It is hard to get a good night’s sleep if you wake up with a sore back. You may blame the pain on your lifestyle. If you have a sedentary lifestyle or work a desk job, you may be more likely to experience lower back pain. Regardless of whether you are fit and active or tend to lounge around, the biggest source of your back pain could be your mattress. How do you know if you have a bad bed?
Here are 7 signs your bed is a pain in the back.
1. You Are Always Tired
Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button over and over again or draining cups of coffee? When you have a poor night’s sleep and wake up with pain, it is hard to recover the energy needed for the day ahead. Daytime fatigue can cause poor job performance, weakness, low morale, heightened risk for accidents, loss of libido, and a general feeling of being unwell.
2. You Wake Up with Lower Back Pain and Stiffness
Lower back pain and stiffness may be caused by a number of things, but if you wake up in pain, it could be your bed. Mattresses that are too soft, too firm, more than 7 years old, have coils or inner springs, are all signs it may be time to get a new bed. Look for a bed made of a medium-firm material, like memory foam, that does not sink or slouch. If you want to test this, lie down on your side. Your spine should be horizontal and properly supported by your mattress.
3. Your Mattress Is Sagging, Lumpy, or Uneven
Run your hand across the surface of your bed. Is it flat and smooth or is there a dip in the middle of your mattress? Over time, due to general wear and tear your mattress may hold your shape. Sleeping in a sunken spot limits your ability to move in the night and puts uneven pressure on your limbs and pressure points. You can take steps to prevent this from happening to your current mattress, but if it has already happened, there is no easy fix.
Mattresses need to be maintained and properly supported. It is recommended that you turn your mattress about every three months. This helps to extend the lifespan by making sure pressure is spread out evenly across its surface, which prevents sagging and damage. Lying on an uneven or lumpy mattress long term can cause worsening pain, poor posture, and misalignment of your spine. Avoid innerspring, pillow top, very soft mattresses or other beds susceptible to sagging.
4. It Takes You a Long Time to Get Comfortable or Fall Asleep
Does it take you more than an hour to fall asleep? Do you spend that time twisting and turning, trying to find a comfortable position? It is hard to get quality sleep when you are not comfortable. The average person changes their sleeping position during the night 50 times. All that shifting around causes pain, stiffness, and sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep can have a profound effect on your mental and physical health, immune system, energy levels, and overall quality of life.
5. You Have an Innerspring Bed
While innerspring mattresses are popular, they have a lot of downsides. Innerspring beds are prone to sagging and sinkage and have an overall shorter lifespan than other types of mattresses. Even if your innerspring mattress is new, back pain is a common problem due to the lack of support they provide. They do not offer proper body contouring or pressure point relief. Without this support, you are more likely to wake up with stiffness or pain.
6. Your Mattress Is 7 Years Old, or Older
If you have been sleeping on the same mattress for over 8 years, it is time to get a new one. Different mattress types have varying lifespans: an innerspring mattress may last up 10 years if it is high-quality and maintained. A memory foam mattress, depending on the material and thickness, can last up to 15 years with proper care. When replacing your mattress, consider buying a new base as well. Make sure the box spring or foundation you buy with your mattress is truly the best base. An innerspring mattress will need a different support base, such as a standard box spring, then a memory foam bed, which requires a platform or slatted foundation. If your mattress is looking a bit worse for wear, it could be causing our back pain. It’s time to start shopping.
7. Your Bed Is Not The Right Size
When looking for a new mattress, it is essential you choose the right bed size for good quality sleep. To find out what length mattress you need, add 5 to 7 inches to your height. If you are 5′ 7″, a bed that is 6′ to 6′ 2″ (or 72 to 74 inches) long would be optimal. If you share your bed with another person, you will likely need a bigger bed than the standard double size. To test this, lie next to your partner and put your hands under your heads. Your elbows should have an inch or two of space between them.
If you have determined it is finally time to upgrade your bad bed, you should know your options and what is best for you and your situation. When looking for a new mattress, make sure you keep a lookout for the above features listed above. If you want your bed to “cradle” you, we recommend a mattress made of a medium-firm material such as memory foam. This will give you the kind of support you need without putting uneven pressure on your joints or back. Check out our other posts for more lifestyle tips and advice.