Why a mattress for a bed is important, and how to choose it
Why the right mattress is important
A person spends a third of his life sleeping, and no matter how hard we try to shorten this period, it is extremely important to get enough sleep. After all, it is in sleep that the body recovers, produces important hormones and even analyzes and sorts the memories accumulated during the day. Accordingly, if you have not slept for a long time, this can lead to unpleasant consequences. According to doctors, it is not only a slight nervousness or decreased concentration and attention: some scientists link sleep deprivation with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and the development of atherosclerosis.
In order to get a good sleep, it is important to follow the sleep hygiene: going to bed and getting up at the same time, sleeping in a quiet, dark and cool room, not using gadgets with bright screens 2-3 hours before bedtime. However, if you seem to meet all these requirements, but still wake up tired or with back pain, the problem may be the mattress.
A 2009 study found that buying a new mattress seriously improves sleep quality, helps reduce back pain and even reduces stress levels. This is despite the fact that the participants in the study did not complain about lack of sleep or health and had slept on good quality mattresses before the experiment – however, quite old. So if 8 hours of sleep doesn’t make you feel better, you might want to change your bed.
How to know when it’s time to buy a new mattress
The age of your current mattress plays a big role. Most experts agree that if you’ve been sleeping on the same mattress for over eight years, it’s time to change. But this rule does not apply to all mattresses – for example, the springless models of artificial materials need to be replaced more often, and if the design uses independent springs, the service life increases.
Therefore, the most important indicator is the quality of your sleep. If you spend all night twisting to find a comfortable position, and in the morning you wake up systematically with stiff muscles and fatigue, the problem is probably in the mattress. Maybe it is not hard or soft enough, or does not provide the right support for the back. If you choose a more appropriate model, these problems will disappear.
What is an orthopedic mattress
Most of the time, the word “orthopedic” in the description is just marketing. Mattresses are not designed to treat diseases, and therefore, according to the Federal Law “On Advertising” of October 1, 2015, only those mattresses that are recognized as medical devices can be called orthopedic. They are certified by the Federal Service for Supervision of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation.
In general, if you do not have serious problems with your back, which must be corrected under the supervision of a doctor, you do not need a special orthopedic mattress. Quite suitable is what marketers call orthopedic: a mattress that supports the spine during sleep in a natural position, and thus helps to reduce the strain on it and improve blood circulation. This effect is achieved thanks to springs or special fillers.
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I have no health problems. How do I choose a mattress?
If you want and in the future not to have back problems, then when choosing a mattress you should be guided by the following parameters:
Type. Today the most common are spring and non-spring options. There are also inflatable (but they do not provide sufficient support for the spine, so you should not sleep on them regularly) and water (very expensive and quite rare in Russia).
Filling. In fact, there are not many options – in one of the next sections we will discuss them.
Stiffness. Varies depending on the age and weight of the person.
The best option – do not just lie on the mattress in the store, and sleep on it for a few nights, and preferably for a month. So you will appreciate all the pros and cons. So if you have such a possibility, choose the mattresses of those manufacturers, who offer a test period.
Type of mattress: with or without springs
To begin with, let’s look at what types of mattresses are most common in Russia.
There are two types of spring mattresses: with dependent and independent spring blocks. Mattresses with dependent spring blocks (also called “Bonnell”) are familiar to many, as the springs are connected to each other. If you press on one, all the others will move. Today, these mattresses are considered outdated: the fabric is short-lived, with time deformed and bent, which is bad for the back. Springs can break and pierce the upholstery. In general, the only plus of such a mattress – the price: models of this category can be found and for 5 thousand rubles.
Mattresses with independent spring blocks – a more modern and common option. Each spring in such a mattress is in a separate fabric cover, so that it is not likely to damage the mattress and will not stick into your back. The independence of the springs allows the best possible adaptation to the contours of the body. For example, if you lie on your side, the springs under the shoulder and thigh will be pressed a little harder than those around the waist and knees, and because of this the spine remains straight. There can be up to 1 thousand springs per 1 sq. m. in one mattress – the more springs the better the mattress supports the spine and adapts to you.
The disadvantages of mattresses with independent springs also are: they are usually quite heavy and bulky, and they are not foldable, so it is not easy to transport them. Also springs over time can begin to creak.
Spring-less mattresses support the body due to the filler. Quality modern options, such as with a layer of memory foam, provide the most correct support for the spine. In addition, they are thinner than spring mattresses, and they can be rolled, which means that it is easier to transport from place to place. The disadvantages are usually associated with the chosen filler. Most often, in non-spring mattresses, coconut coir is responsible for hardness, and latex or polyurethane foam is responsible for back support.
What mattress filler to choose
- There are many types of fillers, and almost all of them are used in both spring and non-spring mattresses. Most often there is a combination of several materials, due to which the stiffness varies.
- Latex. Provides good support for the spine, as it easily accepts the contours of the body. In addition, the latex layer is free of dust mites. And thanks to the porous structure of the material, the mattress is well ventilated and does not retain moisture. Latex can easily withstand a lot of weight and is comfortable for those who have back pain. Its disadvantage is low wear resistance: after some time, the material ceases to return to its original shape, and depressions may form on the surface. In addition, some people complain that it is hot to sleep on mattresses with latex.
- Polyurethane foam, aka foam rubber. This is not thin yellow foam: in high-quality mattresses a more modern material is used. It is elastic, elastic, follows the shape of the body, and in thick non-spring mattresses supports the spine well. In addition, it is an inexpensive option. From the disadvantages: the polyurethane foam mattresses actively absorb moisture and odors, and it is not easy to clean them.
- Coir. This natural material made from pressed coconut fibers is used to give the mattress rigidity. Usually used in combination with latex or polyurethane layers. Coir is an environmentally friendly, hypoallergenic and well-ventilated material. Of the disadvantages – a high price. In addition coir is not the strongest, so it is better not to roll or fold the mattress.
- The hollofiber is hypoallergenic and long enough durable material. More often it is used together with others to give elasticity.
- Wool. Sheep, less often camel or llama wool is usually used. This material absorbs moisture well, breathes and regulates warmth (in summer it is cool on a mattress with wool, in winter it is warm). Adapts to the contours of the body, but the shape does not hold, so the support for the spine is not the best. But usually wool is combined with materials that are responsible for this. On the downside: a wool mattress can be a source of allergies.
- Foam. Various foams are derivatives of polyurethane foam with additives of different density. From this material, for example, models with zones of different rigidity are made. Of particular note are foams with the memory effect (memory foam), which perfectly follow the shape of the body, support the spine and relieve joints. Another big plus is that the mattress does not wobble if the person lying next to it tosses. You probably saw the commercials, in which people are jumping on the mattress, and a glass of wine standing one meter away from them remains motionless – this very material was used in them.
Of the disadvantages: not everyone likes the effect of sinking into the mattress, and sleeping on your stomach on it is not too comfortable. In addition, at low temperatures the mattress will be excessively rigid, because the foam freezes.
How to choose the hardness of the mattress
The type of firmness – increased, medium or low – is indicated in the certificate of the mattress. Correctly chosen hardness helps to keep the spine in the right position: during sleep it must remain straight. That is why weight is important in this case: large people press the soft mattresses harder, which means that the spine is curved. Conversely, if you weigh little, the springs of a hard mattress under your weight will not be able to sag, and the back during sleep will be uneven.
Mattresses with increased rigidity can withstand maximum loads. They are also recommended for spinal disorders: the hard surface supports diseased or damaged vertebrae. However, it is not always comfortable to sleep on them.
Mattresses of medium hardness are suitable for the majority of healthy people of medium build, and that is why they are the most popular. In these products, the stiffness is achieved by combining different fillers.
Models of low hardness are usually made with several layers of soft enough materials: latex, hollofiber, and foam. They are suitable for those who weigh very little, This link will give you a more comprehensive look at the issue
How to choose a mattress for a child or a pensioner
Children under two years of age are best served by stiffer non-spring mattresses, because they allow the body to maintain the correct position. From the age of two to 13 years old, sprung mattresses can be selected, but it is still better to look for stiffer versions. When choosing a mattress for a child, it is a good idea to consult an orthopedist: the spine can suffer from incorrect sleeping position caused by incorrect distribution of the load.
At the age of 14-25 years, experts recommend using both hard mattresses and medium hardness. At the age of 25-50 years old when choosing, you need to take into account including weight. If you weigh up to 55 kg, take a closer look at softer versions. In general, always pay attention to such parameter as the maximum load – it shows how much weight the mattress can withstand.
After 50 years of age, soft and medium-hard models are best.
The price of the mattress matters
An important criterion for many is the price. Immediately determine the amount you are willing to spend on a mattress, and then choose the best option by type and suitable firmness in this price range.
The cost of the mattress depends on many parameters: size, materials used (for example, latex is more expensive, polyurethane foam is cheaper), the country of manufacture, the manufacturer. Often low quality materials are used in cheap mattresses. If you need a mattress for the country house, where you go only on weekends during the summer, or for a guest bed, you can save money. But for regular use, choose the best possible option. A quality mattress with proper care will last you up to ten years.
If you have chosen an expensive mattress in the store, study its characteristics and features and look for a similar one in the price category below: you can often find a more budget-friendly analogue.
What else to look for when choosing a mattress
The position in which you sleep most often. On your stomach and back it is more comfortable to sleep on a firmer mattress, and if you lie on your side, make sure the spine stays straight – the mattress should provide excellent support for the back. A very hard mattress in this case is not suitable, choose softer versions.
Mattress height. The standard height is 19-23 cm. Thin mattresses under 14 cm are usually intended for rare use or intended for children. For adults of normal or heavy weight they are not recommended: the back support would be insufficient. Quality mattresses with independent spring blocks are usually thicker than 18 cm, and thinner ones have insufficient thickness of the filler. Top models with many layers of different fillers can have a thickness of up to 40 cm, but they are also very expensive.
Mattress size. It must fit your bed: if the width of the mattress is larger, the edges will hang down, which can affect the material. A mattress that is narrower than the bed is often uncomfortable to use, plus the cover will wear out faster. A difference of 1 cm between the size of the bed and the mattress is acceptable. If the mattress is smaller than the bed by 2 cm or more, it is better to order the right size.
How to take care of a mattress
After a certain time, the filler or springs may deteriorate, and the mattress will no longer support the back well. However, you should keep in mind that if you take care of the product incorrectly, it can deteriorate much earlier.
Firstly, the mattress should be flipped regularly. Experts advise doing this once every three months – it is convenient to remember to flip the mattress with the onset of each new season.
Secondly, once every six months (e.g., summer and winter) you should swap sides of your feet and head. All this is to ensure that the layers of the mattress are pressed evenly and that no creases form on the product in the shape of the body – they indicate that it is time to change the mattress.
Third, the mattress should be vacuumed and cleaned regularly to keep dust mites out – many people are allergic to them. A good option is to immediately buy a mattress protective cover, which you can wash regularly, and once a year you can call in a dry cleaner to treat the mattress.
Fourthly, however you may wish, you should not jump on the mattress like on a trampoline. This has a negative effect on the filler and springs and reduces the service life of the product.