If you’re thinking about the health of your back, you’ll probably consider things like stretching, exercise, chiropractic adjustments and nutrition.
What you may not consider is the one place your back may spend the majority of its time.
It’s obvious when we think about it – that the position in which we sleep is one of the greatest contributing factors to the health and longevity of our backs. There are a lot of factors to consider…
• The mattress: what it’s made from, how firm and resilient it is and how do we lie on it?
• The pillows: how big and fluffy are they, and do we use one, two or none at all?
When you’re yearning for the best back possible, as well as the most comfortable sleep, this is ground zero.
The benefits of a great mattress are great sleep, and increased energy. In his book, the Promise of Sleep, scholar Doctor William Dement shows with empirical evidence that sleep is actually the prime determinant in predicting longevity.
That will be frightening news to a lot of people.
The fallout includes how you choose your mattress, making it will be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. On par with how you eat and how much you exercise. Because mattress quality helps determine sleep quality, which determines length of life, to say nothing of getting a quality back. (Ask a chiropractor, and you’ll hear that getting regular adjustments affects longevity, too.)
From the Better Sleep Council, when you’re in the store checking out new mattresses, which are the best kind for a good back and good night’s rest, try the Sleep Test.
- Select a mattress
- Lie down in your typical sleep position
- Evaluate the level of comfort and support
- Educate yourself about each selection
- Partners should test beds together
It may take up to 15 minutes in the store to get comfortable enough to mimic your normal sleep behavior.
So take off your shoes, relax, and forget that your longevity is tied to which mattress you choose.
• Innerspring Mattress takes steel coils and puts them inside padding to support you. The more coils, the more support. There are also gauges of coil that increase or decrease the amount you’ll sink into the bed. A hybrid mattress uses those steel coils and adds foam of polyurethane, elastic, latex or gel.
• Waterbeds have channels inside that make up the system used to support you. There are two kinds, the hard side, which is inside a wooden frame, and the soft side, which is inside a fabric lining. The water can be flow, or captured inside an inner web system that makes the mattress more stable.
• Foam or Gel Mattress are made of these respective materials that provide varying levels of firmness and comfort.
• Air Beds are unique in that they can be adjusted for each occupant.
• Perhaps the most contour conscious mattress is Memory Foam, which is made of a densely packed polyurethane that molds to the user.
Pillows go back to ancient times, but throughout, the point has always been to align the head with the rest of the body. This is important for the proper alignment of your cervical spine, also known as your neck.
How to choose a pillow? Decide how you typically sleep, and then select the appropriate pillow.
• Hard pillows are for people who sleep on one of their sides
• A mid strength pillow is for people who sleep on their backs
• Light pillows are for people who sleep on their chests
Armed with this information, you’ll be more prepared to get rid of that old mattress that is sapping your life force, and add years with the best tonic of all – a good night’s sleep.