Have you considered how your mattress and pillow might be affecting your sleep? Good sleep is critical for good health. Some experts claim that good sleep is as important as a good diet and exercise.
Here are some hints for improving mattress and pillow health.
When should I change my mattress?
While a mattress may hold together for up to 20 years, most sleep experts suggest a new one every 8 to 10 years. This will help ensure your mattress supports your body and spine correctly, and that it is not overly contaminated with accumulated bacteria, fungi, and mites.
Other signs I should change my mattress sooner?
If you sleep much better outside your home, for example, in a hotel, consider a new mattress. In this case, find out the brand of the one that is better for you. Other signs to change to a new one: you are constantly shifting at night to get comfortable, or wake in the morning with neck or back stiffness or pain.
How often change a pillow?
At most, every 2 years, but ideally, every 6 months to a year.
Why so important to change mattress and pillow?
Newer ones better support your neck and spine, and dust mites are constantly accumulating in the pillow and mattress. These microscopic creatures eat the small flakes of skin you are constantly shedding. Many people are allergic to these mites and their waste products. Besides worsening nasal and eye allergy symptoms, mites can worsen asthma, particularly in children.
How do I choose a good mattress?
Don’t rush; plan on being in the store a couple hours. Wear comfortable clothes, and lay down for 15 to 20 minutes on several different test beds to see which is most comfortable, and provides good support for your body and spine.
Firm or soft?
A “medium-firm” mattress—one that is relatively firm with a pillow top, is best for most people. It should be soft enough so that you sink into it slightly, but firm enough that it still supports the curves in your body and spine. A bed that is too hard will put excessive pressure on your lower back, hips, and shoulders.
What type of pillow is best?
The main point is that the pillow should keep your head and neck aligned in a natural positon. From the side, your head, neck, and back should all be lined up in a straight line. If you sleep on your side, the pillow should fill the gap between your head and shoulders. Test several in the store.
Better to sleep on your side, stomach, or back?
Sleeping on your side, with your knees bent in almost a fetal position, is ideal. Sleeping on your back is ok if you prefer. But sleeping on your stomach is not very good for most people since it puts more strain on the neck.
What about allergy-proof cases?
A great idea for both the pillow and the mattress. The cases can be washed, and they will help keep the mattress clean as well as prevent dust mites from collecting in the mattress itself.
What else can be done to decrease mites?
Wash and/or dry your sheets at high temperature, preferably at least 60 C. to kill the mites.
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