When it comes to any investment, you need to know two things: how much the investment is going to cost and whether you will receive value for money. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important investments we can make.
To identify the tangible value of sleep, we take a look at various benefits of attaining sufficient rest. According to the National Institute of Health, the following are the most prominent effects to consider.
Healthy brain function
While you sleep, your brain prepares for the next day. It forms pathways which enable you to learn and remember new information; it also helps you to be able to pay attention, be creative, solve problems and make decisions.
Most people have experienced nights when they have tossed and turned and then felt groggy in the morning. Poor quality sleep can make for a day where you don’t feel like doing much of anything, make more mistakes, have a slower reaction time and move more slowly.
This can result in a reduction of productivity and can be a hindrance when trying to achieve goals. Even a deficiency of 1–2 hours per night for a few nights in a row can cause your mental abilities to suffer. Conversely, with good quality sleep you will be able to perform at your best and get more done.
Proper body maintenance
Sleep is good not only for the brain but the rest of the human body, too. Sleep deficiency has been linked to many health problems from kidney disease and high blood pressure to diabetes and strokes. When you get enough quality sleep, the body can repair itself and facilitate proper functioning.
Studies have also found that sleep deficiency reduces a person’s ability to control their emotions and behaviour. It has been linked to depression, risk-taking behaviour and even suicide.
When children and teens aren’t getting enough sleep, they commonly experience mood swings, act impulsively, achieve lower grades and appear angry or glum. A good night’s rest will keep emotions more stable and balanced, resulting in the ability to handle relationships and challenges in life more effectively.
Another problem is that when you don’t get enough sleep, your brain tries to recover rest through microsleep. This is a brief moment of sleep that occurs when you are normally awake; for example, zoning out in a conversation or, even worse, when driving. Getting good quality sleep — and enough of it — reduces risks and increases the safety of yourself and those around you.
While there are many more benefits you can reap from getting good quality sleep, these four are notably important. The return on investment of quality sleep can be quantified by asking:
- How much do you value your mental health?
- How much do you value having good physical health?
- How much do you value maintaining emotional balance?
- How much do you value your safety and the safety of those around you?
The costs involved for better sleep
Once you have thought about how much quality sleep is worth to you, it’s time to look at how you can invest in better sleep. There are things you can do that are free and only require a change of lifestyle habits. These include, for example, getting on a regular sleep schedule, eating healthy and exercising. Then, there are things that will require a monetary investment.
Examples include blackout shades, a sleeping mask, ear plugs, better sheets, better pillows, a sound maker, a gym membership or even an oil diffuser. However, the most important and likely the most expensive purchase is going to be your mattress.
The quality of a mattress is important for the body to stay properly aligned during sleep. Beyond alignment, a mattress with proper comfort layers helps to relieve pressure points and conform to your body, thus helping reduce pain and making it easier to get comfortable. Lastly, a good quality mattress will maintain its functionality allowing it to last for many years, which offers more of a return on investment for the owner.
How much does a mattress cost?
Well, it can vary from $500 to $10,000+ and with the range of prices comes a range of qualities.
You may wonder, “What is the difference between a cheap and expensive bed?” To answer that, we need to look at the makeup of a mattress. A mattress is composed of a support system (typically made of springs) which acts to counteract the downward force of your body while you sleep. Additionally, comfort layers are added to make the mattress soft and comfortable.
The cheaper the design, the less support, durability and comfort you can expect. It takes an investment on the part of a mattress manufacturer to research how a mattress can best promote sleep, which materials work the best, and how to make a mattress last. As a result, the end cost is higher for the customer. The benefit lies in the areas of research and development (such as orthopaedic research), industry-leading design and the highest quality materials.
When a mattress is made well and works properly, the returns justify the investment. For example, the following customer had a Sealy Crown Jewel mattress that they used for 30 years. It was on the more expensive end of the price spectrum, but by the time that mattress wore out, the person would likely have paid to replace a lower quality mattress at least three times over. Furthermore, the Crown Jewel provided comfort and support during that 30 years that is unlikely to be matched by a lower-quality alternative.
Selecting the right mattress will take some time and effort. First, you have to find a reputable manufacturer that makes quality mattresses. Then, you need to find the right mattress out of the lineup which meets your specific needs and budget. This will likely require visiting the mattress store, talking with a sales representative, and trying out various options. However, taking time with this decision is wise as it will pay you back for years to come.
How much should you invest in better sleep?
This is a question only you can answer, but now you have all the information to make an educated decision. To evaluate the value of quality sleep, you’ll need to consider the benefits it offers you. When considering costs, consider the effort required to make lifestyle changes, small purchases you can make to promote sleep, and, most importantly, the investment into your mattress.
Complete your sleep profile on the Sealy Mattress Selector to find out which mattress type suits your sleeping style and get some good quality sleep.