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Might your old mattress be sabotaging your health?

Updated on January 31, 2010

Spotting an unhealthy mattress

You will typically spend about a third of your life asleep and therefore lying on a mattress. As well as being an important companion throughout this large piece of your life, your mattress has a very big influence on the rest of your day. Trying to cope through the day after an inadequate night's sleep is not usually very pleasant and not conducive to getting the best out of life. Nor is waking up sore or with back pain.

Yet for those who suffer these problems, many do not realize that it's their bed, and in particular their mattress, which is the cause of their difficulties. Mattresses have a set useful life, after which they simply are no longer useful and can be downright detrimental, with possibly disastrous effects on your health. If you aren't getting sufficient good quality sleep over a long it can have terrible effects such as:

- hypertension

- depression

- heart disease

- memory impairment

- dramatic weight gain

Not only that, but a poor mattress can cause or exacerbate painful back and other muscle and joint problems. So how do you know if your mattress needs replacing - before it starts causing problems? Let's start with some easy to spot pointers to a mattress which should be sent to the bin. See if the mattress sags obviously even without any weight on it. A mattress which is still good should not. When you do lie down on it, are you already aware that you're lying in a deep depression or rut (not just the normal give from accommodating your weight)? Either of these symptoms indicates that the mattress needs to be thrown away and replaced. If the mattress is older than ten years then it has reached the end of its useful (unless the manufacturer specifies a greater lifespan). Other signs which may indicate you have a poor mattress include noticing that you sleep better away from home or waking up sore every morning.

Now there is some good news if your mattress does need to be replaced. Mattress technology has has really benefited from modern technology over the last decade. So though the need to spend some cash on a new mattress may not be welcome, you'll really enjoy the results once you get your new bed. If you can afford it, pay particular attention to the relatively new memory foam technology when considering a new mattress. The rise of these types of mattresses has been meteoric in the last few years and with good reason. Memory foam is probably the most comfortable mattress technology available and a least one study has suggested it can have a positive effect on people who already suffer from back pain. Also think about whether you want to take the opportunity to upgrade your bed size, particularly if you share a bed. So called standard size is really quite small and even a queen is pretty modest for two adults. Why not give yourself lots of room and check out king mattresses


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