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Tom’s Guide writes about the way mattresses can have a detrimental effect on our backs.

Do you wake up achy and in pain in the mornings? Well, if you do it might be your mattress that is contributing to your back pain. Tom’s Guide says that “there are many reasons why mattresses can lead to backache, including if your bed is old and well past its natural lifespan if it’s sagging or offers the wrong firmness for your sleep style and body weight.”

Does this sound usual to you? If so then it might mean that it is time to buy a new mattress specifically for your body and sleep style, one that can support your spine and stop causing you back pain. There are lots of companies in the UK that now offer 30 day trial with mattresses so you don’t need to worry in case you buy the wrong one. It can be quite hard to decide which is best for you.

Experts at Spine Health, wrote “Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause or worsen lower back pain. Lack of support from a mattress reinforces poor sleeping posture, strains muscles and does not help keep the spine in alignment, all of which contribute to low back pain.”

If your back pain is worse in the mornings then it could well be that it is your mattress that is causing your pain. If the pain gradually improves throughout the day, then that’s another key sign that your bed could be the main culprit. If your muscles are working too hard to keep your spine aligned then they do not have time to rest, your joints are under constant stress, and your discs are not able to decompress and rehydrate, leaving you with pain when you wake up.

Another sign that it is your mattress causing your back pain is if stretching for 15 minutes to half an hour after you wake alleviates your pain, then it’s the mattress causing the pain in the first place. Constantly shifting your sleep position in order to get comfy is also an indicator that your mattress is causing your back and hips to ache.

Although a cozy mattress might seem the best option, if it’s too soft then it can throw your spine out of alignment. The exact same thing can also happen if the mattress is too hard for your body weight and frame. If I stay in a Hotel with a hard bed it ‘always’ sends my back out and can ruin my break. I always ask before booking if their beds are soft or hard beds. For me personally a little softer is more comfortable.

They say that the ideal mattress should be medium-firm. If a mattress is too firm, it will push the shoulders and hips out of alignment causing the back to ache. Harvard Health reported that, “one survey of 268 people with low back pain found that those who slept on very hard mattresses had the poorest sleep quality.”

If your mattress is too soft then it will drop the spine into the mattress without any proper support, leading to bad alignment and body ache. Harvard Health also states: “You might sink in so deeply that your joints twist and become painful during the night.”

Once your mattress starts to sag, then it will soon be past the point of no return and no longer able to give your spine the proper support it needs for healthy sleep. You could of course use a high quality mattress topper to keep the surface level, but these are no substitute for buying a new mattress. 

I was also told a good way to keep a mattress for longer is to flip or rotate your mattress following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will help keep your bed in better condition for longer especially if your partner is a different weight from you.

The best way to try a mattress is to find one with a lengthy, risk-free 30 trial. If you are unsure what firmness to go for then choose one with a medium-firm feel. Also look out for features such as lumbar support or zoned support. This means the firmness is varied across the mattress, becoming more supportive in the middle and cozier along pressure points such as the shoulders. Springs that are stiff can cause the body to lie unevenly on the surface, leaving your lower back with little or no support.

I wrote a post last September with Forbes 11 Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers, and another one on the Best Portable Mattresses to Sleep On for campers and people on the move.

I also wrote one for Fibromyalgia sufferers which was a Mattress & Bedding Guide for Fibromyalgia Sufferers. What Mattress has a list of the Best UK Mattresses.

Finding the right mattress is very important not just for your spine but for a decent nights sleep as sleep deprivation can become a progressive illness.

Spine Universe comment that the average person spends approximately one third of their life in bed. Yet when it comes to where we sleep, we often do not consider how our mattress can affect our backs. No other piece of furniture in your house is used as often or affects your overall health more than your bed. 

Another company who specialises in designer mattresses is the Simba Sleep Mattress who created their mattress after extensively testing it with The Sleep to Live Institute whose research is based on profiling more than 10 million people and 180 million body profile data points. One reviewer put the best sleep you could wish for from a mattress. it cured my back pain, waking up each morning in a Simba mattress is like being on Cloud 9. Absolutely no regrets.

Source: Tom’s Guides, Spine Health, Simba Sleep, Back Pain Blog


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