Bed Smart 101
There are two major factors to look for in a new mattress. They are:
- SUPPORT – You want the mattress to hold you in proper alignment from head to toe, so you don’t wake up with a backache.
- COMFORT – You don’t want the mattress to cause pressure to your body, which causes tossing and turning, which means you wake up tired.
How to test for support in a mattress
The most important factor in finding the correct mattress is proper support. You need the mattress to push up on your body to counteract your body weight. So that means get a hard, firm, stone-like mattress, right?
Your body isn’t a straight line. Whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach, your body has curves, and a mattress must come up to support the curves and arches of your body (similar to how a good shoe will have arch support). If you keep changing positions to try to keep your back in alignment, you’re not getting into the deeper stages of sleep, which causes you to wake up tired. The same exact consequences occur if a mattress is too soft, and you’re in it like a hammock. You want a mattress to contour to the shape of your body to hold it in its neutral alignment.
How to test for comfort in a mattress
The second most important criteria to selecting the right mattress is comfort (or as you may hear it called, pressure relief). If a mattress is too hard, it can cause pressure to your body. This cuts off circulation and pinches nerves (ever wake up with a “pins and needles” feeling in your hand?), and will cause you to change positions frequently. If you’re frequently changing positions, your sleep is fragmented and you don’t get into the deeper stages of sleep (such as REM sleep). This means you’ll wake up tired, even if you thought you got 8 hours of sleep. When you’re trying out the mattress, you should be able to lie in one position without moving around for at least a few minutes. If you can do that, you’ve found a good mattress. Those are the two main criteria. If you find a mattress that keeps you in proper alignment, which doesn’t cause pressure to your body, you’ve found a great mattress for you!