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The First Step to a Better Night's Sleep

I have been racking my brain to try to figure out where to start my blog, and I decided it is always best to start at the beginning. So like I do with every customer I greet, I will begin with the basics. When you are shopping for a mattress the first question is:

What are you looking for?

I know this sounds pretty self-explanatory. After all, if you walk into a mattress store it is pretty safe to bet that you are looking for a mattress. But there is more to it than that. People walk into a mattress store or search online for a mattress for a reason. Before we can help you find what you are looking for, I need to know who are you shopping for. It's simple, either it is for you (or you and your spouse) or it is for someone else, like a child for example. Let’s start with the most common: shopping for yourself. The next question is why? We know you didn’t wake up and decide today was a good day to buy something you don’t need, so there is an underlying reason. Here are my top five:

  1. My mattress is too hard or too soft.
  2. It is way past its prime and ready to be replaced, or we never liked it. This mattress is a piece of junk.
  3. He/she won’t stop snoring. Please help.
  4. My spouse won’t stop tossing and turning, possibly due to insomnia.
  5. My back/hips/neck/knees (insert body part) hurts when I wake up.

I know there are a lot of other reasons to shop for a new mattress, but these are the most common. I left out the one that says “We broke up” because that one is kind of a given.

#1 Too Hard or Too Soft

Now I can work with that. First, find one that is similar in firmness to what you have. This means you need to mentally think about your mattress firmness. I suggest you stretch out on it at home before you go shopping. I will write in more detail on how to select the right firmness in another blog, but for just a quick tip, pay attention to your breathing. Lay in your normal sleeping position. Here’s a hint: most people don’t sleep on their backs with their feet hanging off the bed, so stop shopping for a mattress like that. Get comfortable. Now, take several deep cleansing breaths. Close your eyes and relax. That's nice, right? If you find it hard to draw a full breath or feel like you are pinching your back, hips, or shoulders, move on to another mattress. Breathing is the key. If you can’t draw a full and complete breath laying on the mattress for a few minutes (yes I said lay on it for a few minutes – not seconds) then what makes you think it will work for five to eight hours?

#2 My Mattress is Way Past Its Prime

This one repeats the steps in problem #1, but the only other suggestion I have is to find the one that is nothing like the one you have! I know this sounds silly but I get customers all the time that tell me what a piece of junk their mattress is. Then they lay on a mattress in the showroom and say “This is nothing like what we have at home” like it's a bad thing. Hello! You just told me it is junk. Why are you rejecting a mattress because it doesn’t feel like the junky one? Stop trying to recreate that horrible sleeping surface.

#3 He/She Won’t Stop Snoring

This one I want to start by saying I am not a doctor. Snoring can be a sign of severe medical conditions including sleep apnea, which means you may not be getting enough oxygen while you sleep. Or, it could just be snoring. It is always wise to get a doctor's opinion if it is an every-night occurrence or if you wake up feeling more tired than you are when you go to sleep. But beyond the medical, here is the mattress tip — watch your sleeping position and pay attention to your pillow. Sleeping at a slight angle can make a big difference in snoring. Raising the head of your bed a measly 2-3” can make a world of difference. No, you don’t always necessarily need an expensive adjustable bed. You can start simply by putting a small 2×4 piece of wood under the feet of your bed frame. (Make sure your bed is secure and no stress cracks are on it before you try this). Next, replace your pillow. Try something that props your head back and doesn’t tuck your chin in. I’ve had customers that get rid of the pillow altogether and roll up a small towel Swiss-roll style and put it under their necks to prop their head back. Yes, I am making a suggestion that doesn’t mean you have to buy a new mattress. Because my goal is to help you sleep better. IF you need a mattress, I want you to shop with us at Pike's, but my main goal here is to make you more comfortable.

#4 My Spouse Won’t Stop Tossing and Turning

This one is a little more tricky. First, you need to find out why they are tossing and turning. If it is one of the other reasons listed here then that is pretty self-explanatory. But if it isn’t medical and it isn’t something listed here already, then look at your room. Turn off the TV, cellphone, tablet, or computer, and read a book. It is proven that the light emitted from these devices can stimulate the brain and make you more awake. So no emails an hour before bed. If you are awake at 3 am reading this, turn it off and read a book, a magazine, anything that doesn’t light up. Many smart devices also include nighttime settings, like the "Nightshift" function on iPhones, which reduces the amount of blue light emitted from the device that keeps people awake.

Adjust your room temperature to a cooler setting. It is proven that sleeping in a cooler room helps you fall to sleep faster. I also recommend some simple stretches before bed. Nothing too physical. The simple stuff they make you do when you are in 2nd-grade gym class. Stretch your arms all the way up and down slowly — you know the ones. Drink a small glass of water to hydrate yourself, but not a lot. Close your eyes and relax. Ok, so I know this isn’t anything you haven’t heard before but have you tried it? Honestly? If so, try it again, and this time I want you to mean it. If you still can't sleep, I recommend seeing your doctor.

#5 My (Insert Body Part) Hurts When I Wake Up

I get this one more than any other. First of all, I want to start by reiterating that I am not a doctor, nor am I a magician. I don’t have any magic fairy dust and no THERE IS NO MAGIC MATTRESS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR PAIN GO AWAY! That being said, why do you hurt? The simple answer is usually because you are in poor alignment while you sleep. So pay attention to your posture when you first wake up. Or ask your spouse to make note of how you sleep. Maybe a firmer or softer mattress will help. Think about the shape of your spine. Think about your breathing as I mentioned in #1. Something is out of alignment and causing discomfort. I also want to add that sometimes it is age. There, I said it. We are all another year older than we were last year. I’m sorry, but no mattress in the world will fix that. However, if you are sleeping in a bad posture then yes, a new mattress can help. Sometimes alignment tools like Knee Pillows can help too. You can check out one of our on our website at Consider if your pillow is causing your neck to hurt. When you are asleep, you should be aligned as you are when you are standing in perfect posture. I will write more on sleeping posture later. That is a very in-depth subject that I will help you with in a forthcoming post.

I hope this has helped you some. I know it seems like simple stuff, but sometimes our brains get in the way. Did you know that the majority of Americans are sleep deprived and don’t even know it? And yet two out of three individuals surveyed said they would be more apt to take sleeping pills than to take a second look at their mattress or sleeping environment. With all the side effects of medication, why wouldn’t you opt for the prescription-free option and assess your sleeping environment and mattress first?

If you have any questions or would like more help please feel free to comment or contact us via our form.

God bless you and good night, my friend.