Intelligent Health — 01 March 2013
Don’t take your health lying down

In one year, we spend around 3,000 hours – or 120 full days – sleeping on our mattress! So it makes sense that the better the mattress, the better for our health. A good mattress not only provides us with vital restful sleep, it also maintains the correct alignment of the spine – a crucial factor contributing to our overall health. A spine that is properly aligned means our nervous system is free from tension, and a well-functioning nervous system allows each and every cell in our body to function properly and express health. Poorly made mattresses, or those that are too firm or soft for the individual will cause the spine to curve and distort putting pressure on the spine and nerves. Ideally, the spine should be straight when you are lying on your side. If you wake up with a sore back its likely that your mattress is not right for you.

Considering the time we spend sleeping and the effects on our health, buying a new mattress is truly an investment, rather than a cost. Just say you spend €1000 on your new mattress that has life-span of around 10 years, that is less than 30¢ per night that you have invested into healthy sleep, healthy pos- ture, and a healthier life!

So how do you choose a mattress that is right for you? The following points may be helpful:

• Spend adequate time in the shop trying out your new mattress. 80% of people spend 2 minutes or less, and surveys show that spending at least 25 minutes trying out a new mattress means you are more likely to be satisfied with your purchase later on. If you have a partner, make sure they are there to try it with you.

• The length of the guarantee. It is a good indicator of quality. A bed with a 2-year guarantee is of lower quality with characteristics that will deteriorate rapidly once the 2 years are up.

• The type of mattress: spring, viscoelastic or latex.

Spring: open coil and continuous spring mattresses are generally from lower to middle quality, whereas pocket springs (where springs are small and individually housed in fabric pockets allowing them to work independently from one another), are the best.

Viscoelastic: a material first designed by NASA. The density of the foam is key and the mattress’ guarantee is closely related to its quality and density of the foam. Cheaper mattresses only have a foam density of 20 (often not even stated). A mattress with a 5, 10 or 20 year guarantee will have much higher foam densities and much better quality. Look for an open-cell construction of the foam that helps to reduce heat.

Latex: natural latex is derived from the rubber tree and has natural elasticity. Not all latex mattresses are natural – many are now made from synthetic materials. Latex does have a tendency to reabsorb water and so may not be ideal for humid places like Ibiza.

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