Around 1 in 6 Australians suffer from back pain each year.
The repercussions of back pain don't just resonate in our waking lives: it can impact our sleep, too. Pain can lead to a restless slumber, which means you will most likely end up in, well, more pain.
There are a variety of reasons and factors that cause and contribute to back pain, and many don't realise that their mattress could worsen the amount of back pain they experience (or even be the cause of it).
Is your mattress being a pain in the...back?
If you go to bed feeling okay but wake up with a sore back in the morning (a sore back that you can't attribute to any other activities you've performed, like heavy lifting), then your mattress and/or sleeping position could be to blame. Also, if your mattress is old, this could be contributing to your pain, as it's no longer providing your back with the appropriate support.
Some other symptoms of a poor mattress (or one that has seen better days) include: waking up a lot throughout the night, tossing and turning, waking up with a stuffy nose or worsened allergies and/or asthma.
How your mattress can impact your sleep
Generally speaking, if a bed is too firm it may lack the comformability needed to adequately support your spine. On the other hand, if it is too soft, you may also end up in positions that cause pain.
Side sleepers often need a softer surface to relieve pressure from the pressure points. In regard to front and back sleepers, they often enjoy a firmer surface because their body weight is more dispersed. Now, this is just a guide and that it's important that you test a mattress in the store.
Best mattress for back pain
Firm mattresses used to be the hard and fast rule for those with back pain, but studies are now refuting this claim.
Essentially, a mattress should support spinal alignment, which allows muscles to relax, so look for a mattress that has an orthopaedically centered design. There should also be targeted pressure relief using pressure mapping technology so that you don't toss and turn during the night in an effort to get comfortable.
The team at Sealy has created the Sealy Posturepedic range of mattresses which prioritise orthopaedically correct designs. Our designs work with the body's natural alignment, catering to the relief of pressure points, designed to support the spine and muscles.
Sealy gained insight into proper support and comfort systems by partnering with the Orthopaedic Advisory Board (OAB). The OAB is made up of qualified health professionals who specialise in research on sleep and posture. They advise Sealy on the best technologies and evidence-based research so that Sealy can create optimised mattress designs.
What mattress works for your body?
On that note, there is no one-size-fits-all bed that will suit everyone. To gauge what mattress is right for you, it is recommended that you spend at least 10-12 minutes, in the position you usually sleep in, on a bed to get an indication of the performance.
The right level of "comfort" (firm, medium or soft, essentially) will depend on your personal situation and how you sleep. Read more about the various comfort layers to see how they can help support your lower back.
The more stability you have and the fewer disturbances during sleep, the more likely you are to stay in a properly supported position throughout the night. Read more about our edge support and how it promotes optimal stability.
Adjustable beds can also be a good option, if you have the money to spend, as the right position can help alleviate pressure from your lower back by distributing the weight more evenly. Read more about Sealy's adjustable foundation mattress here.
Tips to help improve your sleep overall
Your mattress is just a part of the puzzle in getting a good night's sleep (albeit a very important part).
Here are some other ways to help you drift off to the land of nod.
- Establish a regular bedtime and wake schedule to help set your circadian rhythm.
- Exercise regularly, if your back pain allows for it. Make sure this exercise is not too close to your bedtime though,
- Avoid stimulants, including caffeine and nicotine.
- Don't put too much pressure on yourself to fall asleep, as this could lead to stress and/or anxiety if you don't fall asleep quickly.
- Don't self-medicate with alcohol.
- Limit stress.
- Make sure your bed is just for sleeping (no working, eating or watching TV in bed).
If you do suspect that your sleep problems are of a medical nature, you should see your GP or specialist on methods to manage it.
If you think your mattress might be to blame
If you have an inkling that your mattress might be causing your back pain, we can virtually help you whittle down the best mattress for your needs with our handy mattress selector tool (or take a look at our full Posturepedic range).
After we've helped find the mattress that best suits your lifestyle and needs, head over to your nearest Sealy stockist to give it a test run so you can try before you buy.