Sleep is very essential for a healthy life. Not being able to sleep adequately not only reduces our productivity and keeps us drowsy all the time, but also results in fatigue, laziness, anxiety, and depression.
It has been proven that if we’re not getting proper sleep, then our mattresses can also be responsible for that. Needless to say, it is important to have a nice mattress. But how do we declare a mattress to be nice?
The Mattresses Of The Past
In the past, it was said that we should sleep on a firm mattress. That was because in those times, the materials which were used in making mattresses, mostly cotton, were highly compressible.
They used to sag a lot under the weight of sleeping people, and thus they were the cause of neck and back pain. The solution was to put hardboard beneath the mattresses to make it hard. This resulted in making people believe that a hard bed is good for sleeping. But the fact is that there’s a difference between a hard and a supportive mattress.
A bed which is too hard forces the body to conform to it, rather than the other way round. Sleeping on such a mattress can create pressure points which inhibit circulation, and they also don’t let us align our spine.
A firm mattress simply doesn’t allow our hips and shoulders to sink down. This causes our hips and shoulders to buckle down and forces our body in a position that works against us. In the lumbar region, this can create pressure on our lower back where the spine connects to the pelvic bone.
How Firm Should A Mattress Be?
The quality of a mattress is determined by the measure of its firmness, which actually means how comfortable the mattress is. Actually, there’s no defined right or wrong firmness level for the mattress. It is, in reality, a personal choice. The mattress which feels comfortable to one person can be very painful to someone else. Everyone has a different sense of comfort, and this also applies to the firmness level of the mattresses.
The different factors which determine which mattress we should get for ourselves are our age, weight, and our body type. These factors determine how we’ll feel on a particular mattress. And this is the reason why companies make different mattresses with different level of firmness in order to suit different types of people.
A very soft mattress causes our bodies to sink in. Mattresses with medium firmness provide us with good support and maintain the right position of our body. Very hard mattresses don’t give proper sinkage and put pressure on our backs.
Some people believe that an expensive mattress is comfortable, but the truth is that even the most expensive ones can be very firm and uncomfortable. Medium level firmness is considered as the universal level of firmness and is preferred by many people.
How To Tell If A Mattress Is To Firm?
Firm mattresses help in giving good support and alignment to our back and feel very comfortable when we rest on it. They don’t cause pain in our back and neck. But very hard mattresses make our backs feel sore after we’ve spent several hours on them. Instead of giving us comfort, they result in giving us aches and pains.
Following are some of the symptoms which can imply that the mattress we’re using is too firm:
- We wake up feeling very stiff: Many people suffer from this problem of waking up with a stiff feeling in their body. If we’re regularly waking up with pain in every part of our body, it is most probably because our mattress is too firm to give comfort to our body. This happens because a firm mattress cannot align our body in a natural position.
- Extra pressure on our shoulders and backs: When the mattress is too hard, then it simply doesn’t sag even a bit. This means that the entire weight of our body is taken up by either our backs or shoulders. In addition to giving us an uncomfortable feeling, this also results in creating pressure points which affect blood circulation in our body.
- Spending all night tossing and turning: It is a common experience for most of us to spend a lot of time in bed tossing and turning. This is not good, and while there may be some other issues leading to this problem such as work stress, the blame is also to be put on the high firmness of the bed. We don’t find a comfortable position on hard mattresses and keep tossing and turning to find one. The solution is to change the mattress, but if that’s expensive, then we can get a topper which is softer than the real mattress.
- The feeling of prolonged lethargy:A good, long and uninterrupted sleep is very important for keeping us fresh for the next day, but the type of bed we sleep on also plays a big role in it. Even if we sleep well on a hard mattress, our body parts don’t get the adequate relaxation which they need, and as a result, we end up feeling exhausted and tired the whole day. This feeling of grogginess can be prevented by adding a comfy topper on the mattress.
How to Make a Firm Mattress Soft?
Making a firm mattress soft is quite easier than making a soft mattress firm. Following are some of the common and easy ways through which we can fix the firmness level of our bed:
- Check the Foundation: If our newly bought mattress is too firm, then we should start by checking the foundation. Actually, not every mattress fit on all types of foundations. For a memory foam mattress, the box spring bed is not suitable. In otherwise cases, the box spring bed makes our sleeping experience very good. Box spring beds are bouncy and they are suited for all innerspring mattresses.
The mattress may also feel hard if the foundation is a rigid platform. To make our mattress comfortable, we should consider getting a base which is not so hard.
- Walking on the Bed: Generally, new mattresses are firmer than what we expect them to be, and it’s easy to soften them up by just taking a few steps on the mattresses every day. Even if we don’t do that, the bed will still soften over time as we sleep on them regularly. But if we want to have a comfortable sleep right from the beginning, then the best way is to walk on the mattress every day for a few minutes before sleeping. This will also make the overall softening of the bed quicker.
- We Can Use a Mattress Topper: Replacing the old mattress can be very expensive. However, buying a topper proves to be the quickest, cheapest and most effective way to solve the problem of high firmness of the mattress. We can add a comfy supportive layer on the mattress which will sag up to a right level and allow our body parts to relax well. They also reduce excessive pressure on our backs and shoulders. There are various types of mattress toppers available in the market. They can be made of latex, cotton, wool, foam, polyfoam, feathers etc.
Memory foam is the most popularly used foam as they have low density and are very soft despite being too thin.
- Warm the Mattress: Most mattresses present in the market are made up of memory foam. These mattresses are very sensitive to changes in temperature. If the room temperature is too low, then these mattresses become very hard. Thus, making the room warmer with the help of a heater will make the bed very soft. We can also soften the mattress using a gentle heat pad.
- Rotating and Flipping the Mattress: If the mattress we use can be flipped and rotated, then this can also be a very good solution to the problem of high firmness. This method cannot be applied to pillow-top beds, but for other beds, we can do the following things:
- Rotate the mattress to 180 degrees.
- Flip the bed over to make the top side go down
Doing the above-mentioned things promote equal wear on all sides and keep the bed comfortable for long.
When do we need to Change the Mattress?
The age of the mattress also increases the firmness of the mattress. The average life of a mattress is around 8-10 years. So, if the mattress is older than that and has become too firm, then we need to replace it.
To remain healthy and refreshed throughout the day, a comfortable and uninterrupted sleep of 8 to 10 hours is very important. But a mattress which is very firm can prevent us from getting the right amount and quality of sleep. Fortunately, there are some easy ways through which we can reduce the firmness of our bed and enjoy a comfortable sleep.