Mattress Testing

Once you have narrowed down a mattress category and a comfort preference, its time to start testing the mattresses.

Alignment – Always lie on the mattress on your back first. Your hips should be slightly depressed. Your lumbar (lower back) should be filled in and supported. Your knees should be slightly bent and the feet elevated. Your shoulders should be flush with the mattress and you should be comfortable without a pillow.

If you feel like you are bowed into the mattress, or your shoulders are rolling in, you are on a mattress that is too soft. If you have a partner with you, have them check your alignment. You should be able to draw a relatively straight line from your neck to your hips.

Conformance/Pressure – Next turn to your side. Most people sleep on their side so we want to check for pressure. On your side, you are putting much more weight on your hip and shoulder. These are the areas we want to check. If you feel any pressure or pain in these areas, that mattress is too hard. Also, check alignment, making sure the hips and shoulders are aligned properly.

Finally, turn to your natural sleeping position. Check for any alignment or pressure issues. Repeat these steps to start narrowing down your choices.

A mattress that is too hard or too soft can be problematic. Either extreme should be avoided. And don’t overcompensate from a bad mattress experience.

Pressure Mapping/Diagnostic Machines – The latest fad in the industry is using computers to determine the right mattress for shoppers. These can be helpful in narrowing the field. But generally they are designed to push one certain brand. It is very important that you lie on the mattress and thoroughly test it. The way you feel and what is observed when you are on the mattress will determine what will work best. Remember, you are the only person that can determine the best mattress for yourself.

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