3 Bedroom Fixes That Can Improve Your Health

You may already know that adequate sleep is critical for maintaining good health and wellness. What you may not know, however, is that even the smallest, least noticeable problems in your sleeping environment can drastically affect your well being. Here are three common issues you can address to enjoy both better sleep and better health.

1. Replace That Old Mattress and Non-ergonomic Pillow

Ideally, you're spending 7 to 8 hours each night blissfully asleep in bed. That adds up many hours of mattress usage over however many years you've owned this trust piece of furniture. But even the hardiest and most well-constructed mattress can't last forever. If your mattress has started to sag, it may no longer be providing your spinal column with the support it needs—and this lack of support can saddle you with a case of back pain. Don't try to live with a visibly sagging mattress; instead, visit your local mattress store and try out the display models until you find the right mix of solid back support and restful comfort.

Don't neglect the critical role your pillow plays in supporting your upper cervical spine, more colloquially known as the neck. A pillow that no longer gives you this support (such as a feather pillow that has flattened out over the years) can contribute to neck pain, shoulder pain and other discomforts. Consider replacing that old, flat pillow with a modern memory-foam pillow shaped to conform to the neck and head. If you're a side sleeper, for instance, you'll want a pillow that provides extra cushion along its bottom edge for extra neck support.

2. Give Your Ceiling Fan a Break

There are few things more soothing than a cool breeze playing over body on a hot night—but ceiling fans can create health problems even as they enhance your comfort. The most notable health issue they're associated with is dry eye syndrome. Your eyelids aren't airtight even when closed, since the eyes require a healthy amount of oxygen at all times. This means that the moving air from a ceiling fan positioned directly overhead can cause chronically dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome isn't just a temporary cause of redness and irritation; over time, the lack of protective moisture can make the corneas vulnerable to problems such as infection, scarring, ulceration and even permanent damage.

If you'd like to feel cool in bed without relying on chilled air, start with your head. Most of the body's heat is radiated through the head, so it makes good sense to focus on keeping this part of your from overheating. Mattresses, pillows and pillowcases made with memory gel capsules are designed to absorb body heat and then release it, providing a cooling effect that should help you fall asleep more easily. If you absolutely must sleep with a ceiling fan, wear a sleep mask to keep the breeze away from your eyes.

3. Put Parasites in Their Place (Not in Your Bed)

If you're picky about who ends up sharing a bed with you, then you'll be particularly aggrieved at the thought of tiny invisible bedfellows leaving their mark on your health and well being. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells, which the body sheds on a constant basis—and a lot of that shedding takes place on your bed. In fact, an older used mattress may harbor up to 10 million dust mites, giving you one more great reason to pay an urgent visit to your neighborhood mattress store. While dust mites won't bite you, they leave behind huge accumulations of fecal matter, not to mention their own corpses. As the name suggests, this debris is a major component of household dust, a known cause of allergic reactions and other respiratory problems. Your can keep your nice new mattress more mite free by washing your bedclothes, vacuuming your carpets and replacing your air conditioning filters regularly.

One unwelcome parasite that does bite is the bedbug. These little bugs can impact your health by causing sleepless nights, depression, secondary infections (from scratching the bites) and allergic reactions. Bedbugs have become an epidemic in recent years, especially among frequent travelers and apartment dwellers. If that describes you, then have your local pest control company inspect your bedroom (and the rest of your home) for telltale signs of a bedbug invasion so they can perform any necessary extermination procedures.

A healthier life starts with a healthier bedroom. Take these tips to heart and your body will thank you for it!