Regardless of how cozy your pajamas are or how fluffy your pillows feel, you aren’t going to get a good night’s sleep if your mattress isn’t accommodating to your specific needs. Maybe your bed felt nice when you initially purchased it, but the quality slowly declined after years of normal wear and tear. Another possibility is that it never really suited you in the first place, and the body aches from your uncomfortable mattress are finally catching up to you. Whatever the reason, if you suspect your mattress is negatively impacting your sleep, it’s important to identify the problem right away so you can nip it in the bud and get your beauty rest back on track.
Here are five reasons why your mattress may very well be the culprit behind your poor sleep.
1.) Your Bed Has Passed Its Expiration Date
There comes a time in every bed’s lifespan where it stops performing like it initially used to. According to the Better Sleep Council, that time comes about seven years after you purchase your mattress. The exact amount of time depends on the quality of your mattress, how you sleep, and how well you take care of it, but as a general rule of thumb it’s seven years. Mattresses usually break down around the seven year mark as innersprings go out, the foam gets saggy, and you begin to see a permanent impression on your side of the mattress from your body.
As you could imagine, sleeping on an old saggy mattress can really take a toll on one’s body. We have a complex system of nerves and tissue around our spine which can easily be aggravated by an unsupportive, saggy mattress. So if you fall asleep feeling healthy but wake up with a stiff, aching back, check your mattress for signs of old age. If you remember buying your mattress around the same Bush was leaving office, it’s time for a new bed.
2.) It Doesn’t Suit Your Sleeper Type
You probably don’t spend much time pondering about the different sleeper types and which one you identify with — and that’s okay. One of the only times you really need to take it into consideration is when you’re buying a mattress. Side sleepers usually feel more comfortable on softer mattresses for extra pressure relief on their side, while back and stomach sleepers usually prefer firm beds for spine and back support.
If you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s too soft or too firm for you, your body will show you signs. If you’re waking up with back pain or pins and needles in your arm, you might want to look for a more accommodating mattress. There are plenty of comfortable, cheap beds on the market that’ll provide a good night’s rest without breaking the bank. If you’re not financially capable of buying a new mattress at this time, you can always opt for a mattress topper instead.
3.) It Sleeps Too Hot
While there are a few exceptions to the rule, most mattresses are constructed using coils, memory foam, latex foam, poly foam, or some combination of the four. Similar to how different clothing fabrics can make you feel warmer or colder when you wear them, different mattress materials can make you sleep hot or cold.
So who is the biggest offender between the four different materials? The answer is definitely memory foam. Memory foam has a reputation of retaining body heat, causing some people to overheat during the middle of the night. Obviously, waking up in the early hours of the morning to open a window or remove an article of clothing isn’t productive for a full night’s sleep.
Sometimes, conditions like menopause or pregnancy can cause hot flashes, and in that case, you probably shouldn’t be blaming your mattress. If your sleep is being constantly disrupted by night sweats or hot temperature, however, and there’s no possible way you’re experiencing either of those conditions, it’s likely that your mattress is a little too hot for you.
4.) Your Body Requires More Support
For those of you who weigh less than 250 lbs, you can go ahead and skip this section because most mattresses are made to accommodate petite to average sized individuals. For heavier people on the other hand, a hybrid mattress is definitely the most durable, supportive choice. Like a Prius uses both oil and electricity to run, a hybrid mattress uses both coils and foam for comfort. The innersprings add more support to a mattress, and make it more durable in the long-term than an all-foam mattress which might not last as long as it’s intended for heavier individuals.
5.) Allergens Have Taken Over
Common household allergens include mold, mildew, dirt, pet dander, and dust mites. Eventually, all of these bothersome allergens end up inside your mattress. Believe it or not, a study by Ohio State University showed that an old mattress could house up to ten million dust mites — nasty right? All allergens, including dust mites, can cause your nasal passages to become inflamed, leading to congestion, sneezing, or a runny nose. As you’ve probably experienced before, allergy side effects can be detrimental to a good night’s sleep. If you find yourself suffering from allergies through all four seasons, you might want to consider your mattress as a suspect. Next time around, to avoid a build-up of household allergens in your mattress, spring for a natural latex foam mattress which is antimicrobial and hypoallergenic.
McKenzie Dillon is a blogger and sleep enthusiast for The Slumber Yard, a reviews site that focuses on bedding products. In her free time, she likes attending music festivals, reading fiction novels and practicing yoga.