Did you know that your mattress may be the single most important piece of furniture in your home? You spend nearly a third of your life on it, and sleeping on the wrong one could cause serious health problems.
Lindsay, 23, found a free mattress. She picked one up off the street, and despite the great deal, she has trouble sleeping because it sags in the middle. “My roommates call me cranky. I can never sleep. My back kills, and I don’t know what kind of mattress to buy!” she says in a video to The Doctors.
“[Our mattress] significantly affects the time we’re awake,” says Pete Bils, senior director of sleep innovation and clinical research for Select Comfort. “I don’t know what you were thinking, but even if it were a brand new mattress that you found on the street and picked it up and brought it home, chances were one in 1,000 that it would be right for you. It’s one of those pieces of furniture -- arguably the most important piece of furniture in the house -- that you really need to investigate and make sure it’s right for you.
“Research has shown us that if you are sleeping on the wrong mattress, people report excessive tossing and turning,” he continues. “They report higher incidence of daytime and morning sleepiness, and, in [Lindsay’s] case, higher incidence of back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain -- all because of the wrong mattress.”
To help Lindsay pick out the right mattress, Pete uses the XSensor Pressure Mapping System, which measures the interface pressure between a body and the surface on which it is lying. She sleeps on her side, which Pete explains could be playing into her sleep issues. “What we have found in significant amounts of research is people who sleep on their sides have the hardest time getting comfortable because all your weight is on your edge, so they usually prefer a mattress that’s a little softer. People who sleep on their back have a lot of surface area already being touched by the mattress, so they like it medium to firm. People who sleep on their tummies, which we don’t recommend, usually need the firmest mattress so they’re not bowed in and their lumbar isn’t pushed in.”
When shopping for a new mattress, Pete recommends lying on your potential bed for 15 minutes in the store so it has time to settle down and you can test what it will feel like overnight.
Sheila, 25, has a large chest but can never find a bra that fits her correctly. She suffers from neck, shoulder and back pain and has indentations on her sides and shoulders after she removes her bra. “Getting the right bra is really important,” Dr. Lisa says. “Not just for cosmetics, but also health-wise, because they may have a lot of problems from it. Eighty percent of women pick the wrong bra and can really get back pain and headaches. It’s really important to know how to find the right bra!”
The Doctors send Sheila to a specialty bra store for professional sizing and bra education from Connie, an expert bra fitter. After going through multiple bras, Sheila finds the right brassiere, a 34H, which is four sizes larger than the 38DDD she had been wearing! “What we want to say is use an expert,” Dr. Lisa says. “But if you’re having problems after that, you may want to consider something like a breast reduction because most of the women who have that really, really enjoy the results, and it changes their lives.
“But start with a proper-fitting bra first,” she continues. “That’s extremely important. And get over your embarrassment, get comfortable with your body and use one of these bra experts.”
Angel, from Ventura, California asks The Doctors if it is healthy for women to “go commando” and not wear any underwear. “You just kind of go free!” she says.
“I think going commando is great because the vagina has to breathe!” Dr. Lisa says. “It absolutely has to breathe. It’s healthy for it. The problem is that you could pick up other things if you’re in other places that aren’t so healthy. So go commando at home, or go commando where you know all the surfaces, and you know all the people. But if you want to go out in public, you need to wear things on the outside that are going to protect you.”
When going out, Dr. Lisa advises women to wear cotton underwear. For men, going commando is also healthy, but Dr. Travis warns against it if you are playing sports or wearing jeans. “Number one, there’s a support issue,” Dr. Ordon says. “But number two, there could be things getting caught in the zipper.”
Vapor Rub for Kids?
Melissa, in Nashville, Tennessee e-mails The Doctors and asks if using vapor rub on her baby’s chest when he is sick is safe.
“There are right ways and wrong ways to use this,” Dr. Jim says. “There’s a study that found, at least in animals, it can actually constrict the airways and maybe increase mucus production, even though you feel more open. It was a really small study. They’re looking at it a little further.
“But for now, follow the instructions,” he continues. “Don’t use it under age 2 and keep it away from the nose. That’s where most of the problems have been. If it’s under the nose, it can really get into the airways and irritate. It’s a chest rub.”