Choosing the Right Mattress to Get a Better Night Sleep
A study of the types of mattresses one should use to ensure a good night's sleep and a well-rested feeling the following day. Studies have shown that better REM sleep helps boost your mood during the day.
The invention of the electroencephalograph allowed scientists to study sleep in ways that were not previously possible. During the 1950s, a gradate student named Eugene Aserinsky used this tool to discover what is known today as REM sleep. Further studies of human sleep have demonstrated that sleep progresses through a series of stages in which different brain wave patterns are displayed.
In order to understand the right mattress to choose, one should know the 5 stages of sleep:
Stage 1 sleep, or drowsiness, is often described as first in the sequence. Stage 1 may last for five to 10 minutes.
Stage 2 is a period of light sleep with intermittent peaks and valleys, or positive and negative waves. The heart rate slows, and body temperature decreases. At this point, the body prepares to enter deep sleep.
Stages 3 and 4
These are deep sleep stages, with Stage 4 being more intense than Stage 3. These stages are known as slow-wave or delta, with slow waves of high amplitude, indicating a pattern of deep sleep and rhythmic continuity.
The period of non-REM sleep (NREM) is comprised of Stages 1-4 and lasts from 90 to 120 minutes, each stage lasting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
Stage 5, REM
REM sleep is distinguishable from NREM sleep by changes in physiological states, including its characteristic rapid eye movements. Intense dreaming occurs during REM sleep as a result of heightened cerebral activity. REM sleep, or dream sleep, is essential to our minds for processing and consolidating emotions, memories and stress. It is also thought to be vital to learning, stimulating the brain regions used in learning and developing new skills. Studies have shown that better REM sleep helps boost your mood during the day.
How can someone get more REM sleep?
Virgil D. Wooten, MD, the director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Greater Cincinnati suggests making sure the sleep environment is as comfortable as possible. People spend about one-third of their lives asleep, and most of this time is spent on a mattress. Despite the amount of time spent in bed, many ignore their mattress until the springs start poking through the mattress pad. So give some thought and attention to the type of mattress used to ensure a good night's sleep and a well-rested feeling the following day.
Don't assume soft and fluffy is best. Poor support can lead to muscle stiffness as well as neck and back pain. Make sure your mattress isn't too soft and doesn't contain bumps, valleys, or depressions. Of course, too stiff isn't great, either. A mattress that is too hard can put pressure on the shoulders and hips. The ideal surface is gently supportive and firm, not rock hard or squishy. The mattress should mold to the body while supporting it.
Foam mattresses come in different degrees of firmness but often make people hot while sleeping. Innerspring mattresses consist of rows of tempered steel coils layered between insulation and padding. Firmness and durability is based on the thickness of the wire and number of coils. The higher the coil count, the firmer the mattress. Mattress Cushioning is what most people look for. But consider what the padding is made of. Wool is a better material for layers closest to the body, as it whisks moisture away from the body and keeps skin dry while asleep.
What size mattress is best?
As a rule, bigger is better. No one wants to fight for space every night or get kicked, elbowed, or shoved on a regular basis. A healthy sleeper moves around 15 to 30 times during the night, and cramped conditions can make sleeping awkward, uncomfortable and altogether frustrating. Indeed, some decades-old research suggests that sleeping in the same bed as someone else is less restful than sleeping alone. Also, as partners get older, sleep will become more restless and extra room in bed might be required.
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