How the Mattress Affects Sleep

Can the style and composition of your mattress really increase the quality of your sleep?  As we’ve discussed, sleep quality can be evaluated in several different ways.  For the purpose of this conversation we’ll consider quality as a reduction or elimination of pain during sleep.  Pain can develop in the shoulders, hips, pelvis, and neck.  The most common form of  pain that arises during sleep is in the back.

Recent studies have set out to confidently prove or refute that the composition of the sleeper’s mattress does have an impact on the quality of their sleep by making the sleep environment more comfortable.  Upon evaluating several independent studies of mattresses classified as soft, medium, firm or custom-inflated the research concluded that medium-firm mattress and custom-inflated mattresses did the best job of aligning the spine, thus reducing pain and increasing sleep quality.  The reasons a medium-firm mattress deliver a better sleep experience are still inconclusive but hypotheses are that the spine is more prone to curving on a soft surface, therefore sleeping on a firmer surface may increase alignment and straighten the neck and spine.  Additionally, medium and larger build sleepers will often sink into a soft mattress. This can cause body temperature to rise, making some individuals uncomfortable. People whose body remains on top of the mattress, due to a surface firm enough to support their weight, will likely remain cooler and more comfortable. 

If you are interested of testing the impact of a firmer sleep surface on on the quality of your sleep before investing in a new mattress you can slid a basic piece of plywood under your current mattress.

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