Why our old mattress is bad for you
Your trusty old mattress could actually be causing you more issues than what you realise. What’s worse is, many people still think of a mattress as old after 15-20 years, when in fact, old is classified as about 7 years.
Good sleep is vital for optimal physical and mental health, weight and cardiovascular health. One of the best ways to gain great quality sleep is to make sure that your mattress is in a good condition. If your mattress is too old, you won’t be gaining the quality of sleep that you need anymore and you’ll begin to notice the changes during the night as well as during the day. A bad mattress can be making you eat badly, put on weight and even cause you to become depressed – all because you aren’t getting the sleep that your body needs to function optimally.
Back neck and shoulder support
Our spines have a natural curvature. It is therefore, important that your mattress is neither too soft nor too hard. Many people with back problems think that they need to have a mattress that is hard in order to support their back. This is not true. The optimal type of mattress is a medium-firm mattress. Medium-firm is quite a subjective term depending on your weight. Suffice to say, this type of mattress allows your back to rest at its natural curvature and not allow you to ‘sink’ nor to be completely straight. If your mattress is older than 10 years, it will have already moulded to your shape and is no longer able to give you adequate support. This could result in existing back problems worsening or new problems arising.
Spending a third of your life on your mattress and shedding your skin while you do it, is a recipe for allergies. This is because mattresses are filled with house dust mites which feed on dead human skin cells. It all sounds pretty icky. The reality here is that many allergies are caused by the house dust mite – from hay fever to asthma. Asthma can lead to hospitalisation and death if not treated. If your mattress is over 10 years old, it equates to a whole 3 years’ worth of dead skin cells and the resultant dust mites that have collected in it. That’s a huge amount!
We now know that having a sleep disorder causes your stress levels to rise. But a small study showed that your mattress could be to blame. This study had people sleep on a new, medium-firm mattress for a month, after having slept on their old mattresses (> 5years old) for a month. The evidence could not be ignored. During their second month, their stress levels dropped significantly. The better sleep quality alone was a major factor in helping to decrease their stress levels.
So, now you’ve realised your mattress is not doing you any favours – which one do you choose?
We can all agree, the general consensus among the majority of hard working people today, that our beds become our best friend at the end of each and every long enduring work day. Up early and to bed late, with a million and one to-do list items in between, the day is never long enough to get it all done.
If we had the choice between the to-do list and a never ending night’s sleep, we’d probably all fall for the latter. Unfortunately, a Snow White induced nap isn’t possible for all of us in the non-Disney world, so I’m sure most of us would take at least one good restful night’s sleep every once in a blue moon instead.
A consistent good night’s sleep is at the top of every health list. Be it ways to lose weight, avoid the flu, stay young forever, or lessen chronic pain. Right next to staying hydrated, a restful night is the key factor in staying healthy and creating a life of longevity. Our sleeping habits directly affect our health: mental, physical, and emotional.
Lack of sleep creates heightened stress hormones, weakened immune system, and ultimately a shorter life span. So what happens when a restful sleep isn’t possible? Are you doing everything Google says to do when it comes to creating a peaceful bedroom atmosphere, turning off all of your electronics, avoiding caffeine and exercise after 2 p.m. everyday and finding the best memory foam mattress?
As much as it pains to admit it, the very mattress you call your best friend every night could be the culprit killing your REM cycles and ultimately your health.
Now that I have the attention of all you sleepy little princes and princesses, I’d like to give you a gift in the form of a shiny, red apple laced with a sleeping potion that will help you drift off into dreamland for at least a solid 8 hours, but since that isn’t possible I’ll give it to you in form of list outlining the top ten reasons your old mattress is destroying your health.
10. Your old mattress equals restless nights equals no sleep equals being tired.
This may be the most obvious point, but it is important to note nonetheless. If your mattress is old and uncomfortable you will most assuredly not feel cozy and snuggled, which means you’ll be tossing and turning, waking up constantly, never really achieving your full REM cycles and ultimately wake up tired and feeling more exhausted each morning. This will lead to all of the symptoms we talk about in the following 2-10 points.
Being tired leads to a lot of pretty bad outcomes. If you can’t sleep you can’t function on the most basic levels preventing you from making better decisions for your health on a daily basis.
9. Your old mattress equals all the pain.
So. Much. Pain. An old mattress starts to lose its shape, it becomes lumpy and saggy. It loses firmness and foundation that is supposed to keep you supported. When your body isn’t supported it will put pressure on your joints, tilt and angle your body in a contorted fashion giving you all those lovely “kinks” in your muscles, tendons, and nerves. If you are in constant pain from the sleep that is supposed to be refreshing your body and mind you won’t be able to move easily and fluidly. This will most likely lead to a more sedentary lifestyle of now not only being uncomfortable in your bed but also all day every day.
8. Your old mattress equals little bugs plus allergens.
We all know about the microscopic organisms that hang out all over your body and make your skin literally crawl just thinking about the little critters. Even the cleanest person in the world can’t escape the teeny tiny bugs that eat our dead skin cells and bathe in our body oils.
The bugs, the skin cells, and the oils all collect and build up on our mattress, blankets, pillows, and pajamas. The build up, no matter how many times we wash the linens, creates a prime breeding ground for molds, bacteria, and even bigger bugs – dust mites.
Hey so now that you know about the dirty little inner city that you’re constructing on a nightly basis let’s think about how breathing all of that in adds to your allergen issues and creates throat and lung complications. Yummy.
7. Your old mattress may equal bed bugs.
I’m just gonna leave this here for your reading pleasure – Bed Bugs are Pure Evil. However, just to summarize I’d like to reiterate how evil these little buggers are, they are easy to contract and oh so difficult (and expensive!) to rid yourself of. They cause health problems and diseases. They suck your blood, reproduce faster than rabbits, and are resistant to everything but a very specific set of procedures that should be held under lock and key to prevent any future mutational and evolutionary resistance. Being a clean person has no effect on them, let’s face it a brand new mattress is just as susceptible as an old one.
A small history lesson: bed bugs weren’t always this savvy, they were almost completely eradicated completely but then quickly evolved into the strong little devils we now know and have to put up with today.
6. Your old mattress equals so many health problems.
Lack of sleep means more stress hormones, it means mental inconsistencies which leads to poor decision making, followed by poor health choices such as what we eat or the risks we take. Being exhausted wears on the body to the point of no return. Here’s the shortlist: obesity, weakened immune systems, heart conditions, increased stress and anxiety, blood pressure issues, possibility of stroke, diabetes, and a higher risk of an earlier death! Let’s not to mention what the mattresses are made of, materials and toxins we breathe in and soak up through our skin every night constantly, just to name a few: boric acid, formaldehyde, petrochemicals, and polyvinyl chloride (aka PVC).
5. Your old mattress may equal sleep apnea or at the very least, snoring.
Sleep apnea is serious, and there are many kinds and causes. Some doctors believe some mattress types could make the problem worse. But at the very least, if you aren’t being supported properly by your mattress it may kink your body in certain positions making you snore at night. Even if you don’t have a partner sleeping next to you, snoring can cause breathing issues and noise pollution in the room adding to your restless night.
4. Your old mattress equals more mental clutter and thus more physical chaos.
Sleeping less efficiently effects the efficiency of the mind and body in ways other than pure immune health. Our brains refresh while sleeping, clearing away all the clutter and unnecessary chaos. When we don’t sleep the chaos and clutter remain and it all continues to build. It causes memory issues, critical thinking skills, depression, impaired judgement, physical accidents and affects the ability to learn new skills and abilities and retain or retrieve information.
3. Your old mattress equals aging skin.
Lack of sleep raises your stress hormones, which wears and tears on every single micro millimeter of your body, including the biggest living, breathing organism – your skin. Eye bags, wrinkles, and fine lines all around your face show that wear and tear and it shows unfavorable to your chronological age. Good sleep not only keeps our brains in good working order, but also allows all of our organs to rest, giving them a chance to build immunity to the cold hard world we expose them to every day.
2. Your old mattress equals less nookie.
Exhaustion and physical tension causes a lower libido. Desire and interest as well as initiative all decrease when you’re tired, your body aches, and your health suffers.
1. Your old mattress equals your illegal office.
Using your bedroom as your personal in-home office, and your mattress as your giant rolling office chair is a huge no-no. Electronics and work related activity creates an atmosphere not conducive to relaxation, quality time with your partner, and most of all… sleeping. The bright unnatural lights and physical and mental activity create constant brain stimulation, this does not in any way help set-up for a peaceful night of relaxation and rest.
At the end of the day, your mattress is an important part of your every single night. It is beyond important but imperative. It needs to be thought of as another consistent relationship in your life. Just like your work, your partner and family you hopefully spend a solid 8 hours or more a night with your mattress. It needs to be one of quality, consistency, and competency individual to you and your needs. The financial pains and headache mattress shopping can bring will all well be worth it every morning you wake up feeling refreshed and healthy.
Sleep easy, my pretties.