The importance of a mattress for back pain
We spend about a third of the day in bed. Whether we rest during this time or restlessly toss and turn in bed depends heavily on the mattress.
A good mattress and correct sleeping position can improve sleep quality, but you need to know what to look for when buying one.
A new mattress can be an investment. Buying a new bed (or just a new mattress because the other one is old and worn) should take some time to make the right choice.
There are tons of mattress choices out there, so it makes sense to do some research before you buy; Visit www.mattress-wiz.com for a number of helpful ratings and reviews online.
Once you have decided on a mattress, you can first compare prices and discounts on the Internet, because the sellers are known to be a bit pushy. You can then try the mattress in a shop to find out if you really made the right choice.
Why is sleeping position so important?
“A mattress can affect how people sleep,” says Michael Decker, a professor at Georgia State University and spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
One aspect of how the mattress can affect our sleep has to do with the network of capillary blood vessels that lie beneath the skin.
Decker says, “Reclining on any part of the body for an extended period of time reduces blood flow in the blood vessels with the weight and deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients.” Therefore, the nerve cells and pain receptors in the skin send a message to the brain to change position. Turning over allows the blood to flow again, but sleep was briefly interrupted.
Ideally, a mattress that relieves bearing pressure should improve nighttime sleep, Decker says. And yet the ideal mattress looks different for each of us.
It is believed that the mattress should adequately support the spine at all points and keep it in the same position as when standing.
A mattress that is too hard can cause pain in the areas where the body weight is greatest, such as the pelvis.
Patients suffering from trochanteric bursitis (bursitis in the thigh) may find a mattress that is too hard particularly painful. Side sleepers experience increased bearing pressure on the hips and shoulders, where the body rests on the mattress.
Which mattress is the right one?
Finding the right mattress doesn’t mean searching for the best brand or digging deeper into your wallet. Decker says, “A more expensive mattress doesn’t automatically mean better.” The costs for the materials used and the effort for sales-promoting marketing are reflected in an expensive price tag.
Instead of focusing on the price, we should rather be aware of what we expect from a mattress. Decker says, “Choosing a mattress is a very personal matter.” Some people prefer hard mattresses, others soft.
While there is no scientific evidence that one mattress over another makes for a better night’s sleep, many people with back pain only sleep on one type of mattress. Anyone who suffers
from lower back , back or neck pain should be particularly careful when buying a new mattress: it must not be too hard and not too soft.
“If the mattress is too soft, you sink into it. Conversely, if it’s too hard, there’s too much bearing pressure on the shoulders, sacrum, and neck,” said Howard Levy, Emory University assistant professor of orthopedics, sports medicine, and rehabilitation.
A medium-firm mattress with a softer cover offers the ideal mix of support and comfort.
Those who sleep with their heads elevated might consider buying an adjustable bed. Doctors advise people with smoker’s lung (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD for short) to elevate their head position when sleeping to prevent nocturnal heartburn and gastric reflux. Beds like this also allow the angle of the knees and hips to be adjusted up to 90°, which takes the pressure off aching joints, Levy explains.
Do I need a new mattress?
If you have trouble sleeping or are more tired when you get up than when you go to bed, you should analyze where and how you sleep. A good mattress with a spring wood frame promotes restful sleep and supports the spine .
Mattresses don’t last forever. Most people wait too long before replacing the old mattress. If it has been in use for more than 10 years, it should most likely be replaced.
The following signs can provide a clue:
- You wake up tired and your body aches. This can be a sign that the mattress is not providing enough support for a night’s rest. If you don’t wake up refreshed in the morning, it might be time to change your mattress.
- The fabric is old, worn or frayed. The surface creaks or squeaks. These could be indications that the mattress and underlay are worn out.
- The bed is no longer felt to be comfortable. The mattress is too soft or does it have a hollow in the sleeping area? If you’re rolling into the middle or just can’t find the right position to fall asleep, then this is the moment to start thinking about a new purchase. Does the sleeping position matter? In any case! Sleeping on your side, with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs is the best position for proper posture. If you prefer to sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to support the natural curve at the bottom of your back. If you sleep on your stomach or lie your head on a particularly high pillow, the natural S-shape of the spine is inverted and the pressure on the diaphragm and lungs increases. This
Positions can cause the sleeper to toss and turn throughout the night and sleep may be perceived as less restful.
It is important to turn the mattress frequently to extend its life and improve support.