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The wrong type of mattress and pillows can sabotage your sleep.

It’s well-established that sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. But despite its importance, a significant number of people regularly lack quality sleep and are notably sleepy during the day.

Check to see if you recognize this situation. You toss and turn all through the night, miss your alarm, and feel wiped out when you finally get up, with mood swings, crabbiness, cravings, difficulty focusing, and sluggishness. And when you don’t know why you can’t get enough sleep, the symptoms become even more frustrating. 

You could assume that technology, blue light, a warm room, and napping are to blame. However, if you stopped engaging in these activities and you still feel as though you aren’t getting enough sleep, it’s time to focus on your mattress and pillows.

 

 

You should first rule out sleep apnea or another serious medical condition, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes you to momentarily stop breathing while you’re asleep. Sleep apnea causes your brain and body to become oxygen-deprived, often leading to frequent awakenings throughout the night.

But if you’re in the clear, it’s time to blame your bed. A mattress or pillow that’s too old, or not providing you with the right support, can ruin your sleep. 

 

How to tell if you need a new pillow

The wrong kind of pillow, or one that’s too old, could be preventing you from getting a good night’s rest. Even if you don’t think it’s time to toss your current pillow, you should look for these three signs which indicate that you should get a new one.

Sometimes, the dust and grime that build up on your pillows (gross, I know) can trigger allergies while you sleep, causing you to wake up with congestion or making it hard to breathe at night. In that case, washing your pillow can help revive it. But if your pillow is too old — more than two years — you’re better off buying a new one. Check out these tips on how to pick the perfect pillow for the way you sleep.

An accommodating pillow can make a big difference in helping you get a good night’s sleep.

 Tips to consider when you change your pillow

  1. Experts at the National Sleep Foundation recommend replacing your pillow every 18 months or so. Pillows can be packed with mold, dead skin cells, and dust mites.

  2. Do you sleep hot? Some pillows include cooling gel with memory foam or a breathable polyester to keep you comfortable

  3. Good sleep posture means aligning your body with good support. The head, neck, spine, hips, even knees and ankles should be supported and aligned so you don’t wake up with aches and pains.

        4 -Totally grossed out? Try adding a pillow protector to extend the healthy life of your pillow. To determine if it’s really time to get a new pillow, test it by folding it in half and seeing if it springs back to flat. If it doesn’t, it’s time to find a new place to rest your head.    

What to check next?

A new pillow can go a long way in helping you sleep better, but if your mattress isn’t right, that’s going to have a much bigger impact on your sleep.

Before you start shopping for a new mattress, there are a few ways to fix issues with your current one. 

 

Was your mattress once firm, but has become softer and softer over the years? That lack of support can mess with the alignment of your spine and could cause aches and pains. There are a few ways to make a soft mattress more firm that are cheaper than buying a new mattress. Mattress toppers and using the right foundation for your bed can help. 

 

What if your mattress feels just right, but you wake up feeling congested night after night? Just like with your pillow, if your mattress is more than a few years old, it’s likely collected a lot of dust, dust mites, and debris that can trigger allergies. You can easily deep clean your mattress to help it feel new again.

What if you ended up buying a new mattress that turned out to be too firm, and you’re past the trial period that most online mattress companies offer? A firm mattress can put too much pressure on your body, causing pain and stiffness. You can use a few tactics to make your firm mattress feel softer.

Lastly, if you have an older spring mattress, flipping it might help. However, because of how they are designed, you cannot flip newer foam mattresses. So, if your foam mattress is lacking all of the support it once had, it’s time to toss it.

If none of these fixes are helping you sleep better, then it’s time to buy a new mattress. Most mattresses are designed to last 10 years, so if yours is older than that, look for these nine signs that it’s time to replace it.

 

While there are dozens of factors affecting how well you sleep, having a pillow that supports your preferences and sleep style goes a long way. With the right pillow and right mattress, you’ll be off to dreamland in no time.

 

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