We spend a third of our lives asleep, which makes choosing the right mattress one of the most important decisions you can make for your health and happiness. The options seems endless: aside from the obvious matter of price, there are different materials to consider. Coils, latex, memory foam; there’s something to fit every taste. Yet, the question of firmness looms large. Debate rages as to whether a firmer or softer feel is better for our backs: in reality, there are a number of factors at play. Read on for a guide to exactly what kind of mattress support you need.
A Full Spectrum of Options
There are various things to consider when deciding upon mattress firmness. There are several key indicators of what kind of firmness you need. These include:
The position you sleep in plays a large role in shaping what kind of mattress you need. This is because the most important factor in healthy sleeping is to maintain good spinal alignment. Side sleepers can opt for some of the softest levels of mattress: because of the numerous pressure points along the hip and shoulder line, a softer feel lets this be dissipated along the length of the body. Meanwhile, front and back sleepers require something a little firmer so as not to let the heavier parts of the body sink down and pull the spine into a reverse curve.
Height and Weight
For people who have a low body mass, a softer mattress may prove more comfortable than something firm. Equally, heavier bodies will require a firmer bed so as to avoid any uncomfortable sagging. Again, you are looking for something which bridges the gap between support and comfort over a sustained period of time: although people may initially prefer the feeling of ‘sinking into’ their bed, this can prove unpleasant after an entire night.
It’s important not to forget the preference and circumstances of the person who may be sharing the mattress with you. If they have a significantly difference sleep style or body weight, you may need to find some kind of compromise. Mattresses with a memory foam top, such as this example from Eve Sleep, are renowned for their ability to isolate motion. This means that no matter whether your partner is tossing and turning the whole night through, you can get some peace.
What are the Signs Your Mattress Isn’t Right
There are a few warning signs you should look out for that indicate you have a badly matched mattress firmness. If you notice that your shoulders, knees, or hips are experiencing any kind of numbness or tingling, they may be experiencing too much push from the mattress. A sense of being ‘away’ from your mattress is another sign that it is too firm. By contrast, if you find getting in and out of bed a struggle and of your pressure points sinking too far into the bed, it is too soft for you.
If your mattress is causing problems but you are not in a place to replace it just yet, there are a few things you can do to make it more comfortable. Adding a soft or firm topper can help relieve the worst symptoms, while flipping or rotating the mattress means that you can use the parts of it not usually exposed to daily wear.