Sleep significantly affects people’s mental health, physical health and well-being. In fact, lack of sleep translates into daily life in loss of productivity in the workplace, exhaustion, greater risk of injury and physical discomfort. Sleeping well depends on a multitude of factors, more or less important, such as stress, lifestyle, nutrition and the consumption of alcohol, smoking and coffee. Obviously, the bedroom environment also affects our rest; temperature, humidity and light for example, but also the bed system, that is the set of pillows, mattress and slats.
In this regard, it seems increasingly evident that among the strategies to be implemented to improve the quality of sleep, one of the most important is certainly the choice of a quality mattress. Among the most common causes, stress and muscle and joint pain contribute to poor quality and quantity of sleep: the most common disorders that can interfere with sleep are lumbar back pain (or low back pain) and shoulder pain.
The problems of an uncomfortable mattress
Many of us feel the difference when they change mattresses for some reason, perhaps in the hotel chosen for the holidays, spending the first night of rest worse than at home. This is because the body needs time to get used to a different mattress than the usual one. However, comfort should not be confused with habit. The fact that the mattress we usually sleep on has been the same for several years does not mean that it is the best for us.
If we happen to wake up sleepy, tired and contracted in the morning it may mean that our night’s rest hasn’t been the best it could be. A mattress that is too rigid can force the spine to change its characteristic sinusoidal shape; with the risk of causing circulation problems or pain. Conversely, a mattress that is too soft, not giving adequate support to the body, can make it collapse, stiffening the muscles. An unsuitable mattress can lead to a worsening of rest, due to the impact it can have on peripheral and back blood circulation.
The problems highlighted may arise especially with a mattress that we have owned for several years. In a rather subtle way, as our body has adapted to it.
The effectiveness of mattresses in reducing muscle and joint pain
Could a quality mattress prevent these ailments? In a survey conducted by orthopedic surgeons it was found that 95% of participants felt that the mattress played an important role in the management of low back pain and 75% recommended medium-firm or moderately firm mattresses for back pain relief.
In a study, patients with chronic, non-specific low back pain were recruited to test for differences between a firm and medium-firm mattress in pain relief. Medium-firm mattresses reduced pain symptoms more in the patients tested than overly-firm or uncomfortable mattresses.
Further subsequent studies, support the growing evidence that quality and medium-firm mattresses are suitable for providing better comfort and a higher quality of sleep. In particular, in the study, participants found after 12 weeks of using new quality mattresses:
- a noticeable improvement in sleep quality (73%),
- a reduction in shoulder pain (75%) and back pain (70%),
- less joint / muscle stiffness (57%).
The sleeping environment, including the mattress and bed equipment (sheets, blankets and pillows), also play an important role in the quality of sleep. In fact, we have observed that sleeping on a new quality mattress with the right stiffness has resulted in a reduction in perceived back pain and a marked improvement in sleep parameters.; in particular, sleep latency, that is the parameter that indicates the time taken to fall asleep, was significantly reduced after a month of sleep spent on a quality mattress.
In conclusion, it has been clearly demonstrated that a new, comfortable and quality mattress is able to increase people’s night rest and reduce muscle and joint pain. All this leads to a better quality of life and a better general well-being.