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Posted on 01-23-2015
Keeping your spine healthy is a great way to keep the rest of your body healthy, too. Back pain is difficult to overlook; after all, we’re talking about the core of our bodies, and every move we make – including breathing – can be felt in our back. Movements are magnified when we’re living with pinched nerves, sore muscles, spine misalignment, pain from an auto injury, or chronic illnesses.
If you don’t feel good before you even get out of bed in the morning, chances are you’ll lack energy and suffer aches and pains the whole day through. Although there are many ways to improve your well-being, a great starting point is getting a restful night’s sleep – consistently – and that starts with the right mattress giving you proper back support.
It could be easy to feel overwhelmed by the myriad of ads on TV and the radio, plus all of the mattress brands and their different lines. Fortunately, there are excellent resources you can take advantage of to help you pick not only a consumer or doctor recommended mattress, but the one that’s actually the right fit for you!
The key to choosing the right mattress isn’t merely to listen to what everybody else is telling you, though. You wouldn’t buy a pair of jeans just because they looked good on somebody else, right? You’d try them on first. That’s right; you have to test each mattress out for yourself. And just like finding the right pair of jeans, you can’t simply put on a pair that feels comfortable – you have to move around in them for a while to see if they’re truly the right fit. Now, some of you may feel socially uncomfortable with the prospect of “trying on” a mattress, but the stores expect and encourage it, and it certainly beats the discomfort of sleeping with the wrong mattress night after night.
When you go shopping for that new perfect-for-you mattress, plan on spending some time in the store. Once you locate a mattress you’d like to try out, lay flat on your back and spend at least 10 minutes in this position. Then lay on each side, on your stomach, or in any other position combination in which you prefer to sleep, spending at least 10 minutes in each position. Take notice, too, that what may be comfortable at first may not be offering the proper support for your spine in each sleeping position. Although the call of a soft, plush mattress may be appealing and comfortable to lie down on for a small period of time, many doctors recommend a mattress on the firm side because they offer support to keep your spine in alignment. Of course, you want your mattress to give a little, with a balance of hugging and supporting not just your spine, but the rest of your body’s curves – whether you’re a side-sleeper needing to keep your spine straight or sleeping on your back and looking for your mattress to allow for natural curvature. A medium-firm mattress or a firm mattress with added padding better adapts to the natural curvatures in the spine.
"The spine is not a straight line, and padding or a moderately firm mattress 'gives' better to the concavities and convexities of the spine,” George McClelland, DC, spokesman for the American Chiropractic Association told WebMD in 2003. “Traditionally, what we have recommended is that a moderately-firm works best, or when using a firm mattress, you should add a 1½- to 2-inch thick padding on top of it."
Consumer Reports Magazine recently concluded their first-ever mattress study. Testing 12 mattresses by various means to show how each stood up to daily use, conformed to weight and curvature of different body types, adjusted temperature, and best supported the spine in different sleeping positions, they put together a list of the top three mattresses in both Innerspring and Memory Foam categories.
The Top Innerspring (or coil mattress) is the Simmons Beautyrest Glover Park Firm Pillowtop while the Top Memory Foam is the Tempur-Pedic Tempur Simplicity.
“Mattresses should allow for natural curvature when you’re lying on your back,” said Bob Markovich, Consumer Reports Home & Yard Editor on CBS News. “But side sleepers need the spine to stay straight, and these top two provide both.”
Here are the other top four mattresses:
Of course, a great night’s sleep isn’t only good for your back, but for your overall health. Lack of sleep increases your risk of stroke, can make you add larger portions to your plate, and even negatively affect your memory.
And while many mattresses have tag lines and words that would lead you to believe they’ll feel a certain way, remember that you really must try them out for yourself as the descriptions used to label a mattress' firmness vary from maker to maker (what is “firm” to one may be “plush mediumfirm” to another). Also, speak with your chiropractor for personalized recommendations regarding your spine before you head to the store to make the experience even more productive.Don’t worry that the top recommended mattresses will save your back but break the bank; these mattresses are wallet-friendly to begin with and it’s recommended that you change your mattress only every seven to ten years, making the initial cost even less daunting. If you’ve done your hands-on – or, in this case, back-on – research properly,
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