Comfort, rest, sleeping, and waking up feeling revitalized are some of the reasons humans have found the need for mattresses. All animals sleep, including humans. The measured quality of sleep is done by analyzing some factors: comfort, stress level, and room temperature. Humans spend about a quarter of our lives sleeping. Sleep is a natural response to being tired after a heavy day’s work. Thus, talking about where we lay our bodies during these hours of rest is not out of place. A day is divided into hours of light and darkness. The day is meant for work while the night is for rest. Rest in this sense is sleep, a period when a person closes their eyes and losses consciousness temporarily for a few hours.
The need to find something comfortable to sleep on didn’t start with people in this century. Even ancient man needed something comfortable on which to lay while he sleeps. He didn’t have a lot of options to make his sleeping comfortable. He slept on a tree trunk to protect himself from other animals. With the discovery of fire, he could sleep on the ground because fire chased other animals away. He had rocks and the bare ground and had to make do with them. It was flat and could accommodate him.
Nowadays, comfort is a part of sleep. For the modern man, comfort in mattress is not far-fetched. Technology has left us with the tools and materials that would help us achieve that. The series of events leading from the hard, uncomfortable sleep space to the modern mattress shows how far mattresses have come.
The evolution of the mattress
The mattress has come a long way. The word mattresses originated from an Arabic word which means “a place where something is thrown down”. During the time of the crusades, the name found its way into English through knights.
About 77,000 years ago, the human species found ways to make sleeping comfortable for themselves. Usually, they slept on rocks, which can be very uncomfortable to sleep on. So to make it a little comfortable, they covered it with animal skin, reeds, and rushes as well as other leaves and grass. This became the forerunner of the modern-day mattress. It is not known at what time progress was made to include other materials’ mattress use. Facts do tell us by the time of the Egyptian civilization, significant progress has been made in that regard.
Ancient Egypt and the ancient Near East
The Egyptians slept on beds made of palm leaves. Those in the wealthy class had raised wooden platforms. This ancestor of the modern bed frame was effective in preventing snakes and insects from attacking them while they slept. To show affluence, these wealthy persons who had frames would have them made from ebony and adorn them with jewels. It was at this same time that the idea of stuffing with soft materials to make mattresses became commonplace. In Persia, goatskins were filled with water and used as mattresses. This was to be the invention of the water bed.
The Chinese, Japanese and Koreans of old used mattresses too. Their mattresses were made of cotton and were laid on the ground. They didn’t see the need for an elevated platform to lay their mattresses. In winter, the ground was warm and cool in the summer. Their houses were small, so they had to roll the mattresses up when they woke from sleep.
Greeks and Romans
In ancient Greece and Rome, the use of the elevated platform as was used by the Egyptians was continued. Sometimes, these platforms could reach several feet above the ground, requiring the use of stairs or ladders. The ancient Romans stuffed their beddings with hay and reed. Yet, among the wealthy class, feathers and wool were used to stuff their bedding. For these Greeks and Romans, the mattress was not just used for sleeping but used also when socializing and having their meals.
The medieval era
In this period, wooden frames, sometimes called bed boxes were stuffed with straw or hay and served as beds. At this time, also, beds took on a decorative role and were used by the affluent to show their status.
From the Renaissance till today
The renaissance era showed a significant change in the way beddings were made. Comfort was not the only motivation behind making softer mattresses. In the renaissance era, beds, besides their role of providing comfort, continued to be used as a sign to show affluence, status and power. The four-poster bed came into existence and is one of the many power symbols common among the elite of that era. Long velvet and silk pouches were stuffed with straws, feathers and leaves to serve as mattresses.
The 18th-century mattresses resemble more of what we know mattresses to be today. Cotton and wool became the usual bed fillings. The 19th century came with beds that were simpler and functional, not like the beds of the renaissance. Though the sizes varied, beds were made to serve their purpose: a platform on which to sleep. Coil springs and metal frames became common. Mattresses became more accessible to people due to mass production. The prestige with which mattresses were associated with was lost. The mattress was for comfort rather than prestige. And that has been the driving factor for making mattresses till today.
Types of mattresses
In the present day, mattresses come in different types. The variation came as a result of the need to make beddings that were comfortable and didn’t pose any health challenge. There is an array of mattresses in the market whose primary function is to give that ancient yearning in humans when they close their eyes to sleep.
- Memory Foam Mattress
- Adaptive Foam Mattress
- Inner Spring Mattress
- Hybrid Mattress
- Air Mattress
- Water Bed
- Latex Mattress
So what is a mattress for you?
Having a king size bed just as they do in some music videos could show how rich or affluent you are, but does it help you sleep better? It is cool to have a four-poster bed while you pose to take a bedroom selfie or make your YouTube video. More of the glamour of owning an expensive or not expensive bed, having the rest your body needs when you lay down to sleep should be paramount on your mind. You could be a Wall Street investor, a CEO of a conglomerate, or a broke college student, but having a comfortable place to lay your body on is a basic human need. Think of birds when they make a nest or other animals when they find a home. They find materials that are soft, on which they lay their back. They seek the comfort that sleep should bring when they close their eyes. In that same vein, a mattress should be for you a thing of comfort; call it a private pleasure, but you deserve that comfort.
Getting yourself the right mattress
Finding a new mattress can be a frustrating and a mind taking process. Choosing a mattress based on its price, material composition, and other factors need serious product research. When it comes to buying a new mattress, there are two things you must consider. Firstly, what type of sleeper you are, and secondly, the basic qualities of mattresses available on the market. By considering your unique sleeping qualities with what types of mattresses are available, you’ll be able to narrow your choice. Don’t just buy a mattress because you like it or because it’s expensive. Buy it because you’re more comfortable sleeping on it.
If you ask the sleep experts, they will tell you it’s crucial to understand the construction of the mattresses you’re considering. These are components found in mattresses and other descriptive terms for mattress qualities. The truth is nobody has the time to go through the long process to find the perfect mattress. The majority just want a good bed to sleep on and get going with their lives.
Chances are that when you walk into a store to get a new mattress, a sales rep will approach and try to sell to you their most expensive bed. To make the offer appealing, they will ask you to lie on the mattress and get a feel of it. They will school you on its life-changing benefits. But you can agree with me that those few seconds on that bed under the watch of the sales rep will not give you the feel of what a bed feels like. Well, picking a mattress can be a daunting task, but don’t back down. When choosing a mattress, people would go for foams or coils. Which one you pick is great, just make sure it is something you would be comfortable on.
When making a purchase for a new mattress, don’t spend less than $500, except you want to put your health at risk and you plan on buying a new one pretty soon. Ideally, your budget should be between $800 and $1,000. This is so you have more, the purpose is to put comfort in perspective. You deserve to have your body massaged and pampered while you sleep. You need to feel at home in your bed. This is why feel and comfort are very important when considering getting a new bed.
For the feel and comfort
Your focus on buying the mattress that will give you the best possible sleep experience you should be based on these terms. These terms describe the feelings and other qualities you may experience while using a mattress.
- Alignment: The ability of a bed to keep your spine aligned during sleep. Good support whether you’re in a soft or firm mattress eliminates mattress related to pain and stiffness.
- Comfort: This is an objective term and can also include overall comfort including firmness, support, motion separation, and conformability.
- Firmness: When its surface is touched, how hard or soft a mattress feels. Firmness is an important aspect of choosing your mattress.
- Bounce: How a mattress pushes back on pressure. Mattresses with low bounce, absorb energy rather than pushing back. Mattresses with a high degree of bounce, strongly transfer energy back.
- Durability: The amount of time a mattress is expected to last with adequate support and comfort.
- Conformability: How well a mattress contours to the body. A mattress that contours and allows the sleeper to sink are with a high level of a hug. One that forces a sleeper to float has a low hug.
- Responsiveness: The speed with which a mattress adjusts to pressure changes, typically in foam mattresses.
- Body Impression: Impressions do not bounce back after a sleeper is off of the mattress. Body impressions should not be deeper than 1 1/2 inches.
- Pressure points: Parts of the body where pressure from a sleeping surface restricts blood flow. This can cause discomfort, pain, and trouble when sleeping.
- Recovery Time: The amount of time taken for the foam to recover back to its original shape after compression.
The solution to Sleep Problem is “Adequate Sleep”
Having an adequate amount of sleep is still the best solution for sleep, not by sleeping on the most expensive mattress in the world. One only needs to have a proper means to achieve good sleep hygiene, and voila, just like magic, the sleep problem is gone in a little time. Prescription pills for sleeping aren’t always the best solution either. They may help you in sleeping through the night, but it doesn’t guarantee the sleep is enjoyable, deep, or restful. The worse part of using sleeping pills is that it starts to become even harder to fall asleep without taking the medication. Ends up turning to addiction.
Most people actually do need between the time range of seven and nine hours of sleep. Not getting a sufficient amount of sleep causes; fatigue, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, immune system weakening, chronic pain, mental illness exacerbation, depression, anxiety and e.t.c.
To get you sleeping better, sleep hygiene alone is often enough. The most important and tricky part is maintaining a good sleeping habit. Another difficult challenge is having the self-discipline to stick with good sleep hygiene. We need to understand sleep isn’t something you can try to do. Scaling from the phase of trying to sleep to it coming naturally is the end goal and reward.
Good sleep hygiene can be developed on your own, they are just a collection of habits that helps you fall asleep more easily and deeply. All you have to do is to stick to a regular sleep schedule (same bedtime and wake-up time), seven days a week.
Saying for example; You may fall asleep very early and getting to wake up too early—and can’t seem to fall back to sleep no matter how hard you tried. If this is a common case with you, all you need to do is adjust your bedtime so you can stay awake later. It helps your body adapt to the new schedule.
“The bedtime routine should be something that you get to do, not something that you have to do. Being able to fall asleep quickly once you’re lying in bed starts several hours before tucking in.
Here are some tips for getting good sleep hygiene:
- Establish a regular and relaxing bedtime routine.
- Make sure your sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. Your bed should be comfortable and well laid.
- Associate your bed with sleep only.
- Go to bed when sleepy, and get out of bed if you’re tossing and turning.
- Turn your clock around.
- Put your phone on flight mode.
- Leave bed and do something relaxing if you’re unable to fall asleep after about 20 minutes; then return to bed later.
- Don’t make use of your phone, laptop, or other mobile devices in bed.
- Don’t force yourself to nap during the day; it can disturb the normal sleep/wakefulness pattern.
Price doesn’t guarantee comfort
After World War ll, the economic boom meant people had bigger houses and wanted bigger furniture. Marketing efforts also emphasized that people were becoming taller and needed bigger mattresses. The point here is, you should be focused on the need and not want. Clearly, want has become the motivating factor for buying mattresses now at this age, but people are not seeing that, thinking it’s a need. A mattress is being bought because of status and show-offs and a little to do with comfort.
Oprah Winfrey and the British Royal Family Household are known to use the Hypnos brand of the mattress which carries a very high price tag. A lot of celebrities even refer to them as the most comfortable beds in the world. But the truth is, you can also get a mattress that provides close to such comfort for a much lesser price. Simply because a mattress isn’t so expensive doesn’t mean it won’t last long or you wouldn’t derive the kind of comfort you’re seeking out for.
Although certain mattress types tend to work better with certain types of sleepers, mattress preference is ultimately subjective. Consequently, it is best for you to go to a local store, trying different mattress types before purchasing them. check our review for Best Mattress Under 500
Common Mattress Myths
Now let’s clarify some widespread myths about mattresses
- The best mattresses accommodate everyone.
That’s not true. No mattress will be convenient for everyone. Many factors like preference, sleep position and firmness do prove that we all have different experiences. Rather than searching for a universal mattress, focus on a bed that meets your preferences and individual needs.
- Lying on a mattress in a store is the best way to select.
You’ll need at least 30 consecutive nights to break in most mattresses. The way a mattress feels in the store may be much different than the way it feels a month after purchasing. Though it’s better than not checking it out at all.
- Coil count is important.
Coil counts of 600 to 1,000 are linked to the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Whereas, the comfort layer materials, thickness, coil type, and coil gauge are more effective ways to evaluate.
- Sleeping on gel foams is cooler than standard foams.
Gel-infused polyfoam may sleep rather cooler, but it has a minimal effect on the temperature neutrality of a mattress.
- Lumbar support mattresses are best for people with back pain.
Lumbar support is a common marketing ploy in mattress sales. It does not have higher satisfaction ratings among sleepers with back pain.
- The label says ‘hybrid,’ so it must be a hybrid.
Many mattresses are labeled as hybrids and they don’t meet basic criteria. Don’t be deceived.
- Mattress with a much longer warranty has a longer lifespan.
While a mattress warranty may extend 15 years or more, don’t be fooled. A lengthier warranty does not equate to better durability. Regardless of its warranty, the average mattress needs to be replaced every seven years.
- Using a new box spring.
Many mattress sellers imply that only their box spring is suitable for the mattress. However, any box spring in good shape or better will do just the same — unless you are switching to a different mattress type.
- Mattresses made of latex last forever.
Latex mattresses have an average lifespan of eight and a half years. The thing is they are still susceptible to the same wear and tear as other mattresses and will deteriorate in the long run.
- More costly mattresses are better.
A mattress that costs thousands of dollars is never to be assumed to be of higher quality than one which costs a few hundred. A decision in purchasing should be based on your individual budget. An eye should be kept on price-point averages for different mattress types.
Signs it may be time to replace your mattress
You should consider buying a new mattress if the mattress is older than eight years.
A lot of factors affect the lifespan of a mattress. Some mattress types are more durable than others and less vulnerable to wear and tear. Sleep habits are also a cause. A mattress that is used night after night will deteriorate quicker than one often used. Yet, the general rule is that mattress should be changed every seven years, regardless of how long the bed warranty covers.
- The best mattresses accommodate everyone.