Last updated 4 years ago
One question that just about everyone asks when looking at a new mattress set is: “how long is this going to last?” Regardless of what type of mattress is being discussed, a good answer is: “not as long as it will last if you use a mattress protector!” This easy, inexpensive purchase is vital in preserving your investment, as well as creating a hygienic sleep environment.
There are many brands of protectors, but they all perform the same duties: to keep perspiration and body oils out of the bed, reduce dust mite populations and protect that mattress from stains. Some premium protectors will also help wick away moisture to facilitate a cool, dry, comfortable sleep environment.
The average couple will perspire several ounces of sweat into their bed every single night. Over weeks, months, and years, this moisture can erode and damage the top layers of foam in the mattress, leading to changes in firmness, lumps, dips, and sags. Using a protector eliminates this issue completely. The waterproofing on the protector is also strong enough to shield the bed from nighttime accidents from youngsters in the potty-training stage, as well as those suffering the effects from incontinence. While this may conjure images of a rustling plastic sheet, a good mattress protector will be silent, and virtually undetectable under bedding.
Dust mites are everywhere, and because they eat dead skin cells, are especially prevalent in the bedroom. Unfortunately, they are a leading trigger for asthma and allergies. You may have heard the tale that a mattress doubles in weight every ten years due to dead dust mites and their excrement. While this story has been supported by some studies and refuted by others, even if the number is half that amount most people would agree controlling these populations is a good idea if you are looking for a hygienic bedroom. By having a barrier between you and the mattress itself, you can wash out the populations each time you wash your sheets, which is much easier and more effective than attempting to clean the mattress itself. Using a protector on your pillow, a surface especially prone to dust mite infestation is also recommended, especially for those with allergies.
Regardless of the manufacturer, a mattresses warranty will be voided if there are any visible stains on the bed, even if there is also a defect present. So, it is vital to keep your mattress pristine in the unlikely event you have a warranty issue. It is recommended to get a protector at the time of the mattress purchase, as some protector companies will provide a ten-year guarantee that the mattress will be stain-free if the protector is purchased with the bed. Some go far as to come out and clean mattresses if the barrier fails, and replace the bed if the stain cannot be erased.
The very best protectors are made with organic fibers, such as eucalyptus, which actively wicks away moisture. This results in the bed actually sleeping two to three degrees cooler than it would without the protector. The thermo-negative properties are especially important for those who naturally sleep hot and those experiencing heath issues that cause rapid changes in body temperature. Not only is it more comfortable to sleep cooler, but it also keeps the brain in the deep, restorative stages of sleep longer when one is not waking up to kick off the covers or change positions.
A new mattress is an investment, and most people hope it will last them at least ten to twenty years. A protector is an inexpensive, highly effective way to maximize the longevity of your new sleep system. You can get an innerspring, latex, memory foam, or hybrid bed, but by all means, make sure you get a protector with it!
Last updated 4 years ago
The Beautyrest Black Georgianna Pillow Top is the ultimate in comfort and support in an innerspring mattress.
Last updated 4 years ago
Can you ever REALLY catch-up on sleep?
November 5, 2013 in Blog, Insomnia BlogEdit this entry
In our hectic day and age, its one of the most common strategies for managing sleep: after a busy, sleep-deprived work week, many people use the weekend to catch up on their rest. Whether its sleeping in on the weekend mornings, or taking an afternoon nap, weekend are frequently a time when people try to bank extra sleep—to make up for not getting enough the week before and to prepare for sleep challenges of the week ahead.
It’s a strategy that’s only partially successful. New research indicates
that although some of the negative effects of a week of insufficient sleep can be remedied with extra sleep on the weekend, others cannot. Researchers at Penn State University College of Medicine studied
the effects of weekend recovery sleep after a week of mild sleep deprivation. They found that make-up sleep on the weekends erased only some of the deficits associated with not sleeping enough the previous week.
The study included 30 healthy adult men and women who participated in a 13-night sleep laboratory experiment designed to mimic a sleep-restricted workweek followed by a weekend of recovery sleep. Participants spent four nights sleeping 8 hours a night in order to establish a baseline. They then spent 6 consecutive nights sleeping 6 hours nightly, an amount similar to what many working adults might expect to sleep during a typical week. Finally, volunteers spent a final 3 nights in recovery sleep mode, sleeping 10 hours a night. At several points throughout the 13-day study period, researchers tested the volunteers’ health and performance using several measures, including:
Daytime sleepiness levels
Inflammation, as measured by levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a biomarker for inflammation in the body
Levels of the stress hormone cortisol
Their analysis showed weekend recovery sleep delivered mixed results. They found that 6 nights of restricted sleep led to significant deterioration across all but one measurement of health and performance. Two days of sleep recovery allowed for improvement to some, but not all, of those measurements:
After 6 nights of sleep restriction, volunteers’ daytime sleepiness increased significantly. Two nights of recovery sleep brought levels of daytime sleepiness back to baseline measurements.
IL-6, the marker for inflammation, also rose significantly during the 6-night sleep restriction period. Inflammation returned to baseline levels after recovery sleep.
Cortisol levels did not rise or change during sleep restriction. However, after 2 nights of recovery sleep, cortisol levels dropped below measurements taken during the baseline phase of the experiment. Since cortisol levels are strongly linked to sleep duration, this finding suggests that the volunteers likely were already sleep deprived when the study began.
Attention levels dropped significantly during the course of the mild sleep-deprivation period. Unlike the other measurements, attention performance did NOT rebound after a weekend’s worth of recovery sleep.
The takeaway? Relying on weekends to make up sleep lost during the week won’t fully restore health and function. In particular, you should not expect your attention and focus to bounce back after a couple of days of extra sleep. It’s important to note that this study measures the effects of only a single cycle of work-week sleep deprivation and weekend sleep recovery. The effects of an extended pattern of sleep deprivation and recovery followed by more sleep deprivation are not yet known. The benefits seen here in this study may not be replicated over the long term.
This isn’t to say that recovery sleep can’t be useful and effective. As this study shows, on a short-term basis catching up on sleep can reverse some of the problems associated with insufficient rest. Getting extra sleep on a weekend after a particularly busy, sleep-scarce week is one option. Naps are another. Studies show that napping after a single night of sleep deprivation also can reverse some of the adverse effects of sleep loss. Research also indicates that a combination of naps and overnight recovery sleep can be effective in counteracting some negative effects of sleep deprivation.
Recovery sleep can be a useful short-term or occasional strategy. But the best sleep strategy is one that avoids sleep deprivation as a regular occurrence. It doesn’t take long for the adverse effects of insufficient sleep to appear. The health consequences of just a week of mild sleep deprivation can be seen in the current study and in other research, which shows insufficient sleep associated with diminished cognitive performance, reduced alertness, and mood problems. Modest sleep deprivation increases inflammation, interferes with healthy immune function, triggers metabolic changes and drives up the impulse to overeat. Even a single night of partial sleep deprivation can increase insulin resistance, disrupt hormone levels, and elevate blood pressure.
None of us may be able to avoid the occasional night or period of insufficient sleep. But a healthy work-week sleep routine can and should leave you with nothing sleep-related to catch up on when the weekend arrives.
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor®
The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep
Everything you do, you do better with a good night’s sleep™
twitter: @thesleepdoctor @sleepdrteam
Last updated 4 years ago
Patrick explains the inner workings of a supportive sleep system and dispels the 'firm mattress myth' on this week's MDtv Quick Tips.
Last updated 4 years ago
Why should I consider an adjustable bed?
Traditionally, adjustable beds have mostly been used by individuals in hospital rooms, or in hospice care. That is simply not the case anymore. Besides having a great deal of health benefits, an adjustable mattress can be perfect for those who live in tight spaces, or beneficial to those who are looking for the best relaxation possible. Adjustable bases have also frequently been thought of as a luxury item for the affluent, but with advancing technologies and more adjustable-friendly options, the prices have dropped significantly. The time is now if you ever thought that maybe an adjustable mattress might benefit your lifestyle.
Take Michael, a man who lives in New York City, he is his mid-thirties, he lives in Manhattan in a relatively cramped studio apartment. He literally does not have room for both a bed and a couch where he lives, so rather than continue to sleep on the couch, he bought an adjustable bed. He watches T.V. in a seated position and he no longer has back issues because his mattress fits his body.
Many people spend their lives tossing and turning every night causing them to never get a good night’s rest. Adjustable beds are both comfortable and offer many health benefits that you just cannot get from a traditional foundation. A great mattress will relieve tension and soreness in your body, but if you add the benefits of an adjustable foundation that relief is multiplied exponentially by the fact that you are getting a better night’s sleep without your body having to work. Additionally, adjustable beds deliver solutions to individuals with breathing problems, sleep apnea, stress and acid reflux. By simply lifting your upper body by as little as ten degrees you can see a reduction in snoring by as much as 30% (www.sleeplikethedead.com)
An adjustable bed allows natural support for those important curves. When you use a memory foam sleep surface on an adjustable bed base your body can get the utmost in pressure relief on all major pressure points. By having the bed adjust to your preferred sleeping position, you can alleviate most lower back pain. Neck and shoulder tension is a common result of daily stress. If you allow it to build up day after day, you may create serious pain that is difficult to get rid of. When you sleep on an adjustable bed, you can sleep in a natural position that will relieve much of that tension. An adjustable bed allows you to elevate your upper body and support your neck.
Sleeping on a flat surface can cause pressure points that decrease circulation and lead to numbness and sleeplessness. By elevating the lower half of the body with the adjustable bed, you increase blood circulation throughout the whole body. You could also alternately elevate your upper body allowing you to breathe better and relieve asthma problems.
If you have not taken the opportunity to investigate or take a test drive on an adjustable base, you might spend the next few years counting sheep instead of living your life the way you would like.