In 1985, the Better Sleep Council assigned May as Better Sleep Month to emphasize the importance of sleep for a “healthy, productive life.” To start the beginning of this month, we interviewed Lloyd Bethel Jr., our very own general mattress and bedding specialist, who goes into detail about mattresses as well as changes in technology over the last five years. We asked a variety of questions, from reasons for a new mattress, common mattress complaints, average life expectancy of a mattress, technology changes, and appropriate pillows.
The three main reasons consumers begin to look for a new mattress are significant to keep in mind.
- Maybe you are thinking of redecorating your entire bedroom; new flooring, wallpaper, bed furniture, and now a new mattress.
- You might wake up uncomfortable and more tired than you were when you went to sleep.
- You might be upsizing or downsizing. You could be moving into a bigger home with your children, a smaller home because your children have left the nest, or you’re moving into a retirement home where space is limited.
Additionally, there are three common mattress complaints in general that Bethel Jr. will explain below.
- Your mattress is too soft. You aren’t getting adequate support.
- Your mattress is too firm. You might as well sleep on the floor.
- You wake up hot and sweating. You are also constantly tossing or turning in your sleep. As far as heat is concerned, you will see that newer technology will keep you cool.
The average life expectancy of a mattress isn’t always exact. From a manufacturer’s standpoint, it is 10 year but this is referring to any defect you may come across. Bethel Jr. likes to call this a valley or a wave; you and your partner are either falling away from each other or getting too close. Basically, this means that your mattress may be sagging on the edges or sinking in the middle. This being said, a big marketing tool is something along the lines of: “I need to replace my mattress every blank years.” If you wake up feeling refreshed and invigorated, you really don’t need to change your mattress. He also emphasizes that there is a difference between durability and comfort life. For example, most people tend to keep their mattress for 12-15 years. You don’t think about changing your mattress very often just like you don’t think about changing your tires. Once you are driving in the rain and feel your car sliding, maybe it’s because of the lack of tread. The same concept can be synonymous with your mattress, as it might not feel the same way it used to. Bethel Jr. mentions that “as we age, our body changes and our sleeping needs change.”
Below, we will explore some of the biggest changes in mattress technology over the last five years.
Bethel Jr. explains that like any product, there are always changes in technology. Do you have an older version of an iPhone or Android? The same kind of vision applies to mattresses as well. Let’s explore types of common mattresses, phase change material, and powered bases.
Types of Mattresses
First, there is a traditional inner spring mattress. The coils over the years affect how a mattress feels, conforms, and adds to the durability. A memory foam mattress is popular too and provides conformability, pressure point relief, and motion separation as well as distributing your body weight evenly. A hybrid mattress takes a memory foam top and places it above a bed of springs. By including memory foam features with a more traditional mattress, it adds a different sensation for your support and comfort. Furthermore, there is gel infused foam. It is an additional ingredient within the foam mixture that absorbs heat and is softer than memory foam for that feel you might be looking for.
Phase Change Material (PCM)
Another technology that has been added over the last few years is phase change material (PCM), as human beings are sleeping hot, so the focus of the sleep surface is to get cooler. PCM was developed by NASA and works as an insulator for a balanced sleeping temperature that leads to more restful nights of sleep.
Additionally, powered bases are a common technology over the last few years as they contribute to a serene night of sleep by complementing your mattress with a variety of features, from Bluetooth to snoring relief.
SmartMotion™ 2.0 Powered Base
The SmartMotion™ 2.0 Powered Base features sensors that can monitor your awake time, deep sleep, light sleep, and REM sleep throughout the night, helping you figure out your sleep patterns and what you can do to improve them. You can check this tracking with a Sleeptracker® app on your smartphone. Two preset memory positions allow you and your partner to return to your favorite sleeping position too, with adjustment for your head and feet as well as SnoreRelief™. You can even fall asleep or wake up to soothing music or a massage.
Ergo Premier Powered Base*
The Ergo Premier Powered Base is another popular choice to improve your sleep. This base features a variety of options, with four massage programs, head and foot lifts, and four buttons to store memory positions. You will receive a wireless remote control and you can download a free smartphone app.
With all the new mattress technology available to us, pillows play an important role.
Bethel Jr. explains that a pillow is essentially a mattress for your head. There are different pillows for different sleeping positions and some manufacturers even identify pillows that are specifically for back, side, and stomach sleepers. As a side sleeper, you will need a thicker pillow, as a stomach sleeper, you will need a thinner pillow, and as a back sleeper, you will need a pillow somewhere in between thick and thin. If too much of your shoulder is on your pillow, you may be pinching nerves or cutting off airflow which leads to snoring. Keep in mind that with memory foam mattresses, they absorb more of your shoulder, so even if you are a side sleeper you may need a thinner pillow.
In essence, mattress technology is constantly changing while keeping your comfort and support in mind. We hope you gained insight into reasons to change your mattress, common mattress complaints, average life expectancy of a mattress, technology, and pillows. If you are looking for a new mattress, come see us at El Dorado Furniture, where we have a range of options from major brands to private labels with price points that can meet your needs at any time.
About Lloyd Bethel Jr:
Lloyd Bethel Jr. has an educational background in speech communication. He started working at El Dorado Furniture seven years ago, starting in sales and then becoming a general mattress and bedding specialist. Bethel Jr. had the benefit of training with various mattress vendors in order to get prepared to be a bedding specialist. As mattress technology is always changing, Lloyd explains that it is continuous education with outside conferences and working with the purchasing department to determine which mattresses are the best for El Dorado Furniture’s customers. He considers his favorite style of furniture to be eclectic, with a mixture of wood patterns and veneers as well as contemporary features.