How You and Your Partner Can Pick the Perfect Mattress

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When your partner’s only (major) flaw is loving a firm mattress, you’d try anything to make it work. However, your snoozing styles are so vastly different, it sometimes seems like an endless battle of the bed accessories. You’d be delighted with a pillow-topper mattress, down comforter, and feather pillows. Your partner, on the other hand, not so much. Your significant other keeps things simple with a more practical approach to a firm set-up. So what should you do when you just don’t see eye to eye? Get a mattress that meets both of your needs.

Find a happy medium

The Solution:  Helix Sleep

As the very first company to custom-build mattresses for individuals and couples using scientific research in sleep ergonomics and 3D human body modeling, Helix Sleep might be the perfect solution for you and your mate. For couples whose sleeping preferences are not so drastically different, Helix Sleep offers a blended mattress option, in which a happy medium is found. In a blended bed, both members’ inputs are taken into account to find the best option that caters to the more pronounced needs associated with either member.

The Process

Different densities and thicknesses of high performing latex, springs, and foam are used to construct the mattress. These materials are layered in varying order to tailor the feel, support, point elasticity, and temperature regulation for a variety of different body types and sleeping styles. Customers will create their sleep profile by filling out a simple questionnaire, answering questions including height, weight, sleeping style, and firmness preference. An individual’s sleep profile is then run through the company’s sleep technology, which is based on research in sleep ergonomics and 3D human body modeling. The result is a mattress optimized across four key performance metrics: feel, support, point elasticity, and temperature regulation.

Select different settings

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The Solution: Sleep Number

For couples who struggle to find a perfect mattress, Sleep Number’s line of adjustable mattresses allows users to adjust their side of the bed to the ideal level of comfort, firmness, and support that’s right for each of their individual sleep needs. The Sleep Number setting allows both you and your partner to achieve your version of ideal comfort and support on your respective side of the bed, when compromise just isn’t an option.

The Research

According to Pete Bils, Sleep Number’s vice president of sleep science and research, and as seen in a clinical study, Sleep Number clinical research shows that when switching from an innerspring bed (that cannot be adjusted) to a Sleep Number bed that can be adjusted for personalized comfort, firmness, and support, subjects experienced improved sleep quality and back pain relief. In fact, within the study, 93% experienced back pain relief, 89% experienced improved sleep quality, and 77% vitality and energy.

Be aware of your back health

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Kosta Kokolis, licensed physical therapist and fitness expert with a specialty in spinal cord care, trauma, and rehabilitation, has spent years attending to patients with spine and back-related issues, and has extensive knowledge of proper mattress use and the effects it has on the body. We asked Kosta for his expert opinion, and here, he shares with us what we should keep in mind when mattress-shopping, and how your choice relates to your health.

What is the ideal mattress firmness for back health?

The ideal mattress for optimal back and spinal health depends on overall quality, firmness, and, of course, the individual’s overall comfort. For the average person, with or without a back problem, I recommend sleeping on a good quality, semi-firm to firm mattress. This will give you ample support to the heaviest areas of the body, such as your shoulders and pelvis, for ideal symmetry. Likewise, a semi-firm to firm mattress will keep the back properly aligned with the head and neck, and legs while you sleep.

Does the ideal firmness depend on back problems, and if so what back problems require what level of firmness? 

The ideal mattress firmness will always have to change to accommodate certain back problems. For example, people who have severe spinal problems can use a mattress with moderate, light, and even plush firmness. I recommend these mattresses to patients with severe scoliosis, arthritis, or after spinal surgeries where the spine is fixed in a bent or curved position.

How can the wrong firmness affect the back and overall health?

The wrong firmness can drastically affect the health of your back, as well as your overall health. It is important to avoid sleeping on softer mattresses that make the pelvis and back sink lower than the rest of body and form what could be called a “hammock effect.” Medium, light, plush, and ultra-plush firmness can make this occur. Although a night or two on a soft mattress will not have a significant effect on your health, you want to avoid them when it comes to a mattress that you sleep on every night.

The danger of over-plush mattresses is that they can cause misalignment and asymmetry of the body which can lead to postural dysfunctions, and, over time, disorders in the spine. Chronic muscle spasms, spinal dysfunctions, nerve compression, headaches, herniated discs, and cartilage tears are all possible conditions and injuries that can occur from prolonged use of an over-plush mattress. Likewise, sleep apnea (snoring) can increase with a soft mattress because the neck will flex more than normal, and circulation to your extremities may be interrupted due to less support and compression of the blood vessels.

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