How many of you wake up in the morning feeling like someone has punched you all over, or stiff as a board and unable to move freely for the first half hour after getting out of your cosy cocoon?  I see a surprising number of people who experience some quite debilitating aches and pains after what should be a restful and rejuvinating nights sleep.

Now there are many and varied reasons for why someone might wake up in the morning or the middle of the night with specific aches and pains and not all are related to the bed that you are sleeping in.  But if you find you can’t get comfortable at night or constantly wake up with non specific aches and pains in your back, shoulders, neck, hips or just generally all over, consider these questions:

1) When did you last change your mattress?  If it’s more than 10 years ago it may be time to buy a new one

2) Does your mattress sag in the middle, perhaps causing you to roll towards the middle if you share your bed? Or does it sag at any point along the length of your body?  Lie on your bed on your side and ask someone to look and tell you if your spine is in its normal alignment (see image above)

3) Can you feel hard springs digging into your body?  Or lumpy bits in the mattress beneath you?

So what is the best mattress for your back?

Well it would seem that this is as individual and varied as we all are.  What will be good for one person will not be good for another.  We are all different shapes, sizes and weights and we all have different sleeping habits, such as sleeping on our side or on our front (the latter by the way, I would not recommend as it puts your neck and head in a very unnatural position).  The aim of a good bed is to keep your spine relaxed in a neutral position.  If it does this it is a good bed for you.

And a neutral position? 

Basically the natural curves of your spine should all be gently supported.  Remember this includes your neck as this is the top of your spine.  Here is a picture to show you what I mean.

Correct and incorrect body alignment in bed A mattress that is too soft will allow your lower back to sink too far into the mattress putting strain on joints and causing lower back ache.  On the other hand a mattress that is too firm leads to unsupported gaps under the natural curves of your spine and this can lead to uncomfortable pressure points on the parts of your body that are in contact with the mattress.

Also, consider your pillow.  Correct head alignment in bedThis should be a continuation of your mattress in that it should support the natural curve of your neck like in the picture to the right.

Look out for future posts on good posture when sitting and standing.  Happy snoozing!

 

 

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