Home » In the Magazine » Sleep, as Vital as Diet and Exercise to Good Health

Sleep, as Vital as Diet and Exercise to Good Health

Sleep, as Vital as Diet and  Exercise to Good HealthBack in 1983, when Sleep Outfitters and Mattress Warehouse founder and CEO Kim Knopf opened her first store, most mattresses were purchased from furniture stores. But Knopf believed a person’s mattress was not just another piece of furniture, like a sofa; it was the most important piece of furniture in the house. Unless we’re retired or infirm, chances are we won’t be spending seven to nine hours a day, one-third of our lives, on a sofa or chair. But we do (or should) spend that much time in bed.

Knopf thought mattresses were important enough to be sold in stores dedicated to bedding. She was right, of course. Today, we understand that sleep is as important as diet and exercise to good health. Too little sleep can impede memory and our ability to learn, make us moody, less productive, over-
weight and even put us at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Insufficient sleep can also make us dangerous in the workplace and behind the wheel.

Sleep is not optional, it is integral to good health and maximum productivity. So, how is America sleeping?

Twenty-five percent of U.S. adults report insufficient sleep or rest at least 15 days out of every month, according to Healthy People.gov, a website administered by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

In September 2014, the National Sleep Foundation, a not-for-profit organization of physicians, clinicians and others dedicated to studying sleep, conducted its first Sleep Health Index, by polling 1,253 Americans nationwide about their sleep habits and experience. The Sleep Foundation intends to use this new, broad inaugural poll as a benchmark against which it will measure future polling data in order to discover more about the effects of sleep, and lack of it.

So, what did they learn?
While sleep requirements vary for individuals, most experts agree that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. Americans are sleeping an average of seven hours and 36 minutes a night, according to the Sleep Health Index. While the quantity of Americans’ sleep appears sufficient, according to the Index, the quality of sleep is more problematic.

Thirty-five percent of respondents described their quality of sleep as poor or “only fair,” and said that it affected their waking hours’ performance at least once in a seven-day period. Sixty-
seven percent of those reporting less than good sleep quality also reported having poor or only fair health.

Sixty-five percent described their sleep as good, very good or excellent. Fifty-seven percent said they were sleeping on a very comfortable mattress.

Serious sleep conditions, such as sleep apnea, may require medical treatment, but new mattress and pillow technologies and new adjustable foundations that raise and lower the head and feet, can solve many common sleep problems. In the Sleep Foundation’s 2012 Bedroom Poll, 93 percent of respondents said a comfortable mattress was important to a good sleep experience. Ninety-one percent said comfortable pillows were essential, and 86 percent said clean sheets and pillowcases helped them sleep better.

This last point, about clean sheets, is an important one because, if you’re not sleeping well, there are several things you can try before investing in medical treatment or a new mattress.

Washing the bed linens more frequently is one. The famed Mayo Clinic offers these seven steps to better sleep.

1.    Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays. The consistency reinforces your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. But, if you have trouble going to sleep after 15 minutes, get up, leave the room and do something else until you’re tired enough to go back to bed.

2.    Mind what you eat and drink. Heavy meals or too many beverages close to bedtime can interfere with sleep. The same can be said for alcohol and nicotine. Avoid them in the hours before bed.

3.    Create a bedtime ritual, a nightly routine that tells your body it’s time to prepare for bed. It may be taking a warm bath, reading a book or listening to soothing music. However, avoid electronics, such as TVs, computers or smartphones in the bedroom. The light from those screens can make it difficult to get to sleep.

4.    Get comfortable. Make your bedroom a cool, dark, quiet sanctuary for sleep with a comfortable mattress and pillows.

5.    Limit daytime naps to 10 to 30 minutes in the midafternoon.

6.    Include physical activity in your daily routine. It will help you sleep better, but don’t exercise too close to bedtime, lest you become too energized to get to sleep.

7.    Manage stress. Too much to do and think about can keep you awake. Organize your to-do list, prioritize tasks and delegate when you can. Before bed, write down what’s on your mind and set it aside for tomorrow.

If you’re sleeping on an eight- to ten-year-old mattress, or one that just isn’t right for you, that could be the source of your sleep problem. And if you haven’t shopped for a mattress in that long, the sheer number of choices can be daunting. Knopf says her companies, Sleep Outfitters and Mattress Warehouse, which are proud sponsors of the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, are dedicated to demystifying  and  simplifying  the  mattress-
shopping process, and helping people find the right mattress for their individual sleep health needs.

“We all sleep,” Knopf says, “why not sleep well?”

Sleep Outfitters ®
For more information, contact:
Greg McGraw, Territory Sales Manager
Innovative Mattress Solutions (Sleep Outfitters & Mattress Warehouse)
614-436-4115 . gmcgraw@sleeponthebest.com