seems to be in good shape and isn’t that old, check your mattress frame and the box springs. A mattress is only as good as the foundation it rests on and a bad bed frame can cause even a new mattress to sag.

There are too many mattress options to cover so you should do your homework before heading to the store. Consider who will be using the bed and their personal preferences and do your best to reach a compromise. A good night’s sleep is worth the investment.

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