Sign in with Facebook


Finding a way to savor a perfect snooze

For more on the benefits of sleep , see C2

The Kansas City Star

As we lay in what can only be described as the Rolls-Royce of beds, I forget that I’m in the middle of a store.

I have a remote control in my hand that allows me to elevate my feet, massage my back or prop me up in that perfect TV-watching position. Memory foam is not only molding itself to my body, it’s doing so to my liking. My Sleep Number: 25.

My eyes are closed. I’m imagining a future with this bed. I can envision myself with kids, watching “Cosby Show” marathons on this beauty. I could have fallen asleep right there. I could have experienced that deep, restorative REM sleep that the studies show so many of us lack.

And then the sales guy walks over with an estimate. You want that luxury sleep? It can cost $5,000 or more. My dream is shattered. Reality strikes. I’ll be sleeping on a 1970 AMC Gremlin mattress.

But a good night’s rest is important, the guy says. He’d shown us our bodies on the computer screen so we could see how sleeping on a traditional bed was bad for us. I could see the big, bright red blotches that showed where we had too much pressure. He says the reason we toss and turn and wake up often is that our inner-spring bed lacks proper back support.

Maybe this is America’s sleep problem. We need better beds.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 1 in 3 American civilian workers gets less than six hours of sleep per night. That’s a lot of winks shy of the recommended seven to nine hours. Some people might think, what’s the big deal? We’ve been getting shorted on rest for as long as we’ve been working. You think cavemen were comfortable on rock?

But sleep is a big deal. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation not only has a negative impact on our immune systems, it is linked to depression, fatigue, weight gain, short attention span and poor reflexes.

How do we get a good night’s rest? Some say avoid sugar and caffeine in the evening. Eat healthy. Exercise. Drink tea or take melatonin to relax.

I’ve tried those things, and though they are good for the body, none of them makes my mattress any more comfortable. I’m trying to get that body-hugging rest. Even the firefighters in O’Fallon, Mo., near St. Louis are getting that Sleep Number comfort. The fire district recently invested in 51 fancy, cloud-like, extra-long twin beds ($723 each) for its five firehouses.

“The long-term hope is it improves our wellness factor,” Bob Cerrano, the district’s chief financial officer, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We have had a rash of back strains. You don’t want these guys stiffening up and getting back injuries.”

They deserve a good night’s rest. We all do. I’m starting to wonder if it’s something we can work into our insurance plans. Sleep is essential to our health. Flex spending for at least an entry level air-adjustable bed? Let’s make that happen.

I don’t need the Rolls-Royce. But my sleep could go a little further with a Ford.

Jeneé Osterheldt’s column runs in FYI on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. To reach her, call 816-234-4380 or email josterheldt@kcstar.com. “Like” her on Facebook at facebook.com/jeneeinkc.


No comments have been posted. Perhaps you'd like to be the first?

Sign in with Facebook to comment.