Sleep is essential for your well-being.
And physical performance is one of the areas affected by sleep the most.
That’s not it! Your mattress might be the one to blame for your poor endurance at the gym and slow recovery after workouts.
Can’t imagine how these two things are connected? You will understand in a few minutes.
How to Know Your Mattress Is to Blame
If you don’t have any health issues, then your mattress is the critical item that defines the quality of your sleep.
Here are the main signs telling you that your bed isn’t right for you:
- Age of your bed. Depending on the materials and construction of the mattress, its average lifespan is between 7-10 years. However, if your bed has been serving you for more than ten years, chances are it cannot be supportive and comfortable anymore.
- Saggy spots and indentations. These happen because your mattress gradually conforms to your body and loses its ability to spring back over time. This sign of general wear and tear is more typical of foam mattresses, especially cheaper ones. Besides, cheaper mattresses also tend to develop lumps in their upper layers.
- Back or neck pain. You may often wake up with soreness when your mattress is too soft or too firm for you. If that’s the case, your bed probably cannot maintain the proper spine alignment, thus creating awkward, unnatural curves and straining muscles, which are supposed to relax at night.
- Insomnia episodes. An old or unsuitable bed increases the time you spend tossing and turning before finally finding a comfortable sleeping position. Thus, you may begin to suffer from insomnia.
- Hot sleeping. Any mattress starts sagging over time. Because of that, you may find yourself sinking more deeply into the bed. Thus, the area of the contact between your body and the mattress increases and you may start sleeping hot. Studies show that increased body temperature inhibits melatonin production and may lead to disrupted sleep.
“Dust mites, mold and debris accumulate inside the mattress over time and can trigger asthma, allergies, and hypersensitivity in some people.”
5 Ways a Wrong Mattress Can Wreck Your Athletic Achievements
If you don’t rest, you won’t be your best, right?
A wrong mattress can prevent you from scoring your records and making workout progress in several ways. Here they are.
#1. Aches and Pains
A pleasant feeling of the pumped muscles is a sign of a good workout.
However, if you’re training in the evening and go to sleep a couple of hours after, a wrong mattress can contribute to your sore mornings even more than the training session.
The reason lies in the lack of supportive properties. Your mattress, while being unable to maintain proper spine alignment, also puts a strain on your warmed-up muscles. The result is obvious: you will wake up with pain.
#2. Decreased Endurance
Sleeping on a wrong mattress can also adversely affect your nervous system. Although studies conducted on this topic didn’t find the connection between mild sleep deprivation and anaerobic performance, they found that short sleep can significantly slower reaction time.
Thus, if you’re a fan of high-intensity training or need a good reaction, for example, for boxing or martial arts, then sleep deprivation caused by a bad mattress can prevent you from beating your scores.
Also, short sleep affects coordination and concentration ability. This may become dangerous if you’re training with heavy weights.
#3. Slower Recovery Time
Sleep is essential for your recovery, and it’s a fact. During the night, your body switches to anabolism phase and starts a bunch of processes to repair your body:
- replenishment of the glycogen deposits in the liver and muscle tissue;
- increase in the level of human growth hormone in the blood, which contributes to muscle fibers growth and repair;
- production of specific proteins called cytokines that boost your recovery by fighting inflammation in the muscles;
- release of testosterone, melatonin and other hormones that are important for your recovery.
If you’re tossing and turning on your mattress for hours, these processes will be delayed. So, don’t expect fast progress towards your goals.
#4. Food Cravings
The success of your training is greatly dependent on the things you do outside the gym, such as nutrition and sleep.
The thing is that the production of ghrelin and leptin — our hunger and satiety hormones — is tied to healthy sleep. If you lack proper shut-eye on a regular basis because of your mattress, the levels of ghrelin in your blood increase and you might experience the following signs:
- Binge eating. The key to losing weight and become leaner is the calorie deficit. If you binge eat, you can quickly go over your daily intake even with healthy meals.
- Craving of sugary and fat foods. Your body might be tired and drowsy because of poor sleep, but it’s not stupid. Studies link sleep deprivation with the increased cravings of sweets and junk foods because your body sees them as the easiest way to restore energy.
- Weight gain. Shortly speaking, this is the direct result of impaired food behavior described in the two points above.
A night of poor sleep is perceived as a stressful situation by our bodies. This means that the level of cortisol can elevate and trigger an insulin response. Which is not good. Studies agree that insulin resistance is one of the primary causes of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
All of this doesn’t sound so healthy and athletic, does it?
#5. Cardiovascular Risks
Heart health is a critical component of your athletic performance. But poor sleep can adversely affect it in a bunch of ways:
- High blood pressure. Your blood pressure typically drops at night, allowing your heart to work in a more relaxed pace. If you can’t fall asleep on a bad mattress, your heart stays “awake” for longer and keeps the blood pressure elevated. You may even develop hypertension, which is a leading cause of stroke and heart attack in adults.
- Inflammatory processes. The aforementioned elevated levels of cortisol can also affect heart health and cause arrhythmia.
- High insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that your body needs more insulin to put blood sugar into cells where it can be transformed into energy. If the insulin levels are lower than required, then the sugar will build-up in your blood vessels and can damage them, causing bleeding and thrombosis.
The Bottom Line
The mattress you sleep on each and every night is more important than you may have thought, especially when it comes to your training and overall athletic performance. A crappy mattress may not just cause you to wake up in pain each morning, it can negatively impact your health and fitness, or worse. But now that you’re in the know, it’s time to evaluate yours and replace it if necessary.