Getting a good night’s sleep is what we look forward to as we end our tiring day from work or school. Sleep should be a state of complete relaxation which enables us to recharge our batteries for the next day to come. In addition, it is obvious that our performance of daily tasks depends on the quality and duration of our sleep the night before. Therefore, the factors that allow us to have a good night’s sleep should also be carefully thought about, especially knowing that we spend about one-third of our lives asleep.
Initiating a state of sleep depends on a lot of different factors such as comfort, stress level, recent food intake, room temperature, and mattress used. To achieve that perfect state of slumber, we have to start with the basics, and one of which is choosing the perfect mattress for you.
In the task of selecting a mattress, you need to make decisions about firmness, size, and the type of mattress. Other experts such as spine specialists would also dictate additional criteria which are specific to patients with orthopedic disorders. But for this article, we focus more on selecting a mattress for the general population.
Firmness of a mattress is a primary consideration. In an article about choosing the best mattress at webmd.com, Dr. Arya Nick Shamie, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, was interviewed. According to her, the mattress must be firm enough that it supports your body in a neutral position, such that your spine would have a nice curvature and your buttocks, heels, shoulders, and head would be supported in proper alignment. In addition, some experts agree that a mattress with a more firm consistency would be more appropriate for people with lower back pain.
Another consideration is the size of the mattress. The general rule is: bigger is better. A mattress of a larger size is preferred because it is known that a healthy sleeper moves an average of 20 times during the regular hours of sleep. Because of this, there should be at least enough space to change into those different positions. If you have a partner, you should also think about additional space for him or her and of course, the different positions that he or she makes while sleeping as well.
Finally, you should also think about the type of mattress to be used. The most common types of mattresses these days are innerspring, air, memory foam, adjustable beds, waterbeds, and polyurethane. Each type of mattress has its own pros and cons but there were no articles I found that chose a specific type of mattress over the other. This factor is somehow arbitrary and would depend mostly on the preference of the individual. You can choose any type, just as long as you keep in mind of the previous requirements: firmness and size. Also, choose a type of mattress that would maintain its shape and consistency for years to come. So far, the innerspring type of mattress is known to be the most popular pick. But try different types, which feels best to you?
Now that you know what to look for in a mattress, the next step is to go to a furniture store and try one yourself. According to Board Certified Sleep Specialist and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Michael Breus, it is a requirement to test a mattress in the store and laying down in the position in which you normally sleep. Don’t feel embarrassed about it, the sales people would actually expect you to lie on their beds as part of your decision-making process! Dr. Breus also suggests that you should spend at least 10 to 15 minutes trying the bed and that you should bring your own pillow as well.
Some other tips when trying a mattress is that you should bring your partner along, if you have one, and ask him or her to join you in trying the mattress. Remember to choose wisely since you will be spending a lot of time on it. Lastly, ask if the mattress comes with a trial period that would allow you to exchange or return it if it is not right for you, just in case. You do not want to get a mattress home and find out after a few nights that it causes you back pain.