What Goldilocks Can Teach Us About Mattress Shopping
By Krista Elliott
As kids, we all heard the tale of Goldilocks and the three bears. The little girl, wandering through the woods, enters a house. She tries the occupants' porridge, chairs, and finally, their beds, only to awake with a start and see three bears looming over her. At that point, depending on the story, she is either eaten up, or she runs away at a pace that would impress Usain Bolt.
Goldilocks may have been reckless and inconsiderate (seriously, committing breaking-and-entering and then helping yourself to everybody's chairs and food and beds?). However, she was savvy when it came to selecting a mattress. Too many of us are willing to sleep on a mattress that is ill-suited, instead of taking the time to find one that is "just right."
Selecting the "Just Right" Mattress
The biggest mistake people make when mattress shopping? Not trying the mattress out. Either they just test the springiness with their hand, or by sitting on it, or they order the mattress online without trying it out at all.
But the wrong mattress can have disastrous effects. If the mattress is too soft, like Mama Bear's, it won't support your hips, shoulders or spine, creating a hammock effect that strains your muscles and ligaments. The result? Painful subluxations and perhaps even serious problems with your spinal discs. And if the mattress is too hard, like Papa Bear's? It won't conform to your body, meaning that all of your body weight will be resting on certain pressure points like your hips and shoulders, resulting in spinal misalignment and serious discomfort.
To pick the best mattress, you have to make like Goldilocks and actually lie down on it for a good long period. For best results, bring your own pillow from home, and get into your usual sleep position. If you fall asleep in one position and wake up in another, then try out both positions for a good 3-5 minutes. If the salesperson balks at letting you lay down on the mattress, walk away. A mattress is a big purchase, and you need to make sure it'll work for you.
How do you know your mattress is just right, like Baby Bear's? It should feel like ... nothing. You shouldn't feel any muscle strain from the mattress being too soft, or any pressure points from the mattress being too firm. Instead, every part of your body should feel gently but firmly supported.
Foam, Latex or Springs?
There are pros and cons to each, but in general, latex or memory foam mattresses are considered better for relieving back pain and avoiding pressure points than spring mattresses are. So if you're in the market for a new mattress, give those options a try!
But, before you go shopping ... make sure to lock your door. You never know when some weird kid will come wandering in to use your stuff.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.