The circadian cycle has its high points, too. The first peak comes between 9 and 11 o'clock in the morning, the second between 7 and 9 p.m. These are times when vitality and alertness surge, and even sleep-deprived people may have difficulty falling asleep.
Beds of the Future
Most of us, by far, still sleep on conventional innerspring mattresses, but recently two companies have offered sleepers some innovative springless alternatives.
Swedish Tempur-Pedic mattresses, for example, are made from a high-tech, high-density "visco elastic foam" developed in the space program, which literally molds itself to the contours of your body. Manufacturers claim that Tempur- Pedic mattresses are so comfortable and supportive that they drastically reduce tossing and turning, from 80 to 100 times a night on a standard mattress to as few as 18 times on the Tempur-Pedic.
Air beds are another new mattress mode. The Minnesota-based air-bed maker Select Comfort promises superior comfort from sleep on their pneumatically pumped-up mattresses.
Select Comfort air mattresses, which come in three levels of plushness, look like standard beds, but they use high-quality rubber air chambers instead of innersprings for support. The air chambers can be adjusted to any level of firmness, and twin chambers in queen- and king-sized beds allow two sleepers to choose individual settings.
If you decide to check out this brave new world of mattresses, use the same approach you'd use to shop for a standard mattress — kick off your shoes and lie down for a nice, long bed-test, make sure you get a solid warranty and, finally, trust your body to recognize the best bed for you.