Mattress Shopping Tips for Couples

Mattress Shopping Tips for Couples

So, you’re buying a bed together. Whether you’re moving in together for the first time or you’ve been together forever, choosing a bed as a couple can be a big step forward in your relationship. It can also be a point of contention, especially if one of you ends up unhappy with the mattress you choose. In order to choose the best bed for both of you (and keep your relationship intact!), make sure you consider the following things before you buy.

Communicate

Communication is important across the board in relationships, and it’s no different when you’re buying a bed together. Before you even look at new mattresses, here’s the talk you need to have.

Talk about:

  • How you sleep. Side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers will all have different mattress needs. If you both sleep the same way, it will be easier to choose a bed that will work for both of you. If you sleep differently, though, it will change what you’re looking for in a mattress. In general, side sleepers need softer mattresses than those who sleep on their backs or their stomachs.
  • Support preferences. Do either of you have back pain or problems? If you do, you’ll need to be sure that whatever mattress you get offers the right type of spinal support for that person. You may even want to have one partner examine the other’s spine when you’re trying out beds, to make sure everything is lined up properly.
  • Firmness preferences. Do you like beds that feel soft or ones that feel firm? Both can offer good support, but it’s important to know if you will both be able to be happy with the same firmness or if you will need a mattress where you can each adjust the firmness as you desire.
  • Temperature preferences. Some people like to sleep hot and others like to sleep cold. Memory foam and some latex beds are known for holding heat, while hybrid mattresses and ones with springs are known for being cooler. Since you both have to be comfortable in the bed, getting the right temperature will be important.
  • Responsiveness preferences. A responsive mattress adjusts quickly to your body when you move on it. This is important not only for sleep but also for sex. Since you will likely do both things together in your new bed, it’s key to talk about how important responsiveness is for both of you and whether you’d rather have a responsive bed over one of a particular firmness or temperature.

Research Mattresses Together

 

 

When you look into different mattress options, try to do it together. This means that you will get the same information at the same time. It also means that you will have a chance to ask questions, both of each other and of any sales rep or another person you’re consulting with. It gives you a chance to digest the data together, to have a better chance at agreeing on the beds you’re interested in.

Choose the Best Size for You

Picking a mattress size depends on how much space you need to sleep and on how large the room is that you’re sleeping in. The key is usually to get as much bed as you can without making your space feel or look too small. You will want to make sure that you have access to things like dressers, nightstands, and closet doors. You may also want to consider the size of your current headboard or bed stand. If you don’t want to buy a new one, stick with the same size mattress!

Consider Your Price Range

 

 

It’s important to know how much you want to spend before you start shopping. This helps you eliminate some beds altogether and avoid arguing about it later. Mattresses range in price from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. You will probably want to choose something in between. You can usually get a high-quality mattress that will last you at least 7 years for $600-$2000. It’s likely you don’t want to spend less than that, as the quality goes down sharply and your mattress may give out sooner than you want it to.

Test Beds Together

When you’re ready to try some beds, you have several options. You can go to a mattress store and lay on them. Be sure to spend 10-20 minutes on each one to really get a feel for it. You can also try beds at your home. Most mattresses these days have extended trial periods, so you can actually sleep on the bed for a month or so and then decide whether you want to keep it. Going to a store can be a good way to eliminate some options. Then, start with your most likely candidate and try it at home.

Buying a bed doesn’t have to ruin your relationship, and it doesn’t have to be stressful. Communicate, research, and test mattresses together until you find one that works for both of you.


Best Sleep Apps

Best Sleep Apps

Want to be healthier and feel better about your life? Get some (more) sleep.

Sleep is tied to physical health across the body’s systems. Getting enough sleep can lower your risk of heart disease, kidney problems, high blood pressure, and more. It makes you less likely to be obese, helps your body regulate hunger and insulin production, and triggers the hormones that lead to healthy growth and development in children and teens.

Sleep also helps you function well mentally. It helps you learn, solve problems, deal with difficult emotions, cope with change, and make good decisions. And getting enough sleep lowers your risk for depression, engaging in risky behavior, and even getting in a car accident.

If you’re not sleeping enough – and you can tell you aren’t if you are struggling to get out of bed and need an alarm clock to wake you up every morning – it’s time to change your habits. Here are the best apps to help you get the sleep you need to live long and feel well!

 

SleepBotSleepBot

Android: Free

iPhone: Free

Let SleepBot know when you’re going to sleep and when you wake up, and it will track your sleep, help you wake up at the right time, and give you insights into your sleep patterns and cycles. If it takes you a while to fall asleep, you can even tell it to wait a given amount of time after you push the button before it credits you with sleep. SleepBot can also use your phone’s onboard sensors to track how you move when you’re sleeping, and it can record any sounds you make while asleep. It offers plenty of data and guidance to help you improve your sleep. Free. Android. Apple.

 

Pillow 

Android: Not Available

iPhone: Free to download, in-app purchases

If you use an Apple Watch and you love data, Pillow is the app for you. It works with the sensors in your watch to not only track your sleep, but to give you detailed analysis of when you’re asleep, when you’re awake, how deeply you’re sleeping, and much more. You can find out how much you’re moving at night and if there are times when you move more. The app is free to download, and you can pay $5 for even more features and personalized reports.

 

Night Shift and Twilight

Android: Free

iPhone: Free, built-in

The blue light that emanates from handheld devices is known to reduce melatonin production, which can keep you awake. However, you can still use your device as you’re winding down for bed, you just need to eliminate the blue light. iPhones come with an app that does that automatically, called Night Shift. If you use an Android phone, download Twilight, a free app that will automatically adjust the light on your screen based on the time of day.

 

Sleep Genius  

Android: $4.99

iPhone: $4.99

If it helps NASA astronauts sleep, then maybe it will work for you, too! This is the first sleep app based entirely on science. It helps you fall asleep by taking you through a specific program, designed to calm both your mind and your body. It also helps you calculate your ideal bedtime, based on when you need to get up and how many sleep cycles you need. Sleep Genius also offers a gentle alarm clock, designed to wake you at the perfect time for you, and a power nap option, in case you need a pick-me-up during the day. 

 

White Noise

Android: $1.99 Full/$2.99 Premium

iPhone: $1.99 Full/$2.99 Premium

White noise is proven to help you sleep better, because it helps reduce ambient noise and may even help your brain achieve more time in deep sleep. If you sleep in an area that is loud or nothing else has worked, white noise may be the boost you need to sleep more, better, and longer. The app offers a free version, with over 40 sound loops that you can also mix, as well as alarm sounds to wake you. The full version is $1.99 and removes ads while adding more alarms. The premium version, at $2.99, gives you 50 more sound loops and more control over pitch and volume.

 

Calm

Android: Free to download, in-app purchases

iPhone: Free to download, in-app purchases

Do you struggle to wind down at the end of the day or lay in bed for a while before you can turn your brain off to sleep? Calm can help you settle down, settle in, and get the rest you need. It’s a meditation app with several meditations aimed at helping you let go of stress so you can sleep. Choose your track, then settle in and let it guide you to sleep. The app also provides relaxing nature sounds that can help you release your day and settle in to sleep. Signing up is free, but some of the meditations will cost extra.

 

DigiPill

Android: Free to download, in-app purchases

iPhone: Free to download, in-app purchases

If meditation doesn’t work and white noise isn’t your thing, maybe a digital pill will help. DigiPill uses language and other sounds, mixes it together, and uses it to help you destress, engage your mind in healthy ways, change how you think, and promote a better life. Simply choose the particular pill that’s right for you, settle in, and listen. The pills are about 30 minutes each, and can help you sleep deeper, eliminate anxiety, or even power nap. Your first pill is free and you can purchase more.

 

Sleep Cycle

Android: Free

iPhone: Free

If you’re always waking up tired, it’s possible that you wake up in the wrong part of your sleep cycle. This app uses your phone’s sensors to analyze your sleep for the sole purpose of waking you when you’re in light sleep. You simply tell it when you need to wake by, and it will make sure that you wake during the light sleep cycle closest to that time. You can choose from several different alarms, or use your own music. 

 

Sleep Soundly Hypnosis

Android: Free to download, in-app purchases

iPhone: Free to download, in-app purchases

This app offers over 75 hypnosis sessions that will help you get to sleep through guided hypnosis techniques. All of the sessions on the app include Theta Wave Technology or Binaural Betas and Subliminal Technology, which help soothe the brain and lull you sleep. If you have trouble turning your brain off, so to speak, the Sleep Soundly app is designed to limit stimulation and focus your mind on falling asleep.

Getting more sleep could help you live better and longer, so it’s worth the investment of your time and energy. Give yourself the gift of health and wellness when you figure out which of these apps will work best for you and learn to use it every night.


Drowsy Driving

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving isn’t just a risk for anyone who gets behind the wheel, it’s a risk for anyone who gets in a car, or who bikes, walks, or runs along the road. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, at least 5% of car accidents where someone is killed involve a drowsy driver. Nationally, that means that tired drivers cause 6,400 fatal accidents every year.

How Impaired are Drowsy Drivers?

Driving drowsy has a massive impact on how someone drives. The AAA Foundation also estimates that people who drive after only 4-5 hours of sleep (as opposed to the recommended 7) are at about the same risk level for crashing as people with blood alcohol levels at or even slightly above the legal limit. An Australian study confirmed this, showing that staying awake for 18 hours was like having a blood alcohol concentration of about .05. This rose to .10 after 24 hours awake. .08 is the legal limit in most places.

Drivers are at a greater risk for crashing even when they only lose an hour or two of sleep. Those who sleep 5-6 hours a night are twice as likely to be in an accident when compared to those who sleep at least 7 hours. It may not feel like much, but every hour of sleep matters when it comes to staying safe on the road.

Source: The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

How Common is Drowsy Driving?

Since the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll from 2005 (the most recent one to focus on drowsy driving) reports that 60% of adult drivers admit to driving while tired in the past year, and 37% say they’ve actually fallen asleep at the wheel, this is a huge problem. People report feeling more stressed (42%) and impatient  (32%) when they drive while tired, and some admit that they drive faster (12%), too.

We don’t hear as much about drowsy driving as we do about drunk driving because it’s harder to measure when someone is driving tired. A chronically tired person may not realize they are tired, and there’s no way to measure it even if they do. Since drowsiness doesn’t leave behind any physical markers for law enforcement to see, sense, or investigate, it is often overlooked. However, we can do a lot to eliminate drowsy driving.

Who Drives Drowsy?

While anyone can end up driving tired, there are some people who are more likely to end up with exhaustion levels that akin to alcohol impairment. According to the National Sleep Foundation:

  • 71% of adults ages 18-29 report driving drowsy, making them the age group most likely to do so.
  • 56% of men report driving drowsy, opposed to 45% of women.
  • Men are also more likely than women to fall asleep while driving (22% vs 12%)
  • People who work unusual hours (like shift workers) are drowsier drivers than those on a conventional schedule (36% vs 25%)
  • Parents whose children live at home are more likely to be tired drivers than those who don’t have children or whose children have moved out (59% vs 45%)
  • Commercial drivers, like long-haul truckers or 24/7 delivery workers, are more likely to drive drowsy
  • People with undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and narcolepsy, are more likely to be tired drivers and to fall asleep at the wheel.
  • Those who take medications, whether prescription or not, that can cause drowsiness are at a greater risk for accidents.
  • Most tired driving crashes occur between 4 and 6 AM, though 12-2 AM and 2-4 PM are also common times.
  • Up to 82% of all drowsy driving crashes happen when someone is driving alone.

How Can We Prevent Drowsy Driving?

A huge part of preventing accidents caused by drowsy driving is awareness. Many people don’t know how dangerous it is to drive when they are tired. Understanding the issue and accepting that tired driving impairs a driver is a huge step toward reducing the number of accidents related to driver exhaustion. If you fall into one of the categories above, take extra caution when you drive. Evaluate yourself or ask someone else if they think you’re too tired to drive.

There’s more we can do to prevent drowsy driving, beyond raising awareness.

  • Get enough sleep. If you’re not getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night, you are driving drowsy. If you’re not a good sleeper or if it’s hard for you to go to bed early enough to get this much rest, making the change can feel daunting. However, it’s worth the effort to develop healthy patterns and find out what works for you.
  • Pay attention. Drowsy drivers tend to forget things, like where to turn or when to get off the freeway. They also tend to miss things like stop signs, and more than half of drowsy driving crashes involve drivers drifting out of their lane or off the road. If you find yourself doing these things, are in a car with someone doing them, or see another driver exhibiting these behaviors, do whatever it takes to get the driver off the road. You can even call the police and let them know there’s a dangerous driver.
  • Take a short nap. If you’re concerned about driving while tired, fit in a 15-20 minute nap before you drive (or pull over somewhere and take one in your car!). It doesn’t seem like much, but even a little bit of sleep can refresh you enough to make you a safer driver.
  • Drink some caffeine. Caffeine is not a long-term solution to drowsy driving, but if you MUST drive and you know you’re tired, drink up to 2 cups of coffee. It can help improve your alertness for a couple of hours. However, it cannot replace the sleep that you need. For the best boost, drink your caffeine, then take a short nap. This gives you the benefits of both.

Drowsy driving is a hazard that we can eliminate. Once you realize it’s a problem, it’s pretty easy to take some steps to mitigate the effects that being tired can have on your driving. No one wants to cause an accident, especially one that ends with totaled vehicles, terrible injury, or death. Lower your chances of an accident by changing your sleep habits, noticing your driving behaviors, and doing what you need to do raise your alertness before you drive.

 


Sleep differences between men and women

Sleep Differences Between Men and Women

Did you know that how well you sleep, how much you sleep, and the sleep disorders you struggle with can depend, in part, on whether you are male or female? Here are some interesting ways that women and men sleep differently.

Women Need More Sleep Than Men

Specifically, women need 20 minutes more sleep, every single night, than men do. Because they are more likely to multitask during the day, their brains work harder. Doing more work means that their brains need more of the rest and repair that goes on when during sleep.

It’s important to note that this study only examined the sleep of about 200 participants. This is a relatively small number for making mass generalizations. It’s also a recent study and so we have yet to see if the results will be replicated.

Men Snore More than Women

Men are about twice as likely as women to struggle with snoring. There is a space behind the tongue called the oropharynx. This space is large in men. When people sleep, they relax their tongues. Sometimes the tongue falls back into this space. Since the space is smaller in women, they can’t breathe well when their tongues fall back and so they shift position or wake up. Men often have space for the tongue, so they continue sleeping and snore.

Women are More Likely to be Early Birds

 

 

Every human body is set to about a 24-hour clock, affected and triggered by hours of light and darkness. Scientists call this the circadian rhythm. Women’s circadian rhythms wake them earlier than men’s. This means that they are more likely to get up early and to be active earlier in the day. It also means that they tend to get tired and fall asleep earlier at night.

Women are More Likely to Eat While Asleep…and Not Remember It!

There are all sorts of sleep disorders out there. One of the most interesting is Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED). People who have this get up, eat, and go back to sleep without ever waking up. Most sufferers don’t have any idea that they do this. Women make up 66% of the people who struggle with this behavior. Fortunately, this disorder is a type of sleepwalking and can be treated with similar medications.

Women Have More Trouble Sleeping

Women report more struggles with insomnia than men do. 63% of women say that they struggle to sleep at least a few nights per week, as opposed to 54% of men. They are also sleepier during the day. Some of this sleeplessness can be tied to hormonal causes, like menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, all of which can disrupt sleep.

Women are Less Affected by Sleep Deprivation

Even when they aren’t getting quite enough sleep, women perform better on tests than men who are getting similar amounts of sleep. While lowering the amount of sleep that a person gets by an hour so doesn’t seem like much, both men and women show that the effects of sleep loss are cumulative. However, women’s performance on skills tests deteriorates at a rate lower than that of men, showing that sleep deprivation bothers them less than their male counterparts.

Similarly, women bounce back faster than men do when they are given a chance to catch up on sleep. Even if they don’t quite get all of the sleep that they missed, their scores on performance tests go up faster than the scores of men in similar circumstances.

Women’s Sleep Deteriorates After Age 40

Women of all ages struggle with insomnia more than men do, but this is especially true after age 40. It is possible that this is highly influenced by menopause, which is known to disrupt sleep, and needing to void the bladder at night. Since many women suffer weakened bladder and pelvic floor muscles after having children, it makes sense that the cumulative effects of this would be seen later in life, as muscles get weaker and harder to maintain.

Both Struggle With Health Issues When They Don’t Sleep…

 

 

However, lack of sleep seems to affect male and female bodies differently. When they don’t get enough sleep, men are 27% more likely to develop cancer. This data comes from men who worked night shifts for 20 years, so the effect may be lower in people who don’t lose that much sleep.

Additionally, men who get too much or too little sleep can see up to a 42% decrease in their chances of getting a partner pregnant. If you’re looking to have a baby soon, 8 hours a night seems like the perfect amount of rest.

Women, on the other hand, are at a higher risk for diseases related to inflammation when they don’t sleep. C-Reactive Protein is a major marker for how inflamed the body is. This is significantly elevated in women who aren’t getting enough rest. This predicts, among other things, how likely a person is to die of heart-related problems. The protein is also higher in men who don’t sleep well. However, women show much higher levels and more change in the level based on their sleep.

Whether you’re male or female, there are some benefits and drawbacks when it comes to sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, it may be time to consult with your doctor. There are many medications and practices that can help you get the sleep you need so you can life your life to the full.

 


How to Beat Jet Lag

Beating Jet Lag

About 94% of people will experience jet lag at some point. If you’re traveling across time zones soon, this could very well be you! Unfortunately, jet lag won’t only make you feel tired and make sleeping difficult, it can also make it harder to perform tasks that require coordination and precision. In addition, it interferes with the brain enough that it can make conditions like bipolar disorder worse.

Fortunately, there are some good ways to fight jet lag. While you probably can’t mitigate its effects entirely, you can definitely lessen their severity.

What Causes Jet Lag?

In order to fight jet lag, it’s important to understand what causes it. Most human bodies are adapted to the 24-hour cycle. They further adapt to periods of sunlight and darkness, based on where they live. This is called the circadian rhythm. It regulates not only when you sleep and when you wake, but also things like blood pressure, muscle effectiveness, and hormone secretion.

 

 

When light and darkness come at unexpected times, it takes the body a while to catch up. Even small differences, like what happens twice a year when we go on and off of Daylight Savings Time, can cause tiredness and sleep problems.

Who Suffers from Jet Lag?

Nearly everyone who travels across time zones will suffer some sort of jet lag. Those who travel east will have it worse than those who travel west because traveling east usually makes the day shorter and traveling west makes it longer. Most people who have normal circadian rhythms actually function on a schedule that is slightly longer than 24 hours, so the body is naturally equipped to adjust to a longer day, rather than a shorter one.

Jet lag will also be harder for you if you usually keep to a rigid schedule. If you do shift work, often change your schedule, or go to bed and wake at different times regularly, it will be easier for you to adjust when you travel.

Women often have a harder time with jet lag than men do, because of how estrogen is affected by jet lag. Anxiety, like that which sometimes goes hand in hand with travel, can also make it worse. Drinking alcohol is another culprit, exacerbating the already awful symptoms of jet lag.

How to Beat Jet Lag

  1. Start adjusting your schedule before you leave. If you know you are going to be traveling, figure out how many time zones you will be changing. In the days before you leave, begin adjusting your schedule. Get up and go to bed an hour earlier or later each night. Reschedule your meals similarly. While you may not want to do this for more than 3 or 4 hours, whatever changes you can make will help you be more adjusted when you arrive at your destination.
  2. Use flashing lights to adjust your rhythms. Scientists have found that flashing lights help you adjust to a new time zone quicker. You set them up to go off at night because your brain is more sensitive to light then. It will register the light even through closed eyelids, yet you are unlikely to wake. The light makes your brain think that the day is longer. It begins to function as if it were in an awake cycle, even though you are still asleep. If you are traveling from the west coast to the east coast and you usually wake at 7 AM, set up lights to flash in your eyes at 4 AM the day before you leave. This will begin the adjustment process early, so you won’t spend as much time jet lagged. If nothing else, ask your partner to wake and flash a flashlight towards your face several times.
  3. Take melatonin. This may sound like old news, but scientists have done some work to figure out when you should take this supplement for maximum effectiveness. Use it right around your target bedtime after you travel, and it is likely to help you sleep and to help adjust your circadian rhythm faster than it would adjust without it. A dose of 5mg seems to be the most effective for most people.
  4. Stay awake until bedtime. When you’re jetlagged and you’ve just gotten off a long flight, it’s easy to decide to take a nap. However, this will only make it harder to adjust to the new time zone. Instead, do whatever it takes to stay up until your normal bedtime in your new location. Try to avoid caffeine, though, as it can actually make it harder for your body to find a new rhythm. Do something fun, take a walk, or do something that requires your full attention, so you don’t fall asleep too early.

Traveling is a blast, but jet lag less so. While most people find that the travel is worth the hassle of getting over jet lag, less lag is always better. Try these techniques to figure out what works for you so you experience as little jet lag as possible. Then get going and enjoy your trip!


Mattress Myths

Mattress Myths: Understanding Fact From Fable

They may not be things you think about every day, but you probably have some beliefs about mattresses that aren’t true. Sometimes, salesmen promote these as a way to make more money. Other times, the information is simply outdated, or true of some mattresses and not others.

If you’re looking for a mattress, it’s important to know the truth about them, since you’ll sleep in your new bed every day. Here are some common mattress myths and the facts about them.

Mattresses Last Up to 20 Years

While you often can sleep on a mattress for up to 20 years, that’s not the best idea for your body. The Better Sleep Council recommends replacing any mattress that is over 7 years old. This is especially true if you are waking up in pain, find yourself sleeping better away from home, or you can see visible damage to your mattress.

Your New Mattress Will Feel Good Right Away

 

 

Just like with a new pair of jeans, it can take some time to break in your new mattress. In fact, the right mattress for you may not feel comfortable right away. This is why many mattress companies now offer extended trial periods. Take advantage of these periods and try as many beds as you need to find the right one for you.

You Need to Buy a Box Spring

Box springs were invented back when mattresses were much thinner and offered significantly less support. They were made for use with coil spring mattresses and the traditional metal bed frames. Now, they don’t always do much except make your bed higher.

Whether you need a box spring or not depends on the type of bed you are buying and the type of foundation you are putting it on. Most mattresses do need a solid foundation that gives relatively equal support over the surface of the mattress. This can be the foundation of a platform bed, a box spring, or even the floor. Before you buy, research the type of mattress you are getting and how to support it for the longest life and most comfort.

If you want a box spring, you can also use your old one, if it is still in good condition and is compatible with your new mattress. The two components don’t always wear out at the same rate, so check your box spring separate from your mattress. If it doesn’t show any signs of damage, reuse it and save your money.

Note that some mattress manufacturers still require you to buy and use the box spring that they sell along with your mattress, in order to keep your warranty valid. Make sure you have read and understood your warranty, so you can make a wise choice about whether or not to buy a box spring.

You Should Never Remove the Tag From Your Mattress

Once you have bought your mattress, you can absolutely remove the tags. It’s only illegal to do so before the mattress is purchased by a consumer. If you think you might return the mattress, though, leave the tags on, as some manufacturers require their presence to maintain your warranty.

These tag rules are based on old laws designed to protect the consumer. Back in the day, mattresses were sometimes filled with material that was unsanitary, old, or unsavory for most customers. The government solved these problems by making manufacturers state, explicitly, what was inside each mattress and refused them the right to remove those tags before the consumer could read them.

You Should Buy Your Mattress at a Brick and Mortar Store to Try it Out

While it’s fun to go to a mattress store and try out all the beds, lying on a bed for 15-20 minutes isn’t going to tell you all that much about it. After all, sometimes you lie in the same position for hours at night. Since you can’t actually sleep overnight on the mattresses in the store, going in and trying them out isn’t going to help you very much.

As mentioned above, some mattresses won’t feel good right away. If you try out a mattress for a few minutes and it isn’t comfortable, you may dismiss it not knowing that, after a few weeks, it would be perfect for you.

In addition, many of the rising online mattress brands have superb trial offers. Some of them will let you use the mattress for a whole year before you decide whether or not to keep it! This gives you ample chance to use the mattress as it is intended, to fully break it in, and then to figure out whether or not it will work for you.

The More You Pay, the Better Quality Mattress You Will Get

 

 

Sometimes, this is true. However, it’s not always the case. Some brands or lines of mattresses cost more simply because there’s a prestige factor that goes along with owning one. You don’t need to spend more on these unless you care a lot about the brand name of your bed.

Other times, a more expensive bed might be right for one person but not for another. Just because a material costs more does not necessarily mean that it will work better for you. While it’s important that you understand the differences in material that cause one bed to be more expensive than another, you still have to enjoy sleeping on the bed. If the material won’t work for your body, it doesn’t matter how much the bed costs.

Latex Mattresses are All-Natural

While latex mattresses are often marketed as healthier and better for the earth than traditional beds, the issue is a little more complicated. Natural latex absolutely falls into these categories, but synthetic latex is made from ingredients that contain petroleum and other chemicals. In addition, almost all latex is treated with chemical fire retardant before it is sold in mattress form.

The issue is even more complicated because most latex beds are a combination of the natural and synthetic types, and a bed only has to be 30% natural to be labeled as such. If having an all-natural bed is important to you, be sure to do your research about the company and the materials they use in their latex mattresses.

Now that you know the truth, you are ready to buy your new mattress. Remember to take your time shopping, know that there is no one mattress that is right for everyone, and be willing to send back mattresses that don’t work for you. Your care and attention to this process will help you find the mattress that you need in order to achieve the best sleep of your life.


Sleep trackers

Is Your Sleep Tracker Causing Sleep Issues?

New research out of Rush University and Northwestern University in Chicago examines whether sleep trackers actually help people sleep better. The researchers found that trying to get perfect sleep based on information gathered by a sleep tracker can actually lead to increased anxiety about sleep and, eventually, exhaustion.

The researchers looked at people who took the data from their sleep trackers very seriously. These people worried about their sleep patterns even when they felt like they had slept well. In fact, some people could not be convinced that their sleep was good even when they participated in a laboratory study, had their sleep monitored, and were told that they were sleeping well.

The study labels this condition “orthosomnia,” which means “correct sleep.” People who suffer from the condition become so worried about getting their sleep data perfect that, sometimes, they don’t get much sleep at all.

Why Should You Track Your Sleep?

Even though wearing sleep trackers makes getting good sleep more difficult for some people, there are still some good reasons to track your sleep.

  • Sleep is key for good health. Not getting enough sleep raises your risk of developing certain diseases, increases your chances of being in an auto accident, and can even shorten your lifespan. While sleep trackers may not be 100% accurate in what they detect about your sleep, you can still see patterns over time. This information can help you make changes in your lifestyle so you can get better sleep and improve your health.
  • Wearing a tracker helps you focus on your sleep. It’s easy to let yourself get away with poor sleeping habits simply because changing them takes a lot of energy. When you are busy and tired, it can be hard to be intentional about getting good sleep. Wearing a sleep tracker and paying attention to the results is a way to examine your sleep intentionally, without having to expend a huge amount of energy.
  • Get data on your sleep without doing a sleep study. While spending the night monitored in a hospital is the best way to get an official diagnosis regarding sleep issues, sleeping away from home often changes your sleep patterns. Trackers allow you to get some data while you are at home, so you can decide if you need to follow up with your doctor.
  • Sleep raises your performance level and helps you recover. If you like to be active, exercise a lot, or are a serious athlete, then you probably know from experience that sleep is important. Studies show that athletes who get enough good sleep improve their performance and that their bodies bounce back to normal after strenuous activity faster than those who aren’t sleeping enough.

Minimizing Orthosomnia

 

 

If you are concerned about falling into orthosomnia, here are things you can do to avoid the problem.

  • Keep a sleep diary. You can do this alongside tracking your sleep and then compare the two, or you can do it instead of wearing your sleep tracker every night. This helps you focus on your experience of your sleep, rather than only on what the data says. It can also help you pinpoint where your sleep tracker is and is not accurate.
  • Recognize that your tracker is not completely accurate. Some trackers are more sensitive than others, and it’s impossible to tell exactly how each one calculates your sleep patterns because manufacturers keep their science secret. Realizing that your tracker is not the ultimate authority on your sleep can help you trust your experience over what it says.
  • Get your sleep officially monitored. If you still aren’t sure how well you are sleeping, talk to your doctor. It may be time to arrange a sleep study, to rule out any issues and convince you, finally, that you are sleeping well.

The 5 Best Sleep Trackers

  1. Fitbit Alta. This slimline tracker won’t take up too much space on your wrist, but will still give you basic sleep information. It won’t track everything, but it will give you enough to get started.
  2. Jawbone Up3. This is another small tracker that will give you details about how much time you spend not only asleep but in light, deep, and REM sleep. It uses data from things like your respiration rate to determine your sleep state.
  3. Fitbit Ionic. This is a large tracker that looks more like a smartwatch than anything else. Its focus is on health, though, and it even has a tracker that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. Ultimately, this may allow it to detect and track sleep apnea.
  4. Misfit Ray. This little tracker won’t tell you the details about your sleep, but it will tell you when you fell asleep and when you woke up, and it will even try to wake you only when you are sleeping more lightly.
  5. Fitbit Charge 2. Fitbit is clearly focusing on sleep, and this tracker is no slouch. If you want a solid fitness tracker that will also give you decent sleep data but won’t break the bank, this is probably the option for you.

No matter which tracker you use, wear it wisely. Remember that it’s not always accurate and that how you feel after you sleep is at least as important as what the tracker says.


How to sell a used mattress

Reselling a Used Mattress? Here’s How:

Do advertisements for used mattresses make you cringe? Sometimes, this is a valid response. Other times, though, buying a mattress secondhand is a great way to get a good deal on an awesome bed. If you have just gotten a new mattress, selling your old one can be a good way to make a little cash.

Before You Sell

So, you have a new bed and you’re not sure if you should sell your old one. When deciding whether or not to sell your mattress, there are a few things to consider.

  • The age of your mattress. Different mattresses last different amounts of time, but many can last 10 years or more if they are properly cared for. If your mattress is at the end of its life, you may not want to bother trying to sell it. If on the other hand, it is somewhere in the middle, selling might be easy.
  • The type and brand of your mattress. If your mattress is an upscale or well-known brand with a good reputation, it will be easier to sell than if you bought it somewhere obscure. The type of mattress may influence your choice, too. Foam or latex mattresses tend to be harder to sell because people believe they don’t last as long as spring mattresses.
  • The care your mattress has received. Mattresses aren’t hard to care for, but there are a few things that can improve their resale value. You don’t want to sell a dirty, shredded mattress, or one that has weaker places or indentations from frequent use. If it’s in good condition, though, selling could be a great idea.

When You’re Ready to Sell

So your mattress has some life left, it’s the right kind, and you’ve taken good care of it. If you’re ready to sell, here are some steps you can take to get the best price:

  1. Clean your mattress. Even if you’ve kept it in pristine condition, use upholstery cleaners and sanitizers to help your mattress present its best face to the world. You can also use a steam cleaner to give the mattress a deep clean and assist with disinfection.
  2. Advertise. There are many ways to advertise your mattress for sale. You may want to actually sell it to a local secondhand shop, or you can advertise on Nextdoor, Craigslist, and other local listings.
  3. Be honest. If you’ve taken care of your mattress, say so. If you haven’t, or if it has some damage, note that in your advertisement. You may also want to take photos of anything that might raise a question, so potential buyers can see what’s going on and decide for themselves about your mattress.
  4. Take good photos. Try to photograph your mattress in natural light with a neutral background. Take pictures of anything you specifically want a customer to know about, like any damage or proof that you are actually selling the product you say you are selling (tags, labels, etc.)
  5. The brand and product name. Be sure to include the brand and product name in any listing. If you aren’t sure, you can say that, too. The more details you can give, the better chance you have of finding someone who is looking for your exact mattress.
  6. Your price. The best way to price a mattress is to see what similar used items are going for in your area. You are not likely to get anywhere near what you paid for the mattress, but you will make more in some parts of the country and less in others.

Maximizing Returns on Your Mattress

Even if you didn’t take good enough care of your previous mattress to sell it, you can make some changes so you can sell your next one. Here are some good ways to protect your mattress, so you can get the most value out of it when you resell it.

  • Rotate or flip it regularly (usually every 3-6 months).
  • Keep your kids and/or pets from playing on the bed. Jumping and clawing can cause extensive damage.
  • Keep candles away from your bed. Many mattresses catch fire easily and no one will buy a burned bed.
  • Use a protective mattress cover on your bed from the moment you get it. This may also be necessary to maintain your bed’s warranty.
  • Clean up all spills quickly and thoroughly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Wash your bedding regularly.

What If it Doesn’t Sell?

While it’s nice to get some cash for your old mattress, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Fortunately, you are not stuck with your old mattress forever. You have a couple of good options for getting rid of it.

  • Donating. There are several places where you can donate your mattress. You can choose one that supports an issue that is close to your heart, like providing furniture for the poor or for veterans. Many of these organizations will pick up your mattress in exchange for the donation, so you don’t have to worry about that. As long as the organization is registered as a non-profit, they can also give you a receipt so you can write it off on your taxes.
  • Recycling. Different types of mattresses will be recycled in different ways, so you will need to figure out what will work for you. Most places that recycle mattresses will ask you to drop the mattress off, which can prohibit some people from taking advantage of this option. However, recycling a mattress is good for the world and provides materials for many different industries. If you can’t get yours to sell and you can get it to a recycling center, it’s worth the effort to do so.

Getting rid of an old mattress can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. If yours is in good condition, try to sell it. If you don’t want to bother with that or don’t think it will sell, donate it or recycle it so you can do some good in the world while still saying goodbye to your old mattress.


Interesting Mattress Facts

18 Interesting Facts About Mattresses

Sure, you sleep on one every night, but your mattress is more interesting than that. Whether you love your bed or just love trivia, read on to learn some fun facts about how people have slept in the past and how they sleep across the world today.

  1. The oldest known mattress was found in South Africa and is 77,000 years old. It was also huge, at 22 square feet. That’s big enough for a whole family to sleep together on it, and then some! These beds were made of plants and show evidence of having been burned regularly, quite possibly to get rid of unwanted pests.
  2. Across time and history, people have made beds and mattresses in the shape that they sleep. Usually, that means beds are rectangular. However, at Hinds Cave, in Texas, they found small, round mattresses. This indicates that these people slept in the fetal position.
  3. Ancient Egyptians had raised beds without mattresses and put them everywhere, even in their tombs. King Tut’s tomb featured a wooden bed gilded in gold, with feline legs and a special footboard.
  4. The phrase “hit the hay” comes from a time when mattresses were made out of a cloth sack filled with hay or other plant material. People would literally have to beat their bed against the wall or with a stick before they went to bed, to make sure there weren’t bugs or small animals living inside.
  5. In Medieval times, large, high beds with thick mattresses and curtains were a sign of wealth. They were so expensive that people would place them in front of windows, so passersby could see that the family had enough money to afford a bed. Families with more than one bed were considered extremely wealthy.
  6. The Great Bed of Ware is a huge bed that was made as a tourist attraction in Shakespeare’s day. It was lavish and had enough mattresses to sleep 8 people. It was so famous that it is referenced in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, along with other artistic works of the time. People who traveled to see this bed would carve their names, initials, or messages into the posts that made up its frame.
  7. Speaking of Shakespeare, he is known for bequeathing his second best bed to his wife, Anne. (The best went to his daughter.) Scholars disagree as to whether this was an insult or not. While the bed was second best, it would have been the bed they shared together, and hence would have had some sentimental value to Anne.
  8. According to writer William Harrison, pillows were for women and children only. Men, on the other hand, only needed a large log under their heads to fall asleep.
  9. Charles Dickens was one of many people in his time who believed that the magnetic fields of the earth would benefit them if they slept with their heads facing north. He always made sure to align his mattress this way, and claimed that it helped him maintain good health.
  10. In Japan, people do not sleep on mattresses. Instead, they sleep on woven mats called tatami. Some people place these on a raised, bed-like platform, while others simply place them on the floor.
  11. In parts of South America and Asia, people use hammocks for sleeping, instead of mattresses. They simply find a handy set of trees, string up their hammock, and crawl in for the night. These are especially common among rural people.
  12. Mattresses are also not traditional in India. Instead, they use a charpoy bed. This is a wooden frame with plants, like jute, woven tightly around the frame. They put pillows and blankets directly on top of this, so it is both their bed and their mattress.
  13. In Northern China, people sleep on straw matting and a quilt, which is all on top of the Kang bed. This is basically a bed with a stove underneath. They use the stove for many things all day. At night, they keep it running so that it can warm the platform built above it, where they sleep.
  14. There was no such thing as a fitted sheet to go over a mattress until 1957, when Bertha Berman filed the patent for it. Before that, all sheets were the same and people simply folded them around the corners of the mattress and tucked them in. This method is still common throughout much of Europe.
  15. The largest bed in the world, with the largest mattress on top of it, is in the Netherlands. It is over 86 feet long and more than 53 feet wide, and was measured on May 28, 2011.
  16. A typical mattress that sees regular use has between 100,000 and 10 million dust mites. These are known to cause allergies in some people, but most of us never notice that we are sharing our beds.
  17. While most people prefer to at least pull the covers up over their mattresses when they’re done sleeping, it might actually be healthier to have a messy bed. An uncovered mattress dries out better than a covered one, and so is a less habitable place for dust mites. If you struggle with allergies, it may be worthwhile to leave your bed unmade!
  18. There are several mattresses on the market today that cost more than 6 figures. These beds of the rich and famous offer all kinds of features, from including horsehair in their construction to using a magnetized system to hover in the air.

Whether you sleep on a luxury mattress or not, it’s fun to learn about the place where most of us spend hours and hours each day. And who knows? Maybe these facts will come in handy the next time you play Trivial Pursuit.

Looking for a little more up-to-date mattress knowledge? Check out a few of our guides:

  • How to Choose a Mattress: A Buyer’s Guide

    READ MORE
  • Mattress Firmness Guide

    READ MORE

Get to Sleep Fast

10 Ways to Fall Asleep Fast

On any given night, about 10% of sleepers struggle with insomnia. Most of us will struggle with it at some point during our lives. One of the most frustrating types of insomnia is not being able to fall asleep. Below are some science-based ideas on how to overcome it.

 1. Make Your Room Cooler

Body temperature seems to be a key factor when it comes to falling asleep. When people are asleep, their bodies are 1-2 degrees cooler than they are the rest of the time. People who struggle to sleep also seem to struggle to achieve this temperature drop.

Cooling your room is one of the easiest ways to cool your body. You can run your air conditioner, use a fan, or open your window to cool things off.

2. Warm Your Hands and Feet

Another way to cool your body is to warm up your hands and feet. When these extremities are warm, they are pulling blood away from your core. This allows your core to cool down. You will end up lowering your overall body temperature, which should help you sleep.

3. Take a Warm Shower Right Before Bed

You can also lower your overall body temperature by taking a warm shower right before you go to bed. Your body loses heat quickly when you step from a warm shower into the cooler air. If you do this right before you go to bed, it can help you lower your body temperature and fall asleep faster.

4. Practice Meditation

 

Meditation before bed

 

Taking up meditation can also help you fall asleep faster. You can meditate right before you fall asleep, or you can do it earlier in the day. Meditation helps because it changes the way your brain works. People who meditate learn how to control their focus. This comes in handy when you are stressed. It allows you to focus only on resting when you are in bed, rather than on all of the things that you are worrying about.

5. Go to Your Happy Place

If meditation is hard for you or does not help you fall asleep, there is another way to use your mind to help you rest. Think about a place that makes you feel happy and relaxed. Make it as real as possible in your mind. Think about the way things sound there, the smells you would smell, and what you would see when you look around. Visualizing yourself in a restful place can help you fall asleep and sleep better.

6. Try to Stay Awake

People who struggle with insomnia often fall asleep better when they try to stay awake. Insomniacs who tried to keep their eyes open actually fell asleep faster than those who tried to sleep. Researchers believe this happens because people who struggle to fall asleep often become anxious about sleeping. When they don’t expect themselves to sleep, they actually sleep better.

7. Avoid Screens

Most screens emit blue light, which can interfere with a person’s sleeping and waking rhythms. This makes it hard to sleep when it’s time to go to bed. To avoid these negative effects of blue light, try to avoid screens for at least an hour before going to bed. It is fine to read a book or talk with someone, but leave the phone across the room.

8. Listen to Slow Music

People who listened to relaxing classical music while trying to fall asleep fell asleep faster and slept better than those who listened to an audiobook or who didn’t listen to anything. Just make sure that your music doesn’t have any parts that are suddenly loud or fast, so it doesn’t interrupt your sleep instead of helping it.

9. Get Out of Bed

You should associate your bed only with sleeping. If you lie awake for a long time, your body will make that into a habit. Instead, get out of bed and do something else for 10 minutes, then come back and try to sleep again. Over time, you will train your body to sleep when you get into bed.

10. Breathe in Lavender

Lavender helps sleep

People who inhaled the scent of lavender several times before trying to fall asleep fell asleep faster than those who didn’t inhale anything. Keep a bottle of lavender oil with you in the half hour before bed, and breathe it in for 2 minutes, 3 times. You may find yourself sleeping like a baby!

You don’t have to use all of the techniques listed here. Choose the ones that seem like they would help you the most or that would be the easiest for you to put into practice. Make changes slowly, so you can figure out which techniques work best for you. Happy sleeping!