Choosing the right mattress can make all the difference in a person’s quality of life; it can help to alleviate pain and provide a better night’s sleep. There are a variety of different kinds to choose from: innerspring, memory foam, latex; pillow top, firm plush; Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, Serta. But finding the right one for your physical condition can be difficult to do if you don’t know what to look for. So, where should you start? Experts say, see a doctor.
See a doctor first
It is important to see a doctor before buying a mattress whether you suffer from any preexisting pain or not, because they will be able to suggest some mattress options for you to try when shopping.
“Because each individual has a unique spinal structure, much like an orthodontist or a dentist deals with a variety of different teeth alignments, it is prudent to have each individual’s spine checked by a chiropractor,” Delaware chiropractor Chad Laurence told Viewpoints.
How to choose a mattress for back and neck pain
A doctor will be able to diagnose back problems and suggest mattresses, but everyone’s spine is different. It is hard to pin down a mattress that is universally the best option for someone with back pain, but there are specific qualities to look for in a mattress when you suffer from back and neck pain.
“Upper back and neck pain patients usually find better results with softer and plushier bedding. This allows the head and thoracic area to sink into the bed to support the cervical area. A firm spring mattress with a thin foam or plush top may be a good recommendation. Most patients with low back pain respond best to mattresses that are firm or very firm. This prevents the lumbar spine and pelvis from sinking too deep into the bed and putting extra stress on the joints in your low back,” said Linsay Way, a chiropractor who practices in Wisconsin.
How to choose a mattress for arthritis and fibromyalgia
For those who suffer from arthritis and fibromyalgia, your mattress choice depends on weight distribution.
“Patients who suffer from joint pain usually prefer cushioning that disperses their weight across the greatest body surface. These patients often have spinal complaints as well. The proper balance of cushioning and firm support generally requires a higher end mattress,” said Way.
How to choose a mattress for side or stomach sleepers
One of the most frequent negative comments in mattress reviews on Viewpoints is that they are uncomfortable for side or stomach sleepers, such as the Simmons Beautyrest TruEnergy Memory Foam Mattress.
“This is the type of mattress that you sink into then have to crawl out of. I’m a side sleeper, so when I want to roll over in the middle of the night it’s a difficult process. I also occasionally have problems with my arm going numb if I lay on my side too long.” –DebbyeS, Reviewer since 2010
One mattress chiropractors recommend for side and stomach-sleepers is a Tempur-Pedic mattress.
“I favor Tempur-Pedic mattresses. The mattress conforms to the spine and keeps it in alignment when lying on one’s side. Placing a pillow between the legs keeps the pelvis from rotating and also helps side-sleepers,” said Laurence.
Not everyone can afford a Tempur-Pedic, however, so there are other things side-sleepers should keep in mind when choosing a mattress. Look for one that is still firm enough to provide support, but has a plush, pillow, or foam top that gives slightly under your weight when lying on your side. Also, stomach-sleepers tend to inhale allergens while they sleep so a hypoallergenic mattress, such as a latex mattress, would be a good option.
Some other things to keep in mind
It is important to replace both your mattress and your box spring at the same time. You might spend more money this way, but according to the experts it is worth it in the long run.
“Mattresses and box springs are sold as a set for a reason. They are designed to work together for optimal support and comfort. It is important to replace the mattress and box spring as a set,” said Way.
Shoppers are always looking for ways to save money, but when it comes to your mattress, spending more up front may save you money in the long run.
“Adjustable air mattresses such as the Sleep Number beds are affected by barometric pressure, so the bed you go to sleep on may be much less/more firm than the one you wake up on. Foam and latex mattresses and mattress toppers lose their support the quickest. While the top quality foam mattresses can last up to ten years, you’re lucky to get a few years out of low-end foam beds,” said Way.
Picking the right mattress for your physical condition is key to getting a good night’s sleep. The best way to find out which mattress is right for you is to talk to your doctor before shopping. Even if they cannot give you a specific mattress to look for, they will be able to give you a set of guidelines your mattress should follow for you to be able to get the sleep you need and wake up feeling refreshed.