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Maximizing Your Comfort

This lesson is a part of an audio course Fixing Your Sleep, Once and For All by Jason Ricci

This lesson will focus on making sure you are sleeping comfortably in your bed. It probably seems obvious that if you are not comfortable, then you aren't going to sleep as well. Despite this, many people have not optimized their bed for the best sleep. Today you will learn if your bed and other bed-related things are right for you or if it is time to make a change. Let's get started.


Your mattress has to be able to support your body while lying in your natural, comfortable, regular nighttime position. Some people sleep on their back, some on their side, and others on their stomachs. You probably know who you are. (This will be important later when we look at pillows). If your mattress is too firm, it might push on certain pressure points and cause you pain. If your mattress is too soft, you won't get proper support which will also cause you pain. You shouldn't wake up with lower back pain. If you have to stretch and crack your back when getting out of bed, you probably have the wrong mattress. However, if you wake up feeling refreshed and not in pain, your mattress is probably just fine.

The tough part is everyone is different. What if you prefer one type of mattress and your bed partner prefers another? This is tough; does one partner suffer while the other is fine? Do you both compromise, and neither is completely comfortable? do you sleep in separate beds? Do you get those mattresses that are adjustable on two sides of the bed? Those are some hard questions, and the answers to those questions are between you and your bed partner.

A good mattress should last you 10 to 20 years. If your mattress is typically fine but starts getting uncomfortable, flip it, spin it, to both, etc. As we lie on it several hours a night, it’s shaped moves a little bit. Rotating it around helps it to keep its shape. If this isn't working anymore and your mattress is old, it may be time to get a new one. This is a big decision because mattresses can get pretty costly. But remember, you spend about a third of your life on your mattress. With that amount of use, it is worth investing in. I'm not asking you to break the bank when getting a new mattress, but I do ask that you look at this as an investment rather than a cost.


Before you run out and buy a new mattress, try changing your pillows up first. Mainly because it is incredibly cheaper, but also because any neck or back pain you're experiencing may be caused by using the wrong type or number of pillows, and not because your mattress is bad. One important thing with pillows is making sure your neck and spine are aligned properly. Depending on how you lay determines the pillow equation, you need to follow. Here's the breakdown:

  • If you sleep on your side, use two pillows. You can experiment with firmness, but side-sleepers tend to appreciate firm pillows above soft.

  • If you sleep on your back, use one pillow; medium to firm pillows are best.

  • If you sleep on your stomach, use one pillow. A nice soft pillow is preferred by most stomach sleepers.

  • If you flip-flop from position to position all night, you aren't sleeping well and are uncomfortable. This is more likely because your mattress isn't right for you.

  • Find the best equation that works for you and try it. This should relieve neck pains or a stiff neck in the morning. If you're experiencing lower back pain and you sleep on your side, consider “hugging” a pillow between your legs at night.

  • When your pillow starts to lose its shape, it's time to replace it. Don't continue to hold on to a pillow that has lost its shape.

  • If you own a polyester pillow, fold it in half and put a slightly heavy object on it, like a shoe. If the shoe just sits there, it's time to toss the pillow. If the shoe flops off, you're good.

  • If you have a feather pillow, fold it in half and try to squeeze all the air out of it. In this instance, the pillow should unfold on its own; if not, it's time to get a new one.


There's a lot of opinions about the type of sheets you should use and thread count. Thread count is the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch. My thoughts on the matter are this: if you find your sheets to be comfortable, those are the sheets you want to use. Make sure they fit your bed; if the fitted sheet keeps coming off and bunches under you at night, you'll definitely be sore in the morning. Experts say that you want a high thread-count for maximum comfort. Yes, higher thread counts are softer, but not everyone likes a soft sheet. Some people prefer stiffer sheets. A higher thread count can also be pricey. However, if you are someone who is interested in premium products, go for an eight hundred or higher thread count. I don't know how much of an improvement this will give, but every little bit counts. What I think is much more important than the thread count is something everyone has access to, no matter what sheets you use: change your sheets weekly. A clean bed is a bed that is inviting you to go to sleep in. How many sets of sheets do you have? Most people own at least two sets of sheets so that you can alternate your sheets every other week.

Make your bed every day, either after waking or at least before going to bed. When you get ready for bed, you don't want to crawl into an unmade bed. A made-bed feels like a new fresh bed every night. A bed that has a fresh, clean scent, is made, and has clean sheets helps you to get to sleep and stay asleep. It has a calming effect.


Just a few points about blankets. First of all, if they are uncomfortable to the touch, either get them off the bed or sandwich them between other blankets. Ideally, the scratchy or uncomfortable blanket should not be the one that touches you, nor should it be the top blanket. The only reason I'd keep it on the bed is if you need the added warmth. If you don't, get it off the bed completely.

Secondly, and I just hinted at it, is the warmth factor. You want to make sure you have enough blankets to keep you warm throughout the night. Waking up cold in the middle of the night is awful and doesn't help you sleep. The opposite is also true. If you have too many blankets and get too hot, this will also harm your sleep. You may need to do a little testing to determine the correct number of blankets. But remember, it is better to sleep in a cold room with more blankets than a warm room with fewer. If you and your bed partner have different warmth needs, have the colder partner put a smaller blanket or two on their side only, sandwiched between the layers.

Wow, a lot to absorb today. Re-listen to this one if you need to, but now you know how to make going to bed as cozy as possible.

The next lesson is entitled, “What To Do While in Bed.” In it, we’ll discuss what you should, and shouldn’t be doing while in your bed. Happy Zzz's.

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Written by

Jason Ricci

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