We make all sorts of excuses for why we don’t sleep well. Too stressed, not tired enough … things of that nature. But have you considered that maybe your mattress is to blame? It’s possible that your old, worn-out bed top is causing you all sorts of trouble. From back pain to sleep deprivation, here’s what happens when you don’t upgrade your mattress.
For starters, how long should you keep a mattress?
It is recommended that you change your mattress every seven years or so. It’s important to keep that number in mind since your mattress and boxspring wear down slowly and don’t always show change. “A mattress is like an old armchair or pair of shoes,” The Better Sleep Council explains. “It isn’t always obvious that a mattress has outlived its lifespan just by looking at it.”
When the mattress breaks down
If your mattress is showing visible signs of wear, it might start tearing or appear stained. Or perhaps the indentation from your body is so pronounced that you can’t sleep on any other part of your bed. This can either limit how much you are able to move around in your sleep, or keep you tossing and turning all night long. And both of these problems lead to a whole mess of health issues.
How the mattress affects your back …
Of course, an aching back is a surefire sign that your mattress is too old. If the mattress is too worn down and too soft, it can cause you to have bad posture while you sleep. This can result in waking up with stiffness in both your lower back and in your shoulders.
… and your neck
A lack of back support also means that your mattress can negatively impact your neck. Putting the body in an unnatural position can make your neck stiff and sore. In more severe cases, you can end up with a pinched nerve that can lead to headaches, or a tingling feeling down your arms.
… and your head
If your body is uncomfortable in your bed, chances are you will have a difficult time getting to sleep. This can mess with your sleep cycle, and possibly leave you up tossing and turning because you can’t get your Zs. To make matters worse, the cortisol levels in your brain that deal with stress can spike when you haven’t slept properly.
The side effects of getting too little sleep
A bed that causes you to lose sleep and stress can start a chain reaction that affects your overall health, Cleveland Clinic says. Higher stress levels and no sleep can lead to high blood pressure, and can compound into more severe heart problems and increase your chance of a stroke.
Consider this when choosing a new mattress
There are many factors that go into choosing a new mattress. If you already have bad low back pain, you might want to consider a firmer mattress. If you need something a bit softer that won’t hit the pressure points on your body, memory foam might be a better option. Don’t be afraid to test out different beds to find the right one for you — your health could greatly depend on it.