| Bill Ferguson
Registered Osteopath, Cranial Osteopath, Acupuncture and Sports Injuries
Tenterden Osteopathic Clinic
|Location: Home | Special Topics | Are you Sleeping Comfortably|
In this image you can see that the mattress is too firm. The model is not supported well because her hip is unable to sink far enough into the mattress and the lower part of her spine has a concave curve.
In the next image I have deliberately exaggerated the hardness by putting a folded towel under her hip to show the effect of an even firmer mattress.
The next image shows the effect of supporting the waist area with the folded towel. This is how a well supported spine should look, so if your mattress supports your spine in this sort of alignment (without having to cheat with folded towels) then it is doing a good job.
Armed with the information from the previous exercise you are ready to shop. Lie on the selected bed, on your side with your body fairly straight, just like you did for the photograph. Your hip and shoulder should sink in just enough for your spine to be supported. Get your helper to check that your spine is not distorted, if the bed is too soft you will have a convex curve to your spine, if it is too hard you will curve in a concave direction and you will feel pressure on your hip. Ideally the bed will support you so that your spine is straight.
When you are in the shop your assistant won't be able to put dots on your spine and take a photograph but having already done that at home you will know what it feels like and what you are looking for.
The mattress needs to be comfortable to lie on and soft enough, with sufficient "give", to support and cushion the body’s bony curves. Don't be embarrassed to lie on the bed for twenty minutes or so in the shop if there is going to be uncomfortable pressure on your hip or shoulder you want to know it before you buy!
Not Everyone Sleeps Alone
A "standard double" bed is 4 feet 6 inches wide but a "standard single" bed is 3 feet! Rather than squash two people into a small space consider buying a good 6 feet wide base unit with two "single" width mattresses. Then you and your partner can each choose the right mattress for your weight and shape. Add a couple of double duvets and you have the best of all possible combinations.
If you are lying in bed in a similar position to the model in the first two images it would not be long before the spinal ligaments on the right side of your low back began to stretch and become uncomfortable. The natural reaction is to move, maybe onto the other side until this too starts to ache and then you have to move again. Eventually you get so tired that you end up sleeping through the discomfort possibly in some sort of contorted or twisted position and when the alarm goes off in the morning you emerge, groaning, feeling more tired than when you went to bed the night before.