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Sweet Dreams: 6 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Make Your Bed More Comfortable

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

You spend 7 or 8 hours sleeping every night. Shouldn't your bed be as comfortable as possible when you enter dreamland? With so many people suffering from insomnia, getting a good night's sleep is more elusive than ever.

Having a comfy bed makes it easier to drift off to dreamland and wake up refreshed. Could your bed use an upgrade? Let's look at some ways to make your bed more comfortable and increase its cozy and comfort factor.

1. Invest in a New Mattress

A new mattress can transform the way you sleep. It's important to find one that suits your body type and style. The right degree of firmness matters too. A mattress that's too soft can cause or worsen back pain by not supporting your lower back. One that's too hard will feel uncomfortable.

The most important step is to find a mattress that suits your own body type and sleeping style. If you sleep on your back, choose a firmer mattress, but if you're a side sleeper, a moderately firm mattress will offer support while maximizing comfort. If you're overweight, choose a firm mattress for extra support.

2. Add Flannel Sheets

Flannel sheets take cozy to a new level. Think about how you feel when you put on a flannel shirt. You can have that same comfy feeling when you lie down to sleep at night. Flannel sheets are growing in popularity and are especially enjoyable during the colder months when you want your bed to be extra warm and soft. Flannel sheets come in many fun colors and patterns, including the most popular, classic plaid.

3. Try a Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket is a snug addition to any bed, and it has an extra perk - it can help you get a better night's sleep. A randomized, controlled trial, a mark of a high-quality study, found that subjects who slept with a weighted blanket experienced improvements in sleep quality, had less insomnia, and felt more refreshed and energetic the next day.

What does "weighted" actually mean? It means the blanket adds weight on top of your body, which helps you feel more grounded and less likely to toss and turn in the night. It adds an extra layer of security and is "snug" to your sleep experience. Glass beads and pellets are sewn into the blanket fabric account for the extra weight.

How do they work? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, weighted blankets apply pressure to points on the body, similar to massages and acupressure. This pressure feeds back on the autonomic nervous system and has a calming effect.

4. Ditch the Duvet

A duvet looks fancy, but it can feel lumpy and awkward to sleep in. A better way to keep your bed warm is to use a comforter instead. A comforter is designed with a fabric that allows you to shift around easily in your sleep, as it contains less fill than a duvet. The extra fill makes a duvet fluffier, but a bit heavier too.

If you want a lighter but still warm body covering, consider a down comforter. Down and feather comforters keep you warm by trapping your body heat inside the duvet covering. They contain down and feathered plumes that capture your body heat and then reflect it back to you. This helps save energy, as you will not have to turn up the thermostat on those cold nights.

Duvets have some advantages too though. You can remove the duvet cover and wash only that, while you have to wash an entire comforter. You can also swap out duvet covers for a new look.

5. Rethink Your Pillow Shaping

A pillow is just as important as a bed. Having the right pillow shape can make all the difference. A pillow should make it simple to elevate your head and neck to support your head in a comfortable position while you sleep. If your pillows don't support your neck, it's likely you'll wake up with a sore neck and shoulder and feel like you need to move around for support every night.

If you sleep on your side, look for a firmer, thicker pillow. A thicker pillow will close the gap between your shoulders and head better. If you're a back sleeper, a flatter pillow will help support the alignment of your neck and upper back, and will work well if you have a firmer mattress. If you have chronic neck pain, consider a pillow with memory foam to maximize neck support.

Don't hang on to your pillow forever, either. Pillows should be replaced every 18 months, as they can lose their shape over time.

Sleep is the best meditation

— Dalai Lama

6. Add Extra Pillows

Extra pillows can increase your comfort level too. Some people like wrapping their arms around a pillow while they sleep. If you sleep on your side, placing a pillow between your legs gives your body extra support in this position and can increase your comfort level. More pillows add a feeling of security, but don't pile the pillows you sleep on too high, as it will place added strain on your neck.

Sleep More Comfortable and Sleep Better

Even though you're not aware of it, a lot goes on during sleep. It's a chance for your brain to reboot and your body to recover from the demands of the day. Make sure you're getting enough of it and be sure your bedroom is as comfy as possible. Sweet dreams!

References

  • "Study shows weighted blankets can decrease insomnia ...." 23 Sept. 2020, aasm.org/study-shows-weighted-blankets-can-decrease-insomnia-severity/.
  • "How To Choose A Mattress in 5 Easy Steps | Sleep Advisor." 08 Jun. 2020, sleepadvisor.org/how-to-choose-a-mattress/.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.