Sleep health and your mattress
A recent survey conducted by ChiroUp, asked 200 chiropractors and 1000+ customers for their feedback on what they believe to be the best mattress on the market. Their findings were based on a combination of reported customer satisfaction, evidence-based research, and expert opinion.
The types of mattresses considered in this study were adjustable air, memory foam, coil, latex, hybrid/other, and waterbeds. While the data did not confirm any one mattress being the right pick for everyone, it did create a great baseline to consider before making your next purchase1.
The survey concluded that what is paramount when making your choice, is mattress firmness2. While customer preferences varied from soft to firm, research and experts alike suggest that too soft of a mattress can increase chances of cervical lordosis and disc loading, while too hard of a mattress can be too rigid for certain musculoskeletal conditions and do not support adequate postural alignment3,4. One important thing they suggested to keep in mind too, is that you can always soften up a firm mattress with toppers, but you can’t harden up a soft mattress. You should avoid going too soft even if you prefer it, as it may create more harm over time5. With that said, the most recommended mattress types were determined by taking an average of pros and cons of available models on the market. Adjustable air, memory foam, and coil mattresses came out on top. The lowest performer was waterbeds, with 100% of participating chiropractors and research concluding that not only are they not recommended, they are highly discouraged for everyone.
As far as when to replace a mattress? On average, experts recommend to replace them every 5-10 years. Body size, sleep position, mattress quality, and significant health conditions do affect their longevity however6. A good way to judge when it’s time for a replacement is when you notice any visible breakdown or dip in the middle, or if you experience an increase of back pain with your aging mattress. Another consideration is that springs and foam may wear out faster, while air doesn’t break down as easily or as quickly. Also, when you make a new purchase you should go with a seller who offers a trial period of 60-90 days with a reasonable return or exchange policy. You will need ample time to properly try your new mattress out to make sure it’s the right fit. With a 40-45% increase of online mattress sales, this proves to be especially important7,8.
The bottom line?
You will likely have success with a variety of mattresses so long that they are medium-firm, though an adjustable air, memory foam, or coil mattress may provide you with the most value. Expect to replace your mattress every 5-10 years, and make certain that you purchase from a seller with an adequate trial period and robust return/exchange policy.
(1) ChiroUp 2022 Mattress Survey to ChiroUp subscribers and Forward Thinking Chiropractic Alliance followers. October 2022.
(2)Caggiari G, Talesa GR, Toro G, Jannelli E, Monteleone G, Puddu L. What type of mattress should be chosen to avoid back pain and improve sleep quality? Review of the literature. Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology. 2021 Dec;22(1):1-24. Link
(3) Perry D. BSC Research: Consumer Mattress Buying Behavior, Part 3, All About the Bed. Bed Times. 05/14/2021. Accessed on 10/22/2022 from Link
(4)Radwan A, Fess P, James D, Murphy J, Myers J, Rooney M, Taylor J, Torii A. Effect of different mattress designs on promoting sleep quality, pain reduction, and spinal alignment in adults with or without back pain; systematic review of controlled trials. Sleep health. 2015 Dec 1;1(4):257-67. Link
(5) Hong TT, Wang Y, Wong DW, Zhang G, Tan Q, Chen TL, Zhang M. The Influence of Mattress Stiffness on Spinal Curvature and Intervertebral Disc Stress—An Experimental and Computational Study. Biology. 2022 Jul 8;11(7):1030. Link
(6) Perry D. BSC Research: More Consumers Moving Online. Bed Times. 01/12/2021. Accessed on 10/22/2022 from Link
(7) Perry D. BSC Research: More Consumers Moving Online. Bed Times. 01/12/2021. Accessed on 10/22/2022 from Link
(8) Hales D. Mattress Sales Statistics (2022) NapLab. 06/09/2022. Accessed on 10/22/2022 from Link