Anew mattress can be a sizable investment, but taking this step can help improve the quality of your sleep. A healthy night's sleep has a huge impact on your body weight, mind, heart, appearance and the proper functioning of your body. With this guide, you'll gain knowledge on how to find the best mattress with the firmness and properties to suit your needs and ensure a great night's sleep every night.
Types of mattresses
If you're just starting to look for a new mattress, you've probably noticed that the number of options to choose from can be bewildering. The first thing you need to determine is what type of matt ress to choose: spring, foam or perhaps a combination of the two, also known as a hybrid mattress.
A healthy night's sleep is the foundation of well-being
© Bruce Mars
The most traditional type of mattress, a spring mattress consists of a layer of coils surrounded by layers of comfort material, which can consist of latex, natural fibers or foam. Different types of spring mattresses use different types and arrangements of coils to achieve different effects.
- They offer solid back support
- Available in a wide range of firmnesses
- Budget options available
- May wear out faster than a foam mattress
- Older springs may creak
- Offer less relief for joints.
Spring mattresses are often the best choice for stomach and back sleepers, people with lower back pain, and heavier people who find that foam mattresses do not provide enough support.
First popularized after NASA's invention of shape memory foam in the 1970s, foam matt resses rely on different combinations of foams of varying densities to provide softness and support for the back. Althoughmemory foam is the most well-known type of foam mattress, there are several different types that provide different benefits.
- Softer on side sleepers and those with joint pains
- Absorbs movement for those who sleep restlessly
- Lack of springs eliminates noise
- Are more durable than spring mattresses
- Some foams retain body heat
- Softness can cause a "sinking" feeling
- Insufficient back support for some people
- More expensive than spring mattresses
Foam mattresses are often the best choice for side sleepers and those with joint pain and discomfort.
Some mattresses offer a hybrid composition, which includes layers of both springs and foam. Hybrid mattresses can be a great option for people whose preferences fall in the middle of what spring and foam mattresses offer.
- Softer than spring mattresses, but without the "sinking" feeling as with foam mattresses
- Typically quieter than alternative spring mattresses
- Regulates temperature better than pure foam mattresses
- Higher quality hybrid mattresses can be expensive
- They do not conform to the shape of the body as well as foam mattresses
The right mattress can help relieve back pain
Choosing a mattress
Which mattress one chooses depends primarily on individual preferences. Some people like the feeling of sinking into a soft mattress, while others wake up sore and tired after sleeping on it. Consider your weight and sleeping position to narrow down your search for the perfect mattress for you.
We can visit a local mattress store to try out several types and firmnesses of mattresses. The best option would be to lie down on the mattress and stay on it for a few moments to assess what is comfortable.
When your back hurts
There are countless potential causes of back pain, but the wrong mattress is one factor that should not be ignored. For people without back problems, the right support can prevent pain, and for those who already have back problems, the right mattress can help cushion the spine. Choosing the best mattress for back pain means considering the nature of that pain along with your other mattress needs and preferences. Some back pains are short-lived and come on suddenly. These are called acute back pain. Other times, the pain lasts for a long time and is known as chronic back pain. Back problems can start out as acute, such as from an injury, and become chronic over time. The choice of mattress can also depend on where a person experiences back pain.
Lower back pain
Lowback pain affects the five lower vertebrae (L1-L5) in the lumbar region. This area of the back is prone to bending and twisting, which can damage the muscles and the spine itself. Spending too many hours in the wrong position can cause just this type of pain. For side sleepers, this can happen if the shoulders and hips are not supported, which warps the entire spine. For back and stomach sleepers, it can be caused by a mattress that is too soft or too hard, putting pressure on the natural curvature of the lumbar region.
Mid and upper back pain
Mid and upper back pain is much less common. The anatomy in these regions is more stable, reducing the likelihood of sprains and strains caused by twisting movements. Pain in these areas may be associated with more serious problems and should be examined by a doctor.
In some cases, poor posture can cause excessive tension in the middle or upper back. A pressure-reducing mattress that contributes to spinal alignment can reduce the risk of this type of pain. Having a quality pillow can also provide adequate support for the neck and upper spine.
What position are we in when we usually fall asleep? And what position do we find ourselves in when we wake up? The answers to these questions can provide key information to help you choose a mattress. The parts of the body that need more support to keep the spine aligned vary according to sleeping position. For this reason, choosing a mattress that matches your sleeping position can increase comfort and help you avoid pain.
On the back
Back sleepers put the most pressure on their lower back. If the mattress is too soft, the torso can sink deeper than the upper back and lower body, and this U-shape can cause strain. If the mattress is too hard, the slight curve in the lower back will not be preserved. As a result, a medium-firm or firm mattress will work best for back sleepers.
On the side
Side sleepers have pressure points where the body is widest, especially on the shoulders and hips. On a mattress that is too soft, these points will fall out of alignment with the spine. On a mattress that is too firm, they will feel pressure at these points and be prone to misalignment. Therefore, for side sleepers, a soft to medium-firm mattress is the best choice.
On the stomach
Stomach sleepers just like back sleepers exert the most pressure on the lumbar spine. Usually a firm mattress fits them best.