The harder the mattress, the better?

May 25, 2018 17:35
Sealy and Serta Simmons mattresses displayed for sale in a store. To get a good night's sleep, a comfortable bed is essential. Photo: Bloomberg.

Many people pay attention to maintaining proper postures when working and standing, but often overlook the importance of sleep products. If you spend eight hours of sleep a day, you will spend around one-third of the life in the bed.

To get a good night's sleep, a comfortable bed is essential. Hong Kong's Consumer Council, together with the International Consumer Research and Testing Organization, has tested the performance, comfort and durability of 25 brands' mattresses on the market.

The survey found that the overall performance of the samples was quite average.

Nearly half of the tested mattresses have only a score of 2.5 or less out of 5 points. Among the samples, the most expensive mattress and the cheapest mattress have the same overall score of 3.5 points and the same score of 3 points for performance, which indicates that the price and the performance are not strongly correlated.

The spine of the human body is very important. There is a total of three physiological normal curvatures. The physiological curvature is maintained by the muscles and ligaments near the spine.

Incorrect spine physiology is one of the causes of dislocation of the spine. Many common spine diseases are positively correlated with dislocations, such as cervical cheek pain and sciatica.

The purpose of mattresses is to support the physiological curvature of the spine, allowing the muscles and ligaments near the spine to relax.

The traditional idea that "the harder the mattress, the better" is out of date. If the mattress is too hard, it causes pressures on certain points on our body, such as shoulders, buttocks, and cheekbones; it also causes the waist to be afloat, resulting in soreness.

However, if it is too soft, it cannot support the heavier part of the body, the buttock, which will make the lumbar ridge sink down. In the end, the muscles supporting the spine will not rest, may even suffer from strains, causing the spine to shift.

A right mattress, which is not too hard nor too soft, can provide proper support for the body according to the curvature. It can slowly enhance the quality of sleep of patients with chronic back pain, reduce the degree of back pain. Since the weight of the human body is concentrated on the buttocks, it should be the most supported.

The mattresses on the market can be categorized as pocketed coil, memory foam, and latex. They can all support the spine. In general, pocketed coil mattress can provide better support than the latex mattress does.

Memory foam mattress recovers to the shape slower and is thus without the rebound force. As it softens in reaction to body heat and weight, it can mold to fit the body completely. However, as it is a complete fit, it may be difficult to turn around in bed.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 15

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版] 

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