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Chiropractors are often asked for advice on the selection of beds and mattresses and, in truth, there is no one solution that suits all. Choosing the right bed can minimise those factors that may lead to, or aggravate back pain. Research by the British Chiropractic Association in 2011 showed that of those experiencing back pain, 41% of women and 36% of men said that their pain could be brought on by a night’s so-called ‘rest’. We come in different weights, shapes and sizes, but have one thing in common; we spend more than a third of our lives in bed, so we should choose our beds carefully. Research demonstrates that disturbed sleep will, in turn, exacerbate the chronic back pain problem. Thus, a vicious cycle develops in which the back pain disrupts sleep and difficulty sleeping makes the back pain worse.
What you sleep on makes a big difference in the quality of sleep you get every night. A mattress that does not offer enough support for your spine can lead to muscle fatigue and a poor night’s sleep. A good mattress will allow you to maintain the same natural spinal alignment you have when standing. When your body is allowed to rest in its natural position, muscles are relaxed and sleep is more refreshing.
Absolutely! Sleeping on your side, with the knees bent or with a pillow between your knees is the best way to maintain proper body posture. If you must sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to support the normal curve of the lower back. Sleeping on your stomach or with your head elevated on an oversized pillow arches the natural curves of the back, as well as increases pressure on the diaphragm and lungs. These positions can aggravate your back and result in a less refreshing sleep.
Do I need a hard or soft mattress?
The best mattress is a ’supportive one‘. A 16 stone person sleeping on a mattress may not get the same support as a 10 stone person sleeping on the same mattress.
Do I need a new mattress?
Are you and your partner getting a comfortable night's sleep? If the answer is no, your bed may be the problem.Can you feel the springs through
the mattress? If the answer is yes, it is definitely time to buy a new one.
Is the bed more than 10 years old? If the answer is yes, consider purchasing a new one. Beds wear out and may sag or lose support with time.
What about my partner?
Always shop with your partner as your respective ideal mattress tensions could be very different. If this is the case, buy beds from a
range that allow two single mattresses to be zipped together, so that you both get the support you need.