What’s the best mattress for you? The answer is…I don’t know. But, you can find it.
Have you ever slept on a mattress you really liked at a hotel or friend’s house? If so, what about that mattress was beneficial? Was it firmer or softer than the mattress you have now? Did you like your current mattress when it was new, but not as much as it aged? This information will help you choose the ideal mattress.
Some of you may sleep comfortably on a soft mattress or a pillow top, others prefer a firm mattress, and some like the tempurpedic (memory foam) mattress. Firmer is usually better, but personal preference is the rule.
Take your time when shopping for a mattress and don’t go when you are rushed. Don’t feel as though you need to make a decision on the spot. I recommend NOT looking at prices as you consider different styles and levels of firmness. Narrow your decision down to 2 or 3, and then look at price. This is an investment, and this investment could last 10-15 years, or longer. Visit different stores, use their analysis tools for additional information. Although not perfect, in-store analysis will help gather more information.
Regarding price, let’s say you buy a mattress for $3,000. Seems like a lot of money. However, if you sleep well on it for 15 years, it costs you 55 cents a night. And the returns for your health, wellness, and help in reducing neck and back problems are priceless.
Many stores offer return policies in case you are not satisfied, so ask about their policies before purchase.
Some couples benefit from a sleep number bed, as each side of a larger mattress can be changed to your liking. As another option, partners can select their own twin/full mattress and place them together.
Again, there is no one good answer for everyone. Pillows are often trial-and-error. Some people prefer contour pillows; others prefer memory foam pillows, and others buckwheat, water, or soft down pillows, thick or thin. Take note of pillows you have tried when traveling which you slept well, or poorly, with. Thinner pillows are better for most people. Thicker pillows tend to put your head and neck into strained positions.
If you are a back sleeper, thinner is definitely better, unless you have a medical condition requiring you to elevate your head and shoulders. For side sleepers, you want a pillow thick enough to fill the space between your head and the mattress, keeping your head aligned with your body, but not too thick or thin. For stomach sleepers, it gets trickier, but thinner is usually better. There are “stomach sleeper” pillows available to try.
Have you stayed in a hotel and find you need a chiropractic adjustment when you return home? If so, you may respond to a thinner, lower profile pillow. Hotel pillows tend to be thicker and fluffier.
I recommend trying a contour cervical pillow if you are looking to replace your pillow. Often people find contour pillows result in more restful, comfortable sleep, and they tend to work well with your chiropractic care. When I was a teenager, my chiropractor had me try a simple foam contour pillow, and I have used the same one ever since. I bought a second one, cut it half to make it easier to travel with.
Smaller travel versions of your chosen pillow are often available for travel.
If you still don’t have an idea of which pillow to buy, go to a mattress store and try several different shapes and sizes, and take your time when trying them out. If you are close to my office, we have a couple loaner contour pillows to try at home.
Dr. Scott Fuller, DC August 2016