Take the Pressure Off When Buying a New Mattress

New Mattress
7/17/2014

There are several signs you can look for, but the first thing to consider is how you feel right after you get up in the morning.

"If you wake up in the morning and have some low back pain and can stretch and get rid of it in 15 or 30 minutes, that means you're on an inappropriate mattress for you," says Dr. Arya Nick Shaimie, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center. Shaimie explained to WebMD that a mattress needs to support your body in a neutral position during your sleep so that your spine has a proper curvature, with head, shoulders, buttocks and even heels supported in proper alignment.

If a mattress is too firm, it pushes these pressure points out of alignment. Too soft can be just as bad as your body droops and is again out of alignment.

No one kind of mattress is better for everybody. It depends on you and your body. Generally, a firmer bed is better for people who suffer from lower back pain.

To figure out which mattress is best for you, test it in the store. Lay down on each mattress you're considering, taking the position in which you usually sleep. Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes on the bed, and bring your pillow! If you don't feel any undue pressure after that time, you've found the right mattress.

Innerspring Mattress

The most common mattresses on the market are innerspring mattresses that support the sleeper with individually coiled springs. The top layer is covered by various materials to add comfort, such as memory foam, latex or pillow. The more coils in a mattress, the more comfort – up to a point. The difference in comfort level for a mattress with a coil count above 390 would be so small you likely would not know the difference. On the other hand, if you go for a cheap mattress without enough springs and cushion, you won't receive the proper support and end with an aching back each morning.

Memory Foam Mattress

A growing segment of the of the market is being captured by memory foam mattresses, made from layers of foam with different densities that react to weight and temperature. Because the foam molds to your body's shape, as you shift your weight during the night, the foam reduces pressure points to ease pain. Because the foam reacts to body temperature, it can absorb heat and make you feel hot during the night.

Latex Mattresses

Made from natural or synthetic rubber, latex mattresses provide a firm, even bouncy support that's felt uniformly across the bed. Its firmness makes it suitable for people with back pain, but others may find this mattress too firm.

Adjustable Beds

As their name suggests, adjustable beds adjust to varied elevations and angles, so the mattress must be flexible. You can find memory foam, latex, even air mattresses, but rarely spring mattresses. These beds are good for people who have difficulty getting in and out of bed, or who can't lay flat due to sleep apnea or acid reflux.

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