Poor sleep ergonomics caused by an inappropriate mattress is the most common reason for being unable to enjoy long and restorative slumber. The posture of your body when sleeping, particularly the alignment of the spine in a supine position is critical for good quality sleep and health. Even though you may be tempted to think that any position that is comfortable should be good enough, scientists say that your body may still not be correctly realigning itself resulting in several health issues.
Importance of Bodily Alignment during Sleep
The adaptive nature of the human body makes it possible for back sleepers to be comfortable even when the body is misaligned. However, the misalignment may cause sleep deprivation, which in turn results in daytime sleepiness, fatigue, lack of concentration, headache, body ache, etc. Poor posture may also result in shallow breathing makes you unable to relax due to inadequate oxygen intake and poor blood circulation. The best mattress enables you to maintain a spine-neutral position, which is nothing but the natural position of the spine. If the mattress construction is not right, it can create, hide or worsen imbalances in your body structure that can not only affect the quality of sleep but also have severe health consequences.
Should You Opt for A Hard Mattress or Soft?
Opinions are pretty much divided on the issue of an ideal mattress being hard or soft. However, there seems to be an agreement that the mattress should be firm enough to provide the right support to the body; otherwise, sleep is likely to get disrupted due to poor body alignment.
Pros and Cons of Hard Mattresses
According to sleep ergonomics experts; the less cushioning effect the mattress has, the better it facilitates spine-neutral. When the cushion is thin, the bones bear most of the body pressure and this allows the muscles and blood circulatory system to relax. Your lower back is also prevented from collapsing thus enabling better breathing and superior oxygen intake that facilitates good sleep. Those who are not accustomed to firm mattresses will initially find it uncomfortable but will get used to it soon. Hard mattresses are not recommended for people suffering from back pain, arthritis, rheumatism or weak capillaries.
Pros and Cons of Soft Mattresses
Contrary to popular belief, a soft mattress may actually be better for people with back pain and joint pain. People habituated to sleeping on their sides can feel more comfortable on soft mattresses. However, too soft a mattress can result in spine misalignment and reduce the sleep quality. With time, the mattress tends to become softer and may no longer be appropriate. Two people sleeping together may find it difficult to agree on the degree of softness.
Rather than the absolute merits of soft and hard mattresses, it is important that the mattress with the right degree of firmness appropriate for your body weight and shape is selected. It is the proper alignment of the body that is crucial for ensuring good quality of sleep.