How to Choose the Right Mattress for Your Sleeping Habits
By Sara Butler
Sleep. Everyone does it. But some people do it better than others. What is their secret? Some may say it’s counting sheep, while others may credit warm milk. One undeniable and scientifically-backed reason that some people get a solid night of snoozes is that they have the perfect mattress. The perfect mattress for them, anyway.
Mattresses may seem as if they fall into a one-size-fits-all category, but that’s not the case. Many factors go into how to choose the right mattress for your sleeping habits. Sleep position, among other things, makes a huge difference toward determining the right mattress for you. Stomach sleepers have different needs than side and back sleepers or those sleepers who suffer from chronic back pain. One size fits all isn’t even on the table.
If it’s time for a new mattress (and it probably is), then there are many factors you must consider. Luckily, The Joint Chiropractic is here to help you understand how to choose the right mattress for you.
Can a Mattress Impact Your Spinal Health?
It’s an important question: Can a mattress make a difference in your health, especially your spinal health? Yes!
When you sleep, your muscles relax. That means that what is left supporting your spine is the mattress you’re sleeping on. A proper mattress helps to evenly distribute your body weight and keep your spine aligned as you sleep. No one wants to wake up feeling like Rocky after he’s gone 15 rounds with Apollo Creed, sore and exhausted.
Although chiropractic has a role in sleeping comfort because it helps to promote relaxation and improve circulation, sleep positions, firmness level of the mattress, and the materials your mattress is made of also play a big role in how comfortably you can sleep at night. If you can combine regular chiropractic care with the right mattress, then you may find you’re getting the best sleep you’ve ever had. And who wouldn’t want that? You spend a lot of time in your bed, so you should make it work for you instead of against you.
How Long Does a Mattress Last?
There are a few important things for the average person to know about buying a mattress. Perhaps the most important is how long they last.
When you choose a mattress, the material you choose matters, not just for comfort, but for longevity. Mattresses have an expiration date and if you continue to use yours past that time, then you’re asking for lower-quality sleep and more aches and pains upon waking.
Different types of mattresses have different life expectancies. Mattresses that are made of foam typically last for 8 to 10 years. Latex mattresses are very durable, lasting 20 years or more while still offering proper support. Hybrid mattresses, which combine coils with foam or gel, generally last between 7 and 10 years. And finally, innerspring mattresses can last between five and six years, depending on the quality of the mattress.
Why Sleeping Position Matters
To some degree, personal preference plays a big role in the type of mattress you choose. Some people prefer a softer mattress while others want a very firm mattress. The first thing that should be looked at is how you sleep at night because that will clue you in to the type of mattress you need. After all, choosing the right type of mattress based on your sleeping position can improve your sleep and your level of discomfort upon waking.
In general, people sleep on their stomach, side, or back. Each sleeping position has unique needs when it comes to support from a mattress.
Back sleepers - For those who sleep on their backs, hybrid mattresses or firm foam mattresses will provide enough support to keep the spine aligned as they snooze. You can’t go wrong with a mattress that has been endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association, such as The Plank Firm Luxe mattress.
Side sleepers - In order to help take some of the pressure off their shoulders and hips, which makes the best mattress for side sleepers, a softer mattress may be necessary to help cushion those pressure points. Pillow-top mattresses and memory foam are very popular with this crowd. You could be looking for a mattress like the Helix Midnight Luxe.
Stomach sleepers - Sleeping on your stomach is generally regarded to be the worst sleeping position for spinal health because it places a lot of pressure on the spine, eventually leading to neck and back pain. If you’re a stomach sleeper, then it’s very important to choose a mattress that supports your body properly. A firm mattress is ideal.
Some people are combination sleepers and move between a few sleeping positions during the night. If this sounds like you, then it needs to be taken into consideration when buying a new mattress. For many people, medium-firm mattresses offer a good blend of support and comfort to accommodate different sleeping positions. Latex mattresses, as well as hybrids that combine elements of an innerspring mattress with foam comfort layers, fit the bill. A potential solution is something along the lines of the Aurora Luxe Cooling mattress
Once you know the level of firmness you’re looking for, then you can dig deeper into the other bells and whistles you may want in a mattress, such as motion isolation or reduction of dust mites.
Body Type and Mattress Choice
Another important factor that must be considered when choosing a new mattress is the body type of the person who sleeps on it. Every person is shaped differently and that can impact the pressure put on your spine as you sleep.
If you have a low body weight, a medium-firm mattress is ideal, but your main sleeping position should still be taken into account. Those with higher body weights also need support, which is why a firmer bed is a good bet. In general, hybrid mattresses are great options for larger people to get the support they need.
Height also plays a role. If you’re over six feet tall, then you probably need at least a queen-size mattress to get a good night's sleep. After all, most people don’t sleep well with their feet hanging off the end of the bed.
At the literal end of the day, people aren’t thinking of pressure relief or sleep position, they just want to fall asleep fast! That’s why doing your research before you buy a new mattress is worth every sheep you can count. That way, all you have to do is fall into bed and begin your journey to the Land of Nod.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.