I Could Have A Sleep Disturbance Problem. What Should I Do About it?
Let’s look at some of the more common problems one at a time:
I have a hard time staying in one position while I sleep. My shoulder bothers me if I sleep too long on my side, my neck can’t get comfortable when I’m on my back, and my lower back bothers me in the night. What can I do about this?
First of all, let’s talk about the basic equipment we use for sleep: your mattress and pillow. How comfortable are they? How old are they? We spend about one third of our lives in our beds, yet many us pay little attention to whether we are comfortable and happy with our mattresses and pillows.
As a chiropractor I am often asked, “Which mattress/pillow do you recommend?” My answer may surprise you, but the truth is that the best mattress for you is the mattress that you sleep best on. Everybody is different and no one mattress or pillow works for everyone. There is a widespread idea that firm mattresses are better for the back than soft ones. In fact, that is only true for about 25% of people. Approximately 25% of people do best on softer mattresses, and about 50% of people do best on mattresses with medium firmness.
Generally, if you are a side sleeper you will do better on softer mattresses or (even better) a memory foam mattress which will cause less hip and shoulder compression while you sleep. If you are a back sleeper, you will likely prefer a firm mattress which gives better support to the lower back. But these are not hard and fast rules. The only way to know which mattress is best for you is to sleep on it for a few weeks. And the same is true of pillows. Some prefer high, some low, some softer, some firmer. Comfort is the key and each person must find his or her own particular fit. Sometimes a pillow or mattress feels wonderful for one night (or for half an hour while lying on it in a store) but over time becomes progressively uncomfortable. Other times, the love affair has a rocky start but gradually blossoms into something beautiful. I was sure right away about my current mattress but my wife took nearly three months of getting used to it before she declared that it was true love.
This presents a bit of a problem. How do you know which is best for you before you go out and spend a lot of money on a new mattress? The answer, unfortunately, is that you don’t. This is the reason why I became a Tempur Pedic distributor. Tempur Pedic makes a great memory foam mattress. I like memory foam because it allows the body to sink into it without causing compression–great for side sleepers like me–and it comes in various degrees of firmness to suit any body. But what makes Tempur Pedic the best company in my mind is not that it is the ‘best’ mattress out there (there are a lot of great mattresses on the market today) but rather that they offer a 90 day free trial. As far as I know, they are the only company to give this kind of offer. We love our Tempur Pedic ‘weightless’ mattress. But if you don’t like yours after sleeping on it for a month, two months, even three months, you can call Tempur Pedic and have them come to your house and take it back for a full refund. Each year at least one of our patients returns a Tempur Pedic mattress he or she purchased through our office and we are so happy about it! Why? Because usually that person has learned what it is that he/she needs (something firmer, something softer, etc.) without having lost their money. Imagine how I would feel if I had recommended an expensive mattress which did not work out!
Tip: As a medical distributor, we are able to prescribe Tempur Pedic products as medically necessary devices, enabling some degree of insurance coverage to defray the cost. Some of our patients with Flex Accounts have purchased Tempur Pedic mattresses and pillows with no out of pocket expense.