Physio's Tips: Improve Your Mattress Without Buying A New Bed
If your mattress isn’t comfortable anymore there are a few things you can do to improve it without making a huge investment in a new mattress. As a physiotherapist, my patients constantly ask me about which mattress I recommend, but one size never fits all. Our spines and bodies change with age and life stages. If we bought a mattress every two years, sleeping would become unaffordable. Instead, trying a few alterations to your sleep setup may be a better answer than investing in a brand new mattress.
Below are common questions and problems my patients ask me about mattresses and sleep, plus my recommendations.
1. My mattress is too hard, what can I do?
If your mattress feels too hard, a luxury mattress topper may be all you need to ease the pressure on your joints and create a softer surface. Over time, mattresses become compressed in certain areas, losing their cushioning. A high-quality mattress topper restores this cushioning effect and is a much more affordable option than a brand new mattress. High-quality toppers should be at least 8cm thick, shouldn’t compress over time and shouldn’t shift and bunch. Ensure the topper can be easily fastened to the bed the whole way around like a fitted sheet, not just at the four corners.
2. How do mattress toppers make an uncomfortable mattress more comfortable?
The most common problem people find with a mattress that’s ‘too hard’ in certain areas is that they feel pressure in these spots:
- Pressure on your lower back when lying on your back
- Chest pressure/compression when lying on your front
Mattress toppers work to soften the top most area of the mattress, and dissipate compression loads throughout your body rather than concentrating them in a few key spots. By adding an additional layer of cushioning, you’re easing that compressive force.
3. My mattress is uncomfortable when I sleep on my side
There’s nothing wrong with side sleeping, in fact, side sleeping with your head on a supportive pillow is one of the best sleeping positions for most people. However, many people find a firm mattress is especially uncomfortable when sleeping on their side. This can manifest as pressure around the hips and the shoulders. Often, no matter what position you try, it doesn’t improve.
A plush mattress topper is perfect for side sleepers as it allows the shoulder and hip to sink into the topper instead of pressing against it. This stops that feeling of compression, helping you stay on your side for longer.
If you’re pregnant, it’s important to feel comfortable sleeping on your side, so investing in a luxury mattress topper instead of buying a whole new mattress is a great option to make those tricky nights during pregnancy more comfortable.
4. I don’t feel comfortable in bed
Comfort in bed depends on a number of factors:
- Mattress firmness
- Pillow suitability
- Bedding type and breathability
- Mindset or mental state
Next, look at your pillow; is it the right size for you? If not, look for a pillow that suits your sleep style and your body. Then, consider your bedsheets. Are they breathable and soft on your skin? Natural fibres are recommended for airflow, an important aspect of good sleep.
Lastly, consider your blanket. Weighted blankets have been scientifically linked to feelings of increased calm and lessening of anxiety, helping increase sleep quality. Investing in a high quality weighted blanket may be helpful if you’re struggling to fall asleep, or can’t ease your busy thoughts before bed.
Improving your mattress without buying a new one comes down to firmness as well as other aspects of comfort in bed. Don’t believe the hype that you need to buy a new mattress every few years; try adding a topper and changing up your bedding to change your sleep experience. You’ll be amazed by how much more comfortable your mattress can become with just a few changes.
Caitlin Reid for Muscle Mat
Caitlin Reid is a Physiotherapist and Wellness Consultant at Aprive Wellness. She loves sharing evidence-based wellness tips that really work.