Tossing and turning is frustrating, especially when it happens night after night. If you’ve been missing out on much-needed sleep, it could be that you need a mattress upgrade.
The team at Hug Sleep knows how challenging it can be to get the sleep you need. Together, we’ll talk about how to tell if your mattress needs replacing. We’ll also talk about what causes your body to sleep and how to help your body relax when you need it most.
Seven Signs & Symptoms You Need a New Mattress
No one likes the prospect of heading to the mattress store, but buying a new mattress is a rite of passage. If you have the same secondhand mattress you’ve been sleeping on since college, it’s time for a new one. Here, we’ll cover five ways you can tell if your mattress needs replacing.
1. Your Mattress Is More Than 10 Years Old
The most common reason to replace a mattress? It’s old. High-quality mattresses are made to be used for about a decade, but most mid-grade mattresses will begin to show signs of wear and tear at about seven years of use. After that, the integrity of their design begins to fail.
It’s also important to switch out your mattress every 10 years to get a fresh start from the sweat, dirt, and dead skin that naturally collect in mattress fibers over time.
2. You Wake Up Congested, Sniffling, or Sneezing
If you suddenly develop allergies that only bother you when you’re in bed, you could be experiencing allergies to dust mites. No one likes talking about them, but dust mites are microscopic and find their homes in warm, humid places, like your mattress.
Dust mites are a part of mattress ownership, but if you find you have an allergy, using a mattress protector can reduce the number of dust mites that take up residence inside the fibers of your mattress.
3. You Have Constant Aches and Pains
Aches and pains can be a normal part of adult life, but if you suddenly experience them without changing your exercise routine or experiencing an accident, it could be due to an unsupportive mattress.
Especially common in inexpensive mattresses, degradation can happen when the supportive springs or foam gradually wear down. This causes your spine, hips, and neck to lose the support and alignment they need while you sleep.
The result? You’ll wake up feeling achy and reaching for the aspirin.
4. You’re Rolling Inward
One of the most significant signs of an old mattress is visible dips or divots in the mattress. Years of sleeping in the same position can create indentations in a mattress that aren’t fixable. If you lie down and feel a pull inward, it’s a good indication that your mattress is losing support.
Sleeping with a partner can create an unbalanced dip or divot in one side that causes the other partner to slide inward. This can be frustrating for both sleepers. Changing the mattress around can help temporarily, but the mattress will still need replacing.
5. You Constantly Hear Creaking
Your once-plush, comfortable mattress now keeps you awake with creaking and squeaking sounds that don’t quite support a healthy night of slumber. Spring-loaded mattresses are classic offenders, and hearing the springs squeak can indicate the springs are damaged.
Mattresses that don’t contain springs usually have some other type of supportive material, like foam. If you hear squeaking and creaking, it could be the bed frame.
6. You Wake Up Tired
One of the easiest ways to tell if your mattress is causing you to miss sleep is if you wake up feeling tired every morning. Even if you are getting sleep, you may not be getting quality sleep. Repeatedly waking up, tossing and turning, or switching positions to get comfortable can result in fragmented sleep.
Fragmented sleep is problematic because it doesn’t allow your body to go through every sleep cycle. Your body needs to cycle through sleep for important reparative and restorative processes. When sleep is disrupted, these cycles are disrupted, which means your sleep isn’t able to deliver full benefits to your body.
7. You Can’t Fall Asleep
Feeling tired, relaxed, and ready for sleep can send you to bed. If you find yourself unable to fall asleep once you get there, the problem could be a bad mattress. Not being able to get comfortable is a classic reason for sleeplessness, and it’s easily fixable with a better mattress.
Replacing your mattress is important for your sleep and your overall health. But if you still find it hard to get to sleep at night, there could be other reasons why.
Let’s talk about how your body gets to sleep and what happens when you aren’t able to relax for sleep like you should.
Other Factors Affecting Sleep
Your sleep is primarily controlled by three processes in your body: the circadian rhythm, the sleep drive, and the central nervous system. These three bodily processes and systems work together to help your body and brain know when to be awake and when to be asleep.
The Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm, or internal clock, heavily uses light to tell your body when to be awake and when to be asleep.
As the sun rises in the morning, your circadian rhythm stimulates your body to wake.
In the evening, the waning sun helps your circadian rhythm know that sleep should be in the near future. As such, your body’s clock will trigger the release of melatonin.
Sometimes, life can get in the way of how our circadian rhythm functions. Traveling across time zones and working night shifts can make it hard for your circadian rhythm to keep track of day and night.
Luckily, the sleep drive is there to help.
The Sleep Drive
The sleep drive refers to your body’s need to sleep. When you wake up, your sleep drive is low if you’ve gotten a good night of rest. As you use up energy throughout the day and stay awake, your sleep drive increases.
There’s another component of your sleep drive that experts believe helps signal your body that sleep is needed. As your brain cells use energy, they create adenosine, a byproduct of cellular processes. As adenosine builds in your brain, your sleep drive simultaneously increases, letting you know you need rest.
Sometimes, even being incredibly tired isn’t enough to produce the rest and relaxation needed to get a good night’s sleep. It could be your mattress, it could be the coffee you had at 5:00 p.m., or it could be your central nervous system.
The Central Nervous System
Our complex nervous systems regulate many functions and processes in our bodies. In terms of sleep, there are two components that are vital to the sleep/awake process. They are the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS).
Each part of the central nervous system is essential and dependent on each other to help you stay awake and asleep at the right times.
- SNS. During the day, your body and mind are alert, focused, and capable of making decisions because of your sympathetic nervous system. The SNS is responsible for your “fight or flight” response, which can produce feelings of stress, worry, and nervousness. The SNS also helps you make snap decisions in emergency situations and finish projects by the deadline. Your SNS ensures you have the right hormones (like cortisol) circulating in your system to get those jobs done.
- PSNS. At night, your body seeks to relax. Triggered by your circadian rhythm and sleep drive, the PSNS begins to relax your muscles, slow your heart rate, and even cool your core body temperature. As you relax further, the PSNS stimulates the release of hormones like dopamine and serotonin to help you get comfortable and make a smooth transition toward sleep.
Sometimes, however, the system doesn’t work like it should. Life events, stressful situations, and our own not-quite-ideal sleep habits can make it hard for our SNS to turn off and our PSNS to take over.
Luckily, there’s a scientific way to hack the system.
Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation
Imagine a warm embrace or the sensation you experience when you get a good massage. These types of sensory experiences make us feel good because they stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system and trigger the release of relaxing, feel-good hormones.
Deep touch pressure stimulation, also called deep touch pressure therapy (or “DTPT”), is a common therapy used by behavioral experts to help stimulate the PSNS and create a state of relaxation in the body and mind.
How does this relate to sleep? When your SNS is still working to keep you awake and alert, it’s harder for your PSNS to relax you. That can mean (another) sleepless night.
The good news? It’s really easy to use DTPS at home with the help of an innovative blanket.
The Sleep Pod: The Blanket That Hugs You Back
The team at Hug Sleep wanted to build a better blanket. Weighted blankets use the science of DTPT, but the sensory experience doesn’t include your entire body. Additionally, many people don’t like the feeling of a weighted blanket, since it can be constricting and hot.
We worked, we tested, and we worked some more. Finally, the Hug Sleep Sleep Pod was born. Made to work like a baby swaddle for adults, the Sleep Pod cocoons you in gentle, all-over pressure for a comforting sensory experience.
The Sleep Pod offers breathable, four-way stretch fabric that allows for total mobility (even for feet-out sleepers) over or under the covers. It’s an easy and completely relaxing way to wind down and prepare your body for rest.
Level Up Your Mattress and Your Blanket
If your mattress needs replacing, don’t hesitate to get it a new one. You’ll rest better for the next ten years when you replace an old mattress and enjoy better sleep.
But if you’ve recently upgraded and you’re still having trouble winding down before bed, trust Hug Sleep to help relax your mind and body and send you off to sleep.
Effect of Circadian Rhythm on Metabolic Processes and the Regulation of Energy Balance | Karger
The Drive To Sleep and Our Internal Clock | Harvard Medical School