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Sleep Solutions From A to Zzzs

The right mattress can make all the difference

Sleep Solutions from A-Z

Pete Barrett/Getty Images

Everything from allergies to a noisy mattress can interrupt your sleep patterns.

Can’t sleep? The right mattress could help. Simply find the condition below that’s spoiling your slumber. Then you can either choose a mattress that may help manage it, or modify the mattress you already have.

Allergies and asthma: Place mattress and box spring in zippered, dustproof cover to protect you from allergens such as dust mites. Consider an organic mattress to cut down on chemical irritants. 

Bedbug bites: Prevention is best. Follow our covering advice for allergies, and never accept a used mattress. For infestation, call a professional, who can kill pests using extreme cold or heat. He or she can advise if you need to toss the mattress. 

Cough: See “allergies.”

Depression: Depression is more common in those who get less sleep. See “tossing and turning.”

Edema: Raise your legs to relieve swelling in lower extremities. Test-drive an adjustable mattress.

Four-legged friends: Researchers found that dog owners sleep well with Fido in the room, but not as well with him in the bed. Your mutt deserves his own mattress. Dog beds now come in memory-foam, natural-fiber and orthopedic versions. 

Gastroesophageal reflux: Elevate your head. Consider an adjustable bed.

Herniated disc: Depending on the type of herniated disc, find relief sleeping on your stomach or on your side in the fetal position. 

Intimacy issues: Reserve your mattress time for sex and slumber. Among 1,000 committed partners surveyed on which type of mattress makes for the best sex, innerspring was king.

Jimmy legs: If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you know. To the rest of you, it’s Restless Leg Syndrome. If your spouse’s shakes keep you awake, test-drive a memory-foam mattress, which won’t transfer motion. To help your partner rest, invite him or her for an after-dinner stroll, massage their legs at bedtime or run them a hot bath.

Kidney problems: Kidneys are regulated by the sleep-wake cycle. See “unexplained grogginess.”

Lower back pain: You don’t want to end up in “the sunken place.” But an ultra-firm mattress can put pressure on the shoulders, back of the head and sacrum (connecting the back bones and the hip bones). Consider a pillow-top mattress for a balance of support and cushioning. 

Menopause: Night sweats and hot flashes leave you roasted instead of rested. Invest in a cooling mattress or mattress pad. 

Noisy mattress: Air and innerspring mattresses are noisiest. Latex and memory-foam models are quietest.

Sleep Solutions from A-Z

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If you are tossing and turning at night, it might be time to buy a new mattress.

Osteoarthritis: Consider a mattress topper to ease pressure on joints.

Pressure ulcers (aka bedsores): If a loved one is immobile, search “pressure sore pads” online. Hospitals use medical air mattresses. Search “alternating pressure mattress” to rent one. 

Quarreling with your bedmate: One of you likes it firm. One of you likes it warm, or one of you can’t stop tossing. Find tips for sorting it out at the mattress store here.

Rheumatoid arthritis: According to the Mayo Clinic, RA can leave you feeling tired even after a full night's sleep. A memory-foam mattress can make it less likely that you'll wake during the night. 

Sleep apnea: University of Maryland Medical Center experts recommend sleeping on your side or with your upper body elevated. Adjustable beds are helpful for those with sleep apnea.  

Tossing and turning: An older mattress is often to blame. One study found that ANY new mattress delivered better sleep than the subjects’ existing bedding. Shoppers who spend 15 minutes reclining on a mattress before buying are happier with the purchase.

Unexplained grogginess: Tech to the rescue with a DIY sleep study. Place a digital sleep tracker on your mattress. Depending on the model, you’ll capture data about ambient noise, heart rate, breathing, motion, sleep cycles, temperature, light levels and more that is easily analyzed and optimized using a smartphone app. 

Varicose Veins: Elevate your legs to the level of your heart. An adjustable bed makes it easy.

Weak muscles: This condition can make it hard to get out of bed unassisted. An adjustable bed can help here, too. 

XXL: We humans come in all sizes. If you’re tall, a full extra-long mattress gives you the legroom of a king without swallowing a small room. Over 200 pounds? Here are some mattress options that larger testers loved.

You’ve got buyer’s remorse: Check a mattress retailer’s return and exchange policy before reaching for your credit card. Some offer a generous trial period, but there may be an exchange fee or disposal fee. 

Zzzz: Snoring worsens in back sleepers. While sleeping on your side, you’ll likely get your best rest with a memory-foam model.

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