Having the right mattress is one of the most effective ways you can improve sleep quality and prevent back pain. The wrong mattress can cause you to toss and turn all night and wake in the morning with a stiff and painful back. A good mattress should be comfortable and supportive, allowing your body to sink into the surface just enough that it supports the natural curvature of the spine. When you lie on your back or side, the mattress should keep the head, shoulders, and hips at a similar level, with no gaps between them, while providing enough cushioning for pressure points. The key to finding the right mattress is to know which type will suit your needs based on your usual sleep position, body type, and other factors.
Sleep is vital for the body’s recovery, however, the wrong type of mattress can negatively impact sleep and can lead to chronic back pain. If a mattress doesn’t offer adequate support for spinal alignment and sleep posture it can also make existing back pain worse. The right mattress will support the spine, promoting spinal alignment, helping to alleviate back pain while promoting restorative sleep.
What’s Your Sleeping Position?
Different sleeping positions require different types of mattress firmness levels, contouring, and cushioning to prevent back pain. Whether you’re a stomach sleeper, back sleeper, or side sleeper, there’s a type of mattress that will best suit your sleeping style to help prevent back pain in the future and promote deeper sleep.
Sleeping on your back is considered the healthiest sleep position, so back sleepers will have more flexibility when it comes to choosing a mattress, compared to people who rely on other sleep positions.
Most people aren’t stomach sleepers, however, if you normally lie in this sleep position you should avoid mattresses that are too soft, since sinking into the surface can place unnecessary pressure on the spine.
Most people are side sleepers. Since the shoulder and hip need to be supported when side sleeping, a soft mattress can help to prevent back and neck pain.
Combination sleepers find themselves frequently switching from their stomach to their back or side. Combination sleepers should look for a medium-firm mattress, one that’s made with latex. This will allow them to move around easily and still enjoy the pressure-relieving effects of the mattress.
The best type of mattress that can prevent and relieve back pain can depend on many variables. Along with the firmness of the mattress, material type should also be taken into account.
When it comes to firmness, soft-firm mattresses fall somewhere in the middle. This type of mattress isn’t too soft or too hard, having a firmness level of 3-4. The bed’s comfort level is soft to the touch but the surface also provides pressure point relief.
An ultra-soft mattress is known for its cushioning support. A softer mattress isn’t the best choice for people with existing back pain since they lack appropriate support.
Medium-firm mattresses have a firmness level of 5 out of 10. This type of mattress is a great choice for combination sleepers, side sleepers, and back sleepers, providing enough comfort for back sleepers while keeping the spine in a neutral position.
Medium-firm mattresses are also ideal for side sleepers, since they provide just enough support to the shoulder and hip, preventing soreness and discomfort in the morning.
Firm mattresses have a firmness rating of 7 to 8 and come equipped with thin comfort layers. A firm mattress will work well for back sleepers and stomach sleepers. Many chiropractors recommend a firmer mattress to promote spine health.
Types of Support
Mattresses are made out of different types of materials and offer cushioning at different points. A comfortable mattress should provide pain relief, eliminate poor sleep quality, can help to keep spine alignment neutral, and should be made out of breathable materials.
Hybrid mattresses provide the best of both worlds in terms of cushioning and support. This type of mattress contains a top layer of gel and memory foam, on top of pocketed coils. Hybrid mattresses are often the go-to choice for side sleepers since this type caters to two major pressure points – the shoulder and hips.
Memory foam mattresses are made out of viscoelastic foam. This material naturally molds itself to the sleeper’s body, providing excellent body contour capabilities that help to keep the spine in alignment. However, these mattresses have a reputation for trapping body heat, so a hot sleeper may need to avoid using a memory foam mattress since they can cause excessive sweating and discomfort. A hybrid bed is a great alternative for hot sleepers since it features cooling materials, such as graphite copper or gel, both of which are known to be low heat conductors that can prevent sweating during sleep.
Latex mattresses are ideal for people who suffer from chronic lower back pain. These mattresses provide strong support, and robust contouring, and can help keep the hip and spine in alignment. Latex mattresses also provide support to crucial pressure points such as the hips and shoulders, relieving pain and pressure.
Mattress comfort and firmness can be confusing to understand. Every person experiences levels of comfort and firmness differently, so the perfect mattress for one person may not work for another.
Some contributing factors include:
- Usual sleep position
- Body shape/body type
- Body weight
There’s no single universal comfort level that works for everyone. A firm mattress may work for a heavier sleeper, but the same mattress may feel too rigid for a lighter sleeper.
A mattress has a firmness scale that ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 representing softer surfaces and 10 referring to firmer surfaces. This rating is meant to help buyers choose a bed that will work the best for their sleep style, weight, health, and other variables.
Ideally, a high-quality mattress should be made of breathable material, and suit your sleeping style. For couples, the right mattress would be one with medium firmness, since it’s versatile and can suit most sleeping styles. It can also help prevent chronic pain, including back and hip pain and shoulder pain.
The goal is to choose a mattress that can improve the quality of sleep, eliminate chronic pain, can provide pressure relief, and can promote spine alignment in adults.
Contact Cornerstone Chiropractic Today to Schedule an Appointment
With so many different types of mattresses available, choosing the right one that can improve sleep and support the spine can be challenging. If you’re dealing with back pain due to a bad mattress, contact Cornerstone Chiropractic today to schedule an appointment to see a chiropractor. You can meet with one of our experienced chiropractors who can provide effective, gentle spinal adjustments that can help alleviate your pain and discomfort. Our chiropractors can also discuss what type of mattress you should purchase that would help alleviate your pain, improve sleep quality, and keep your spine properly aligned. Contact us today to learn more.