GUEST POST BY TERRY CRALLE
No matter what your weight or body type, a comfortable mattress is a key component in healthy weight management. Traditionally, weight management has been equated exclusively with diet and exercise, yet, recent research demonstrates that sleep quality and sleep duration are equally important. With more than one-third of U.S. adults, 35.7%, above or exceeding a healthy weight, it is more important than ever to make sufficient sleep a daily priority.
Health triad: sleep, diet, exercise
As with many other health conditions, the relationship between sleep and weight management is a two-way street. Inadequate sleep can lead to weight gain, and weight gain can cause sleep problems. The most effective way to break the cycle is to understand the importance of sleep and prioritize it. Practice healthy sleep habits, obtain sufficient sleep and incorporate getting enough sleep into your health regimen, along with diet and exercise.
Take the measure of your mattress
A fundamental step to take in the prioritization of sleep is to assess the comfort of your sleep surface. A comfortable, supportive and relaxing mattress will take you a long way toward your goal of obtaining healthy sleep. With the wide array of mattresses currently available, there is plenty of variety to provide comfort and support for every body type.
While comfort is subjective, and a personal choice, it’s helpful to narrow down appropriate choices in the mattress selection process. One useful measurement is your Body Mass Index, or BMI, which is a standard body-measurement guide based on height and weight. BMI calculators for adults and children are available at the CDC website.
Mattress features to fit your BMI
When selecting a mattress, people with a BMI greater than 25 should consider mattress thickness. Mattresses are available in a range of thicknesses from 6 inches to 16 inches or more. The higher your BMI, the thicker the mattress should be. People weighing from 250 pounds to 400 pounds will be most comfortable on a mattress that is at least 10 inches tall. For those weighing more than 400 pounds, a 14-inch profile, or greater, is recommended.
Natural latex mattresses, memory foam mattresses, adjustable air mattresses and traditional innerspring beds and “hybrid” mattresses that combine both springs and specialty foams are all popular choices among sleepers who have a higher BMI. A firm mattress is recommended for sleepers with higher BMIs for support, but if a softer surface is preferable, simply add a topper to a firm mattress.
In addition, look for mattresses that offer durable, reinforced edge support, as well as temperature-regulating features—if you’re the type of person who “sleeps hot.”
Replace every seven years
Note that mattresses will not last indefinitely. The Better Sleep Council recommends that you evaluate your sleep every 7 years for comfort and support to know when your sleep is compromised and it is time to replace it. It is not unusual for those with a higher BMI to replace their mattresses more frequently to ensure continuous comfort and support.
See the difference sleep makes
A good night’s sleep is essential for achieving a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle. A comfortable and supportive mattress is an easy first step toward a good night’s sleep. Sufficient sleep should be a priority for everyone, and especially for those desiring to get to and maintain a healthy weight. A combination of sufficient sleep, plenty of exercise and a healthy diet can make healthy weight management an achievable goal for everyone.
Terry Cralle is a registered nurse and a certified clinical sleep educator.