Considering that most people spend one-third of their lives sleeping, having the right sleeping conditions is essential to your health. Many people sleep on firm or medium-firm mattresses, but that isn’t always the best option, and finding the right mattress can make a world of difference in your sleep routine.
Firm vs. Soft Mattresses
For most healthy and young people, a mattress is just a place to lie down. But if you have back problems or are at that age when back problems start popping up, the differences between the two types of mattresses can determine whether or not you’ll get a good night’s sleep. How can you measure a mattress’s quality and decipher if it’s the right fit for you? By looking into the following factors:
- Sink Factor– Firm mattresses don’t sink much when you lie on them, while soft mattresses compress quicker and easier when you lie down.
- Sagging– All mattresses will eventually sag due to natural wear and tear, but compared to softer mattresses, firm mattresses tend to last longer before they start to give out.
- Durability– A mattress’s durability mostly depends on its construction style and materials. Generally speaking, innerspring mattresses have the shortest lifespan, and latex and foam mattresses have the longest.
Addressing Morning Aches and Pains
People who have neck and lower back pain in the morning could benefit from a soft mattress that’s still supportive, as softer mattresses are better at cushioning your body while you sleep. The cushioning helps you avoid morning aches and pain all over your body.
Besides swapping to a softer mattress, you should also check if your mattress is too low to the ground. If you have knee or back pain, putting your feet on the floor and having to hoist yourself up will agitate these problem spots.
Mattresses for an Active Lifestyle
Sleep is essential for athletes and other individuals who lead an active lifestyle. Such people typically look for supportive high-density polyfoam or similar materials to provide comfort and extra support to aching muscles and joints.
Cooling gel materials may also be useful for those who are very active. These materials are typically found in softer mattresses, but if you still like your mattress’s firmness, you can add a cooling gel mattress topper or pillows. This sleeping setup will provide a cool and comfortable night’s sleep after a long day of running, hiking, swimming, or dancing.
Sleep Setups Ideal for Your Sleeping Position
The type of mattress you need also depends on your sleeping position. Different sleeping positions will require different mattress firmnesses, thicknesses, and materials. There are three main types of sleeping positions that have their subtypes. These sleeping positions, along with the ideal sleep setups, are as follows:
- Back Sleeper– Sleeping on your back has the benefit of distributing your weight evenly, minimizing pressure on the head, neck, and spine pressure points. If you’re a back sleeper, you can take your pick of mattress softness or firmness. Furthermore, putting a small pillow below your knee will result in the most comfort for back sleepers.
- Side Sleeper– According to SleepFoundation, side sleepers benefit from reduced back pain, better breathing, and improved digestion. To provide relief to their body’s pressure points, side sleepers should look for a mattress that contours to their body, like an air foam mattress or memory foam mattress.
- Stomach Sleeper– As explained by Health.com, “Stomach sleepers should look for a supportive mattress that provides enough pushback to keep the spine from sinking too far into the mattress and getting pulled out of its natural alignment.” For optimum comfort and support, stomach sleepers should opt for medium or medium-firm mattresses.
Take Back Your Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest isn’t so complicated once you know how your mattress can deter or aid quality sleep. Since a new mattress can cost anywhere from $250 to $3,500 or more, you have to do your research to understand exactly what is or isn’t worth paying for. Keep in mind your unique comfort preferences, body type, sleep position, and any pre-existing pain points to make this decision.
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