We take sleep for granted. It’s not something we think about too often.
We may place priority on the food we eat, what we drink, and getting enough exercise, but we tend to drop into bed only because we feel tired, and because that’s what everyone does every night, and well, that’s just what we’ve always done our entire lives.
But with the recent CoronaVirus worldwide disaster, experts advised people that the best way to fight the virus was to make sure your immune system was strong, and this is how you would ensure that:
- Eat raw whole, plant-based foods as far as possible
- Exercise regularly
- Get about 15 – 20 minutes of sunlight a day, and
- SLEEP at least 6 hours a night, but aim for 8
So, in this article, we’re going to focus on beds and getting the best sleep possible every night, so that you can keep your immune system strong for life.
Your immune system and sleep
A consistent lack of sleep can make you sick.
It can also make you fat, increase your risk of Diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Why do you think our bodies demand sleep by making us tired? Sleep is so important, that it comes as a natural instinct to all living creatures.
Our bodies force us to sleep daily, because while we sleep, our immune systems release proteins, and when a person has an infection or inflammation, or even stress, the body needs an increased amount of these proteins to fight it. So by sleeping more, you allow your system to produce more of these protective cytokines (proteins).
However, sleep deprivation decreases the production of these infection and inflammation-fighting antibodies and cells, making your body more susceptible to illness and disease.
Vox states about the link between the Corona virus and our immune systems: “We know that people who have underlying medical conditions face higher odds of getting really sick or dying from Covid-19, particularly those with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, lung disease, and cancer.”
Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, lung disease and cancer are all linked to a compromised immune system.
The US National Institutes of Health states: “Sleep and the circadian system exert a strong regulatory influence on immune functions.”
While sleep is not the only element to a healthy immune system that fights to keep healthy, it is certainly one of the most important.
Now that you know how sleep impacts your health, and it’s importance, especially as we watch the Coronavirus play out, we’ll progress to what makes a bed good for the best sleep.
Comfort is key
Without good sleep (meaning enough of it and undisturbed), every area of your life may be impacted.
If you don’t get enough undisturbed sleep, you may become grumpy, lose the ability to concentrate and put your safety and perhaps even your family’s safety, at risk. Your work, your relationships, your health, can all be negatively impacted by lack of sleep or not enough quality sleep.
But we’ve already discussed the importance of sleep, and with the threat of Coronavirus, you’ve seen the link between sleeping and health, and why good sleep is critical, so let’s move on…
The more comfy the bed for your body, the longer your undisturbed sleep.
Now here’s what you probably don’t know: the bed most comfortable for you, may not be the bed your colleague Stacy keeps going on about. That’s because Stacy weighs half your weight, has no back problems, sleeps on her stomach, and is single.
You, on the other hand, are on the heavy side, have a bit of an issue with backache, sleep on your side the whole night through, and your slim wife sleeps next to you, but tends to be restless.
Your mattress needs are going to be completely different to Stacy’s, no matter how much she raves about her new bed…
Technological innovations in the bed industry
In the beginning, people slept on the ground.
But the creepy crawlies bugged (pun intended) them, and in time, our ancestors came up with a clever plan to raise the platform they slept on, so that they would no longer sleep on the floor.
And so the bed as we know it was born.
Although it was certainly a step up, beds were still far from perfect, and it was only in the mid 1900s that somebody thought to create a bed with steel coils, which became the standard for the next 150 or so years.
The perfect bed
All in all, it’s taken 77 000 years to create the perfect bed, but it’s arrived in the form of hybrid technology. More on that in a bit.
The perfect bed takes into account people’s lifestyles, and for Genie Beds to develop the best bed, we analysed people of a certain age where beds have become an important part of their wellbeing, to discover what was important.
For example, people don’t follow the same lifestyle pattern as they did before. The 30 and 40 year olds tend to optimise their use of time, and get a lot done in the period of a day, so, good sleep has become an important factor to keep up with the busy and active lifestyles of people today.
To keep up with the frenzied pace of life, when the 30 – 40 year old head hits the pillow, it’s important for it to stay down, get the rest needed for the body to recharge itself, and mend any internal bodily functions that need attention.
Just as physical exercise must be a priority for good health, and healthy food not negotiable, so is your bed, which should be viewed as a long term health investment.
Bed technology has evolved even from 10 years ago, allowing for improved sleep for any age, height and weight.
While our ancestors slept on plain old foam, mattresses evolved.
Types of mattresses
In general, there are four types of modern mattresses:
- Individual pocket springs (like the Genie bed): good for chronic back pain sufferers, people with arthritis, and partners who like to rock ‘n roll in their sleep.
- Hybrid mattresses (the Genie is described as a hybrid as it combines a few support systems): good for solid support and comfort for most people and sleep gripes.
- Natural latex: good for side sleepers to relieve pressure and pain.
- Memory foam: can be the absolute best choice to relieve back pain, but also the absolute worst choice to relieve back pain. Also good for restless sleepers and those who get cold easily.
Hybrid technology actually began after the memory foam mattress craze.
But after some years, it was found that people missed the freedom of movement from a spring coil bed, and memory foam came with its own issues, such as speeding up body heat and difficulty moving.
Some couples even started going to hotels so they could have sex without sinking into the mattress!
But back to hybrid technology…
In order to understand the significance of hybrid technology, we first need to discuss how hybrid mattresses are made.
Hybrid mattresses have two core components that are essential, but which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and these are:
- The core support system so that your spine does not kink in, but is properly aligned so that you do not experience problems like backache, headaches and so on.
- The comfort layer is made up of materials that have been researched to provide the most comfort in terms of body temperature and allergy prevention.
Component 1: core support system
The coils determine how much support is provided, and whether your partner will feel when you move, and vice versa. The innersprings in hybrid beds usually slot into four different categories:
- Continuous coils offer good support and limits transfer of motion so that two people in one bed are not woken up by the movement of the other.
- Offset coils make the mattress conform to the body so that it provides good support, and are usually found in higher-end mattresses.
- Mattresses made from bonnell coils are less costly than the other coil types, and are also the most common.
- The pocketed coil, which the Genie mattresses are made from, and individually wrapped pocketed coil springs which provide firm support and zero motion transfer between sleepers. It goes without saying that this type involves a lot more work to create, which means they’re more expensive to make, and so are found in higher-end mattresses.
Component 2: comfort layer
The comfort layer is what you lie on, because well, although the coils provide the support, they certainly do not provide the comfort!
Now, the comfort layer is important for a number of reasons, and the materials used will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
The comfort layer is what will most seperate hybrid beds one from another when the core system is the same type (you can’t compare a bonnell coil to a continuous, offset or pocketed coil, but the other three all provide good support and zero motion transfer. Therefore, if we were to compare those three against each other, then it would be the comfort layer that would be the differentiating factor.
Let’s examine the Genie mattress as an example of the different materials used in the comfort layer:
Genie Beds contain a layer of foam support, natural latex and quilted knit.
The foam layer works with the coils to conform to the body to support spinal alignment and thereby allow the heavier parts of your body to sink down for natural body alignment.
The spine must be aligned in order to avoid back issues.
Natural latex is the layer that cushions pressure points like hips and shoulders. Natural latex does the same job as memory foam, but with one major difference: while natural latex provides the same good support as memory foam, it allows air to circulate to control body heat.
This is especially important for those who tend to get hot in the night, because heat will disrupt your sleep.
The quilted knit layer offers protection for the mattress so that most of the dust and body oils are caught in the fabric before getting through to the mattress. The quilted knit layer also does not affect the feel of the mattress.
All three of the above materials will differ from bed manufacturer to bed manufacturer, but are very important to the person who must decide which bed is the better bed for his needs.
Now finally, we are able to discuss the superiority of hybrid technology: mattresses made according to hybrid technology combine the best of all bed elements to provide a bed that is suitable for most people, even those with special requirements.
Genie offers three different bedding options:
- The Genie Original which is the perfect bed for most people
- The Genie Elemental which provides medium-firm support
- The Genie Essence which provides ultimate firm support
The future of beds
70000 years ago, people were quite satisfied with their sleeping arrangements. Never would they have imagined in their wildest dreams, the beds of today.
Today we may feel certain that beds couldn’t possibly become more innovative than what they are, but research will change that.
Future research may push future beds to look something like this:
- Beds that save more space. The more modern we become, the smaller our rooms. Beds could be innovated to “float”, so that during the day, they float up to the ceiling to provide more foot space in rooms.
- Mattresses that don’t need to be moved. Ever.
- Self-cleaning mattresses, like freezers that never have to be defrosted.
- Sleep monitoring beds for certain conditions, like Apnea, or a bed that wakes you up if you’ve been sleeping in the wrong position for too long.
- Beds that provide some kind of entertainment or feeling experience, like a rocking train, massaging bed or the ability to gaze up at the constellation.
- Timers that make the bed perform some kind of action, like automatically warming up at a certain time in winter.
With the progression of IoT and Virtual Reality technology, the beds of the future are something we can be sure to look forward to, and the more companies are geared towards the customer experience, the more innovations will lead the way to provide humans with more convenience and luxury.
How to choose the right bed
And so we arrive here: if there are so many different beds to choose from, how can you possibly know which one is right for you?
Luckily we are experts and all you have to do is read on. We’ve done all the work for you…
Take it for a test drive
Our easiest recommendation is to take a bed for a test drive.
We don’t mean going to a bed shop and sitting down on the nicest looking one.
You will never get the true feel for it in 10 minutes. Instead, simply buy a Genie bed (we say Genie because we don’t know any other mattress brand in South Africa who will let you do this), get it delivered in a cool little box, and test it free of charge, for 100 nights.
If it doesn’t work for you, we’ll simply pick it up, refund you, and that will be that.
What to consider
Discover exactly how to choose the right mattress with this comprehensive guide; but in a nutshell, this is what you will need to consider:
Your bed habits
Every person is different. We all have different ways of sleeping, and we all use our beds differently. Base your final bed selection on these pointers:
Very important is what position you tend to sleep in:
- If you sleep more on your side, you’ll need more pressure relief, and a hybrid bed is ideal as it provides support as well as comfort. Any bed in the Genie range would be good.
- Sleeping on your back is the perfect position, but if the bed is not right, you’re sure to get back ache. The bed must cushion the pressure points, but not be so soft that it makes your lower back arch. Any of the Genie beds would be ideal.
- Those who sleep face down need a firm mattress, like the Genie Essence so that the back doesn’t sink in too deeply to cause pain.
- If you sleep with another person, you need to consider their sleeping position too, so you need a bed that accommodates not only your position, but your partner’s.
Here you need to take into consideration your movements and that of your partner:
- Do either of you get up in the night, or do one of you move around a lot? Then you will need a zero motion transfer bed – beds with any coils excluding the Bonnel innerspring, will do.
- Uh hum. Beds are not just for sleeping…if you’re a 78 year old widow with back issues, a memory foam bed will more than likely hit the sweet spot, but if you’re a newly wed couple, well, memory foam is not such hot stuff in bed and will hamper movement. You’re going to want a bed with some bounce, and that would mean buying a coil bed.
Body temperature is very important when considering a new bed.
If you tend to have a cooler overall body temperature, a memory foam mattress will keep you warm as it contours to your body, but if you need a fan going in winter, you will sweat to death with memory foam, so choose a bed (and pillow) that uses natural latex instead.
Age is important because at 14, a bed is a bed is a bed and you can sleep comfortably anywhere, but at 44, you’ll get no shut-eye on a mattress with springs popping up.
Weight is another consideration: while a skinnny person may find a memory foam mattress helpful, an obese person would need a bed that is created to take heavy weight, such as the Genie beds which can accommodate a combined weight of 400 kg for two people.
Very overweight people would do well with a Genie bed because of this, and also because it helps make turning easier as well as getting off the bed.
Why Genie beds?
While we can’t get into detail about all the types of mattresses in this article, we’ll quickly summarise the benefits of Genie beds due to advanced technology, and why it suits just about anyone.
- Made with layers of natural latex which relieves pressure and distributes weight evenly. Natural latex makes the Genie beds good for most sleep positions, for those who tend to get hot, for those with allergies, and restless sleepers who don’t want to wake their more peaceful partners
- Genie went into so much detail, that their beds are foam encased to prevent you or your kids from falling off!
- The Genie base is designed to accommodate heavy people up to 200 kg each.
- The special air circulation features ensure that your temperature remains constant so you are not disturbed by feeling too hot or sweaty.
- The beds are created with an individual spring system which helps eliminate disruption from movement, and to relieve pressure points from sleeping positions.
- As a bonus, Genie uses eco-friendly materials.
You can see for yourself, there’s a lot more to buying a bed than anyone ever told you!