We spoke to Craig Wilson, the Vice President of training and education from Kingsdown Mattress, about how the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted people’s sleep, and how choosing a better mattress can help.
Vice President of Training and Education, Kingsdown Mattress
What impact has COVID-19 had on the average person’s sleep over the last year?
Even for those who don’t suffer from insomnia, this past year has immensely impacted normal routines, including sleep. The heightened levels of anxiety regarding health and accessibility to loved ones, stress about the loss of jobs and household income, and the fact that normal routines have vanished can all play a role in the average person’s sleep quality. Working remotely from home has also created new schedules and blurred the lines between being “on” and “off”. Mixing home life and work likely has people staying up later and even working from the bedroom, disrupting the work-sleep balance.
What kinds of sleep disorders are most likely to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Any of the three main sleep disorders: insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy could onset or worsen in these conditions. Stress and worry can fuel insomnia. Increased use of alcohol, cigarettes, and sleep aids taken to relieve stress often have the opposite effect by disrupting natural sleep rhythms. Excess caffeine intake to elevate mood and increase energy also artificially shift sleep cycles.
What impact does choosing the right mattress and bedding have on quality of sleep?
At Kingsdown, we strive to educate about the importance of healthy sleep. We teach about the “Sleep Triangle”, which is comprised of equipment, environment and behavior. Your mattress, pillow, bedding, bedroom environment, behaviors throughout the day and before bedtime and even your sleep clothing play an important role in your sleep quality. It is essential that you make smart decisions in each of these areas to promote healthier sleep. The mattress is foundational in helping you achieve better sleep.
Your mattress needs to keep your body in alignment and provide pressure relief for joints and muscles. It is essential that you have the right level of support—neither too soft nor too firm. Kingsdown bedMATCH® technology measures your body to guide you to the mattresses in the store that deliver the proper level of support—specifically for you. The good news is that this technology does not prevent the shopper from having a say in the matter. After receiving your support recommendation, you can choose your preference for pressure relief. It’s the best of both worlds: a science-based, fact-driven process that helps you identify the right support (which is tough to evaluate while you’re awake), and then your choice of comfort. Kingsdown mattresses are handmade and individually tested to ensure that they comply with master specifications for support performance for every person’s support needs—from the smallest framed individual to the largest. In fact, we hold a patent on the first and only system that measures every single mattress to ensure the support level that is desired is delivered, every time. This is a key component in our product development and testing processes.
Temperature management also plays an important role in sleep quality. Cooling core body temperatures signal the body that it is time to sleep. Warmer temperatures make it harder to fall asleep, causes restless movements while sleeping, and can cause you to wake in the middle of the night. Kingsdown mattresses use specially formulated comfort layers and fabrics to promote airflow and temperature regulation throughout the night to decrease the chance of your waking up due to overheating.
Your pillow is second only to your mattress in helping you achieve better sleep. It needs to keep your spine aligned while you sleep, regardless of your sleep position. Using too large of a pillow in the back lying position reduces the size of the airway, which can lead to snoring. Using too small of a pillow in the side lying position adds pressure to the shoulder which can lead to shoulder stiffness. Kingsdown bedMATCH® technology not only recommends the proper support level for your mattress, but can also recommend the proper pillow height based on your preferred sleeping position and mattress selection.
Other factors that are important to consider are sound and light management in your bedroom environment, as well as daytime, evening, and nighttime behaviors that can either help your body to prepare to sleep or negatively impact how well you sleep.
What features should consumers be looking for when going to purchase a mattress?
Proper support and pressure relief are paramount. Be sure to take your time when shopping. Don’t rush the process when you’re testing a mattress in store. We recommend that you lie in your favorite sleep position and remain on the bed for 10-15 minutes to get a better feel of the model you’re considering.
When we are comfortable we will fall asleep faster, and comfort is a personal preference. Consider your sleep position – For example, if you sleep on your side and you have shoulder or hip discomfort, look for something with a bit more padding in the form of a Euro-topper to take pressure off those specific areas of contact.
How can those affected by the pandemic take back control of their sleep patterns in the upcoming year?
Re-establish a routine that signals bedtime. Avoid bringing work and screen-viewing into the bedroom after dark. Select a mattress that provides both the correct support and comfort. An excellent source of tips to achieve better sleep during this Coronavirus pandemic and beyond appears on the UC Davis Health website.