Sleep, along with diet and exercise, form the very foundation of health, well-being and quality of life. Without sufficient sleep, regular exercise and healthy eating are difficult, at best. To ensure and maintain health, sleep should be considered a fundamental and critical biological need: equally important as diet and exercise, and not an optional endeavor or something to be treated as a second thought. Sleeping is one of the most important functions in life, and it must be prioritized as such. Recognizing and addressing sleep health issues presents opportunities for enhancing personal and public health—and this includes understanding the role a that the mattress plays in our quest for good sleep and good health.

The vehicle for sleep

The first step toward getting a good night’s sleep is a comfortable and supportive mattress. The appropriate sleep surface can be a significant contributor to a good night’s sleep. Conversely, a sagging, uncomfortable, or outdated mattress can do a lot to interfere a good night’s sleep.

"Good health demands good sleep—a good night’s sleep leads to good days, which lead to improved quality of life."

We each have our own size and style, from the shoes and clothes we wear to the cars we drive; taking a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work with those, nor does it work with mattresses. Selecting a mattress is about style and fit—a very personal and subjective choice. A mattress must be supportive enough to keep the body properly aligned while sleeping and comfortable enough to be relaxing. You need the properly fitting sleep surface to sleep well, one that is comfortable and supportive—simply what feels most comfortable—and a good fit for you.

And yet, despite spending a third of our lives asleep, many of us haven't devoted adequate time and attention to the sleep surface. Since you can easily spend up to 20,000 hours on a mattress in a lifetime, it is essential to understand some of the basics about this important investment in health and well-being.

Comfort and support

A mattress is arguably the most important health care product in a home, and to prioritize sleep is to prioritize the mattress. Even though it’s obvious that a comfortable mattress is conducive to relaxation and sleep, it is not uncommon to hear consumers express indecision and procrastination with mattress selection. Yet the multitude of available mattress options put consumers at a distinct advantage in obtaining a good night’s sleep. There are simply too many variables that come into play to make one mattress the “best” mattress or make a firmer mattress better. An array of mattresses with a variety of materials and technology can easily accommodate the variety of sleepers that vary with age, weight, height, sleep position, health conditions, temperature preferences, and bed-partner issues. Fortunately, there are many comfortable and supportive mattress options to choose from that can address and accommodate all these variables.

The two words commonly used to describe mattresses are “comfort” and “support.” Comfort is the ability of a mattress to spread body weight over the sleep surface to relieve pressure points. Support is the ability of a mattress to maintain spinal alignment while you sleep.

A worthy investment

It is imperative to have realistic expectations for mattress life. Just as our bodies experience physical changes over time, worn mattresses lose both support and comfort, so mattress replacement is essential to help ensure continuous sleep quality. No mattress is comfortable and supportive indefinitely. Mattresses should be replaced at least every seven years or more often as needed.

An investment in a comforting, relaxing and supportive mattress is an investment in sleep, which is a substantial investment in health, well-being, peak performance and quality of life. Good health demands good sleep—a good night’s sleep leads to good days, which lead to improved quality of life.