You may spend a couple of hours a day on your favorite easy chair or your couch. You spend even less time on your kitchen chairs, patio furniture, and in your desk chair. Do you know where you spend the majority of your life by volume? On top of your mattress. The average person spends at least eight hours in bed every single night (and oftentimes more). This makes your mattress the most important piece of furniture in your home. It’s also the piece that is often neglected, and that’s a big mistake. Here’s how to maintain a supportive, healthy mattress.
Clean and Clean Some More
Most people rarely think about cleaning their mattresses. We clean our sheets, comforters, pillowcases, and other bedding, but a mattress? That’s too big to put in the washer. While cleaning your bedding at least once every two weeks is vital, your mattress deserves some TLC as well. Cleaning your mattress doesn’t require a lot of fancy, expensive chemicals. A good process involves vacuuming, spot treating with Febreze, stain remover, and/or enzymatic pet cleaner, and then deodorizing with simple baking soda.
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Fresh Air for Your Mattress
Every so often, your mattress deserves some fresh air Your mattress can become moist, which makes it a breeding ground for some unsavory things. Strip everything off your mattress, open your windows, turn on your fans (if you don’t already have a fan, look for some affordable ones that fit within your budget), and get that fresh air circulating. This should be done every time you wash your sheets, which should be at least twice a month.
Get a Mattress Protector
For around $100, you can protect your mattress from water, pet mishaps, dust, dirt, bacterial buildup, and more. That’s pretty cheap when you consider a brand new mattress can run thousands of dollars. The best mattress protectors will be completely waterproof, and some of them will even offer temperature control due to their material composition. Don’t be confused — a real mattress protector is not the same thing as a mattress pad. A pad is simply there for extra padding and provides minimal protection. If you’re in the market for a good mattress pad, use money-saving websites like RetailMeNot to help lower those costs a bit.
Give It a Flip
When you sleep on the same exact portion of your mattress night after night, that part of your mattress begins to wear down. For the same reason that you need to rotate the tires on your car every so often to reduce wear and tear, so you should flip and rotate your mattress every few weeks to minimize wear. For single-sided mattresses, rotating is sufficient. For double-sided mattresses, you’ll want to completely flip it over as well. This will not only prolong the life of your mattress, but it will also prevent the pain associated with sleeping on “hot spots.”
Don’t Use the Handles
You know those handles or straps that are on the sides of your mattress? You’ve probably used those handles to lift, turn, or carry your mattress. That’s what they are for, right? Wrong. That’s not what they are for and using them that way can damage your mattress.
“If you need to lift it completely, do so from underneath, and make sure to get several strong people to work together, lifting with their legs,” suggests Sleep.org.
Why Is This So Important?
Very few things are more important to your overall health than getting good quality sleep. And very few things affect the quality of your sleep more than your mattress. This essentially makes mattress care health care. Sleeping on a poorly maintained mattress can cause you to wake up periodically through the night, disturbing your restful REM sleep. This leads to that feeling of not being rested despite having slept for a full night. Sleep deprivation can affect your mental state, cause anxiety and inability to focus, and affect your physical health as well. Beyond that, poor nights on a mattress can lead to long-term back, shoulder, and neck issues.
Mattresses also harbor potential hygiene issues. They are excellent at trapping dust, and dust mites can be a major allergen for most people. When you sleep, you sweat. Your mattress also collects oils from your body. Both of these things can make your mattress a fertile ground for mold and fungus. These can also trigger allergies and lead to long-term respiratory problems.
In the end, you need to have a mattress that supports your body in the places you need it — this is different for everyone. By maintaining your mattress, you can prolong its life, thus saving money in the process. And the fact is this: Your mattress can get gross. Without implementing strategies to keep it clean, aired out, and bug/bacteria/mold-free, you’re basically just sleeping on an illness magnet every night. Prioritize your mattress care; your health depends on it.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash