West St. Louis County, Mo. — You know the feeling: waking up in the morning and rather than feeling well-rested, everything hurts.
“Every spine is unique, so you have to get a mattress that is comfortable for your spine,” said Dr. Garrett Winkler, a chiropractor at Mid America Spine and Rehab in Des Peres. “When you have pain, in general, your body is trying to tell you something.”
Even if it’s telling you to get a new mattress, that’s easier said than done.
“No matter what store you go into, it's going to be a sea of white rectangles and it's going to be very hard to differentiate them,” said Michael Magnuson, arguably the internet’s best resource on finding a new mattress. After a bad mattress shopping experience, he founded GoodBed.com to provide in-depth and unbiased mattress reviews for consumers.
“There’s no best mattress for everyone,” said Magnuson—who also concedes that, since becoming an expert in this field, he sleeps “like a baby.”
Magnuson sorts mattress “traits” into different categories based on importance. Some perks like motion isolation or cooling materials could be perks that are important to you, but they’ll tend to jack up the price of a mattress. He says the most important thing is the “fit” of the mattress, or how well it’s suited for your body type and sleeping position.
People who are lighter and more curvy will often want something softer. You need more give if you sleep on your side, too. But if you're on your belly or you tend to sink into the bed, look for something more firm.
“The objective is to hold your spine in the same shape it is in when you're standing,” he said.
That means you should test the mattress in the position you'll use it.
“All of us move around to a degree but we almost all have a predominant position that we take and that's the one you need to focus on the most,” said Magnuson.
But eventually, you'll want to go back on your back.
“Your side isn't that bad for you so as long as again you're getting that support and your spine is staying neutral,” said Dr. Winkler. “Sleeping on your stomach, there's not really a way to keep a neutral spine one way or another. You're twisting your neck to stay comfortable on your pillows.”
While conventional wisdom tells you to get a new mattress after 8 years, newer models can usually last closer to 10 before their support starts to wane--but every case is different, and Magnuson said sometimes it's hard to tell your mattress is no longer providing great support until you try a new one.
The best mattresses are the easiest to get out of---after a night of restful, quality sleep.
Have you ever wondered what the inside of your mattress is really made of? Today in St. Louis’ Abby Llorico found out by cutting up the inside of several mattresses 10 to 30 years old, and the difference in support is clear.