The Effects of Sleeping On a Bad Mattress

We spend a quarter of our lives or more in bed, fluffing up pillows and tossing and turning to find the sweet spot for the best night's rest. Quality sleep is crucial to overall good health and longevity. A good mattress affects everything from your mood to your immune system, so if it hasn't been on your list of important things to invest in, it most likely should be.

Young beautiful Caucasian woman on bed having headache
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The Effects of Sleeping on a Bad Mattress

More Than a Casual Cushion

A well-built mattress is key to a better day and a healthier life long-term. The muscle tone that protects your joints is allowed to go mostly flaccid while you rest. The muscle tissue attached to every bone can rest to keep your bones in natural alignment.

Posture is important throughout the day as you move around or sit at a computer, and it's just as important as you lay prone for long periods in bed. A good posture while you rest helps the muscles and ligaments of your back to relax. This increases the ability to heal your body while you sleep from all the lifting, straining, sitting and bending you do while you are awake.

If your mattress is poor, you are pulling on your muscles while you sleep. This can make you feel like you worked out all night when you wake up, causing headaches, back and knee pain and a general foul mood.

How to Know a Bad Mattress

It can sometimes be hard to tell if your restless nights are due to you or if they lay at the fault of the mattress. To tell if you need a new mattress, you can use a simple yardstick across the width of your mattress. If there are gaps big enough to slide your fingers under between the stick and the bed, it's time to get a new place to rest.

A good rule of thumb is to replace a mattress after seven years or 30,000 hours of use, according to Consumer Reports.

Mattress Due Diligence

Finding a good mattress is a subjective endeavor. A mattress should be firm enough to fit your frame without sagging, yet comfortable enough to let you fully relax. Give yourself time on a mattress in your favorite position before making a purchase. Once you have found a firm mattress with the right amount of give where you need it, invest in a firm body pillow to assist in keeping your spine aligned all night.

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at