In this modern world it’s no secret that in so many walks of life we are spoiled for choice. We get to choose what car we drive, what colours we want on our walls, what clothes we wear. Amongst all these choices, none stand out quite so much to us Osteopaths as chairs and mattresses. If I was given a pound every time I was asked by patients about what mattress is the best one to go for, then I’d be a very rich lady indeed!
We spend an average of 7-8 hours a night asleep – that’s a staggering 121 days a year…that’s a 3rd of our entire lives…asleep! It’s no wonder that we come a’cropper when our mattress isn’t suitable, or outlives its sell by date.
The National Bed Federation recommends that we change our mattress every 7 years and suggests that 10 years is the maximum life span. Of course, there are many factors that will determine the lifespan of a bed i.e how well it’s cared for, how many people use it, how it’s used etc so these figures can’t be set in stone.
A lot of patients come to me and after having the conversation about their sleeping habits and what bed setup they have, it is clear that expectations have a lot to do with mattresses not being changed often enough, or simply that they’ve become obsolete. I think, as practitioners, we’ve all heard the old chestnut of ‘I’ve had the same mattress for years and it’s never been an issue before.’ This is all very well, but guess what…a lot can change over the course of even a few months in terms of what a person’s body requires to function well. Injury, weight loss/gain, illness and natural changes our bodies undergo all have their part to play. As we age the quality of our soft tissue changes and as a result our body will begin to require different support from different areas, and in different ways.
When I was at University I recall a lecture being given on this very topic. Our tutor stated that the more one spends on a mattress, the better the quality. This was, however, some years ago and things have come on quite some way since then. There are various types of mattress available – these include memory foam, traditional pocket sprung mattresses, latex and continuous and open coil spring.
I’ve had various patients complain to me that they’ve spent thousands on a mattress having nipped down the local bedding store and had a lie down on it for a few minutes, only to find that a couple of years down the line it is no longer serving them. In all honesty though, how can any company expect anyone to know that a mattress will suit them with just a few minutes trial?
With this in mind, it’s really great to see that modern mattress companies are catching on, with many offering 200-300 day trials. It takes more than a few months for some people’s bodies to really adjust fully to such a major change. The effects, be they positive or negative, might not be observed straight away. If the mattress is having a positive effect then the body will need time to shift from a dysfunctional phase to becoming functional. If the effects aren’t so happily met then these may be cumulative and may take a while for the body to begin to show symptoms.
If your mattress is more than 7 years old or if you are waking in relative discomfort with no reasonable explanation for it then, by power of deduction, the likely culprit is probably going to be your bed.
I’m generally not a prescriptive practitioner – I always like to bear in mind that all of my patients are individuals in their own rite and therefore I cannot take a once size fits all approach, which is why I’m so thrilled to see these prolonged trial periods being offered.
Having done a fair amount of research on this subject, it would seem that many of these companies have become very competitive in price, with most mattresses now being within the £500-£600 margin and boasting a 10 year guarantee. The bulk of these mattresses tend to be constructed of memory foam or aero-coil/hybrid technology, all of which proport to being highly supportive and comfortable. I know that a major concern with memory foam is the heat in the summer, but most of these companies appear to have addressed this issue by making their foams more breathable, with less harmful chemicals being used in their creation. Not only this, but many of these companies are now able to deliver to your door, with the mattress being in a box that is easily transportable for a single person. Covid bonus – no one needs to come into your home to help you set it up!
Currently it looks very much like Nectar and Simba are taking the market by storm, with the likes of Dreamcloud, Otty and Casper following closely behind. Simply click on my links to these current 2021 market leaders.
Sweet dreams everyone,