Nearly all of us agree that a comfortable mattress makes a big difference when it comes to a good night's sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But few of us take the time to regularly assess our sleep environment to make sure it's up for the nightly routine.
Here's how to keep you and your bedding in good shape.
Check up on your bedding twice a year. Just like resetting clocks and changing batteries, a mattress evaluation should be part of your routine each spring and fall. Look for worn edges or sagging spots in the middle. If you get jostled every time your sleep partner rolls over, that may be a sign that it's time for an upgrade.
Mark the age of your mattress. Even high-quality mattresses have a lifespan. That means you may need to retire your mattress every eight to 10 years. The expiration date may be sooner if you're over 40. As you age, your body needs more support from the foundation to get your rest.
Give your pillows a review. Lumps and sags can interfere with slumber time. Ask yourself if your pillow supports your head and neck without putting you in an awkward position. Good rule to follow: Replace pillows every two years. As you shop for a replacement, keep in mind how you sleep – on your side, back or stomach. If you use a CPAP machine to help with breathing, that makes a difference, too. Pillows are designed to fit your sleeping position and style of rest.
Clean bedding materials regularly. Beyond sheets and pillowcases, all the coverings on your bed need a good wash. Use hot water to clean your mattress cover. To keep moisture under control, dust your mattress with baking soda and vacuum it up a day later. Upholstery cleaner also works well on mattresses. Most pillows are washable, and high heat in the dryer kills dust mites.
Relax, let go and get your sleep
If you're not getting the rest you need, talk with your healthcare provider about your sleep concerns. Drowsiness, interrupted sleep, snoring or gasping for breath may signal a medical condition that can be treated.
Registered Respiratory Therapist Richard Osborn, RRT, RPSGT, is the Supervisor of Goshen Sleep Disorders Center and offers treatment for common sleep disorders, such as insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy. The center's sleep lab is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.