Posts belonging to Category 'Alignment and comfort'

Is It Time For A New Mattress?

How do you know when its time to replace a mattress?

Its one of those questions that often gets asked when people learn my background. Far too often people buy a bed and continue sleeping on it well past its usable life. Like any major purchase, you really don’t want to think about it, and will often put up with poor sleep quality to avoid the trip to the mattress shop.

Even though mattresses have warranties as long as 25 years, this does NOT represent the actual expected comfort life of the mattress. It may pass the warranty test for 50 years, but if it is not comfortable, its time to change. This what I call the comfort life, and it may very well be far less than the actual life. I define comfort life as the amount of time you can comfortably sleep on the mattress – which could be as short as months, or as long as a decade. I highly doubt you can sleep comfortably on an innerspring mattress for a full decade. However, a top quality memory foam product may allow you to sleep comfortably for more than a decade.

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How To Select A Mattress

How To Test Beds Properly

If you are truly wanting the very best mattress for your body, go with an open mind and try all types of mattresses: air, foam, and innerspring. For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on innerspring, but much of this will apply to other types of mattresses. For innerspring mattresses, generally speaking, stomach and back sleepers need to be on firm to plush mattresses. Side sleepers will usually end up between plush to pillow top.

Pillow Top Mattresses – I define a pillow top as having two seams. They are generally the softest mattresses, allowing the most conformance. These are also the silliest of the three types, since you can achieve the exact feel with only one seam on a plush with identical comfort layers. Pillow tops sound sexy, and can usually justify a higher price. If you sleep on your side, or simply like a softer feel, you will probably end up on a pillow top.

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Its Getting Hot In Here

I have mentioned in the past that the number one objection I hear from consumers about Tempur-Pedic specifically, and memory foam mattresses in general, is that they sleep hot. When allowed to dig, I usually find that the one making these claims has never really slept on a quality memory foam product, or had some bad experience with a topper, pillow, or some really cheap knock-off. Its almost comical how this myth continues.

1. I’m a big guy, comfortably over 300 lbs., and more hot natured than any menopausal woman on the planet. I could perspire in below freezing weather – and have, throughout my life. I have slept on the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Supreme for almost 3 years now and sleep cooler than any other mattress I have ever had.

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I Can Sleep Anywhere!

Can You Really Sleep Anywhere?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say they can sleep anywhere, I would be insanely wealthy. Yes, you probably could sleep on any mattress if you absolutely had too. When the body is tired, it will do whatever necessary to get some rest, even if that means sleeping on a concrete floor. However, the body will not get the deep recuperative sleep it needs if it is constantly adjusting, developing numbness in the arm, or simply just restless from pressure and alignment issues.

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But The Mattress Looks New

Its the million dollar question – when do I replace my mattress?

Let me start by giving you a simple analogy. If your car stops running, or is breaking down often, would you not strongly consider replacing it? Especially if fixing it was not possible, or it was cost prohibitive, right? If you can’t depend on your vehicle, and you’re spending more on tow trucks, repairs, rental cars, and missing meetings and work that costs you money, its time to replace the vehicle.

Now let’s look at your mattress. If you are waking up sore, spending dollars on doctors and chiropractors, sleeping better on the road or vacation, its probably time to change. But here are some other things to consider.

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Do I Need A New Mattress?

How To Know When Its Time To Get A New Mattress

Back Pain – If you are waking up every morning with lower back pain, this may indicate that you have either a support issue or an alignment issue. Have your spouse examine your alignment in your sleeping position. If the buttocks (back sleeper) or hips (side sleeper) are sinking too much, this may be contributing factor. And depending on your sensitivity and health, it may only take a fraction of an inch to cause problems. Sudden weight gain, especially men in their bellies, and women during a pregnancy, may also be a factor. A pot belly on a side sleeper may force the body out of alignment. Nobody likes to discuss this, but excess weight is something we all contend with at times.

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Mattress Priorities – Children’s Mattresses

I like to share incidents immediately because they present a wonderful learning opportunity. I just observed a woman enter a mattress store. She was needing two twin mattresses for her sons (3 & 12). After some initial qualifying questions the salesperson determined that this was largely a price driven decision. He took the woman to the less expensive options and began to discuss the merits of each. In the case of this chain, the least expensive mattress that you would want any human being to sleep on is around $150 for the mattress only – by no means is this an outrageous price for a usable twin mattress.

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A Well Conditioned Mattress

It has become a common practice to allow consumers to spend some time on the mattress and return it if they do not like it. I applaud the industry for this practice. You absolutely need a minimum of 30 days on a mattress to truly decide if it is the correct sleeping solution for your body.

All mattresses, just like shoes, need to be conditioned for your body shape and size. This process may only take a day or two on a fluffy soft pillowtop, or as long as a month on a premium memory foam mattress.

While the mattress is changing to fit your needs, your body must adjust to a different level of support and conformance. If you have spent the last 25 years on a substandard mattress with inadequate support, there may be a very long process of adjusting to a new mattress.

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When Should I Replace My Mattress?

A few folks have written wondering how to know when its time to change your mattress. So here are a few things to consider.

1. Crater Lake – If there is a giant hole in your mattress or two valleys on either side of a ridge in the middle, it may be time to change. Innerspring mattresses are notorious for developing body impressions where you sleep. If it is still under warranty (1.5″ for most manufacturers/10 years) measure from the natural mattress surface into the deepest valley. If it is greater than 1.5″ and still under warranty, file a claim. This may get you a new mattress set for very minimal cost.

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Dust Mites

If you experience asthma, runny nose, itchy eyes or congestion when you are in bed, there is a good chance that you are having an allergic reaction to dust mites. These little bugs are too small to see with the naked eye, but they live and thrive in your mattress and throughout your home. The combination of fibers, heat, moisture and an abundant food source – skin cells you shed throughout night, make mattresses the ideal home for these little critters.

A traditional mattress pad may help, but if it is quilted and not waterproof, it may just provide an additional breeding ground. But frequently washing the pad in very hot water may help. Unfortunately, if the mattress pad is not waterproof/dust mite proof, the dust mites are still thriving within your mattress.

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Firm Pillow Top Mattress

I want a firm pillow top mattress!

Unfortunately, the combination of those four words cause way too much confusion in mattress stores. The reason for this is that the mattress customer and salesperson are not talking the same language. Most likely when a customer comes in asking for a “firm pillow top mattress,” they are reacting to a bad experience, either poor alignment or excessive body impressions in their current mattress.

When the average salesperson hears “firm pillow top mattress,” they probably don’t even hear the word “firm.” Instead, they immediately begin showing the customer pillow top mattresses that they claim are firm, but will cause the very same issues that brought the customer in there in the first place.

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Mattress Toppers

Mattress Toppers – Good or Bad?

Can’t I Just Get A Mattress Topper? – Lots of people think that if they just put a topper on their bad mattress it will magically improve their sleep. The reality is that it all depends on what the problem is with your current mattress. For mattresses that are sagging or have significant body impressions, toppers will merely take on the shape of the defective mattress, offering little relief for a support issue.

If you have a super hard mattress or you are experiencing pressure points, a topper may provide relief. I would always encourage you to do your best to purchase the correct mattress and not try and “retrofit” a bad one. But if money is tight, a topper may be a temporary solution.

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