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Everyone will inevitably, at some point in their life, suffer from a lack of sleep. While it’s not uncommon to have a restless night once in a blue moon, sleep-disruptive afflictions such as back pain and insomnia should definitely be taken seriously; sleeplessness has been linked to heart disease and depression and could even lower life expectancy.

If you’ve payed a visit to your therapist or physician, have been prescribed medication, adjusted your diet, exercise often and have cut out your beloved afternoon coffee, yet still can’t manage to get the eight hours you crave, the problem might be much closer to home (literally); your mattress may very well be the source of anguish.

Take a moment to try and pinpoint the exact time your sleeplessness commenced. Now, try and remember when last you replaced your mattress. See the correlation?

“If you wake up with stiffness or body ache in the morning, or have slept but are not feeling rested, your mattress isn’t providing you with the comfort and support it should,” says Donovan Everitt, owner of Cape Town-based mattress manufacturing company Attica Beds.Since mattresses were made to be lain upon, its inevitable that they will start showing a bit of sagginess in the first 6 to 24 months. However, when mattresses become saggy up to the point where they are uneven, it’s a sign that the structural soundness of your mattress has been compromised. Spare you back the agony; it’s time to ditch the old mattress.

“Conversely, if you often find yourself rolling onto something sharp or hard, something inside your mattress is broken and might very well penetrate through the cover soon,” says Everitt.

If your mattress makes loud squeaky noises when you roll around on it, this is also a surefire sign of internal failure. Broken springs, bolts and screws may all have a part to play.

Sometimes, though, mattresses hinder healthy sleep due to altogether different physical discomforts; not just pains and aches.

“If you’ve been experiencing inexplicable outbreaks (eczema, pimples, rashes, or bites) and have owned your mattress for five years or more, we’ll leave it to you to identify the culprit,” Everitt says.

Dead skin cells, oil and moisture will all build up over the years and invite a host of bacteria, as well as bed bugs to come live in your bed. The place where you sleep.

While it’s possible to to combat this by leaving your mattress out in the sun to be sterilised every once in a while, it’s a safe bet that if you are suffering from these skin problems you have not been doing so.

If your mattress has started smelling funky or has dark, mouldy spots, get rid of it immediately and identify the source of the damp. Your mattress is now a certified health hazard. Get the new mattress and learn the lesson.

Life is too short for bad sleep – invest in the rest and comfort that you need and deserve.

You can contact Attica Beds by emailing to them on donovan@atticabeds.co.za. Click through to their website to get your hands on the Attica Beds catalogue: http://atticabeds.co.za/products/.

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