EXPLORING THE RELATION

The relationship between mattress quality and sleep is almost directly proportional and both complement each other. Particularly, old mattresses are believed to have a huge impact on the sleep as well as health of the people.

A mattress is a slow-moving product in India. The slow pace with which mattress sales is growing in comparison to the available market potential is a serious concern for the brands. Unorganised mattress segment still dominates most of the regions of India. Despite the brand’s introducing various innovative products in the market, the frequency of mattress repurchase is still slow.

Out of several other parameters that are hindering the growth of the industry, the lack of understanding of how the old mattress is harmful to health is one of the major reasons for consumers to postpone their decision of a new mattress purchase. Consumers devote maximum time on the bed, in comparison to electronics and gadgets. However, they still spend more money on smartphones and household items. The mattress purchase takes a back seat and in India, they are bought majorly at the time of the wedding or shifting to a new house.

Old Mattress brings serious Health hazards.

Influence of mattress on health

Although Indian Consumers have now started understanding the importance of a sound sleep and are actively involved at the time of mattress purchase, they are still not aware of the challenges which their health is facing due to the old mattress they sleep on. This lack of awareness the frequency to change their mattress gets postponed and they continue with their decade-old mattress, which could still be offering them a night of sleep but not a hygienic one. Consumers do not even realise the harmful health effects it is offering them subtlety.

“No one wants to think about bugs in their bed, but the reality is that bed bugs can happen even if you practice good mattress hygiene. We suggest regular mattress cleaning and we recommend our customers to change the mattress every five to six years”, says Mr. RakeshKhoday, Drapes and Sofa.

Old mattresses promote health issues in tangible and intangible ways.

Tangible side effiects

Consumers can make out the tangible aspect of their mattress getting old with its deformation over a period of time, its uneven surface due to sagging, a compromised comfort level etc. The distortion of these physical properties affects satisfying sleep. The serious sleep disorders have been linked to various health diseases like hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, irregular heartbeats and accidents while driving or at the hospitals.

An old mattress is a house of allergens and bacteria that make it unhygienic to sleep on and leads to serious allergies and breathing problems.

Intangible side effects

The another intangible side effect, which dominantly remains unnoticed is the hygiene factor. Old mattress breeds dust mites, bacteria, and allergens over a period of time. An old mattress carries our perspiration, sweat, dead skin cells and once the mattress becomes too old, it becomes a breeding house of these allergens. These allergens require heat, right temperature & humidity to grow at a fast pace and an old mattress offers them this perfect environment to multiply.

Although it is also possible that one can still wake up fresh on an old mattress, due to the personal zone it offers. However, the person may develop breathing and other allergic problems due to dust mites and bacteria breeding in the old mattress. The consumers continue to complain about the unknown reason for their allergy problems, without even realizing once that their old mattress could be a reason for the same.

For example, for several months, Ms. Pooja Khandelwal, a 30-year-old charted accountant, did not realise that the dust allergy she had been suffering from past one year was actually due to the dust mites in her old mattress. “Almost every morning, I would get up coughing and sneezing and that would continue for nearly half an hour. It was only when I consulted my doctor that I came to know that it might be due to the bed bugs and dust mites in my mattress. So, when the doctor suggested changing the mattress which was bought 15 years ago, I acted upon immediately and to my surprise, the problem subsided on its own,” says Ms. Pooja Khandelwal. Well, this is the case with many individuals. The microscopic creatures like dust mites trigger various allergies and lead to skin problems and respiratory conditions as they damage lungs and promote a sore throat. They also worsen asthma symptoms. Here it is to be noted that older the mattress, the more dust mites it houses.

Pain and old mattress issues go hand in hand as an old mattress can result in intense back and neck pain. As per Dr. Surendra Kumar Samar, General Physician and Surgeon, “If you sleep on an old and unsupportive mattress (as it becomes soft after years of usage), then this can stress the ligaments, tendons and joints of the spine. Also, it makes it difficult to maintain the right posture in night which can further aggravate lower back pain. If this pain due to lack of proper sleep continue for long, then it can become chronic and cause further sleeplessness.”

All old is not gold

As per various industry reports, “Nearly 70 percent of people who use old mattress experience various health problems at some point in life.” The sad part is that not even half of this percentage acknowledges this fact. Rather when people don’t get a good sleep or wake up with a pain in back or neck next morning, they blame it on the wrong posture, pillow or the bed structure. However, what they forget is that it is their old mattress which is a major sleep spoiler. Here is a detailed look at how an old mattress can affect sleep and overall health.

Ill-effects of an old mattress on health

  1. Leads to chronic back and neck pain: Pain and old mattress issues go hand in hand as an old mattress can result in an intense back and neck pain. As per Dr. Surendra Kumar Samar, General Physician and Surgeon, “If you sleep on an old and unsupportive mattress (as it becomes soft after years of usage), then this can stress the ligaments, tendons and joints of the spine. Also, it makes it difficult to maintain the right posture in the night which can further aggravate lower back pain. If this pain due to lack of proper sleep continues for long, then it can become chronic and cause further sleeplessness.”
  2. Triggers allergies and makes them worse: Various microscopic creatures trigger various allergies and lead to skin problems and respiratory conditions.
  3. Leads to more stress: Old mattress hugely impacts the sleep quality and lead to sleeplessness due to back pain and other issues which in turn increase the stress levels. This makes one feel tired and fatigued during the entire day and hamper productivity.
  4. Leads to snoring: An old and unsupportive mattress can even put the airways under tension or the tissues may be sunken and this can lead to snoring. Further, since the old mattress can take the shape of the body, it can block the airways easily.
  5. Leads to obesity: Poor sleep caused by poor and old mattress can also promote binging and overeating, thereby, having an impact on weight. Simply put, when people are not able to get sleep by lying on their old, saggy and worn-out mattress, they tend to stay awake, sometimes past midnight and usually that’s the time when the body starts feeling hungry and craves for a small snack. So, this habit of eating due to boredom in night result in making them obese. Also, poor sleep can weaken the immune system.
  6. Affects memory: Sleeplessness through old mattress can negatively affect brain and memory and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. As per the study conducted by the scientists from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the US, “Those who have sleepless nights have increased level of beta-amyloid plaque in their brain which is capable of disrupting communication between brain cells.
  7. Puts heart at a risk: A study conducted by the European Heart Journal shows that people suffering from lack of sleep or poor sleep have 48 percent more chances of developing a heart condition as compared to those who sleep well. Thus, an old mattress which does not let one sleep well can put the heart at risk too.

Other factors propelling the need to replace an old mattress

So, when an old mattress becomes a hub for bacteria, fungi and mold to thrive, it needs to be changed. Also, when it triggers numerous daily-life health problems like back pain, neck pain, sleeplessness and poor immunity, it needs to be replaced. Well, apart from this, there are few other warning signs that clearly tell that the old mattress needs to be replaced. Here’s a look at them…

  1. Mattress was purchased 10 or more years back: No product is manufactured to last forever and same is the case with mattresses. As per the National Sleep Foundation, any mattress should not be used for more than eight years in order to prevent it from becoming a farm of dust mites and bed bugs.Further,  it  states  that  mattress should be replaced much before eight years if the ones using it are above the age of 40 years as the body of such people may need more support when they sleep. However, if we look at the Indian psychology, then people feel that mattress is a product that can be used for years together and should not be replaced at least for some 15-20 years unless and until, it becomes completely worn out before that. This thinking is absolutely wrong and needs to be changed just like people’s old mattress.
  2. Mattress becomes saggy: If the mattress is worn out or develops a dent-like shape in the middle or gives a sinking feeling while sleeping on a particular portion and the rest looks fine, then it simply means that the mattress has become old and needs to be replaced.
  3. The mattress loses its firmness: The most common reason for this could be the breaking of bed springs. This again is a clear signal that the mattress needs to be replaced.