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A Well Designed Bed – Flexible and Supportive

Most of us take sleep for granted and view it as something that we have to do, even though we could achieve so much more if we could only work or spend time with friends and family during that time of sleep. Very few people realize that getting a good sleep is as important as healthy eating, physical exercise and our spiritual well-being. And even fewer people realize that just like healthy eating starts with the food you eat, healthy sleeping starts with the bed you sleep on.

Keep in mind the following:

- The average person sleeps for about 27 years of their life – how many other things will you be doing in your life for that length of time?
- Most conventional beds are simply designed for the “average” person of 170cm (5ft 7in), 70kg (155lbs) and of even build – are you average and if so for how long?

Here is the deal:

Most beds are not even made for you.

So it comes as no surprise that the majority of people develop back pain and in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s are starting to show the signs of it. Most commonly we see disc damage, which in most cases is directly caused by your bed because it does not provide an environment for your spine and back muscles to relax. This can cause lasting damage on your discs.

Furthermore, just as you would look for organic foods that are free of chemicals when eating healthy, so you should look to sleep on a bed that provides a chemical-free environment. After all, our skin is the body’s biggest organ and should be protected from the harmful odours of chemicals as much as possible. When we take a look at the most common types of mattresses on the market today, we find a number of serious issues. Conventional mattresses are filled with old fabric and hair that comes from animals. Memory foam mattresses are filled with synthetic foam full of chemicals, which emit odours so strong that you will have to air out your bedroom for weeks upon purchasing a new foam mattress.

Did you know?

80% of North Americans will suffer from lower back pain

The unfortunate reality is that about 80% of North Americans will suffer from lower back pain at some time in their lives, which will hold them back from the things they are called to do. Yet, how many of them have thought about that one thing that they spent so much time on (their bed), doing what we all take for granted (our sleep) until pains creep in that keeps us from getting a good night’s rest? The Better Sleep Council recommends that a person evaluates their bed every 5-7 years and if necessary replaces it.

If you notice sagging in your mattress, it is a good indication that your bed needs to be replaced. It signals that the foundation of your bed (in North America often box springs) is getting worn out and consequently your bed is not properly supporting you anymore. Usually this happens in the middle of the mattress first because most of our body weight is concentrated in our hip area.

A Well Designed Bed – Flexible and Supportive

Having established that the bed you are sleeping on is vital to the overall health of your back, let us look at some of the characteristics that a well designed bed should have.

- The lower section of the bed must be rigid to keep any part of your body from lying too high or too low. This is important because it will allow your discs to recover during your sleep. A properly designed bed must do that regardless of your body weight. The foundation of your bed must support your body effectively in all sleeping positions.

- The mattress must be well chosen in order to prevent pressure points as well as it should not interfere with the blood circulation or the nervous system. Michael Breus, PhD, a WebMD sleep expert and author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep suggests: “Quite frankly, I think one of the best materials is latex,”. He likes it for being firm and supportive, but also for providing comfort similar to memory foam. Unlike the memory foam mattresses, latex is very elastic which means you don’t just sink in but latex actually pushes back, ultimately providing more support. Once all the right materials for the bed are selected, they need to be combined correctly in order to properly support a person regardless of body weight, size or shape. The challenge is to construct a bed so that a child of 20lbs and an adult of more than 250lbs can lie on it and keep their spine level.

During the day our body weight squeezes out the fluid in our spinal discs which leaves us about 2 cm (1 inch) shorter in the evening. Our nightly rest should ensure that this fluid can return into our discs. But if the pressure on the discs becomes uneven, this process becomes irregular and consequently, more sensitive people will suffer painful disc deformations.

For this reason it is vital that the bed you sleep on, allows as much as possible for our spine to assume its natural position: A bed designed like a flexible board that fits around your body contours when you lie on it. This is particularly important for children during their major development stages (up to 15 years of age).

A bed that sleeps two people must be designed to have two people sleeping on it.

This is so important for couples:

Imagine this scenario: Two people sleep together on an average bed, consisting of a box spring, a mattress and a memory foam topper. One person is 6’2″ weighing 250lbs, the other 5’4″ weighing only 110lbs. The heavier person of the two will inevitably compress most of the coils in the box spring unit. This will leave the lighter person sleep in a position that is anything but ideal to have a healthy sleep in because the coils in the box spring are compressed far too much for his/her body weight.

Now imagine this scenario: Two people sleep together in the same average bed as described above but this time the weight difference is fairly small. Both people are 5’8″ and weight around 150lbs. You go to bed and your partner frequently gets up at night to use the washroom, waking you up in the process every single time. Or maybe your partner is a very active sleeper that tosses and turns a lot during their sleep and wakes you up that way.

Here is the kicker:

In all three scenarios it is apparent that the beds these people sleep in, are not really designed for two people because it does not take into account that every human being is build differently and sleeps differently. A bed must be designed with this in mind if it is to provide a healthy sleep for either person during the same night. It is an investment into your long-term health and will determine how you start every day of your life.