Just when you’re about to get up from bed, you feel a shot of pain from your lower back. The other night, your sleep was disrupted by a neck strain. Or was it muscle soreness?
Your mattress may be the reason for these aches. It could be too firm/too soft, sagging, or not supportive enough. If not fixed, this issue can interrupt your slumber. In turn, it can lead to poor sleep, even if you satisfy the suggested amount of 7 to 9 hours.
If you’ve been wondering whether your mattress is affecting your physical health and, thus, your sleep quality, here are a few factors to help you determine what exactly is wrong:
Mattress firmness is a matter of preference. Depending on the degree of compatibility, you may choose a plush or firm surface. Your sleeping position can also steer you toward one option over the other.
Through the years, manufacturers have been able to tell which firmness level matches sleeper types and sizes. Below is a sample assignment using the 1-10 Firmness Scale.
- Ultra Soft (1 to 2) – Sink-to-the bottom feel with no pushback; not recommended for any type or size.
- Soft (3 to 4) – Conforms closely to curves and supports the spine gently; it is suitable for side sleepers and people who weigh less than 130 pounds.
- Medium Firm (5 to 6) – Not too soft, not too firm; can cater to most sleepers but best if you’re in between 130 and 230 pounds.
- Firm (7 to 8) – Some conformity and sink-in feel; accommodates individuals who are 230 pounds and up.
- Ultra Firm (9 to 10) – Minimal to no sinkage and conformity; recommended only for patients with an illness or injury.
If your back and muscles feel stiff or sore, check if you’re getting enough support from your soft or firm mattress.
Memory foam and latex foam are two well-loved mattress materials because they cradle your pressure points. Memory foam is the best in providing contouring support to your head, neck, shoulders, spine, hips, and legs. Without this “hug,” your spine won’t settle into a neutral position (a slight S shape). Latex is less conforming. But it still keeps you in alignment.
Meanwhile, you may want to ditch an old innerspring bed with thin cushioning, unless the cushioning is firm. A plush foam layer on top will let you sink toward the spring base. This design can cause physical discomfort for some people.
Wear and Tear
Sagging is the most common sign of mattress wear. If sagging is premature yet minor, you can place a topper to even out the surface. You can flip your bed if it’s the dual-sided type.
In some cases, mattress padding can shift and form lumps. This change can affect the support provided to your pressure points. However, it seldom happens to models with targeted zones, which use high-quality components.
With more advanced forms of deterioration, you may send it to the manufacturer for repair or replace your bed altogether. But if it can wait, schedule your shopping during the best time to buy a mattress, such as season openings and holidays.
Are two sleepers squeezing themselves in your double mattress? It could be your partner, sibling, or pet joining you in a bed that’s meant for one person. Two heads (and bodies) are not better in this case.
Co-sleeping is not the problem, but the mattress size. Your back or hip may be hurting because your body is not in alignment. If your room still has space, you probably need to upgrade to a queen or king.
Also, if you are a light sleeper, a bed with minimal to zero motion transfer can do little to insulate your co-sleeper’s movements at night.
It is not only pain that can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep – exposure to heat while sleeping can increase wakefulness, according to a 2012 study. During the test, they were asked to sleep fully clothed, on a mattress with bedding. Close contact with layers of fabric can raise your skin temperature.
Mattresses made of traditional memory foam and high-density polyurethane foam can aggravate the problem. These foam types are notorious for “sleeping hot.” See if they are found in your bed. If yes, try adding a cooling or thermo-regulating topper, especially if you’re prone to night sweats.
When you’re ready to buy a new one, pick a model that is breathable, cooling, and/or temperature-regulating. Choosing the right mattress can create a world of difference for your sleep health.
Other mattress-related factors that may be affecting your sleep quality include thickness, allergens, and dust mites. Don’t take any of these for granted. Small issues can build up and become bigger sources of discomfort and pain.
Make sure to rule out any medical condition as well. If you’re suspecting a different cause, such as a mental or sleep disorder, please see your primary care doctor immediately. They may be able to help address the matter effectively.