Did you have trouble sleeping last night? If you didn’t, your spouse probably did. At least according to statistics that show nearly one of every two people has at least periodic sleep problems. For people 65 and older, the figure swells to over 50 percent.
Makes you wonder why there is such a problem with something as seemingly simple as sleep. There are a number of reasons actually, and one or more of them may be contributing to your situation. In this fast paced world, people lose sleep for a myriad of reasons.
Causes of Insomnia
Stress is a major culprit. The tension that results from daily worry, demanding work and hectic schedules can eat away at the body and cause real physical symptoms such as insomnia. When your emotions are twisted into a knot, it’s easy to see how it would be difficult – at best – to relax mind and body enough to doze off.
Caffeine and alcohol consumption can also cause sleeping problems. Caffeine can stay in the blood stream long after the stimulating effects wear off. It’s best to refrain from drinking any caffeinated beverages or eating foods with caffeine – such as chocolate – in the afternoon or evening hours. Alcohol should also be limited during evening hours as it can result in restless sleep.
Smoking also acts as a stimulant and can contribute to erratic sleep cycles. Some doctors believe the body begins to withdraw from nicotine soon after the last consumption. That means your body becomes restless during the night as cravings for the next smoke grow.
Medications are frequently cited in efforts to uncover the cause of a case of insomnia. If you are on medications – especially multiple treatments of varying drugs – and are having trouble sleeping, check with your doctor to see if the problem may be a side effect. It could be that your dosage or medication needs to be changed.
What You Can Do
First of all, analyze your caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and medication intake to see if there are adjustments that need to be made. Stress can also frequently be relieved by prioritizing what is really important in your daily life and letting go of as much of the rest as possible. The bottom line is to make a concerted effort to cut out those things that are damaging your overall well-being.
Make a schedule and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at specified times each day. Your body will adjust to the routine and adapt accordingly.
Get comfortable with a new bed and surroundings. Are your bedroom accommodations conducive to sleep? If you have an innerspring bed, consider upgrading to a memory foam mattress. The therapeutic qualities of memory foam improve circulation and eliminate pressure points that can lead to soreness and insomnia.
Turn off all electronics. Televisions, iPhones, computers and similar distractions can impede proper sleep. Make your bedroom an electronics free zone to encourage your body to relax and sleep.
Over the past year, a new product has begun making a splash in the memory foam pond. Only a handful – or less – of companies are leading the way with Green Memory Foam, but the movement is gaining steam.
Memory foam itself has only been on the open market for a little over a decade. In that time, its popularity has skyrocketed due to its ability to prevent surface motion transfer and because the memory foam cells create a gentle body contouring sensation that properly supports the body without a metal spring-based structure that can cause uncomfortable pressure points.
Despite the overall therapeutic benefits of memory foam, many customers have raised concerns over the petroleum-based mixture that comprises memory foam. One of the most heard complaints of memory foam is the chemical off-gassing that occurs when a memory foam mattress is first unpacked and rolled out. It can last for days and has been known to sour a customer’s experience.
But, fortunately, a small number of forward-thinking manufacturers heard the complaints and put their best thinkers on the case to find a solution. What they developed is green memory foam – a product that has revolutionized the already revolutionary memory foam industry.
Green memory foam is the environmentally –friendly alternative to the original memory foam formula. Instead of poly-urethane chemical components, green memory foam relies on vegetable-based materials. In addition, the production process is free of harmful emissions and that means a lower carbon footprint.
The best thing about green memory foam, however, is the fact that it looks, feels and acts exactly like visco-elastic memory foam. Users get the same motionless sleep and body contouring effect that has been heralded by so many. In addition, reputable dealers include the same in-home sleep trials and lengthy warranties that are common with other memory foam mattress retailers. This means there is virtually no risk associated with trying out a green memory foam mattress.
When shopping for a new mattress, you no longer have to put aside health and safety concerns. As much time as we spend in our beds over the course of a lifetime; we shouldn’t have to worry whether we are jeopardizing our health simply by sleeping. A high quality green memory foam mattress will help you reach your sleep goals while erasing the worry associated with other mattresses.
Experts say we spend three quarters of our entire lives in bed. Even with a memory foam mattress, that’s a lot of good and bad nights’ sleep. For many people who still use innerspring mattresses, the bad far outweighs the good and the negative effects can bleed over into work and personal relationships and other important aspects of life.
When you can’t sleep, your body doesn’t get the fit-full rest it needs to replenish and rejuvenate. Motor skills, memory, focus, attention to detail and other essential functions are going to be thrown off kilter. Mood swings, agitation and melancholy can result.
If the problem isn’t corrected, insomnia can lead to a number of serious physical and mental conditions. For many people, the situation is compounded by the fact that their bed is the major cause of the problem. There is little chance of correcting the above conditions without addressing your sleep situation.
Poor sleep is frequently related to physical discomfort, and even pain, caused by the hard metal springs that provide the support structure for most traditional mattresses. Where the springs push against the body, pressure points are created that can quickly escalate to become sore and eventually painful to the touch – both at the skin level and deeper into the muscles and joints.
And this is where memory foam mattresses can make your life better.
Memory foam has long been widely regarded in the medical community for its therapeutic qualities. The millions of tiny open cells that comprise memory foam work to disperse body weight evenly across the mattress surface. As a result the body is gently cupped by a contouring effect that eliminates pressure points and relieves body stress while improving circulation.
An added benefit of memory foam is that it doesn’t transfer weight across the bed. That means if you have a partner that gets up during the night, you won’t be bounced awake every time they get into or out of the bed. With memory foam, you’ll stay undisturbed and sleeping restfully. That’s a particularly significant benefit, especially if your partner rises frequently or is a restless sleeper.
Large numbers of satisfied customers who regularly sleep on memory foam report significant improvements in their rest patterns. If you’re able to conquer the physical barrier to sleep, then that’s most of the battle. Memory foam will help you do that.
When proper sleep cycles are restored, your overall well-being is likely to increase and relationships will be less fraught with strain. Your mood will consistently be better and less likely to swing due to fatigue. Work productivity will improve and your body will be more capable of participating in recreation and exercise activities.
It’s easy to see how memory foam mattresses can have a significant impact on quality of life.
“What’s the best memory foam mattress?”
It’s a question every memory foam retailer has heard, time and again. For different customers, the answer could vary significantly so it’s always important to have a thorough understanding of memory foam and how it will benefit your individual situation.
Some customers will look for extraordinary value in a memory foam mattress; others high quality craftsmanship; still more will insist on both. A growing number of customers will also be looking at the “green factor” – or how environmentally friendly the manufacturer’s product is in relation to others.
In the years since memory foam burst onto the market – a byproduct of NASA-inspired technology – it has undergone an affirming transformation that has diminished a few initial kinks and mastered the production process. As the market has grown, prices have fallen to very affordable levels over the past few years with the addition of a number of strong competitors.
A particular few innovators have even perfected vegetable or soy-based memory foam mattresses that are as good, or better, than their polyurethane-based counterparts. This is particularly appealing to a large – and ever growing – cross-section of consumers who are committed to buying eco-friendly products or who may benefit from the anti-bacterial, anti-microbial characteristics of green memory foam.
Aside from those important factors, there are several key qualities that should always be considered seriously when purchasing a new mattress. Here are a few of the most important things to know if you’re looking for the best memory foam mattress:
• Higher density memory foam is a sign of better quality. Memory foam with a density of less than three pounds should not be considered due to the likelihood of “bottoming out.” Conversely, memory foam with a density higher than five pounds will be too firm for most people’s comfort. So, the ideal memory foam density is generally considered to be between three and five pounds.
• The ILD rating of a mattress will tell how hard or soft the memory foam is by measuring how many pounds of pressure are required to compress the mattress four inches. A higher ILD rating indicates a mattress that is going to be more firm. For this reason, the best mattresses will employ a combination of at least two layers of varying density memory to provide the optimal combination of comfort and support.
• There really is no perfect level of thickness in a memory foam mattress. Ultimately, this is a very subjective characteristic that depends heavily on individual uses and preferences including sleep positioning and activity levels.
• American made products will always be a mark of quality when it comes to memory foam mattresses. Beware products made in foreign countries – especially China – where lax production standards open the door to low quality merchandise that could contain harmful substances.
• A final consideration is warranty and in-home trial. A quality memory foam mattress should be supported by the manufacturer with a lengthy warranty of at least 10 years and up to 20 years. Most reputable retailers will also offer an in-home trial period to ensure the customer gets the perfect mattress for their particular sleep needs.
The current memory foam mattress market has something for everyone – and that includes sizes galore to fit any need.
From twin to California King, memory foam mattresses are available from most reputable dealers in a variety of sizes designed to provide the closest-to-perfect fit possible. In addition, many retailers of high quality products offers the “split” option where the mattress is literally split in half so that each user can enjoy their preferred firmness level. The split option is also an advantage for users who may have trouble navigating a large king size memory foam mattress through tight spaces such as stairwells.
There are no less than seven varying sizes available for memory foam mattresses. Here is a tutorial on each:
• Twin: designed for use by a single child or adult. Twin dimensions are 39” x 75,” but a Twin XL is also an option at 39” x 80.”
• Full: a roomy sleep surface for a single user or a slightly cramped option for a couple. Full dimensions are 54” x 75” and a Full XL adds five inches to the length for taller users.
• Queen: designed for two users, the Queen mattress’ dimensions are 60” x 80” and again can be extended by five inches in length with an XL upgrade.
• King: a very spacious surface that can easily accommodate most couples. King size dimensions are 76” x 80” and California King is an alternative at 72” x 84” for a slightly narrower and longer profile.
Each user will come to a different conclusion as to which memory foam mattress size fits them best. Everything from physical stature to intended uses and number of users should be considered. In general, it is best to opt for the size just above the one that you feel you will need as personal space requirements may be underestimated in the decision making stage before the user has an opportunity to really get a feel for the bed with regular use.
With so many options available in affordable prices from reputable dealers who use quality materials and production processes, it is no wonder memory foam mattresses have grown to enjoy such popularity.
As more and more adults come to enjoy the lifestyle benefits of memory foam mattresses, it is only natural they would want to encourage loved ones to give these innovated sleep systems a try.
That may mean recommending memory foam to parents, siblings and other family members. And, increasingly, children can be added to that list.
But that raises interesting questions regarding the appropriateness of allowing kids to sleep on memory foam mattresses. Clearly, any parent who even considers memory foam for their children has only their best interest at heart. After all, the health benefits of memory foam are well-documented. But that doesn’t necessarily mean memory foam mattresses are suitable for all children.
In a nutshell, memory foam can positively affect a child’s overall health and sleep patterns, but there are safety concerns that parents should be aware of – particularly regarding very young children, especially infants.
Memory foam mattresses have grown hugely popular in recent years as consumers far and wide have caught on to the unique characteristics of this NASA-inspired technology. Memory foam can be polyurethane-based or organic in nature. Memory foam mattresses do not use hard metal springs that create painful pressure points when the user applies body weight. Instead, memory foam mattresses are comprised of millions of open cells that collapse under pressure and body heat to provide the “melting” feeling that has brought the product fame and rave reviews. As the body melts into the memory foam it is cradled without pressure points so there is none of the resulting soreness that is common with innerspring mattresses. Memory foam mattresses are also proven to improve circulation and create an overall improvement in sleep cycles.
All of those qualities can be beneficial to children. Older kids should have no problems using a memory foam mattress safely. Improvements made now to sleep patterns and overall health will pay dividends later in life.
Parents should, however, be cautioned that memory foam mattresses can be dangerous for very young children who could roll over and suffocate. Because of their light body weights, younger children also will not receive the same degree of benefit as older children whose heavier frames will work more properly in conjunction with the memory foam design.
For children under 4-years-old, a physician should be consulted to determine whether the timing is appropriate for introducing a memory foam mattress. For everyone else – go ahead and enjoy!