Make Your Brain Happy: Replace That Old Mattress!

January 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

Replace Your Mattress!  Image by WebMonster on Stock.Xchng Replacing your mattress may seem like an odd subject to find on a brain fitness site, but the quality and amount of sleep that you get directly impacts your brain’s health and well being. Not only does sleeping poorly affect your cognitive function the following day, but in the long run, can interfere with your brains ability to repair and protect itself.  According to new studies, long term sleep deprivation may even increase your risk for Alzheimer’s.

And one of the major (and often overlooked)  contributors to poor sleep is a worn out mattress, or one that simply doesn’t support your body well.

How do you know if you need a new mattress?

  • If it feels lumpy or sags.
  • If you wake up achey or sore.
  • If you toss and turn trying to fall asleep.
  • If small movements of your partner in bed wake or disturb you.
  • If the cover is torn, worn, or stitching is coming out (this in itself may not be a problem, but it’s evidence that the mattress is at the end of it’s lifespan)
  • If it’s more than 8-10 years old, consider replacing it just based on age.

Other (icky!) things to consider about old mattresses and how they can disrupt your sleep? Bedbugs and dustmites!

Bedbugs have been making a comeback in recent years; if you wake up with small unidentifiable bumps and bites, or see inexplicable “dirt” on or around your mattress, you may have an infestation.

Dustmites are on everyone’s beds and beddings – nearly invisible to the naked eye, they aggravate allergies, which in turn can cause a poor night’s sleep.

More tips:

  • Don’t forget to replace your pillows, too, Worn out pillows can also cause your body to align improperly, making you toss and turn and sleep poorly.
  • Consider replacing pillows and heavy linens at the same time as your mattress to eliminate any dustmites (or those dreaded bedbugs!)
  • Research your replacement mattress carefully – test it by laying on it for 20 minutes or more, talk to the sales people about the positions you generally sleep in and the level of support you need. Even your doctor may have some suggestions, if you have a bad back or neck.

Mattresses are a major purchase, and it may seem hard to justify it, especially in the current economy and when you’re on a fixed income, as many seniors are.   If the wear to your mattress set is minor, you may be able to stretch its lifespan with a memory foam or pillow topper.

But bottom line, the long term cost of sleep deprivation, and its effects on your brain will be far more expensive than replacing a mattress set!

And a personal story from my own family:

My 87 year old grandmother was complaining of not being able to think, focus or make decisions – her back was hurting her so badly, so chronically, that she rarely slept a night through.   Having grown up in the Depression, she came from of stretching the useful life of things far beyond reason.  Still, after much prodding and much debate, she invested in a high quality memory foam version, complete with an adjustable foot and head.

The difference in her life was immediate.  She sleeps the night through, curls up in her bed early to read and study, has more energy, more focus, a better memory and concentration.

She says it’s the best investment she’s ever made… and we have to agree.  Not only did it help her back and neck immensely, but it immediately boosted her brain health! (something highly valued in my family).

As a bonus, she gave me the too-heavy-for-her-tastes memory foam pillow the mattress came with… which solved much of *my* sleep discomfort, and helped me have more brain-sharp days!

So.  How about you?

Is it time to replace your mattress?
WILL you replace your old mattress?
For the sake of your brain?

Entry filed under: Sleep. Tags: , , , , .

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About This Blog


A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
  • Cognitive Training
  • Stress Management
  • Social Interaction
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • A Sense of Purpose & Connection
Authored by Tori Deaux
Sponsored by Dakim Brain Fitness

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