We’ve all experienced bad beds before – squishy mattresses, scratchy bedding, squashed pillows. You can pretty much tell immediately if you’re going to experience the sweetest slumber or toss and turn the night away. Hopefully, none of those bad bed factors are fitting adjectives for your current nest, but even if they aren’t, there’s probably room for improvement. Here’s how to make your bed for the best night’s sleep.
You know the basic recipe: a bed is made with three simple ingredients: mattress, pillows, bedding.
How to Choose a Mattress
Here’s a short video from Consumer Reports with tips for buying the right mattress for you.
Also, remember to regularly replace your mattress. Most experts agree that after between five and ten years, it’s likely not providing you with optimal comfort and support. Consumer Reports recommends replacing your mattress if:
- You regularly wake up tired or achy—you make Oscar the Grouch seem as cheerful as Mr. Rogers.
- You tend to sleep better away from home, than in your own bed. Are you planning unnecessary business trips or looking for any reason to go on a weekend getaway?
- Your mattress looks or feels saggy or lumpy—it needs go on the Abs Diet.
- You’re over age 40 and your mattress is five to seven years old. Remember, your body tolerates less pressure as it ages. As if getting older weren’t tough enough . . .
How to Choose a Pillow
Here’s another short, helpful video from chiropractor Dr. Ian Sheppard.
In addition to regularly replacing your mattress, remember your pillows have a lifespan, too. Dr. Michael Breus (aka “The Sleep Doctor”) has some simple tips for testing to see if your pillow is “dead.”
- Begin by laying your pillow across your arm and look at how it’s folded.
- Does it have a slight fold, but still sticks out at the ends? If so, then the structural integrity of your pillow is fine.
- Or does your pillow fold—or flop—over your arm like an old saddle bag? Then you have a dead pillow and it needs to be replaced.
If you’re still unsure, Breus recommends this test:
- Lay your pillow on top of your bed and fold it in half.
- Now place a shoe on top and let go.
- If the shoe goes flying, then your pillow is fine; if it is stays put then you need a new pillow.
How to Choose Bedding
This one’s easy – choose what you love. Everyone’s different when it comes to bedding and there’s no science behind it other than the fact that you sleep better when you’re most comfortable. Love crisp, cotton sheets with a fluffy, feather duvet? Go for it. More of a slippery, satin sheet and velvet comforter person? That works, too.
The Final Secret Trick
You’re wondering how to make your bed for the best night’s sleep? Make your bed. Every day. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey and found that people who said they made their bed every day also reported sleeping better. And 73% of people reported sleeping better when their sheets were clean (91% said they changed sheets at least every other week). You don’t need to go all military or Martha Stewart, but make your bed, sleepy head!
- “How Long Does a Mattress Last?” Consumer Reports, www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2007/12/q-a-how-often-should-i-buy-a-new-mattress/index.htm.
- “Make Your Bed for Better Sleep?” The Sleep Doctor, Dr. Michael Breus, http://www.thesleepdoctor.com/2011/02/22/make-your-bed-for-better-sleep/
- “Bedroom Poll” National Sleep Foundation, https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/bedroompoll/NSF_Bedroom_Poll_Report.pdf
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