Sleep and Mattress Recommendations

Call me a sleep geek, but I not only write my own sleep blogs, but I read everyone else’s too.  I think that blogs and articles about sleep and mattresses are really interesting, as long as they are done right.  That being said, here’s my gripe:

It’s ridiculous to write in to a blog and ask the writer to recommend a specific mattress that will solve all your sleep problems.  It’s even more ridiculous for the “sleep expert” blogger to actually recommend such a bed.

Why?  Because everyone has a different body with different support needs, different weight distributions, etc.  Telling me that you’re 5’9 and 180 lbs. in a letter doesn’t tell me if you carry your weight in your belly, or if you have really broad shoulders, or if you have chicken legs.  Telling me that you sleep on your side doesn’t tell me if your legs are stretched out or pulled up to your chest, or if your arm is under your pillow.  Telling me that you have occasional lower back pain doesn’t tell me if it hurts after you go golfing, if you have a physical job, if you medicate daily with aspirin, etc.  Telling me that you have a herniated disc in your back doesn’t tell me what position is the most comfortable for you to sleep in, or if your doctor has recommended a specific type of mattress or way of sleeping.  You get the drift?

And really, you’re going to trust this guy?

So, as self-centric as I am, I tell you what brands I like, and which brands have the broadest appeal.  I also tell you which comfort levels are usually better for which types of sleeper, to be used as a loose guideline.  You will never find a post in my blog which has a specific mattress recommendation for a specific problem. 

If you’re set on having someone else choose your bed, feel free to write to those other sleep bloggers, and ask for their advice.  However, if you don’t like their recommendation, be prepared to foot the bill for exchanging your mattress, with no assistance from the blogger.  Just sayin’.

What’s a customer to do?  Talk to someone who knows what they’re talking about, and who asks you a million questions about your body and sleep habits.  It might be calling Customer Service at 855-377-6669, or going into a local store to find an expert that can help you.  Lie on some mattresses; see what general feel is the most comfortable to you.  Try out a few different brands, and see which ones feel better than others.  THEN, go online and find the best prices that you can (preferably on DrSnooze.com – you know that was coming). 

So good luck with your search, and take your mattress buying experience into your own hands.

Great Mattress Expectations

I’m a firm believer of people doing what they say that they are going to do.  There is nothing worse than not meeting expectations.  I was thinking about this today, and believe that this idea extends to mattresses.  What expectations should you have from your mattress, and what is just wishful thinking?

Once you go out and survive the selection process, you really want to believe that you’ve purchased the perfect mattress, and that it will solve all of your sleeping problems.  Here are some tips so that you won’t be let down after that first night:

  • Chances are, you’re not going to fall in love with your new mattress the first night.  In fact, you might not sleep really well.  Your body is used to the certain feel and support level that your old mattress was giving (or not!), and adjusting to a new mattress may take a little time.  We recommend that you sleep on the bed for at least fourteen days before deciding if it’s the one for you or not.
  • A mattress is not a miracle worker.  It’s not going to fix your slipped disc, or make your fifty year old body feel like it’s twenty again.  You’re not going to wake up feeling great after a day of yard work outside, no matter how expensive your mattress is.  Your fibromyalgia will not miraculously disappear, and it’s probably not going to make your spouse stop snoring.  It will, however, help you stay comfortable and supported, for long term well-being.
  • When you sit on the side of a mattress, it’s going to depress.  Period.  If you purchased a soft mattress, the edge support is going to match the feel of the bed.  If the edge was super hard, and the rest of the mattress was soft, you’d be sleeping uphill.  Edge support is meant to be durable, not necessarily firm.  Some hard mattresses may have very firm edge support, but most beds do not.  It’s all about durability, not feel, when it comes to edge support.
  • Mattresses with a significant amount of padding, such as pillow tops, euro tops, and box tops are going to develop body impressions.  They are completely normal.  They don’t change the support or the feel, they don’t mean that the bed is failing, and they don’t denote a defect.  Foam is soft and porous.  If you put 150lbs of anything on a piece of foam for eight hours a night, every night, for ten years, it would probably leave an imprint.  Beds are no different.  Only when the coil system sags is there a difference in the feel and support of the bed (which of course is covered by your manufacturer’s warranty).
  • Buy what is the most comfortable for YOU.  Don’t buy a particular model because your sister has one and likes it, and don’t let the salesperson steer you to a different bed than the one that you really like the feel of.  No one is sleeping on this bed but you, and you know your body the best.
  • Finally, my pet peeve – don’t expect a cheap mattress to perform the same way as an expensive mattress will,  There are HUGE differences between price ranges.  Don’t expect a cheap bed to last for ten years, and always feel great.  If you want to get a lot out of your bed, you’ve got to put at least something into it.

Bottom line, a new mattress isn’t going to solve all of your problems.  It can, however, ease some pain, help you sleep better, keep you cooler at night, even keep you from tossing and turning.  Keeping your expectations realistic can really help you have a positive bedding experience, and be satisfied with your purchase.

Back Pain and Mattresses: Is Memory Foam your Best Bet?

Back pain.  Ugh, is there anything worse than unexplained back pain that just goes on for months?  (I know, there are a lot of things like cancer, paralysis, PTSD, Huntington’s Disease etc., but stay with me here).

I woke up a few days ago with a pinched nerve in my back, which is keeping me from moving my head, lifting my arm, and, according to my family, it’s also keeping me from being even slightly pleasant to be around.  I don’t know what I did to it, I sleep on a great mattress, and I don’t remember lifting anything that was especially cumbersome.  There was no crack, no pop, no immediate stabbing pain.  I just woke up and tried to get out of bed, and saw stars.

But this post really isn’t about me; it’s about you (as in the 248 million people that have had back pain in America).  My own back pain just got me thinking about what we are all doing to ourselves, and how intricate (and delicate) our bodies are.  I was forwarded this awesome infographic from www.top-nursing-programs.com a while ago, and my own recent back agony brought it back to memory.  Check it out:

Back Pain and Memory Foam

There is a ton of great info listed here which everyone can use, regardless of current back pain or not.  I realized that I am not sitting right, and while my sleeping posture is perfect (of course), I should probably beef up my core with Pilates, and get back into yoga.  When I can move my neck, of course.

Now we all know that I can’t actually make it all the way through a post without bringing up mattresses, since this is a mattress blog and all.  I have been scouring the internet for the past few days doing research on a different but related article about herniated discs, and would like to share that info, since I really believe that it applies to all back pain:

  • Try memory foam.  It fills in your lumbar region, you will toss and turn less, your circulation will improve, and it helps keep your body in its natural, aligned position.  If you’re concerned about getting out of it, try a Comforpedic (which is quicker reaction than most others), in a firmer feel such as the Advanced Rest.
  • Adjustable beds aren’t just for hospitals.  You can lift your feet a little and take the pressure off of your lower back.  We usually pair ours with memory foam beds, but you can use any Beautyrestlatex, or most air mattresses.
  • If you MUST have an innerspring, go for medium firm with excellent lumbar support, like a Beautyrest Luxury Firm, or maybe an iMattress XS1.

Remember, I am not a doctor, and should not be considered an expert in back pain or what may be the best for your back.  However, I can tell you that I sleep on memory foam, and usually have no back pain whatsoever.

Another big thanks to www.top-nursing-programs.com for the infographic, and for showing me how my computer hunched ways may be further damaging my back.  Keep ‘em coming!

5 Helpful Benefits of Adjustable Beds for Seniors

Adjustable Beds for SeniorsAdjustable beds are traditionally thought of as for people who are in hospitals, chronically ill, or in debilitating pain.  However, many otherwise healthy seniors can benefit from using an adjustable bed.  There are specific changes that occur within the body as it ages, and these changes may turn into inconveniences or ailments once the body reaches sixty to seventy five.  Here are some common problems that seniors face, and how an adjustable bed can assist:

  1. Edema is a common problem among older people; it is a buildup of fluid, usually occurring in the ankles, feet, and legs.  While it is not always painful, it can make walking difficult, and can make the legs and feet feel very heavy.  WebMD states that leg edema can lead to skin ulcers, and can interfere in blood flow.  For more serious cases, medication can be prescribed, but other options are available.  By raising the legs above the heart, fluid can disperse and make walking more comfortable.  Utilizing an adjustable bed is the easiest way to raise the feet and legs comfortably, for an extended amount of time, with minimal effort.8" Anacapa Mattress with V100 Adjustable Base
  2. As we age, the cartilage and ligaments that hold together our vertebrae in our spines becomes thin and less cushioning.  This can lead to back aches, and chronic pain.  An adjustable bed can be moved to any position that takes the stress off of the affected vertebrae, and can be changed to react to the pain location of the moment.arthritis
  3. Arthritis is a common problem for seniors.  There are many different types, but the end result is the same: stiff, painful joints.  Adjustable beds can be positioned in any way that is comfortable for the sleeper, a position that will take away the ache and allow the person to sleep comfortably.  Additionally, the morning is often the time where arthritis sufferers feel the stiffest, and it may be difficult to get out of bed.  By raising the head of the bed and lowering the foot, adjustable beds effectively help “push” the sleeper out of the bed easily.
  4. Older people get less sleep than younger people do, and often find it hard to stay asleep once they get to bed.  While as we age we need less rest, the rest that we do get needs to be restorative and rejuvenating.  Seniors are more affected by the side effects of not sleeping well: memory loss, confusion, and cognitive difficulties, to name a few.  By ensuring that the few hours of sleep they get is completely comfortable and restful, it will keep their minds sharp during the day.
  5. Finally, for those that are bedridden, it’s more than just avoiding bedsores and maintaining comfort.  For those who are restricted to their beds, the hardest change to accept is sometimes the lack of freedom and autonomy.  By resting in an adjustable bed, the patient can adjust themselves, make themselves more comfortable, and even take over some tasks that can be done sitting up.  They are also able to put up the head of the bed to watch TV, read, write letters, work on a laptop, or a hundred other tasks that wouldn’t be able to be done on a flat bed.

Adjustable beds are not just for the infirm, they can be for anyone that wants a more comfortable lifestyle.  Whether its edema, arthritis, back pain, lack of quality sleep, or being confined to bed, an adjustable bed can make sleep time and awake time more enjoyable.

Some Interesting Links for Seniors to Read!

What Causes Sleep Problems in Older People?

Dr. Vitiello, studied older people who reported no sleep problems – NYTimes.

For Older Adults – What can I do to sleep better?

Mattress Reviews

m_beautyrest Stack_01A customer said to me the other day: “I’m not making a decision to buy this mattress until I read some reviews on it.”  What?  I understand not wanting to rush into a decision, and I’m not one to pressure anyone into buying today, but mattress reviews?  What does someone else’s opinion have to do with you?  Sure, if they’re commenting on durability, how long it kept it’s feel, how good (or bad) the customer service was from the manufacturer or the dealer, that information might be useful.  But whether they liked it or not?  No offense to the customer, but here are a few reasons why I think that relying on reviews is ridiculous:

  • Most product reviews are negative.  This is because people are more likely to complain than compliment, especially if they are uncomfortable.  This kind of skews the results.
  • Reviewers don’t include their weight distribution.  The reviewer might be 350 lbs, and 5’2, while you might be 160 lbs and 5’10.  What that reviewer said was way too soft, might be perfect for you.  Additionally, if they reviewed that the edge support crunches after a year, that might be from wear, and it might not happen to you.
  • I’ve read a lot of mattress reviews on websites that say “exactly as described”.  The problem with this is that the description is subjective.  What might feel “plush” to one person, might feel “super plush” to another.  While we strive to have uniformity in our categories, as well as describe the mattress as well as possible, that reviewers opinion might be different than yours.
  • Finally, everyone’s body reacts differently.  What aligned your spine might not align someone else’s.  Therefore, someone submitting a mattress review that states “very supportive” is telling you how it affected their back.  This might, or might not, have the same effect on yours.

On our website, we still publish all the reviews that come in, good or bad.  We do this because some people are really dependent on reviews to reinforce their decision, and we’d like to help with that.  However, remember the points above, and read mattress reviews with a grain of salt.  You never know, that badly reviewed mattress may be the mattress of your dreams.

When NOT to Shop a Mattress Sale

I know how tempting a mattress sale can be…I’ve bought my share of things that weren’t perfect for me, or that I really didn’t need just because it was a great deal.  Mattresses, however, should be different.  You will be sleeping on this bed for eight hours, every night, for the next ten years.  Take my advice, read the list to know when to throw in the towel, and avoid the sale.

  • If you’re feeling pushed into a bed by an annoying salesperson, stop.  A good salesperson will explain why one bed might be better than another, and will give you as much information as possible so you can make the choice.
  • If you’re overly tired mentally or physically, like after a long day of work, it might not be the best time to shop.  Really, if you’re so beat that you could fall asleep standing up, how are you supposed to discern the most comfortable bed?
  • Back pain Mattress SaleIf you have non-chronic back pain, don’t go out when you’re hurting.  Wait until you’re having a “normal” day, and try then.  Of course, if you have chronic pain, then absolutely go out while hurting.  I’d even go so far as to recommend no pain killers during this time.  You’ll pay for it that night, but if you can find a bed that naturally relieves some of the pain, isn’t it worth it?
  • If you’re pregnant.  Ladies, we’ve all been there.  You’re so uncomfortable anyway, and your crappy bed is just making it worse.  But deal with it.  Your body is going through so many changes, and what’s comfortable now won’t be comfortable once you lose that 40 lbs of baby weight (we can all dream, right?).  Do yourself a favor and wait for at least six weeks after you give birth, then shop that mattress sale till you drop.
  • When you’re in a fight with your significant other: no one should choose a bed by saying “yeah, whatever”.  Every night for ten years, folks!

I also recommend that you do some research online before you go shop a mattress sale in a store, if you’re not into buying it online.  Many sites (including this one) have a filter that will narrow down the mattresses by feel, price, and type.  If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll know that side sleepers need a softer bed than back and stomach sleepers, and no one should be sleeping on a rock.  At the very least, compare prices, have an idea of what you want to spend, then go out and get the best deal possible!

The Four Tenets of the Dr. Breus Bed

Dr. Breus BedsContinuing on my love-fest with the new Dr. Breus beds that just landed here at Dr Snooze, I wanted to share with you his “Four Tenets to a Better Night’s Sleep”.  Once I get some more info on each bed, you know that I’ll be doing a feature piece on each one, but this will have to do for now…

Dr. Breus’ beds are made with Tempsense, which is a “proprietary combination of ‘phase change materials’ that work to create a ‘thermo-neutral’ sleeping surface”.  In ordinary English, it’s a material that’s designed to keep the bed between eighty-two and eighty-six degrees.  Why is this important?  Have you ever had one of those nights where you’re either freezing, or throwing off the covers?  Not being able to get the right temperature can really disrupt your sleep.  The Tempsense molecules respond to the heat on the surface of the mattress – when it heats up, they spread out to dissipate the warmth.  As the bed cools down, they contract back in to maintain an even temperature.

The second tenet is balanced pressure.  We in the bedding industry usually only talk about pressure relief, but there is something to be said for positive pressure.  Dr. Breus states “Sleeping comfort is enhanced by balanced pressure, giving the lower back positive pressure and the hips and shoulders lower pressure”, which makes sense when you think about it.  You want the bed to fill in and create a little pressure on your lower back, but really cushion your hip and shoulder.  This ensures proper blood circulation, and less tossing and turning.

The third tenet is spinal alignment.  Sure, it’s not the most obscure tenet, but still important.  Correct alignment will not only keep you asleep longer, but you’ll wake up happier.

Finally, reduced movement, and less partner disturbance is what Dr. Breus is prescribing (you know that I had to do it) for your better night’s sleep.  No one wants a bouncy mattress, and the Dr. designed his mattresses to not bounce at all, and provide a peaceful sleeping environment.

So these were the guidelines that Dr. Breus is building his beds by.  What else would you need from your bed?

Mattress Warranty Information

One of the most asked questions that we get at our call center is: “What happens if I have a problem with the mattress, or the mattress warranty?”  We understand your concern, sometimes buying a product online can make it difficult to return, if something goes wrong.  Plus, you’re spending a lot of money here…you want to protect your investment.

First, understand that all warranties that are offered on merchandise purchased at DrSnooze.com are through the manufacturer.  We don’t offer any additional mattress warranty.  In fact, you don’t even need us to file your claim with the manufacturer!  This being said, we’re happy to help you along the way, and if you have a problem with your bed, click here to get the warranty process started.

Even though we are located in Florida, each of our manufacturers has centers nationwide, and can help you in whichever state you reside.  On our Warranty Page, the phone numbers for each manufacturer are listed, so you can call them to verify this.  The only move that will void your warranty is if you move out of the country.

If you have any questions, you can call our Customer Service team at 855-377-6669.  We are always happy to walk you through the process, and help you fill out your paperwork, or send a communication to the manufacturer.

Some manufacturers require an inspection, which will be scheduled by them.  This inspector will come out to your home, and take some pictures and measurements.  This is an independent inspector, and sends your reports back to the manufacturer for evaluation.  We would be happy to show you how to measure your bed, just like the inspector would, to make sure that you qualify for a warranty exchange.

Just remember that Dr Snooze doesn’t make the decision whether to exchange your bed or not, that’s up to the manufacturer.  However, we’re here for you every step of the way, and are happy to answer your questions, or help you in any way possible.

Sleep, Your Mattress, and Weight Loss

Did you know that your mattress can be sabotaging your diet?!?

It’s the end of January, and for many of us, that New Year’s Resolution is starting to wear off.  If you purchased a gym membership, watched what you ate, and haven’t seen a change on the scale, don’t fret.  It may be your mattress.

People who sleep less than the recommended 7-8 hours per night may be doing more harm to their body than they realize.  It’s more complex than just not having enough energy to workout.  Only getting 5-6 hours can elevate your stress hormones.  High stress hormones can make you hungrier, and crave carbs and sugar.  It also decreases your level of growth hormone, so it’s harder for your body to burn fat and repair your muscles after a workout.  Finally, the hormone ghrelin is increased, which elevates hunger and makes you likely to store fat.

So what do you do?  First, take a look at why you’re not sleeping enough.  Are you making sleep a priority, or are you being stretched too thin in other aspects of your life?  Do you have the same ritual every night before you go to bed, and are you taking time to relax your mind before retiring to bed?  Could it be that you’re not comfortable?

There could be many reasons why you aren’t comfortable at night, even if your mattress is relatively new.  If you can’t stretch out, or wake up when your partner is tossing and turning, then you might want to try a larger size, or a bed that has individually pocketed coils, like a Beautyrest.  Is your bed too soft or too firm?  By changing your body shape (losing or gaining weight), your support needs from your mattress are also changing.  What was comfortable a year ago might not be comfortable now, since your body has changed.  Also, if you are exercising, you might have aches and pains that you haven’t felt before.  Try a King Koil for some extra back support, or a memory foam bed to reduce the pressure on your achy joints.

Once you start sleeping better, your body will respond quicker to your exercising and dieting efforts.  You will feel energized, in control of your appetite, and ready to reach that fitness goal!