Do You Need a Mattress Topper?

If you’re thinking about buying a mattress topper, think about why you want the extra cushion for your current mattress. There are a couple of reasons people typically purchase a mattress topper: their current mattress either feels too firm or it feels too soft and not supportive enough. Either way, the need for a mattress topper likely stems from the fact that it’s time for a new mattress altogether!

Determine what’s bothering you about your current mattress.

Before you buy a mattress topper, give some thought to what specifically bothers you about your current mattress. Is it too soft or too firm? Are there places where the foam or springs are degraded and worn down?

If so, your mattress is either not suited to your comfort preferences or it’s old and needs to be replaced. If your current mattress is more than eight to ten years old, you should definitely consider an upgrade.

Get Serta’s best tips on shopping for a mattress in stores. Find your new mattress today!

Decide what you want in a new mattress.

Buying a new mattress is a big deal. The hardest part is often determining what you do and don’t want in a mattress. Serta’s online mattress selector will walk you through a simple, seven-step questionnaire to help you narrow down your selection.

If you’ve never tried a memory foam or hybrid mattress, this is a good time to check into the benefits of foam. By the way, a memory foam mattress topper doesn’t offer you all the benefits of a memory foam mattress. A memory foam mattress is designed to give you the right level of cushioning and support along the length of your body, and it’s made to absorb shock, which limits the amount of movement you feel from a bed parter. Our advanced foam mattresses even offer temperature regulation technology and increased pressure point relief.

Invest in a mattress that will last.

There are many good reasons to invest in a mattress that’s suited to your comfort preferences. The primary reason is that you’ll get better sleep on a mattress that functions optimally given your sleeping position and your body’s individual needs.

In addition to your preferences, think about the future. In the next decade, will you move into a new house, have children or start living with someone who will share your mattress? Of course you won’t know all the answers to these questions now, but in some cases you can foresee life changes that will affect your mattress decision.

The bottom line is, a mattress topper won’t solve your mattress problems in the long run. Find the mattress that’s right for you — it will ultimately help you sleep and feel better.

sleeping lady

Side Sleepers Rejoice!

Side sleeping is a common position, and although there are numerous variations, they all place pressure on a sleeper’s hips and shoulders. So it’s important that if you prefer sleeping on your side, or if that’s your dominant sleeping position, you find a mattress and pillows that work for your body.

The best mattress for a side sleeper

The best mattress for a side sleeper provides relief at pressure points (like the hips and shoulders) to keep the spine, neck, and back in alignment.

If you’re a side sleeper, the best mattress for you will provide plenty of support and be soft enough to contour to the curves of your body, especially your shoulders, waist, and hips.

Memory foam mattresses, including hybrids, are made to help distribute weight evenly and offer support at pressure points[1] across your body. Plus, mattresses with foam are good at isolating movement and keeping your side of the bed calm when your partner tosses and turns, allowing you to sleep comfortably all night long.

Get a better night’s sleep. Check out Serta’s best mattresses for side sleepers.

The right pillow for side sleeping

Side sleepers also need a different style of pillow to get the best neck support throughout the night. The right pillow will give you consistent and stable support by cradling your neck and head. The best pillow for a side sleeper will have a tall enough profile to keep your head and spine aligned. Generally, that means very soft or flat pillows won’t do the trick.

Foam pillows, especially contoured foam pillows, will correctly support your neck and stay firm throughout the night.

More side sleeper pillows

Side sleepers can get extra support by adding more pillows to the mix. If you sleep in the fetal position — with both knees bent — a pillow between your knees can provide pressure point relief, keep your hips in alignment, and resist pelvic rotation.

Body pillows are good for hugging with your arms and knees (place the pillow at your chest and between your legs) or wedging against your back for stability (place the pillow along the backside of your body). Body pillows are typically firm so they can support your body without going flat, but a king size pillow or two can also do the work of a body pillow.

If you know you gravitate toward sleeping on your side, make sure you’ve got the right mattress and pillow support. If you have additional comfort concerns, check out Serta’s simple, seven-step mattress selector to find the right bed for your best night’s sleep.

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Sleep-Tracking Apps

Getting enough sleep is an important aspect of health, and now we know more about the science of sleep than ever before. An important factor in weight loss, illness recovery, and stress management, sleep is studied by researchers across the globe with the aim of discovering how much sleep is needed, why people can’t sleep, and how to maintain good sleep habits.

With wearable technology, smart phone sensors, and in-bed sensors, many apps are available to help you do a little sleep research of your own. So, which apps are best for tracking sleep? Here are a few we like and a little bit about how they keep track of your sleep cycles.

How apps track your sleep

Sleep, and the quality of it, are difficult to track. Most sleep apps only measure when you’re asleep or awake. Wearable tech (like watches) and smartphone apps track your sleep by recognizing movement or sounds during the night. While sleep labs monitor movement, they also measure other body functions like breathing, eye movement, and brain activity. Some devices incorporate heart rate information to estimate which sleep stage you’re in.

Sleep trackers are good at giving you an overall picture of your sleep patterns, for example, how much sleep you’re getting on average each night.

REM sleep

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep makes up about one quarter of your sleep cycle. You generally enter REM sleep 70-90 minutes after you fall asleep and then cycle back through it several times over the course of the night. REM sleep is where you dream, and it’s thought to facilitate the process of storing memories, learning, and balancing your mood.

Sleep tracking apps for wearable technology

1. Sleep Diary is an iOS app for the iPhone and the Apple Watch. You track sleep time by starting and ending your bedtime manually on your watch. You can also set wake up and bedtime alerts based on your desired sleep duration. The watch is capable of measuring your heart rate data, in addition to tracking movement. Sleep Diary can operate independently from your phone, but when it does connect, it sends information to Apple HealthKit. Sleep Diary is free to download.

2. Sleep as Android is an Android sleep tracker that can catch sleep talk and snoring with your Android’s microphone. It also has a smart alarm; it finds the optimal moment to wake you up in light sleep and includes ways to make sure you wake up, like solving math problems or counting sheep to end the alarm. Sleep as Android gives you sleep deficit stats and bedtime notifications, and it integrates with Pebble, Android Wear, Google Fit, S Health and Philips Hue.

3. Fitbit’s new Alta HR band also uses heart rate tracking to monitor sleep. The sleep stage-tracking tool gives you detailed graphs of your sleep stats, including sleep duration in each zone. The app will also recommend a personalized sleep schedule and help you learn how your sleep trends compare to others of the same age and gender, based on Fitbit’s database of sleepers.

Once you’re armed with all the sleep data you can handle, put it to good use and start improving your sleep habits. Check out Serta’s top 10 tips for falling asleep fast to get started.

lady sleeping

What Your Sleeping Position Says About You

Do you sprawl out on your bed like a starfish at night, or do you curl up like a baby? Does that say anything about the quality of your sleep or even your personality? Well, scientists know a few things for certain. The quality of your sleep affects your overall health, ability to retain information, weight loss success and quality of attention. We also know some important things about each sleeping position, and we’re learning more about them as research goes on.

Side sleeper

Side sleeping is the most common sleeping position. It helps open up your airway and reduce snoring, which is why it’s recommended for those struggling with heavy snoring or potential sleep apnea. Side sleeping is also recommended during pregnancy, and the use of strategically placed pillows can make sleeping on your side even more comfortable. For proper spinal alignment, pull your knees in slightly and add a pillow between them. Avoid arm numbness by hugging a pillow and avoid propping your head up with your arms.

Find the best pillow for your sleeping position. Shop Serta’s variety of pillows now!

In a study conducted by British body language expert Robert Phipps for for budget hotel chain Premier Inn’s “sleep-o-scopes” (a horoscope for sleeping positions), Phipps claimed that those who prefer the fetal position are returning to their comfort zone to de-stress from the day. According to Phipps, fetal sleepers are “conscientious, ordered and like things in their place,” but they can also worry unnecessarily.

Back sleeper

Back sleeping is also a common position, and while it can relieve pressure on your joints, it can also exacerbate snoring and sleep apnea conditions.

For a little less-scientific fun, try this Buzzfeed sleep position quiz. According to the results, if you sleep on your back like a starfish, you’re an extrovert who likes to dominate the conversation but aren’t very fun to be around when you’re tired.

Stomach sleeper

While not as many people are stomach sleepers, there is an advantage to this sleeping position if you struggle with snoring. The disadvantage is that it can cause neck strain and, if you sleep with your arms overhead, numbness and tingling. To better align your spine, try sleeping with a flat pillow underneath your hips and another low-profile pillow underneath your head.

According to Phipps’ study, “freefallers” who sleep on their stomachs with their arms up and gripping a pillow may feel like their lives are out of their control and wake up with anxiety.

Couples’ sleep positions

Research by University of Hertfordshire psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, in which he asked more than 1,000 people to give their preferred sleeping position and rate their relationship quality, revealed that couples who maintained physical contact during sleep were more likely to report happiness in their relationship. 94% of couples who slept in contact with one another said they were happy; 68% of couples who didn’t touch said they were happy with their relationship.

However, in another study done by relationship psychologist Corrine Sweet, couples who sleep back-to-back and don’t touch are secure and connected. According to Sweet, “This position shows both closeness and independence in the relationship.”

So it seems we don’t have the psychology of sleep positions completely figured out. But no matter your preferred sleep position, we do know that Serta has the right mattress, pillows and other bedtime accoutrement to help you get your best night’s sleep. Not sure where to start? Try our 7-step mattress selector.


5 Exercises for Better Sleep

Over the years, sleep science has improved dramatically. In fact, the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their discoveries related to circadian rhythms. We know that sleep is critical to our overall wellbeing, and we’re finding out that exercise contributes to better sleep.

How does exercise help you sleep better?

Exercise promotes better sleep in a variety of ways. It can help us relax, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer at night. Exercise produces endorphins which can lift our mood and reduce stress. Plus, regular moderate exercise has even been shown to help sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome.

Recent studies suggest that the sleep benefits derived from exercise don’t necessarily kick in right away, but are noteworthy over time. Several measures of sleep — including quality and duration — showed significant improvement over a period of 16 weeks with regular exercise.

Want more ideas on how to improve your sleep? Find out how Seta technology is revolutionizing sleep management.

The top 5 exercises for better sleep

1. Walking/jogging. Brisk walking or jogging will increase your heart rate and enable your body to expend energy. Going for a jog is also a simple and flexible way to get aerobic exercise without the need to join a gym or attend a fitness class at a certain time.

2. Yoga. Yoga and stretching can help you increase your mind-body connection, improve your breathing, and gain flexibility and strength. Whether you attend a group class or find a session online, make sure to start slowly with basic poses before moving on to more advanced variations. Vinyasa yoga is typically more aerobic and fast-paced, while hatha and yin classes will allow you to slow down and focus on stretching.

3. Jump rope. Jumping rope is a great way to get in a cardiovascular workout in a short time. If your day is full or you don’t have time to get out of the house, ten to fifteen minutes of jumping rope will get your blood pumping.

4. Weight lifting. Building muscle helps burn fat and balance out cardio activity. Strength training is important to a healthy body; it will ensure you can maintain muscular structure and proper bone density. Strength training also burns calories and gives you the feeling of being tired, which helps you fall asleep at night.

5. Meditation. Meditation can be as simple as focusing on your breath for five minutes. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress and insomnia while improving sleep. If you’re new to relaxing your mind, there are great meditation apps that will guide you in short, effective sessions.

The best time to exercise

The best time to exercise is any time you can commit to! Find time in your daily schedule for your workout and try to keep it consistent. Working out in the morning can help you wake up, stay on track with regular workouts, and maintain a consistent sleep-wake cycle.

Afternoon or evening workouts are also beneficial. Some sleep experts think that a reduction in your body temperature post-workout can help you fall asleep more easily. And if you’re a night owl, there’s nothing wrong with an evening exercise routine.