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Believe it or not, all of these problems could simply be symptoms of an ailment that affects millions of Americans - Bad Mattress Syndrome. Choosing the correct mattress can profoundly affect the quality and amount of sleep you get at night. So it may be time to throw out that sagging futon you've been using since graduation and get yourself a brand new mattress.
A good night's sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, yet an estimated 70 million Americans don't feel that they get enough sleep. "Americans spend one-third of their lives sleeping, so it makes sense to invest in a sleep set that can improve your comfort and overall health," says Scott Bautch, DC, DACBOH, spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association. "Many people don't realize the reason for their neck or back pain is literally right underneath them- it's their mattress and pillow." In fact, remarkable 63% of people with acute back problems, reported improvement in back discomfort with a new mattress.
In order to choose a mattress that will maximize your sleep comfort, make sure to find one that provides uniform support from head to toe, and make sure that there are no gaps between your body and the mattress. The mattress should also be the right size for you and your partner to stretch out and not be cramped, since too little room will prevent you from sleeping well. You should also change your mattress every 5 or 6 years as it will tend to sag and lose its form.
When choosing a mattress, you have two basic choices: spring mattresses or foam mattresses. Spring mattresses possess coils inside of them thatcreate firm mattresses, which could be the solution to some neck and back problems. Coil mattresses come in two varieties: open coil or open spring mattresses possess exposed coils, and are the most common type of spring mattress. They have a border wire that gives the mattress a firm edge and helps retain its shape and prevent sagging.
Pocket spring or pocketed coil mattresses are encased in fabric in order to help prevent movement of the individual coils and hopefully provide a more comfortable sleeping experience. If there's two of you in bed at night, then this type of mattress is ideal for situations where there is a significant weight difference between you and your partner. As the firmness of your mattress is one of the key factors in your comfort and therefore in your selection, the thickness or gauge of the coils is important. A heavy gauge will create a stiffer mattress, while a lighter gauge will create a more flexible mattress. Furthermore, coils reduce the movement of a mattress under a sleeper's body, so they may be an especially good choice for restless sleepers or people suffering from insomnia.
Foam mattresses, on the other hand, are filled with layers of foam of different width and volume.The thickness of the foam affects how stiff the mattress will be. The best-known types of foam mattresses include tempurpedic, visco-elastic, or so-called "memory mattresses" which adjusts to your body temperature in order to provide a perfect "fit." Your body heat interacts with the foam in order to soften it, and the mattress re-moulds itself to your body's contours while you sleep. Tempuredic and visco-elastic mattresses help to maintain correct posture and align the spine. They are hypo-allergenic and have anti-microbial properties, and they are therefore ideal for people who suffer from allergies or any type of skins sensitivities.
When shopping for a mattress, make sure you don't forget to buy a box spring to go along with it. Both a box spring and a good bed frame provide added support and extend the life of your mattress, preventing sagging and mold. You can have the best mattress in the world, but if you don't use a good box spring and bed frame, you may still experience neck and back problems due to sagging or insufficient firmness.
Finally, when choosing a mattress, remember that the pillow you choose to accompany it may be just as important to the quality of your sleep as your choice of mattress. The best pillows are ergonomically designed to help reduce pain and keep your spine in natural alignment. While lying on your side, your head and neck should remain level with your middle and lower spine, and when lying on your back, your head and neck should remain level with your upper back and spine.
If you continue to have problems sleeping, experience pain and discomfort at night, or have difficulty falling asleep, you should see a chiropractor or a general practitioner to discuss what else you can do to get the your "Eight Straight".