The average human spends approximately 25 years of their life sleeping. That’s 9,125 days spent lying on their mattress! There is plenty of recent concern about the amount of time humans are spending sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen, and how to choose the right keyboard, desk, computer mouse, and office chair to keep the body healthy. But what about their mattress? Many consumers choose a mattress based on price or size. While it is important to keep a budget in mind and not get carried away by the salesperson’s pitch, the most important criteria is the one that is most often misunderstood. This is how to choose the adequate firmness for the needs of the shopper.
Doctors say that when sleeping, the body should be supported in a neutral position, with the spine following a natural curvature and the buttocks, feet, shoulders and head properly aligned. A bed that is too firm will press too hard on those points, while one that is too soft will fail to provide adequate support for the skeletal structure. Anybody that has ever woken up with an achy body or sore back likely is the victim of one of these situations.
A common misconception is that a soft sleeping surface is the most comfortable, as it most resembles a hug! However, contrary to popular belief, those who suffer from sensitive backs should consider purchasing a slightly firmer mattress to provide support to the spine. This rule of thumb is applicable for anyone who has ever felt achy and stiff when they get out of bed in the morning. Researchers following patients with long-term back pain have discovered that people who use medium to firm mattresses experience less back pain than people using softer, plusher beds. The right choice also depends on the user’s weight, but should always make the body feel almost weightless. The following list covers five good “rules of thumb” for all shoppers hoping to avoid sales tactics and go in with an educated idea of what they want and need:
1. If a sensitive or achy back is ever a concern, firmer is always better! Bring a pillow and lie on the surface for 10-15 minutes.
2. More coils do NOT equal more comfort! The average human body cannot appreciate anything beyond a coil count of 390.
3. Although spring or coil fillings work well for most shoppers, those who are shopping for someone larger in size may want to limit their search to only spring or coil bases, instead of other options such as memory foam or latex.
4. Side sleepers who don’t experience back pain may benefit from a softer sleeping surface that provides more cushion for their shoulder and hip joints. Stomach sleepers should consider buying a firmer option, preventing their spines from over extending and bowing in too much.
5. The typical bed has a maximum lifespan of seven years, which may help with family budgeting or planning.