The Connection Between a Great Mattress and Reduced Stress & Anxiety

The Connection Between a Great Mattress and Reduced Stress & Anxiety

Struggling with feelings of stress and anxiety? Rest assured, you’re not alone. In fact, these conditions are so common that the NHS states that ‘everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life’. But even though it’s incredibly common, none of us should have to suffer in silence. 

While mental health is a complex area, it’s often said that one of the best ways to tackle stress and anxiety is to get to the root of the problem. This means understanding why you’re feeling this way. 

What causes stress?

There are many different causes of stress and anxiety. In some cases, we may be predisposed to these conditions due to the genes passed down through our families. Sometimes, a traumatic event can trigger ongoing episodes of anxiety. Stress can even have temporary causes, such as a big exam or interview coming up, or having a bit too much to drink on a Saturday night. 

But there’s often a cause that typically goes overlooked: quality of sleep. 

Believe it or not, your mattress – the mattress that you trust to help you get a good night’s rest – could be contributing to the problem. So could a better mattress help to alleviate your symptoms? 

Let’s explore…

The link between physical & mental health

Physical health and mental health are, of course, two very different areas of medicine. Yet they’re very closely related. So much so, in fact, that mental health conditions can often have physical manifestations. Similarly, problems with physical health can produce mental health symptoms. 

Have you ever been so excited about something that you’ve felt butterflies in your stomach? That’s a perfect example of how mental health can impact physical health. You’re so exhilarated about the thought of something that you can physically notice a difference in how you feel. 

It’s exactly the same the other way around. If your body physically isn’t in its best shape – if you’re experiencing aches and pains, or your body is tired – you can have an emotional response to this. 

This is why the NHS lists ‘looking after your physical health’ as one of the most effective ways to treat stress and anxiety at home. By caring for one area of our health, we’re able to support the other. 

Understanding this link is key to understanding how a great mattress could help ease symptoms. 

How can a great mattress help?

We often think of our quality of sleep as affecting how awake and alert we feel in the morning. And it does. But it does more than that. Sleep quality affects practically every aspect of how we operate. 

Sleep is essential because that ‘downtime’ is when the body performs a wide range of activities. From releasing and regulating hormones & proteins, to repairing muscles and reorganising nerve cells, sleep is when a number of vital processes take place that help to keep the body functioning. 

So what happens when we have a bad night – tossing, turning, and waking up every hour?

Quite simply, the body doesn’t have time to get through everything on its ‘to do’ list. Every once in a while, this is fine. Normal even. And one bad night shouldn’t have too much of an impact. But when it’s your mattress causing the problem – and when you’re having poor sleep night after night – you may experience physical stress. Which, as we’ve explored, can manifest as psychological stress. 

Researchers have backed this up, with studies showing that ‘lack of sleep can intensify the degree of stress, and shortened or disturbed sleep causes increases in levels of traditional stress markers’. It’s even been estimated that poor sleep can increase feelings of anxiety by around a third. 

Ultimately, if your body isn’t well rested, your mind isn’t rested either. 

Is your mattress the problem?

Of course, with stress and anxiety having so many potential causes, it’s not possible to say with any certainty whether your mattress could be contributing to your symptoms. However, there are some common signs that your mattress may not be supporting your body in the way that it needs:

  • Your mattress sags or sinks in the centre, even when you’re not lying on it
  • Your mattress has holes, rips, or tears in the material
  • Your mattress has broken springs, or springs that protrude out of the fabric
  • Your mattress is more than 10 years old
  • You wake up regularly throughout the night
  • You find it difficult to get comfortable
  • You often wake up with aches and pains
  • You don’t feel rested when you wake up

If any of the above sounds familiar, then it’s worth considering that your mattress could be causing or exacerbating your symptoms. Good quality mattresses don’t have to break the bank, and you might find that a new mattress could be a quick, affordable, simple management solution for your stress. 

Can a mattress REALLY help?

Whether a new mattress could help depends on the underlying root of your stress and anxiety. 

What we do know, however, is that researchers believe in ‘non-rapid eye movement sleep as a therapeutic target for meaningfully reducing anxiety’. Non-REM sleep is the part of the sleep cycle where the body is in a restful, deep sleep. Studies have found that those who spend more time in this particular sleep stage can see ‘anxiety levels plummet’. Unfortunately, researchers also note that ‘rarely is sleep improvement considered as a clinical recommendation for lowering anxiety’. 

This means that, while your GP may not suggest a new mattress as a way of lowering stress, it’s still worth trying one out. Especially if you identified any of the mattress/sleep issues above. 

Put yourself first

Stress and anxiety can be very heavy loads, weighing on you greatly. So it’s essential to put yourself first, and make sure you’re giving yourself everything you need to manage your symptoms in the best possible way. While a new mattress may help, remember that it’s also important to chat to a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing any symptoms, or you’re concerned about your physical or mental health. There’s never any shame in reaching out for help and support. 

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