America’s ongoing battle against obesity has long been documented. At last count, at least 1/3 of the nation is carrying around more weight than they should. The reasons behind the extra poundage are as diverse as our nation’s population and therefore, it’s hard to reach a consensus on how to solve the problem. However, health experts do agree on at least one thing. Sleep and the beds Americans love to curl up in, plays pivotal roles in our nation’s obesity epidemic.
Where’s the Scientific Proof?
Just this year, two learned journals published research papers showing the connection between sleep disorders and food intake. They were the Journal of Sleep Research and SLEEP. The first was published in February 2016 and the latter appeared on national news stands in March 2016. Each one made interesting assertions about the connection between the two activities that are worth examining further.
In the Journal of Sleep Research piece, scientists from Chicago sought to find a definitive, physical connection between sleeping patterns and hunger pangs. During the course of their study, they found it. Their work proved that when many people fail to get enough sleep, their bodies’ chemistry changes significantly. For instance, their hormone levels, metabolic functioning and endogenous cannabinoid receptors fluctuate. In turn, those fluctuations prompt people to eat beyond their nutritional needs.
Perpetual Cycle of Negative Outcomes
However, the second study that we mentioned made clear that the relationship between weight and sleep is much more complicated than a chemical reaction. How so? Understandably, that chemistry fueled behavior often leads to obesity and subsequent poor health. And of course poor health may negatively impact sleep too. Thus for many sleep deprived people, their comorbidities tend to exacerbate each other rather quickly.
For instance, overweight individuals may develop back pain from sleeping in their poorly constructed beds. Also, they may have back pain resulting from another medical condition (e.g. bulging disc) or their excessive weight gain. Plus, they may find themselves diagnosed with sleep apnea too. Sleep apnea and back pain would logically only contribute to their ongoing insomnia. And as we’ve already pointed out, it clearly has the potential to cause additional episodes of overeating. So think of it as a perpetual cycle of negative outcomes.
We’ve All Been Here Before
Is this bit of recent sleep obesity news revolutionary? In short, no it is not. Why? The researchers behind the Journal of Sleep Research article were not the first ones to draw this scientific conclusion. It was mentioned before, as far back as the fall of 2010. At that time, the Annals of Internal Medicine published a similar hypothesis based on a different group’s clinical trial which included only a dozen participants. However, its 2010 publication did not prompt a widespread, in-depth look at beds and bedding’s impact on obesity.
The most recent clinical trial had significantly more participants than the first and received a lot of national media coverage. Consequently, more people are talking about the two 2016 research papers and what they mean in regards to our choice of sleeping arrangements. So it bears asking, “Does all of this recent research and national dialog mean that beds are central to weight loss and good health?
Is There a Way to Break the Connection or Negative Cycle?
We think so. As we’ve mentioned before, all mattresses have four key responsibilities to their owners. And those responsibilities all tie into a person’s overall comfort. For instance, it should help support the body regardless of a person’s sleep style and aid in maintaining thermal homeostasis. In addition, it should minimize incidents of painful pressure ulcer development and movement related disturbances.
So is that it? Is being able to understand what those four things are all people need in order to sleep great and maintain their weight? Sadly, the answer is no. Studies have shown that knowing what makes great beds and actually ending up with them are two different things. Need proof of that? Check out this RTI Press Research Report from the summer of 2011.
Written by four individuals, it suggests that even with the best intentions, people may end up with a clunker. Why is abject failure a potential outcome? It goes back to what we mentioned earlier. The types of beds available in the United States and the people who use them differ greatly. And therein rests the problem. The bed that’s perfect for the neighbor down the street may prove to be an absolute nightmare for someone else. As a consequence, blindly recommending one type of bed over another to all Americans just isn’t going to cut it.
How is Knowledge of Mattress Construction Key to Weight Control?
You may be thinking, “If that’s the case, what’s the takeaway?” Believe it or not, there is something to be learned from it all. We’d suggest people concerned about the sleep-obesity connection start with a look at mattress construction. It is typically broken down into three parts, each which has a heavy hand in sleep comfort. And remember comfort is vital to getting enough sleep, regardless of one’s weight loss goals.
The three categories are the outer layer, comfort layer and support layer. We’ve listed them in succession and feel that they’re pretty self-explanatory. However, we do have an educational mattress shopping guide that explains each layer more thoroughly for those that would like more background information.
In our opinion, knowing how those three layers work together and what impact they’ll have on the body is just one secret to weight control success. For instance, let’s imagine overweight people with a history of sensitive skin and back pain are in the process of dieting. They’re also exercising and want to buy new mattresses for their beds.
With that said, they may want to choose layers that do not have chemical fire barriers and toxic adhesives. Why? Both could prompt allergic reactions that may inhibit sleep and eventually cause the incidents of overeating that we mentioned earlier. Also, although fitted sheets generally don’t contain adhesives, similar may be said for them and other bedding. After all, they make direct contact with the skin and are required to be fire-retardant.
In addition, the same imaginary buyers will want to choose mattress layers that keep their musculoskeletal systems in constant alignment. Health experts widely agree that doing so should cut down on the incidents of sleep related back pain. Plus, our imaginary buyers will want to think about the pressure their respective sleep positions put on to their bodies’ soft tissues.
Which materials and layers are responsible for alignment? Although all contribute to a restful sleep, the support layer is most important when it comes to a person’s spine. As such, back pain sufferers may want beds with individually wrapped, durable, steel coils or high-grade, form-fitting foam. They may also need to combine them with supportive pillows to further keep their necks in alignment.
What’s the Next Step to Consider?
To find beds most likely to ward off insomnia related hunger pangs and the health problems typically associated with them, please contact Urban Mattress today. We’ve got a collection of mattresses and pillows designed to meet every person’s needs. Plus, we’ll deliver and set them up inside customers’ chosen bed frames without charging additional fees.