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How to select a good mattress?

In previous posts, we have discussed how to select a pillow that best fits you. In today’s post, we will discuss mattress selection.

We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, which means that we spend almost 1 full year on our bed every 3 years. A good mattress can make you sleep better and make you feel recharged the next day, however, a poor mattress can ruin your sleep, and can result in shoulder or back pain the next morning.

What did the research say about mattresses?

Although mattresses, like pillows, highly depend on personal preference, research generally recommends using a medium-firm mattress. Here are the findings:

- Mattress vs pain reduction

o Research suggested that medium-firm bedding reduced back pain by 48% in patients with chronic low back pain

- Mattress vs sleep quality

o Studies have shown that medium-firm mattresses improve sleep quality by 55%

- Mattress vs spinal alignment

o Medium-firm mattress allows good support for the neck and back. If the mattress was too firm, the shoulder would not be able to sag into the mattress, and hence there will be no proper support for the neck and back, leading to joint stiffness and pain. If the mattress was too soft, the pelvis would sag more into the mattress, resulting in the neck being higher than the pelvis.

Tips for buying a mattress

- Try it out yourself!

- Look for companies that have a return or exchange policy

- Don’t be afraid to call the hotel/ Airbnb for their mattress brand if you found their mattress is comfortable for you


Radwan A, Fess P, James D, Murphy J, Myers J, Rooney M, et al. Effect of different mattress designs on promoting sleep quality, pain reduction, and spinal alignment in adults with or without back pain; systematic review of controlled trials. Sleep Health [Internet]. 2015 Dec [cited 2021 Nov 26];1(4):257–67.

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