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Re: extreme tossing and turning

Posted by Honest Expert / but only mattresses on June 03, 2001 at 15:46:43:

In Reply to: extreme tossing and turning posted by janie on June 03, 2001 at 07:43:17:

Hi Janie,

There are other people who can give you more complete answers than I can -- and I'm sure they will! -- but let me put my two cents worth in.

First, there can be a lot of reasons for tossing and turning: Stress and tension during the day; too much or too little exercise might cause it; some sleep disorders (like REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, where you actually move in response to your dreams) can be causing your movement; or some kind of external factor.

But the first thing to realize is this: During the night, the tossing and turning you are experiencing is because of SOMETHING. Even though your consciousness is not aware of things going on around you, you body still responds to things that make it uncomfortable. (This may seem obvious, but I mention it just in case someone tries to tell you that tossing and turning is normal. Some movement IS normal, but it should not be disrupting your sleep.)

Here's why tossing and turning COULD be related to you mattress (fully acknowledging that it may have NOTHING to do with it):

Most tossing and turning that is caused by the mattress comes from one of three sources. First, if there is too little padding to protect you from the steel springs, you can develop tenderness at heavier parts of the body like hips and shoulders. You may not even feel this tenderness as being sore or feeling bruised, but your body may recognize the tenderness and force you to move to relieve the pressure.

This kind of problem can occur on mattresses that are less expensive (which won't have the quantity or quality of padding in them) or on mattresses that have gotten old (where the padding loses its body and/or gets compressed into the springs [remember, springs are big round holes that the padding can get squeezed into]). This can also occur because of any quality of brand new mattress that is too firm for your body.

The second kind of problem that can cause tossing and turning on a mattress is restricted blood supply. This too is a problem of pressure. When you lay on your side, your weight is more concentrated onto the parts of your body that are making contact with the mattress. Plus, at the shoulders and hips (and elbows, knees and heels, too) your bones are closer to the skin.

Laying on your side can pinch your skin between the mattress and the bone and restrict the blood supply that you get there. When this happens, you body will force you to roll over so you can return adequate blood supply to the pinched parts. This kind of problem, too, can occur from less expensive mattresses, mattresses that have gotten old or brand new mattresses of any quality that are too firm for you.

The third problem that can occur is one that comes from inadequate support. If a mattress is not supporting you properly, it will allow your body to lay in positions where your muscles cannot relax. When this happens, your sleeping body will keep trying new positions to find one where the muscles CAN relax.

The situations where this is most likely to occur are from older mattresses that have started to sag in the middle (which MIGHT be visible as an indentation, or MIGHT just be a weakening of the springs that won't be visible, but still squish too easily) or any kind or quality of new mattress where the padding is too soft or deep to give properly shaped support. This is also a problem experienced by air-mattress and water-mattress sleepers who have their mattresses adjusted too soft.

So, the bottom line is: Your tossing and turning COULD be caused by a mattress that is not doing the job, whether it is old or new, inexpensive or very expensive. Or ... it may have nothing to do with your mattress!

Now, to help you guage mattress qualities (in the roughest of ways), I'm going to show what price ranges I have found different quality mattresses fall into. I do this because many people have great misconceptions about the relationship of quality to price with mattresses (I have heard many people tell me about the "top quality" Queen mattress set they bought for $500. What I know is, it was NOT "top quality!") and so you can compare what you have (and work towards eliminating the mattress as the cause of the problem, if it is). These are the guidelines I am very comfortable with:

Economy Queen Mattress Sets: $450 and under
"Good" Queen Mattress Sets: $500 to $800 range
"Better" Queen mattress sets: $800 to $1200 range
"Premium" Queen mattress sets: $1100 up to the sky!

Hopefully, all of this will give you one more thing to think about while you are trying to assess what it is that is causing your tossing and turning. You may have one of those situations where all you can do is attack one item at a time! If nothing else, this is one place to start.

Good Luck
Honest Expert

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