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How Your Mattress Can Make You Fat

There has been a tremendous amount of research pointing to the link between obesity and lack of sleep. Of course, the relationship is not all that direct – you do not wake up from a poor night’s sleep and rush to the refrigerator for food. However, once we begin to understand the indirect relationship, it starts to make a great deal of sense, and we can see how our choice in a mattress (or our inability to replace an old, poor-support mattress) contributes to our inability to keep our weight under control.

But first, it is worth noting that adequate sleep (about 8 hours for an adult, but more for children) produces the “right” amount of a hormone called Leptin. This is an appetite-stimulating hormone that increases our appetite when we are sleep deprived (less than 6.5 hours per night). Again, we may not realize it when we wake up after being sleep deprived, but here is the reality.

According to sleep experts and regular people alike, lack of sleep contributes to grumpiness, irritability, inability to focus, and often even secondary body pain and aches. When we find ourselves in such “moods,” we often turn to comfort foods, both as a way to make it through the day (an “energy kick”) as well as a way to feel better, at least in the short-term. These impromptu, high calorie “feel-good” snacks or meals push our calorie intake way up high, but because of a lack of sleep (and therefore reduced physical energy), we are unable to burn those calories in due course.

The end result is weight gain.

Follow that with another poor night’s sleep, and another, and another, followed by several days of unhealthy eating as a way to “make it through the day,” and it becomes obvious how a lack of sleep contributes to obesity.

So why does good, quality sleep evade us? After several nights of poor sleep, it would seem that one would crash and make up for those lost hours of sleep in a single night. This is often true, but a mattress that does not support your pressure points properly will cause you to toss and turn. This results in interrupted sleep, depriving the sleeper of the essential sleep stages that accomplish the most replenishing tasks – late-stage sleep, like REM sleep, has been cited as instrumental in helping sleepers wake up refreshed and energized.

Pressure points are those sensitive areas that, lacking appropriate support, will cause a sleeper to “adjust” the sleeping position to get through the night. Therefore, buying a mattress that achieves pressure point relief is important. Unfortunately, this type of support is most often found only in higher-end, luxury mattresses. (Don’t be mistaken, not all high-end luxury mattresses provide the support you need; just read some of the Mattress Time reviews to see for yourself).

What we can conclude is that a poorly supportive mattress does result in a lack of sleep, something that much of the research fails to identify (more often, work-related stress is cited as the cause of poor sleep, even in participants who claim to experience little stress with their work or studies). And naturally, a lack of sleep will contribute to a self-perpetuation cycle of improper nutrition and lack of physical exercise.

The bottom line is to start with the obvious causes for why you are not sleeping well – is it stress, is it a potential sleep disorder and, finally, is it just that I need to replace my mattress? The verdict might not only surprise you but relieve you as well.