It might be strange to think the average adult spends about one-third of their life in bed and isn’t even awake for it (unless you are a poor sleeper who tosses and turns). Many factors contribute to a night of sleeplessness, and the comfort of your bed is one of them.
According to the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, an estimated 70 million Americans have sleep problems while about 70 percent struggle to get good sleep a couple of times a week. The solution? Better Bedding.
In a perfect world, everyone would have the opportunity to replace their mattress every five to ten years. Mattresses are expensive, so we’re often left doing the best we can, trying to stay comfortable so we can get a good night’s sleep.
Want some tips to maximize the comfort level of your bed? Start with the bedding.
Mattress Protectors and Pads
Mattress protectors and pads are essential to keeping your mattress clean and extending the life of the mattress. Mattress protectors typically encase the mattress while a pad goes over the mattress, much like a fitted sheet. There are a variety of protectors and pads available, and while the choices may seem a little endless, it all comes down to what you want.
If you’re a warm sleeper and prone to sweating, even with minimal blankets, you probably want to invest in a water-resistant mattress protector. You can also find thin cooling pads that are designed to draw the heat away from the person sleeping, which results in a more comfortable and cooler night of sleep.
While a majority of mattress pads and protectors have a little bit of padding, there are some with thicker padding if that piques your interest.
Mattress toppers are often confused with pads and protectors, but they are a separate bedding accessory. A topper is a thick pad, almost like a thin mattress, that is placed on top of the mattress but under the fitted sheet.
Toppers come in a variety of sizes, firmness, and material options. A cooling topper is ideal for “hot” sleepers while a memory foam topper offers extra support and is an excellent choice for back pain. A pillow topper adds comfort, support, and warmth and is often filled with down, synthetic fibers, or wool. There are also organic options like bamboo and other sustainable materials.
If you’ve never had a set of nice sheets for your bed, you might be missing out on some quality comfort. Many people think that a good set of bed sheets (that you didn’t buy out of the bargain bin) is a luxury; it is, but it’s a worthy investment, too.
When it comes to thread count, you’ve probably been under the impression that the higher the number, the better the bedsheet. While there is a little bit of truth to that, Consumer Reports says that buying sheets with a thread count of over 400 is unnecessary and may be a waste of money.
Percale or Sateen Weave
High-quality sheets usually have a percale or sateen weave, but you may not know the difference between the two.
Sheets with a percale weave have an equal amount of threads running horizontally and vertically, which makes the weave tight and durable. This is an ideal weave if you like the feeling of crisp and fresh sheets. The recommended thread count for percale weave sheets is between 200 and 600.
Like something a little softer? Sateen sheets, which is commonly mistaken for satin, have more threads that run vertically than horizontally. Most sateen sheets are not as durable as a percale weave, so if you want your sheets to last longer consider a thread count of 300 to 600.
Don’t know what type of sheet to buy? Cotton-poly blends and 100 percent cotton are your best choices as they are comfortable, breathable, and affordable. Cotton sheets will also get the cleanest when you wash them.
If you aren’t the biggest fan of cotton because they seem stiff and rough, you’ve probably slept on some low-quality sheets (think motel bedding). When shopping around for sheets look for long-fiber cotton, and words like Egyptian, Pima, or Supima as these all refer to a higher quality and softer cotton.
Finding the Perfect Pillow
Want to create more comfort? Get a better pillow. We’ve all slept in other beds where the mattress was comfortable enough, but the pillow was terrible. The wrong pillow can cause neck pain, sleeplessness, and a variety of other problems.
The key to a good pillow is having one that is specifically designed to how you sleep, such as side, back, or stomach sleeping. Here are some features to look for to maximize your comfort.
- Thinner pillows
- Extra loft (or lift) in the bottom of the pillow by your neck
- Memory foam
- Purchase an extra pillow to put under your knees; better for your back
- Look for the thinnest pillow
- Use a body pillow or try side sleeping
- This position is not the best for using pillows
- Look for firm pillows
- Extra-wide to support the neck
- Consider an extra pillow for your knees for spine alignment
If you’re a warm sleeper or sweat a lot, look for pillows that have cooling features, much like the cooling mattress pad that we mention above.
If you like to read in bed or kick back and relax, it’s probably a good idea to purchase a few extra pillows that you can prop up, so it’s easier to adjust your comfort during other activities.
Layer with Blankets
For optimal comfort, consider layering your bed with various types of blankets. Having options is great, especially if you live in the part of the country where you experience all seasons. Just like wearing layers of clothing, layers of blankets are convenient and helps to keep you more comfortable.
You’ve probably heard the term “blanket” used synonymously with quilts, bedspreads, duvets, and comforters. While they all have a similar purpose, they are all a little bit different.
Quilts usually have a thin layer of wool or other fiber in between two pieces of fabric. The inner layer is called “batting,” and the material is often stitched together to create a pattern; if you have a handmade quilt, hold on to it as many modern quilts are sewn with machines.
A bedspread is usually one layer of thick fabric. Sometimes they are lightweight cotton, which can be perfect for summer, and others are heavier weight like fleece. A bedspread is a good layer to have but probably won’t keep you warm enough.
Duvets are ideal for people who don’t like top sheets. The comforter or blanket fits inside of the duvet, sort of like a giant pillowcase, and it becomes a sheet and blanket in one.
A comforter is a great all-season option, depending on what type of fill it has, such as down or synthetic fibers. Comforters with heavy down fill are great for colder months, but you can find some that are also suitable for summer.
When layering you might need to mix and match to find the most comfortable option.
Make Your Bed or Not?
Some experts believe that to achieve optimal comfort; one must always make the bed. While it’s hard to argue with the feeling of crawling into a well-made bed with fresh sheets, some experts say that it’s not a daily “must do.”
When you get out of bed and make your bed right away, some research suggests that the warm and cozy environment may be ideal for mites. While it’s definitely something to consider, it’s probably more important to keep your bedding clean.
Additional Tips for Maximizing Your Comfort In Bed
One of the great things about maximizing the comfort of your bed (without buying a new mattress) is that there aren’t any strict rules; it’s all about what feels best to you. While we gave you many things to think about, here are a few more tips to consider:
- Rotate a one-sided mattress every three months
- Clean your sheets once a week
- Wash and store seasonal blankets
- Replace your pillow every six to 18 months
- Keep your room at 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit
- Consider using an electric blanket during cold nights
- Buy sheets that fit snugly, and blankets can be larger
Last update on 2021-06-18 at 02:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API