Could a memory foam mattress help you get a better night’s sleep? Could it help relieve your aching back? If you’re not getting enough sleep or you’re waking up every morning with a backache, you might be willing to do almost anything to stop the suffering. But, is a memory foam mattress the answer?
It might go without saying, but it is important to note that everyone’s body is different. Some people swear by memory foam mattresses, and some people hate them. First, let’s consider what a memory foam mattress is.
As the name suggests, these mattresses are made of a foam material that cushions the body. Originally created for NASA in the mid-1960s, this material was perfect for cushioning astronauts from the heavy forces of acceleration during liftoff. The qualities of memory foam allow it to custom fit any person. The specially-made foam molds around the body, giving way to pressure and temperature to mold to each person’s unique shape. The foam is designed to spring back to its original shape once the person gets up.
As we age, sleep becomes increasingly challenging. Recently, this has resulted in ‘sleep studies.’ During one study on mattresses, many of the subjects actually stopped participating early because the lack of sleep became unbearable. Even after the study was complete, researchers found it impossible to clearly identify a “best mattress” based on the experiences of the remaining subjects. This indicates that any specific mattress recommendations should be regarded with caution.
The National Sleep Foundation claims that memory foam mattresses may provide the right amount of “give” to promote better sleep for those with back pain. However, before you invest in a memory foam mattress, consider the following pros and cons.
The material is durable and long-lasting.
The mattress bounces back to its original shape, so it is never lumpy.
The foam molds to your individual body, reducing pressure points and pain.
This kind of foam absorbs movement, so you will be less likely to feel it when your partner moves or “tosses and turns”.
The foam tends to smell when new, giving off a distinct chemical odor. This can be reduced by airing out the mattress for a day or so before putting it to use.
The foam material is dense, making the mattress heavy and hard to turn over or re-position.
Heat can build up, making the mattress uncomfortable for some who are heat sensitive. This effect can be particularly pronounced on a hot night, if you don’t have the benefit of air-conditioning or for women who experience hot flashes.
What are the alternatives to memory foam mattresses?
Box spring mattresses are the traditional choice. They have individually wrapped springs but differences in quality of materials and number of coils can make this a confusing choice as well. For advice about the right amount of support, please link here.
Air mattresses – we’re not referring to the blow-up air bed for overnight guests but rather, more sophisticated models with multiple chambers for separate levels of comfort for each sleeping partner.
Waterbeds. While these were more popular in the 70s, there are still numerous kinds available. Beds with one large bladder may slosh a bit and any movement from a partner will be felt. Other water beds allow you to have separate tubes allowing less disturbance when a sleeping partner moves or gets up.
While you are researching your mattress choices, one of the most effective ways to deal with back pain or difficulty sleeping due to back pain is to see a chiropractor. If you think your current mattress is in need of replacement, it probably is. Upgrading your sleeping surface can have a significant impact on spinal health and overall wellness. Visit us at Moramarco Chiropractic Office in Woburn, MA and learn more. Incorporating regular chiropractic visits as part of your overall health plan can help you sleep better.