The Connection Between Mattresses And Sleep Disorders [The ULTIMATE Guide]

In the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, sleep plays a pivotal role, and the quality of our sleep is directly linked to the choice of our mattresses. The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be overstated, as it not only influences our physical well-being but also has profound effects on mental health. Sleep disorders have become increasingly prevalent in modern society, with factors such as stress, lifestyle, and environmental conditions contributing to their rise. This article delves into the intricate connection between mattresses and sleep disorders, exploring how the choice of mattress can impact sleep quality and examining the relationship between mattress firmness and sleep health.

Understanding Sleep Disorders: A Brief Overview

Before delving into the connection between mattresses and sleep disorders, it is crucial to have a foundational understanding of what sleep disorders entail. Sleep disorders are a broad category of conditions that affect the ability to sleep well on a regular basis. They can manifest in various forms, including insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.

Types Of Sleep Disorders

  1. Insomnia: Characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. It can be transient or chronic, impacting the overall quality of life.

  2. Sleep Apnea: This disorder involves interruptions in breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent type and occurs when the muscles in the throat relax excessively.

  3. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Individuals with RLS experience an irresistible urge to move their legs, often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. This can significantly disrupt sleep.

  4. Narcolepsy: A neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness, narcolepsy is characterized by sudden episodes of sleep, cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle tone), and hallucinations.

Understanding the nuances of these sleep disorders provides a foundation for exploring the intricate relationship between mattresses and the prevalence of these conditions.

The Impact Of Mattresses On Sleep Quality

The mattress we sleep on can significantly influence the quality of our sleep. While factors such as sleep hygiene, lifestyle choices, and stress management also play crucial roles, the mattress is a fundamental component of the sleep environment. A mattress that does not adequately support the body, relieve pressure points, or align the spine can contribute to sleep disturbances and exacerbate existing sleep disorders.

The Ergonomics Of Sleep

Ergonomics, the science of designing products and environments for human well-being and performance, extends to the realm of mattresses. An ergonomic mattress promotes proper spinal alignment and supports the natural curvature of the spine. This alignment is essential for minimizing discomfort and reducing the risk of exacerbating sleep disorders.

Pressure Point Relief

Mattresses that offer effective pressure point relief contribute to better sleep quality. Pressure points, such as the shoulders, hips, and knees, can lead to discomfort and pain if not adequately supported. A mattress with sufficient pressure point relief helps distribute body weight evenly, reducing the likelihood of waking up with aches and pains.

Temperature Regulation

The temperature of the sleep environment is another critical factor in achieving restful sleep. Certain mattresses are designed with materials that facilitate better temperature regulation, preventing overheating or excessive cooling during the night. Temperature-regulating mattresses can be particularly beneficial for individuals with sleep disorders related to temperature sensitivity.

Common Sleep Disorders And Their Causes

To understand the connection between mattresses and sleep disorders, it is essential to explore common sleep disorders and the factors contributing to their development.



  1. Stress and Anxiety: High levels of stress and anxiety can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
  2. Poor Sleep Hygiene: Irregular sleep patterns, exposure to screens before bedtime, and an uncomfortable sleep environment can contribute to insomnia.
  3. Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain or respiratory disorders, can disrupt sleep.

Sleep Apnea


  1. Obesity: Excess weight, especially around the neck, can contribute to the narrowing of the airways.
  2. Age and Gender: Sleep apnea is more common in older adults and men.
  3. Family History: Genetic factors can increase the risk of developing sleep apnea.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)


  1. Genetics: RLS often runs in families, suggesting a genetic component.
  2. Iron Deficiency: Low levels of iron in the brain may contribute to RLS.
  3. Pregnancy: RLS is more common in pregnant women, especially during the third trimester.



  1. Genetics: Narcolepsy can have a genetic component.
  2. Autoimmune Factors: Some cases of narcolepsy are associated with an autoimmune response.
  3. Brain Chemistry: Alterations in neurotransmitters, such as hypocretin, play a role in narcolepsy.

Understanding these causes highlights the multifaceted nature of sleep disorders and emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to address both the underlying causes and environmental factors.

Choosing The Right Mattress For Better Sleep

Selecting an appropriate mattress involves considering various factors, including personal preferences, sleep position, and any existing health conditions. The market offers a wide array of mattresses with different materials, constructions, and firmness levels. Understanding one’s specific needs is crucial in making an informed decision.

Mattress Types

  1. Innerspring Mattresses: These mattresses use a system of metal springs for support. They are known for their bouncy feel and good airflow.

  2. Memory Foam Mattresses: Memory foam contours to the shape of the body, providing excellent support and pressure relief. It is particularly beneficial for those with joint pain.

  3. Latex Mattresses: Made from natural or synthetic latex, these mattresses offer a responsive and breathable sleep surface. Latex is resistant to dust mites and allergens.

  4. Hybrid Mattresses: Combining innerspring and memory foam or latex, hybrid mattresses aim to provide the benefits of both materials.

Considerations For Specific Sleep Disorders


For individuals with insomnia, a mattress that promotes relaxation is essential. Memory foam mattresses, with their ability to conform to the body’s shape, can offer the comfort needed to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea sufferers benefit from mattresses that promote proper spinal alignment. Adjustable beds that allow for elevated sleeping positions can help reduce snoring and improve breathing for some individuals with sleep apnea.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Pressure point relief is crucial for those with RLS, as discomfort in the legs can be a significant issue. Memory foam or latex mattresses, with their ability to distribute weight evenly, can be beneficial.


Individuals with narcolepsy may benefit from mattresses that minimize disturbances during sleep. Memory foam, with its motion isolation properties, can be particularly helpful.

Personal Preferences

Beyond addressing specific sleep disorders, personal preferences play a significant role in mattress selection. Factors such as sleep position, body weight, and sensitivity to temperature should be considered. Additionally, individuals sharing a bed may need to compromise on preferences to find a mattress that suits both partners.

Role Of Mattress Firmness In Sleep Health

Mattress firmness is a critical factor in determining sleep quality and comfort. The right firmness level varies from person to person, depending on factors such as body weight, sleep position, and personal preferences.

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Understanding Mattress Firmness

Mattress firmness is typically rated on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely soft and 10 being extremely firm. Different sleepers may find different firmness levels more comfortable.

  1. Soft (1-3): Ideal for side sleepers and those with lighter body weight, as it allows for better contouring to the body’s curves.

  2. Medium (4-6): Suitable for a wide range of sleepers, including back and stomach sleepers, providing a balanced combination of support and comfort.

  3. Firm (7-10): Recommended for stomach and back sleepers or those with higher body weight, offering more support and preventing excessive sinking.

Sleep Position And Firmness

The position in which an individual sleeps affects the ideal firmness level of the mattress.

  1. Side Sleepers: A softer mattress is often preferred to cushion the shoulders and hips, promoting proper spinal alignment.

  2. Back Sleepers: Medium to firm mattresses provide the necessary support for the spine and prevent sagging.

  3. Stomach Sleepers: A firmer mattress is crucial to prevent the spine from curving unnaturally and causing back pain.

Body Weight And Firmness

Body weight is another crucial factor in determining the right mattress firmness.

  1. Lightweight Individuals: Those with lighter body weight may find softer mattresses more comfortable, as they allow for better contouring.

  2. Average Weight Individuals: Medium-firm mattresses are generally suitable for individuals with average body weight, offering a balance of support and comfort.

  3. Heavyweight Individuals: Firm mattresses are recommended for individuals with higher body weight to prevent excessive sinking and maintain proper support.

Personal Preferences And Customization

While guidelines based on sleep position and body weight are helpful, personal preferences should not be overlooked. Some individuals may prefer a slightly firmer or softer mattress based on their comfort preferences. Fortunately, many mattress manufacturers offer customization options, allowing customers to choose the level of firmness that best suits their needs.

In the intricate web of factors influencing sleep quality, the role of mattresses is undeniable. The connection between mattresses and sleep disorders is multifaceted, with the choice of mattress impacting factors such as spinal alignment, pressure point relief, and overall comfort. Understanding the causes of common sleep disorders further emphasizes the need for a holistic approach that addresses both underlying health issues and environmental factors.

Choosing the right mattress involves a thoughtful consideration of personal preferences, sleep position, and any existing sleep disorders. The market's diverse array of mattress types and firmness levels provides options for individuals with specific needs, whether they suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or narcolepsy.

In the pursuit of optimal sleep health, individuals should recognize the importance of investing in a quality mattress that aligns with their unique requirements. As the scientific understanding of sleep continues to evolve, so too will the innovations in mattress technology, offering new possibilities for enhancing sleep quality and overall well-being.

Mattress Materials And Their Influence On Sleep

Sleep is a vital aspect of human well-being, influencing physical health, mental clarity, and overall quality of life. One often-overlooked factor that significantly affects sleep is the mattress. The choice of mattress can impact sleep quality and, in some cases, contribute to the development of sleep disorders.

The materials used in a mattress play a crucial role in determining its comfort and support. Different types of mattresses utilize various materials, such as memory foam, latex, innerspring coils, and hybrid combinations. Each material has unique properties that can affect sleep in different ways.

Memory Foam: Known for its ability to contour to the body’s shape, memory foam mattresses provide excellent support by distributing body weight evenly. This can alleviate pressure points and promote spinal alignment, leading to a more comfortable sleep experience. However, some individuals may find memory foam retains heat, potentially causing discomfort for those who sleep hot.

Latex: Latex mattresses are prized for their durability and natural hypoallergenic properties. They offer a responsive and buoyant surface, providing a balance between support and comfort. Latex mattresses are also known for good breathability, helping to regulate temperature during sleep.

Innerspring Coils: Traditional innerspring mattresses use a system of metal coils for support. While these mattresses can offer firmness and responsiveness, they may not distribute weight as evenly as memory foam or latex, potentially leading to pressure points and discomfort.

Hybrid Mattresses: Combining various materials, hybrid mattresses aim to provide the benefits of multiple technologies. For example, a hybrid mattress might feature a layer of memory foam atop innerspring coils. This combination seeks to offer both the support of coils and the contouring comfort of memory foam.

Understanding the characteristics of these materials is crucial in selecting a mattress that aligns with individual sleep preferences and needs. The wrong choice may contribute to discomfort, restlessness, and, over time, the development of sleep disorders.

Ergonomics And Sleep: Importance Of Mattress Support

Ergonomics, the science of designing products to enhance human well-being and performance, is a fundamental consideration in the realm of mattresses. A mattress that lacks proper support can lead to discomfort, muscle tension, and even contribute to the development of sleep disorders.

Spinal Alignment: A key aspect of mattress support is its impact on spinal alignment. A mattress should promote the natural curvature of the spine, whether sleeping on the back, side, or stomach. Poor spinal alignment during sleep can result in aches, pains, and long-term musculoskeletal issues.

Firmness Levels: The ideal firmness of a mattress varies from person to person based on factors such as body weight, sleep position, and personal preference. While some individuals prefer a firmer mattress for additional support, others may find a softer surface more comfortable. A mattress that is too firm or too soft can lead to discomfort and sleep disturbances.

Edge Support: Mattresses with reinforced edges provide stable support across the entire surface, preventing the feeling of rolling off the bed. This is especially important for couples who share a bed, as it maximizes the usable sleeping space.

Considering these ergonomic factors when choosing a mattress is essential for creating an optimal sleep environment. Investing in a mattress that aligns with individual ergonomic needs can contribute to a more restful and rejuvenating sleep experience.

Linking Mattresses To Sleep-Related Pain Issues

Chronic pain, whether originating from the back, neck, or joints, can significantly impact sleep quality. The mattress a person sleeps on can either alleviate or exacerbate these pain issues.

Back Pain: Back pain is a common complaint among individuals, and the mattress plays a crucial role in managing or exacerbating this discomfort. A mattress that provides proper support, especially in the lumbar region, can help alleviate back pain by promoting a neutral spinal alignment.

Neck and Shoulder Pain: The wrong mattress can contribute to neck and shoulder pain by creating pressure points. Memory foam and latex mattresses are often praised for their ability to distribute weight evenly, reducing the likelihood of waking up with stiffness or soreness in these areas.

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Joint Pain: Individuals with arthritis or other joint conditions may find relief in a mattress that cushions and supports the joints. Memory foam, with its contouring properties, can alleviate pressure on joints and reduce pain during sleep.

Understanding the connection between mattresses and pain issues is crucial for those seeking to address or prevent sleep-related discomfort. Additionally, consulting with healthcare professionals, such as orthopedic specialists or physical therapists, can provide personalized recommendations based on individual health conditions.

Sleep Hygiene And The Mattress Connection

Sleep hygiene encompasses a set of practices and environmental factors that promote good sleep. While often associated with bedtime routines and bedroom ambiance, the condition of the mattress is a crucial aspect of sleep hygiene.

Allergen Control: Mattresses can harbor allergens such as dust mites, mold, and pet dander. Regular cleaning and the use of hypoallergenic mattress covers can contribute to a healthier sleep environment, especially for individuals with allergies or asthma.

Temperature Regulation: The thermal properties of a mattress can influence sleep quality. Some materials, such as memory foam, may trap heat, leading to discomfort for those who are prone to overheating during sleep. Choosing a mattress with good breathability and incorporating temperature-regulating bedding can enhance sleep comfort.

Maintenance and Durability: The lifespan of a mattress is a key factor in sleep hygiene. Over time, mattresses can lose their support and comfort properties, contributing to sleep disturbances. Regularly flipping or rotating a mattress, as recommended by the manufacturer, can help maintain its integrity and extend its lifespan.

Considering these aspects of sleep hygiene in relation to the mattress is essential for creating an environment conducive to restorative sleep. Neglecting mattress care and hygiene may result in the accumulation of factors that contribute to sleep disorders.

Research Insights: Studies On Mattresses And Sleep Disorders

Scientific research has delved into the relationship between mattresses and sleep disorders, providing valuable insights into the impact of different mattress factors on sleep quality. Several key studies shed light on this complex connection.

1. Effect of Mattress Type on Sleep Quality: A study published in the Journal of Applied Ergonomics compared the sleep quality of individuals using memory foam and innerspring mattresses. The results indicated that memory foam mattresses were associated with higher overall sleep quality, reduced tossing and turning, and decreased sleep disturbances compared to innerspring mattresses.

2. The Role of Mattress Age in Sleep Disturbances: Research published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine explored the influence of mattress age on sleep quality and back pain. The study found that participants sleeping on older mattresses reported more sleep disturbances and increased back pain compared to those using newer mattresses. This highlights the importance of mattress maintenance and replacement in ensuring optimal sleep conditions.

3. Impact of Mattress Firmness on Sleep-Related Pain: A study in the journal Sleep Health investigated the relationship between mattress firmness and sleep-related pain. The findings suggested that individuals with musculoskeletal pain conditions experienced improved sleep quality and reduced pain intensity when using a medium-firm mattress compared to a firm mattress.

These studies collectively emphasize the significant role mattresses play in influencing sleep quality and the development or alleviation of sleep disorders. Understanding the findings of such research can guide individuals in making informed decisions when selecting a mattress tailored to their specific needs.

The connection between mattresses and sleep disorders is a multifaceted and intricate relationship that extends beyond mere comfort. The materials used, ergonomic support, impact on pain issues, contribution to sleep hygiene, and insights from scientific research collectively shape this crucial link.

Choosing the right mattress involves a thoughtful consideration of individual preferences, sleep patterns, and health conditions. It is not merely a matter of personal comfort but a key determinant in promoting overall well-being. Investing time and effort into understanding the intricacies of mattress selection can lead to improved sleep quality, reduced risk of sleep disorders, and enhanced physical and mental health.

As we continue to advance in our understanding of sleep science, the importance of the mattress in the sleep equation becomes increasingly evident. From memory foam to innerspring coils, the options are diverse, and the impact on sleep is profound. By recognizing the significance of mattresses and their influence on sleep, individuals can take proactive steps to create an optimal sleep environment, fostering restful nights and healthier lives.

The Evolution Of Mattress Technology And Sleep Innovation

Sleep is a fundamental aspect of human well-being, influencing physical health, cognitive function, and emotional balance. A crucial factor that plays a significant role in determining the quality of our sleep is the mattress we sleep on. Over the years, advancements in technology and sleep science have revolutionized the way we perceive mattresses and their impact on sleep disorders.

A Historical Perspective

The history of mattresses dates back to ancient times when civilizations used rudimentary materials such as straw, leaves, and animal skins for bedding. Over the centuries, mattresses have undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from simple sleeping surfaces to sophisticated systems designed to optimize sleep quality.

In the 19th century, the invention of the innerspring mattress marked a significant milestone in mattress technology. This innovation provided better support and comfort, setting the stage for further developments. The 20th century witnessed the introduction of materials like memory foam, latex, and air chambers, each offering unique benefits for sleepers.

The Rise Of Memory Foam

Memory foam, initially developed by NASA for astronaut seats, gained popularity in the mattress industry due to its ability to contour to the body’s shape and provide targeted support. This material revolutionized sleep comfort, addressing issues such as pressure points and motion transfer. As a result, memory foam mattresses became a staple in bedrooms worldwide, catering to a diverse range of sleep preferences.

Latex Mattresses: Natural Comfort And Durability

Latex mattresses, made from the sap of rubber trees, emerged as an eco-friendly and durable alternative. The natural resilience of latex provides both support and bounce, making it an attractive choice for those seeking a combination of comfort and longevity. Additionally, latex is hypoallergenic, resistant to dust mites and other allergens, making it an ideal option for individuals with allergies or sensitivities.

Adjustable Beds And Smart Mattresses

Recent years have witnessed the integration of technology into the sleep environment. Adjustable beds, equipped with motorized mechanisms, allow users to customize their sleeping positions for optimal comfort. Smart mattresses, embedded with sensors and connectivity features, track sleep patterns and provide data-driven insights to enhance sleep quality.

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Personalized Sleep Solutions: Mattresses For Different Needs

Understanding Individual Sleep Preferences

Sleep is a highly individualized experience, and different people have unique preferences when it comes to mattress firmness, support, and temperature regulation. Understanding one’s sleep preferences is crucial in selecting a mattress that aligns with individual needs.

Mattresses For Side Sleepers

Side sleeping is a common preference, but it comes with its own set of challenges, including pressure on the shoulders and hips. Mattresses designed for side sleepers often feature softer comfort layers to alleviate these pressure points while maintaining proper spinal alignment.

Back Sleepers And Firm Mattresses

Back sleepers typically benefit from mattresses with a firmer feel, as they provide adequate support to the lumbar region. A mattress that is too soft may lead to sinking of the hips, causing discomfort and potential alignment issues. A firmer mattress helps maintain a neutral spine position for back sleepers.

Stomach Sleepers And Support

Stomach sleeping can strain the neck and lower back if not properly supported. Mattresses with a medium to firm feel are often recommended for stomach sleepers to prevent excessive sinking and maintain a healthy sleeping posture.

Hybrid Mattresses: Balancing Support And Comfort

Hybrid mattresses combine the benefits of different materials, such as innerspring coils and memory foam or latex layers. This innovative approach aims to strike a balance between support and comfort, catering to a broader range of sleep preferences.

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Assessing Mattress Firmness

Understanding mattress firmness is crucial in finding the right balance between comfort and support. Different sleep positions require varying levels of firmness, and assessing personal preferences can guide consumers toward an appropriate choice.

Quality Materials And Construction

The durability and performance of a mattress largely depend on the quality of materials and construction. High-density foams, durable latex, and robust innerspring systems contribute to the longevity of a mattress. Investing in a well-constructed mattress ensures a comfortable and supportive sleep surface for years to come.

Temperature Regulation Features

Maintaining an optimal sleep temperature is essential for uninterrupted rest. Mattresses with features such as gel-infused foams, phase-change materials, or breathable covers enhance airflow and help regulate temperature, preventing overheating during the night.

Motion Isolation For Undisturbed Sleep

For individuals sharing a bed, motion isolation is a critical factor. Memory foam mattresses excel in this aspect, absorbing motion and preventing disturbances caused by a restless sleeping partner. This feature is particularly beneficial for couples with different sleep schedules or varying sleep patterns.

Trial Periods And Warranties

Given the subjective nature of mattress preferences, many manufacturers offer trial periods that allow consumers to test the mattress at home. Additionally, comprehensive warranties provide assurance against manufacturing defects. Understanding the terms of these policies is essential for a risk-free mattress purchase.

Addressing Common Myths About Mattresses And Sleep Disorders

Myth 1: Firmer Mattresses Are Always Better

Contrary to popular belief, the ideal mattress firmness varies based on individual preferences and sleep positions. While some may find a firm mattress beneficial, others may experience better sleep on a softer surface. The key lies in finding the right balance that provides support without sacrificing comfort.

Myth 2: Memory Foam Traps Heat

While early memory foam mattresses had a reputation for retaining heat, advancements in technology have led to the development of cooling gel-infused foams and breathable designs. Modern memory foam mattresses are engineered to dissipate heat efficiently, ensuring a comfortable sleep temperature.

Myth 3: Mattresses Last A Lifetime

Despite the desire for a long-lasting mattress, the reality is that mattresses have a finite lifespan. The average mattress lifespan is around 7-10 years, with factors such as material quality, usage, and maintenance influencing durability. Regularly rotating the mattress, using a quality mattress protector, and following manufacturer guidelines can extend its lifespan.

Myth 4: One-Size-Fits-All Mattresses Exist

Individuals have unique sleep preferences, and no single mattress can cater to everyone’s needs. The idea of a one-size-fits-all mattress is a misconception. Customization, as seen in adjustable beds or mattresses with varying firmness levels, allows users to tailor their sleep experience to their liking.


The relationship between mattresses and sleep disorders is multi-faceted, encompassing factors such as technology, personal preferences, and common misconceptions. As we continue to unravel the complexities of sleep, the role of mattresses in fostering a restful night’s sleep becomes increasingly evident. With advancements in technology, a diverse range of materials, and an understanding of individual sleep needs, consumers can make informed decisions to enhance their sleep quality. By dispelling myths and embracing personalized sleep solutions, we pave the way for a future where mattresses contribute not only to a good night’s sleep but also to overall well-being.


What Role Do Mattresses Play In The Development Or Exacerbation Of Sleep Disorders?

Mattresses significantly impact sleep quality, as they influence factors such as comfort, support, and alignment. An inappropriate mattress can contribute to or worsen sleep disorders by causing discomfort, pain, and inadequate spinal alignment during sleep.

How Does The Firmness Of A Mattress Affect Sleep, And Can It Be Linked To Sleep Disorders?

The firmness of a mattress is crucial, as it affects the pressure points and spinal alignment. A mattress that is either too firm or too soft can lead to discomfort and contribute to sleep disorders like insomnia, back pain, or sleep apnea due to improper support.

Are There Specific Mattress Materials That Can Be More Beneficial For Individuals Prone To Sleep Disorders?

Yes, certain materials, such as memory foam or latex, can provide better support and comfort. Memory foam contours to the body, relieving pressure points, while latex offers both support and durability. These materials may be beneficial for those with sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome or insomnia.

Can An Old Or Worn-out Mattress Contribute To The Development Of Sleep Disorders?

An old mattress that has lost its firmness and support can indeed contribute to sleep disorders. Over time, mattresses can deteriorate, leading to sagging or uneven surfaces. This can cause discomfort, disrupt sleep, and potentially contribute to conditions like insomnia, exacerbating existing sleep disorders.

How Can Individuals Choose The Right Mattress To Minimize The Risk Of Sleep Disorders?

Selecting the right mattress involves considering individual preferences, sleep position, and any existing health conditions. Factors such as proper support, comfort, and mattress type play a crucial role. By evaluating these aspects and trying out mattresses before purchasing, individuals can make informed choices to minimize the risk of sleep disorders. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to