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Achieve the sleep you deserve!

With the recent National Bed Month, I thought now was an ideal opportunity to revisit the subject of sleep. As a practising Osteopath one of the most frequent questions I am asked is whether a new mattress is needed.

The Importance of Good Bed/Mattress

 A good mattress will support your body in one of the ideal sleep positions, keeping your spine in alignment by supporting the natural contours of your body. With poor support the muscles in your back are unable to relax and rest overnight, often leading to tossing and turning, in an attempt to find a comfortable position. This can result in waking up stiff and sore in the morning or even at night. Research indicates that this can cause the loss of one hour’s sleep a night.

An average adult needs 7-8 hours sleep to maintain a healthy wellbeing. We’ve all experienced how the lack of sleep impacts our general mood, ability to concentrate and even reaching for a sugar boost to give us some instant energy when tired. Well imagine your sleep being compromised every night and the accumulative affect this would have on your health.

Q: My back is stiff/hurts in the morning. Does that mean that I need a new bed/mattress?

Not necessarily! It is true that if your bed is not fulfilling your needs, you could wake in the morning with a stiff, painful back but equally it could be because you have a problem with your back. Often patients with problematic backs find that their back can seize up overnight.

My role is to find out whether you have a back issue or is it time to change your bed. Generally a mattress lasts 8-10 years (the base varies, depending on the type) and normally there are visual signs that a mattress needs replacing, ie. lumps, sagging or you may find yourself rolling into a dip. For more help, take the bed MOT quiz:

https://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/bed-mot/

Q: What is the best bed for me/ how do I choose one?

There is no simple answer to this other than it needs to feel supportive to your body and you need to find it comfortable. Try not to focus on people telling you what is best, for example ‘firm’ or ‘orthopaedic’. However, there may be a type that is better for your situation – a good bed shop should be able to advise you. Take time to look around and try them out (with your partner if it’s a double bed).

How much should I spend?

You spend a third of your life sleeping and your mattress should last for many years so it should not be viewed as a luxury item but an investment in your wellbeing. However, the most expensive is not necessarily the best.

If you do suffer from a stiff or painful back at night or in the morning, one of our Osteopaths would be happy to find the root cause and help you achieve the sleep you deserve!

Christina Hood, Principal Osteopath.