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How Do I Know When I Should Be
Purchasing A New Mattress?

If you’re not sleeping well, it could be your mattress. But how do you know when you should be looking to purchase a new one? As we age, it is easy to blame our lack of sleep, or sleep related pain on just getting older. What signs should you be looking for that indicate that your mattress is no longer providing the needs your body requires to get a full night’s rest?

For starters, it is important to point out that our body really requires two distinct, yet opposite needs. First is spinal alignment. We need a mattress that is going to be firm enough to keep our back in a straight line as we sleep. If our mattress begins to sag, our hips will sink in more and we may wake up with a sore back. This is very common especially under the hip area, because that is where the majority of our weight is placed on a mattress. Even if you rotate your mattress, the hips still are in the middle of the bed, so where the hips rest will tend to wear out first. Many will notice that if they move to the center of the mattress, or over to the edges, that the mattress is quite a bit firmer than where one normally sleeps.

The other need we have to meet is pressure relief for our hips and shoulders. If you sleep on your side, the hip bone and the shoulder are the two primary contact points with the mattress. While we need a firm bed for our backs, we also need some cushioning to make the bed comfortable to sleep on. Most mattresses use various types of foams to provide this comfort. This soft layer is usually where most mattresses wear out first. In order to make a mattress comfortable enough for you to purchase when you are in a mattress store, the mattress manufacturers will use different combinations of foams that feel good while trying them in the store, but foams, particularly soft foams, will wear out quickly which will allow your hips and shoulder to bottom out on the firmer surfaces below. Even the most durable types of foams tend to soften significantly as they are used. Durability testing shows that even Latex, which is commonly regarded in the mattress industry as one of the most durable cushioning materials softens 22%! Memory foam was found to soften around 16%, and polyurethane foam, the foam found in most pillow-top style mattresses, was found to soften 49%. What is even more striking is the fact that most of the softening takes place in the first year of use. This is why if you look in the fine print of mattress warranties, you will find that manufacturers don’t cover the softening of a mattress.

If your mattress is worn out, what should you look for when purchasing a new mattress? Optimally, you will find something that provides a firm surface that gives the alignment your spine needs, in combination with the pressure relief that the hips and shoulders need. Furthermore, these materials should be very durable. If you are looking for a mattress and are only concerned about the alignment of your spine, or prefer a very firm mattress, a high end innerspring may be the solution for you. However, you should avoid a mattress that uses pocketed coils as a support layer, or has any foam used as cushioning on the top, as these mattresses will not be aligning for the back.

Most, however, need some pressure relief. A good alternative to foam mattresses is a new mattress that uses a gel material called Intelli-Gel that has been used in hospitals for years to provide relief to burn patients and long-term care facilities because of its ability to cure even the worst types of bed sores. Intelli-Gel mattresses have recently been made available to the general public in IntelliBED mattresses. This material has been found to soften less than 5% over the life of the bed, less than a third of the very best foam, and ten times less than the most common foams used in mattresses. Furthermore, it has been designed to maintain the alignment of the back, and provides more pressure relief than any other mattress.
If you wake up and you’re sore, take the time to check to make sure your mattress is meeting your needs when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. When it comes down to purchasing a mattress, make sure your bed gives you the right alignment, sufficient pressure relief, and won’t soften too quickly.

This office has taken the time to research the major mattress retail products and has identified intelliBED as the first true medical-grade sleep surface available for home use. By using co-polymer intelli-Gel® in place of foam, intelliBED's provide superior comfort and support without harmful off-gassing and they wear 2-3 times better than any of the foam mattresses. Deep, healing sleep is fundamental to your health. If you have questions about the quality of your sleep or what sleep surface and pillow is best for you, visit our Sleep Center. We can help!

For more information please call our office!
Dr. David Girgenti