Many people wake up in the mornings with lower back or neck pain, and it’s almost always due to their mattress. You may know your mattress isn’t right for you, but it can be difficult to know what to look for. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing the best mattress for back pain.
- The shape of your spine is the most important element of mattress support
Your spine is an incredibly strong structure, comprised of 30 different vertebrae. Vertebrae are small bones that connect to each other like building blocks from your tailbone to the base of your skull.
Your neck is comprised of seven cervical vertebrae that span from the base of your skull to the center point where your shoulders begin. Your neck, or cervical spine, has a concave shape known as a lordotic shape. This is why it’s important to support your neck during sleep with the correct sized pillow for your body.
From your neck, your spine becomes your middle back or thoracic spine which spans all the way down to your lower back. Your thoracic vertebrae attach to your ribs, making this part of your spine a convex or slightly kyphotic shape.
Your lower back, or your lumbar spine, runs from L1 to L5 where it joins your sacrum and then coccyx. Your lower back has a natural arch, making it a concave or lordotic shape.When you add the concave shape of your neck to the convex shape of your middle back plus the concave shape of your lower back, you get an ’S’ shape.Your spine’s ’S’ shape must be maintained by your mattress, otherwise, the structures in your spine can be placed under excessive strain causing soreness
- The firmness of your mattress matters
When a mattress is too hard or too soft, the natural ’S’ shape of your spine can become compromised. Because of this, mattress firmness is almost always the culprit of morning back pain.
Very hard mattresses aren’t only uncomfortable, they put excessive strain on your lower back. When lying on your back on a very hard mattress, the natural arch of your lower back is forced to increase, placing increased load through your L3,4 and L5 vertebrae.
This can cause the facet joints of the vertebrae to become stiff and unable to slide on one another properly. Facet joints need to slide to enable you to move from lying to sitting, to standing, and if they’re stiff, these movements will become painful.You may feel very stiff and sore when you transition from a lying position, to sitting on the edge of your bed in the morning on a hard mattress
If you sit at a desk all day for work, you will likely have tight hips too, which compounds the effect of loading the lower back on a hard mattress.
Soft mattresses may feel luxurious when you first snuggle onto them, but after a few hours, your spine’s natural curves will be forced to sag, causing an excess load to be placed on the joints within your spine.
If you’re lying on your back on a soft mattress, instead of the mattress supporting the lordotic shape of your lower back, it sags into a convex or slumped shape. As your lower back is not designed to spend long periods in orientation, the discs and facet joints within your spine will become irritated. The same will happen when lying on your side, but the sag will occur laterally.
When you get up from sleeping on a soft mattress, your lower back will ache after sagging into the mattress
- How to know which level of firmness suits your spine
As you age, your spine loses some of its flexibility. If you sleep on a soft mattress but have very little range of motion in your lower spine, your lower back will not sag significantly as it doesn’t have the available movement.
If you have significant mobility loss of your spine and suffer from significant spinal stiffness, a slightly softer mattress may suit you best.
Conversely though, if you have very mobile joints; you will need a mattress that is moderately firm. If your mattress is too hard, your lower back will arch too much, but if it’s too soft; your lower back will sag too much.
- Sleeping positions can influence back pain
Sleeping on your back
You’ll know if your lower back is in a good position if you can only just fit your hand in the arch of your lower back. When lying on your back on a well-suited mattress, your spine can easily maintain its natural ’S’ shape, so if you’re a back sleeper, your spine will thank you for it.
Handy tip for back sleepers: If you find your mattress is quite hard and forces your lower back to arch excessively, try placing a pillow underneath your knees. This reduces the arch of your lower back and restores your natural spine position.
Sleeping on your side
If you sleep on your side with your knees bent up, your lumbar spine will be curved and you’ll lose the natural arch of your spine. If you have irritated lumbar discs from years of desk work without seeking treatment, they can get slightly pinched in this position and cause pain and stiffness.
Conversely though, if you have facet irritation of your lower spine; eased throughout your day by sitting and bending forwards; your spine will feel better after sleeping on your side vs. lying on your back.
Natural and organic mattresses seem to be a growing trend. This hasn’t gone unnoticed and more and more brands are coming to the table.
Awara Sleep Mattress Materials & Construction:
awara mattress review: This latex hybrid mattress is a whopping 13″ total with two main materials for the core and two more materials for the cover. To start at the bottom and work our way up, we first have the coil system. The base of the Awara hybrid bed uses a 9″ premium 5 zoned coil system. This supportive and heavy duty system creates ideal posture and alignment by using a zoned system to help create better support.
Over the coil system is the 4″ layer of 100% all natural Dunlop latex. This layer is not only great at providing responsive comfort. It also is great at alleviating pressure points, sleeps cool and allows you to easily move while you sleep. This natural material is also very durable and is supportive yet pliable, making it great for all sleepers.
These premium and durable materials are than topped with a moisture wicking plush layer of wool. This not only adds extra softness but also great natural benefits to help keep the bed even cooler and cleaner. As well as works as a natural fire barrier too. The Awara Sleep top layer works perfectly with the organic cotton cover that is breathable and super soft to the touch. All of these layers work together to provide a great sleeping experience. As well as offer a mattress that is greener and healthier to sleep on.
Awara mattress benefits:
Now that you know exactly what is in the Awara Sleep mattress you can see how these materials and mattress build will benefit you. Below you can get a better idea of what to expect for comfort for side sleepers, back sleepers and stomach sleepers. As well as how it will perform for motion transfer, sleeping cool and the edge support.
awara sleep mattress reviewThe Awara Sleep mattress comes in one universal feel. A feel that most would consider a medium-firm, also known as a luxury firm. This option typically works best for the majority of sleepers. With a few exceptions depending on your sleeping style, size and preference. One thing to keep in mind with any latex hybrid mattress is how the materials will affect the feel.
With latex you will have a much more responsive foam than the slower responding counterpart, memory foam. This is great for anyone who doesn’t like feeling more cocooned and who also changes sleeping positions frequently.
Another quality that latex offers is a more durable feel that is slightly denser than poly or memory foam too. This can be translated a bit to the feel and how “soft” it may come across. Because it is made of the sap of a rubber tree you have a foam that is more resilient. Though it contours to your body it will never be super soft and will always offer support. This is an awesome quality to have, but may be difficult for anyone who likes a super soft feel to adjust to.
The addition of the wool quilting does help add a more plush feel to the surface. And the smooth cotton makes it soft to the touch. But if you are use to sleeping on a memory foam mattress or a hybrid that uses poly or memory foam, it may take awhile to adjust too. However, the Awara Sleep mattress will be worth it!
Comfort – Side Sleepers:
awara sleep mattress reviewIf you are a side sleeper who likes a more supported feel than you will certainly like the feel of a latex hybrid. However, if you prefer something that is softer or more cocooning it might be difficult for you to adjust. The latex is thicker, at 4″, but because it is more resilient it might feel less contouring to your shoulder and hip.
The zoned coil system does help you sink in a bit more where needed. And the buoyancy of the foam certainly helps you easily switch from side to side. Overall, most side sleepers should like the feel of the Awara Sleep mattress, but if you like the feel of memory foam or a truly soft mattress, than you may want to check out other options.
Comfort – Back Sleepers:
The Awara Sleep mattress will be great for back sleepers. This mattress is firm enough to properly support you and the latex is dense and durable to help hold up for the long haul. The feel is an ideal medium-firm level of comfort that is preferred by most back sleepers. It also is great at relieving pressure and provides a great surface that doesn’t let you sink in too far. The zoned coils also benefit back sleepers and keep your alignment ideal too.
Comfort – Stomach Sleepers:
This mattress will also work quite well for stomach sleepers as well. The materials provide a dense and supportive feel. The latex especially does great at pushing back underneath you, which will ensure any stomach sleepers won’t have a bowing back. The coil system also helps keep proper support and ergonomics to create a solid core that won’t alter with time. Providing a solid and consistent surface that works best for stomach sleepers.
Comfort – Combination Sleepers:
If you sleep in all, or multiple positions you should appreciate the Awara Sleep mattress plenty. The best part about this mattress for combination sleepers is the responsiveness that almost helps you move from position to position. It also is going to adjust to all sleeping positions quite well. It will help alleviate pressure points in all positions and contours to you just enough. Again, unless you really prefer a soft feel or like the more cocooning feel of memory foam, this mattress will be ideally comfortable.
awara mattress reviewWhen it comes to motion isolation you will certainly have less than a mattress that features memory foam. However, the density of Dunlop latex and the orthopedic innerspring coils in the Awara mattress will help you from tossing and turning. Allowing you to sleep better and tossing and turning less. In turn making motion transfer less of a worry.
However, when you are moving about or getting in and out of bed you may notice some vibrations. These materials are great for so many things, however, they do add a little extra buoyancy that may disturb your partner if they are more sensitive. However, for this style of mattress, it is very common and there should be no more motion transfer in the Awara bed than any other latex hybrid.
awara mattress reviewWhen it comes to sleeping cool latex hybrid mattresses certainly have the upper hand. The materials featured from top to bottom all help you sleep cooler… and naturally. Meaning that they have inherent properties that aren’t some kind of man made additive that may or may not keep heat at bay. But proven materials used in history because of these amazing benefits.
Cotton is breathable and wool regulates temperature as well as wicks away moisture. Making a cover that is super comfortable in many ways. Latex is also naturally aerated to allow for heat to escape. It also is beneficial to have some buoyancy that helps you never feel “stuck” which can result in a build up of heat. And the coils not only give support but also are great for any possible heat retained to be dissipated and released. Making the Awara Sleep mattress a cool sleeping bed for the entire night.
awara mattress reviewThe edge support of this mattress should allow a great surface for sleeping. Giving you a consistent and dense, durable feel that will not change whether sleeping on the edge or in the middle. This makes it great for couples who use the full bed. As well as anyone who likes sleeping closer to the perimeter. Edge support also gives a good indication of the longevity and durability of a mattress. And with the materials in the Awara hybrid latex you shouldn’t have to worry about either of those.
Finding the Best rug under bed
There are several different ways to incorporate a harmonious rug and queen bed scheme depending on the size of the room, budget, and your personal taste. For example:
A 6ft x 9ft rug is a great choice for a standard size room. While this rug size lies underneath the bed, even providing a soft carpeted landing on both sides, it does not lie under the bedside nightstands.
The 8ft x 10ft rug is a better option in larger spaces. There are two ways to position a rug this size: either lay the carpet under both the nightstands and the bed or exclude the nightstands from the area rug, and position it to lie about 1/4 of the way down from the head of the bed. This placement is useful in incorporating any items that may be at the foot of your bed, such as a bench or trunk.
9ft x 12ft rugs are the larger choice, bringing together both your bed and nightstands, while also providing more rug at the sides and end of the bed. This size is great for hiding existing flooring that you may not be happy with. Just keep in mind the age-old rug rule—there should be 18 inches of bare floor between the edge of the rug and the room's walls.
There are a few other things you may want to consider while on your quest for the right rug:
To ensure that your rug is decoratively balanced, the rug should extend at least 18 inches beyond the sides of your queen size bed. The rug can have more extension depending on the room size, but never less.
Despite some of the rules out there, placing a smaller rug at the foot of your bed can add a certain level of allure to the room. If you do decide to implement this idea, make sure the rug's width extends beyond the width of the bed.
If you have a smaller, cramped space, or you're on a tight budget, runners are great options to consider placing on both/either side(s) of the bed, just not under it.