Dr. Travis White, a sports medicine doctor and chiropractor here in Boise, was kind enough to give his professional, medical input on choosing a mattress for our blog today.
Like me, he doesn’t believe that there is one specific mattress that is the best. It is up to you to decide. From springs to memory foam, only you can know which type of mattress works best for your body.
Still, it’s important to find a mattress that keeps your spine in proper alignment.
How Can You Tell if Your Spine is Straight?
Dr. White gave some great tips on how to tell if your spine is straight while you are sleeping or just laying on your mattress.
Here are the steps:
1. Enlist an assistant. It can be your partner, your child, or a friend.
2. Adjust your clothing so that your spine is exposed and visible.
3. Lie down on your mattress how you normally do – either on your side or on your back.
4. Have your “assistant” snap a photo of you that includes your entire back and body.
5. Look at the photo. Is your spine straight?
What to do with this information
If your spine isn’t straight, the next step is to find out why.
The reasons for curvature depends on where your spine dips and curves.
The neck is a common area for spinal curving. If your neck bends up, then you have too much support from your pillow. If it curves down, you don’t have enough support. Adjust your pillows until your spine is straight.
Not only is this better for your spine – it also helps with proper breathing. If you have trouble breathing while you sleep, you are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
If your back dips in the middle or near the tailbone, your mattress is probably losing support. If there is a significant dip in those areas, it’s probably time for a new mattress. Until you get a new one, use pillows to support your back.
More About Pillows
Side-sleepers will find a great benefit from pillows, as well. Putting a pillow between your knees will keep your knees from coming together which will also keep your pelvis neutral. If your pelvis is not neutral, it will directly affect the spine. A firm pillow usually works better than a soft one.
And More About Side Sleeping
If sleeping on your side hurts your shoulders, try leaning back so you are in a position that is sort of in-between side sleeping and back sleeping. That will alleviate some pressure and weight from your shoulder. This slight twist to the spine shouldn’t be a problem.
The Worst Sleeping Position
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention stomach sleeping as an option. That’s because it’s the worst way to sleep for your spine.
When you sleep on your stomach, your head has to turn to the side to allow you to breathe. This twists your spine very severely at your neck. That can cause pain and damage in your neck.
If you are used to sleeping on your stomach, try hard to find a different position that is still comfortable and relaxing for you.
Thank you, Dr. White, for all of your great advice! A straight spine makes for a better night’s sleep which is something we all need.
Find a bed that makes you feel good,