A person spends almost a third of his life on sleep. At this time, the body rests and is filled with energy in order to be as vigorous and efficient as possible the rest of the time. However, quality sleep is impossible without a quality mattress.
What is the perfect mattress?
First and foremost, it must provide support for the spine in the correct position, whatever posture you take. The correct position is a straight horizontal line if you are lying on your side, and slightly wavy with a bend in the pelvic region and just above the shoulders if you sleep on your back or stomach. This is exactly the kind of support that orthopedic mattresses strive for.
However, keep in mind that each person’s body is unique and has its own characteristics: someone has scoliosis, another has a displaced intervertebral disc, or a pinched nerve. Your back’s needs may differ from the average that the manufacturer uses to create a mattress. Thus, there are two ways: either order the creation of a mattress for your individual needs, which will cost a tidy sum, or try the maximum number of mattresses,
Whichever option you choose, you need to understand what the mattress consists of and how it affects your feelings. This will greatly simplify the selection process and avoid many annoying mistakes.
How does the mattress work?
Any mattress consists of three parts: base, filler, and top layer. The final quality of your sleep depends on the materials and technologies used in each of these levels. Often people focus only on the filling or only on the upholstery of the mattress, forgetting about the rest of the construction elements, and as a result, do not get the effect they would like.
In addition to providing support for the body, all parts of the mattress also affect other aspects of sleep quality. So, the upholstery depends on how well moisture is absorbed and released, and whether optimal ventilation of the body and the inside of the mattress will be ensured. The base can adjust the firmness of the mattress up or down and also ensures proper air circulation.
If you do not take into account air and water mattresses, then the base is of only two types: solid and consisting of separate boards – lamellas. They have their own characteristics that you need to know about before buying a mattress.
The solid plywood base makes the mattress stiffer, as its underside is not able to bend. This is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage but should be considered when purchasing. The disadvantages include the worst ventilation of the mattress in comparison with lamellas.
Because of this, over time, some mattresses can collect dust, excess moisture, and sometimes even household insects startup. In some cases, special ventilation holes are made in the solid base to improve the situation.
The base of transverse wooden planks provides much better ventilation, so the mattress will last longer and will be more pleasant to sleep on. Lamellas also have one more property: they spring slightly when loaded on the mattress. Because of this, a mattress with such a base will be slightly less rigid than a mattress with a sheet of plywood underneath.
Spring blocks and mattress fillers
The main task of supporting the body falls precisely on the springs or other mattress fillers. Your well-being depends on the design and quality of the support block, so you need to pay special attention to its choice.
Spring blocks can be dependent and independent. Dependents are a complex structure of springs intertwined with each other. Such mattresses are inexpensive to manufacture, which means they will not hit the wallet too hard when buying. They can easily support the weight of even very fat people.
However, this is their dignity and are limited. Dependent blocks are susceptible to corrosion, and over time they bend in places of greatest stress. They often emit a creak with every movement of a lying person. Inside the unit, especially with poor ventilation, dust accumulates and insects start.
Another serious drawback of dependent blocks is that they are uncomfortable in double mattresses for spouses with a large difference in weight. Due to the design, the lighter partner will roll towards the heavier one.
The independent spring blocks are internally divided into many vertical pockets, each containing only one spring. This design assumes that the load will fall on only those springs on which you are currently lying. Thanks to this, sleeping spouses will not roll towards each other. The back support of each of them will be much better.
In addition, the separate arrangement of each spring allows you to create a mattress with different hardness zones for different areas of the body. Such mattresses creak much less often, but they will accumulate germs and dust if there is insufficient ventilation.
Springless mattresses are filled with various fillers made from natural or artificial materials. Each of them has its own special properties, which it is also advisable to learn about before buying.
For example, latex is elastic and, at the same time, has rather high rigidity, and natural latex is inferior to artificial in these parameters; the porous structure of latex allows you to highlight more and less hard areas in the mattress.
Coconut fiber is one of the best materials for air permeability, quite tough, so it is often used in orthopedic mattresses. Natural fillers like cotton and wool are well ventilated, they have practically no problems with heat exchange, but some people cause allergies.
Polyurethane foam, although it is entirely artificial, is suitable for allergy sufferers and is durable. There are also special materials that have a kind of “memory” and adapt to the anatomical shape of a person. A mattress with this filling makes sense if you sleep motionless during the night, but if you like to turn, it won’t do you much good.
The support blocks can have different stiffness. Usually, there are hard, semi-hard, and soft mattresses. The standard choice for a person without back injuries and illnesses is a semi-hard mattress. However, in some cases, you may need more or less rigidity:
• Children should sleep on hard mattresses. During the growth period, their bones are very plastic, and an incorrect position of the spine can lead first to its curvature, and then to scoliosis.
• Elderly people, especially women, should pay attention to soft mattresses. The same applies to all people with a lack of calcium in their bones, which makes them very fragile. A hard and even semi-hard mattress will provoke the occurrence of microfractures in the spine, but a soft one will provide delicate and gentle support.
• Hard mattresses are recommended for people with advanced scoliosis. This will not help them correct posture, but it will significantly muffle the pain syndrome and save them from the displacement of the intervertebral discs.
• People with a large body mass should choose more rigid mattress models, as standard semi-rigid mattresses may not cope with their support in the desired position.
When choosing a mattress, many are guided by the principle “the tougher the better.” This is not entirely true. Too hard a mattress will not allow the spine to get full support: in the pelvic and shoulder area, the back will rise above the mattress and be fixed in this position due to muscle tension. This can cause pinched nerves, impaired blood flow, and simply general muscle fatigue.
On the other hand, in an overly soft mattress, the body falls down at the hips. Because of this, the vertebrae and intervertebral discs are displaced, and the muscles tense again in an attempt to maintain the natural position of the spine. A mattress with the right firmness should enable you to completely relax your back muscles while remaining in a healthy position.
In mattresses with a spring block, additional cushioning material is located between the springs and the outer shell, which protects the cover from the springs and softens their pressure on the body. Sometimes it is made from several layers of burlap or other rough natural fabric. Another option is spabond and other similar materials.