If you’re a gym devotee, you probably know that a hardcore training session may affect your normal functioning for the next couple of days.
But did you know that sleeping on a soft mattress can help for better muscle recovery?
If you’re skeptical about this, here are five reasons to change your mind.
#1 Better Pressure Relief
Depending on your sleeping position, some areas of your body may stick out more than others when you’re lying on the mattress. Side sleepers typically feel the most tension in their hips and shoulders, while back and stomach sleepers may experience lower and upper back pain if their mattress doesn’t support them properly.
And if you already feel sore after the training, the last thing you want is to get some more pressure points on your exhausted body.
Soft mattresses have a pronounced hug, so they create little to no tension and conform to your body, allowing you to drown deeper into the layers.
Thus, a soft mattress can adjust to your body shape better than firm mattresses and support proper spine alignment without putting a strain on your deep muscles. However, a firmer mattress works better than a plush one for heavier people. For more information about the difference between soft and firm mattresses, read this very informative guide.
#2 Lower Stress
Our body is actually pretty vulnerable and susceptible. Whenever something goes out of the habitual order of things, the stress levels increase.
Now, a 2008 study found the correlation between high-intensity training and an increase in blood cortisol levels.
How this can harm you, you may ask?
Well, cortisol is one of the main chemicals that trigger the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. It’s a fundamental survival mechanism that prepares your body for concentrated physical activity within a short period of time.
However, if you experience chronic stress — such as when you work out regularly — the elevated levels of cortisol can suppress other bodily functions — such as immunity and reproduction — because your brain starts considering them as less important.
Suppressed immunity, in turn, will likely negatively affect your muscle recovery and athletic performance, thereby slowing down your progress towards the goals.
The good news is, a soft mattress — thanks to its ability to cradle your body — can also alleviate agitation after the training and trigger the relaxation response in your neural system. So, you can reduce your stress level and recover faster.
#3 Great Motion Absorption
When your muscles are sore, any extra motion may add up to the discomfort. Even those occasional bouncy impulses from the other side of your bed where your partner is snoozing may result in painful feelings.
But with a comfy soft mattress, your peaceful sleep will be protected.
A plush mattress, especially if it’s made of memory foam, can isolate motion very well. In case you worry that pronounced shock-absorbing effects will make it harder to get out of the bed, choose a mattress made of denser foams: they typically are more responsive and won’t interfere with your movements.
#4 Heat Therapy for Your Muscles
Soft mattresses tend to offer deeper sinkage. This means that the area of contact between your body and the mattress is larger and comfort layers trap more body heat.
Usually, even slight heat retention is an inconvenience.
But if your muscles ache from hard training, it can easily turn into a benefit.
Heat therapy is widely used as a method of coping with pain and soreness because of the following benefits:
- Improved blood flow. Dilated blood vessels increase the blood flow to sore muscles and flush out the inflammation agents, such as lactic acid.
- Reduced swelling. Improved blood flow also reduces water and lymph retention inside the muscles, preventing them from swelling.
- Muscle relaxation. Warmth relaxes the muscles and makes them less stiff, which can alleviate painful sensations.
Besides, a 2006 self-reported study showed that the use of heat wrap made the manifestations of the delayed muscle soreness twice as less pronounced in the first 24 hours.
So, instead of burying yourself in heated pads, you can just lie down on your soft mattress for relieving soreness.
#5 Excellent Spine Support
Thanks to a significant hug, soft beds can precisely contour your body curves and distribute the body weight properly while keeping the spine in the relaxed neutral position. Also, a soft mattress supports your joints in any sleeping position, which promotes relaxation.
What does it have to do with faster muscle recovery?
Well, when your spine and joints are relaxed, the muscles can relax as well. And this, along with deep sleep, is the best way to reduce soreness and feel better the next day after training.
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