Ergonomics – Sleep Better With The Right Mattress (Part I)


With chronic neck, back or shoulder pain, one source we must consider is your mattress.

There are more mattresses than we can imagine and the process of considering which to purchase can be overwhelming. It’s important for you to take your time and go through the process because the wrong decision can be both painful and costly.
What follows is a great breakdown of the five leading mattress types listed with pros and cons.
These mattresses have been around since the 1930s. They provide consistent comfort and support across the entire body and responsive to shifting sleep positions during the night. When shopping for these mattresses ask about the types of coil design used, the gauge of wire used and the quality of the comfort layer materials blanketed between you and the springs.
  • Bonnell Coils and Continuous Coils are common due to lower manufacturing costs
  • Offset Coils provide more independent movement while conforming to our body better
  • 14-gauge wire is a good standard to begin with, anything over 15-gauge is flimsy
  • Make sure the comfort layer materials near the surface of the mattress are of good quality and don’t allow you to feel the spring unit pressing into your back as you sleep
  • Pros: Consistent comfort, proven history, reasonable prices
  • Cons: Less than optimal ability to adapt to the curvature of your spine; doesn’t prevent motion transfer which can disturb your partner’s sleep; cheaper designs have a short lifespan and can feel flimsy.
Pocketed Coil Mattresses
Innersping mattresses rely on a single steel assembly unit to provide even support across your entire body. Pocketed coil mattresses are comprised of several hundred individual springs each enveloped in their own pocket of fabric. This allows each spring to provide isolated support to your entire body without affecting any of the other springs around it.
  • Pros: Excellent comfort that adapts to pressure point; eliminated motion transfer so that both you and your partner can sleep soundly; high value for the price
  • Cons: Simple compared to more modern bed types that have advanced the pocketed coil design toward even greater comfort
Memory Foam Mattresses
In a typical memory foam bed, actual memory foam only makes up the top 1 – 3 inches of foam near the sleeping surface of the mattress with a more high-density traditional polyurethane foam is used as a support core underneath. The best memory foam mattress designs employ advanced materials like gel-infused and/or high-density foams made from natural sources like soy.
  • Pros: Well-recommended by back and joint pain sufferers for the orthopedic support they provide while conforming to every curvature of your body.
  • Cons: Sleeps hot as a result of traditional memory foams’ poor breathability; lack of “bounce” makes for a sleep surface that sometimes feels more like quicksand
Latex Mattresses
Latex mattresses provide many of the same conforming qualities that people like about memory foam, however, the best latex mattress designs minimize the drawbacks of memory foam by providing a cooler sleeping surface with just the right bounce.
  • Pros: Cool sleep surface that conforms to your body like memory foam without making it difficult to change sleep positions throughout the night
  • Cons: Some don’t like the “spongy” feel of latex; latex allergies might deter a small number of people; latex beds can be expensive
Hybrid Mattresses
Hybrid mattresses may combine a pocketed coil foundation that’s blanketed with a memory foam on top. They may also contain combinations of other materials like latex and nano coils.
  • Pros: Conforms to your body as well as memory foam without sacrificing the “bounce” factor of innersprings mattresses
  • Cons: Hybrid labeling can sometime be ambiguous and misleading regarding what materials are actually inside; some hybrids provide only trivial advantages over standard pocketed coil designs
If you have had your mattress for over ten years, like I have, it’s time to get a new one. Check out each of them and see which you like best. Personally, I’d stay away from the memory foam since it sleeps hot which isn’t good for general sleeping conditions (ideal temperature for sleeping is between 60° and 65° Farhenheit).
Below are some links that discuss how to choose the right mattress and mattress myths.
The other consideration when purchasing the right mattress is purchasing a good mattress cover. Why do you need to purchase a mattress cover? Well, one of the most important reasons is the protection they offer against dust mites. I’m going to do us all a favor and not insert a picture…
Below is a link to the Best Dust Mite Covers:
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Book Authored by Deidre Ann Johnson

Keep this handy book by your desk while working or in your carry on when travelling for tips to keep you flexible and pain free.