Mattresses used to be made out of cotton padding and springs. Now, you can be inundated with commercials that promote the(ir) “best” choices of air, memory foam, latex, water, etc.that often lead to a soon to follow “buyer’s remorse”, especially considering that sleep issues have, for collective reasons, reached an epidemic level.
The mattress of today is comprised of two basic parts:
· The foundation,which is most often a box spring (made of a wooden frame with springs and covered by a thin cotton or synthetic covering), a dense foam platform or the more expensive (and my preference) adjustable frame (think hospital bed).
· The top mattress,which has a support layer under a comfort layer. The idea is to have a softness for hip and shoulder contact points, with enough support to not sag too deeply.Two-sided mattresses are now evolving to single sided ones that eliminate the need to flip (anyone ever tried flipping a king sized one on high bed frame with an eight foot ceiling?). The problem is that you now only have one side to wear and I have not read any valid or convincing studies to suggest that they have a more promising longevity.
Federal regulations have also required that all mattresses contain a fire retardant that extinguishes the flames in the event that an incident were to develop, which has created a valid question as to the safety when considering the toxicity of the everyday fumes with the “off-gassing” of the bedding containing polyurethane foam or applied sprays that contain PCB’s like asbestos or boric acid. In all fairness, there are other furnishings in the home that have similar chemical concerns as well,however, the eight or so consecutive hours of close proximity make the bed a more important player, especially with individuals who may be hypersensitive. Mattresses should also wear slowly and evenly. I could not even guess at the number of times that I have heard of patients complaining of their mattresses sagging after only 2-4 years. Is it because of inferior quality materials i.e. the metal in the springs being thinner and of less stronger, cheaper metals, or is it because we have become a very overweight society? Probably both in my opinion, but, I know of circumstances where the husband and wife are 150 and 110 pounds respectively and their bed looks like waves along the Jersey shore! Warranties have deteriorated to the point where, because of replacement cost,necessary replacement is delayed much too long.
So, what kind of bedding would I recommend (for a couple)?
· A king sized independently dual sided adjustable frame. (Maybe even throw in a vibrating component).
· Two over-sized twin, dual-sided mattresses that reveal all the materials used to make them. I would prefer the firmest mattress available and put a down or other safe hypoallergenic “topper” widely advertised on the internet or box stores to provide the softness desired.
Why this choice? First, a narrower bed will break down slower because there is not as much real estate.Second, the flip factor is easier, making for less visits to you know who because of incidental strain! Third, the bed frame can approach the“zero-gravity” chairs that are advertised and allow for better posture for reading or watching television in bed. Now, the bed frame may be a costly perk, but, you will save money on the firm mattresses, as the extra padding generally is what jumps the price up. Sleep is a vital part of our healthy existence,along with smart exercise and proper nutrition. Your choice for the best alternative could make the difference in how well you or your family performs in work, school or activities. So, get looking at your bedding now so that you won’t feel like you have been sleeping with the fishes!
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