Your Mattress and your Health

A Bad Mattress may be Cause for Incomplete Sleep

Incomplete Sleep

As humans, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping. How well we sleep affects our waking hours. If we toss and turn all night, we may wake up with sore muscles and a backache. We will have little energy during the day, will doze off unexpectedly and will possibly suffer from irritability and other mood problems. We will not be alert and will not be able to work or study properly. Incomplete sleep can also lead to problems with the immune system and digestion of food.

Sleep is Antioxidant

A recent study showed that sleep has an antioxidant effect on the body and thus protects against oxidative stress, which has been linked to many diseases  such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and illnesses caused by diabetes.

The Mattress may be the Cause of Incomplete Sleep

Many people do not realize that their mattress may be the cause for so many physical discomforts and they will often invest in expensive treatments that may be unnecessary. If you wake up with back or neck and shoulder pain, you may need a new mattress. If your mattress is old and sags it may not be giving you enough support.

Dust Mites and Mold

Also, an old mattress may harbor a lot of dust mites and molds that contribute to allergies. If you do suffer from allergies try to find a mattress that is considered to be allergy proof or hypoallergenic.

Not Enough Scientific Studies

Very few scientific studies have been done to show which mattress really is the best one to enable a good night’s sleep and those few studies that have been undertaken have been mainly financed by the mattress companies.

NASA Memory Foam also called Visco Foam for Arthritis

Aging and age related conditions like osteoarthritis change the kind of mattress we need. People that used to sleep most of their lives on a firm mattress may find it unbearable if they have developed osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. NASA Memory foam also called Temper foam or Visco foam is recommended for people with arthritis, or who need a mattress that will not contribute to pressure points and wounds. Basically, memory foam can mold itself to your body and this stops the formation of pressure points and sores. Memory foam found in mattresses or mattress toppers can prevent the formation of bed sores in seniors who are bed-ridden. Memory foam is usually the top layer of a mattress with latex foam or springs on the bottom. Some also include a gel foam layer.

Spring Mattresses and Combined Mattresses

Some mattresses use springs to offer support, while other mattresses combine using springs, with memory foam on the top.  Some brands also offer a layer of gel which helps to keep you cool. Be sure to see how many layers the mattress has and what is in each layer.

Soft, Medium or Firm

If you suffer from back, neck, shoulder or hip problems, it is very important that you choose a mattress with the correct amount of firmness suitable for your medical conditions.

Remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Papa Bear’s bed was too hard, Mama Bear’s bed was too soft, but Baby Bear’s bed was just right!

Trial Period

Investing in a new mattress should take a lot of thought and care, as it is not usually a cheap item, and it has to last for several years. Also lying on a mattress for a few minutes in a shop to try it out is not enough time to see if it really is the right one for you. Fortunately, today many mattress companies will allow you a 2-3 month trial period during which time you can return it for a full refund or exchange it for a different model.

Memory Foam Mattress Topper

You may not need to buy a new mattress or bed which is very expensive. If your mattress is too hard for you, but still is in good shape, you may get enough relief by buying a memory foam mattress topper that you place on top of your mattress. These are usually 2-4 inches thick and they can also be bought online. These usually come in twin, double, queen or king sizes.

Aging Couple may not Need the Exact Same Mattress

Sometimes an aging couple have completely different health needs and a type of mattress that is good for one is not good for the other one. This is best solved by buying twin beds or a bed that allows for two different kinds of mattresses, so one can be firm and the other can be soft or medium. A king size bed has enough room to support two different kinds of mattresses. So one may sleep on soft or medium firm memory foam, while the other one may need a more firm mattress on springs or latex foam.

Short or Long-Term Care

When looking for a skilled nursing and rehab facility for either a short or long-term period, choose a facility that allows you to bring your own bed spread and blankets and pillow from your home. If you have a memory foam mattress topper you can bring it with you to use during your rehabilitation.

The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York

The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York allows you to bring things from home like your bed spread and comforter, so you will feel more at home. You could also bring your memory foam mattress topper. See our blog post from May 30, 2018 about recreation and amenities at Van Duyn.


Since we spend a third of our lives sleeping, it pays to have the best mattress for our health needs. In general, seniors who suffer from osteoarthritis or who are bed-ridden and need a mattress to prevent bed sores will find relief with a memory foam mattress or a memory foam mattress topper.

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