Back pain is widespread, with up to 80 percent of adults experiencing a back problem at some point in their lives.
There are many sources of back pain, including injuries, accidents, sprains, and even stress. But a source of relief (or pain) could be your mattress.
Sleeping well on a mattress that’s appropriate for your needs can alleviate back pain. But if you’re not sleeping well, you may feel pain more acutely, so finding the right mattress is essential.
To minimize back pain, you should try to sleep with your spine aligned. That means you need a mattress that offers support and the right amount of firmness.
Mattresses aren’t one size fits all. What’s comfortable and supportive for one person may be uncomfortable for another. Although you may have heard people with back pain need extra firm mattresses, that’s rarely the case. In fact, firm mattresses may be too firm for people with back pain. Instead, a customized medium-firm mattress tends to offer relief for most people experiencing back pain.
Choosing a Mattress to Relieve Back Pain
The right mattress for you depends on your size, weight, and sleeping position, among other factors. Average weight side sleepers or back sleepers tend to sleep well on medium-firm mattresses, while medium firmness is more appropriate for average weight stomach sleepers.
Weight matters on a mattress because it affects how much the layers compress. If you’re a heavier weight, you’ll put more pressure on the bed. People who are below average weight should look for a medium-soft to a medium-firm mattress, while those of an above average weight may be more comfortable on a medium firm to firm mattress.
Of course, these are general guidelines, and mattress comfort is highly subjective. Before you commit to a mattress, it’s essential to compare mattresses online, reading reviews from customers to determine which bed may be right for you. Take advantage of sleep trials, which typically allow you to sleep on the bed for up to 100 days to determine whether it’s a good fit for your needs. If you’re not comfortable, you can return the mattress for free.
Sleeping Well to Relieve Back Pain
Choosing the right mattress is only part of the challenge of using sleep to improve back pain. Posture and sleep quality matter, too.
You want to keep your spine in a neutral position. Sleeping on your back is ideal, as it allows you to distribute weight evenly and minimize pressure points. Side sleeping can be comfortable as well. However, it’s best to use a pillow between your knees to improve alignment. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended, as you can sink too deeply into the mattress and put too much pressure on your back.
You can also improve your sleep quality by practicing good sleep hygiene. That means following a consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine, maintaining a healthy sleep environment, and avoiding the pitfalls that can interfere with healthy sleep, such as late-night caffeine, alcohol, or screen time.