Home · Blog · Ergonomics in Design : Mattresses: The Secret to a Good Night’s Sleep

Not too long ago we talked about how to choose a good pillow. But a pillow is only one of the key factors in having a good night’s sleep. A good mattress is essential to your health and wellbeing.

Choosing a mattress can be overwhelming. There are so many terms that are thrown around: pillow top, pocket springs, latex layers, comfort levels, spine alignment, edge support, sleep zones…and the list goes on!

A good mattress is a significant investment for most of us. Prices can run into the thousands of dollars and the mattress needs to last for years, so we want to know we’re making the right choice, long-term. Your final choice will be highly subjective, but we’ve put together a list of things we think you should keep in mind when searching for your dream mattress.

Pillow talkPick your mattress before you pick your pillow. If you sink further or less into your new mattress, your pillow height requirement for optimal neck support will change.

SupportYour body weight and the way that weight is distributed in your body will potentially change where support is required. Your mattress should provide support that reduces pressure on protruding (bony) parts – such as hips, shoulders.

If you mainly sleep on your side – increase the support at the waist.
Look for products that provide additional support at the waist so the spine remains straight. Alternatively look for a mattress where your shoulders and hips can sink further into the mattress. A number of mattresses on the market now have different ‘zones’ which provide varying levels of submersion at different zones.

If you mainly sleep on your back – increase the support in the lower back (lumbar) region. Look for a mattress that gives a natural S-shape to the spine, providing support at the lumbar region to keep the curve.

If you have a partner and body weight and distribution varies hugely between you, this needs to be factored into the mattress choice. A good mattress will not sag in the middle (both lengthways and widthways) and will provide each person the level of comfort required to assist in providing a surface to allow for a good night’s sleep. There are mattresses available that will accommodate different weights, heights and body shapes in partners.

MaterialsNatural fibres allow the mattress to ‘breathe’ and air circulation, which prevents moisture and heat being retained, helping to regulate your body temperature while you sleep. Also look for fibres/materials that have anti-microbial properties.

Firmness and pressure distributionThe right level of firmness for you will come down to personal comfort. The key to selecting the right comfort is trying the mattress in your preferred sleeping posture. Many companies offer obligation-free in-home trials, so if finding a comfortable mattress is an ongoing problem for you, see if you can obtain a trial.
When testing for firmness, pay attention to the posture your body adopts when relaxed.

If you are a side sleeper, pressure on your shoulders and hips is reduced by additional support at the waist.

When lying on your back (supine lying) additional support at the lumbar spine will reduce pressure on your spine.

Uniform support on a contoured surface, matching the body’s natural shape should provide sufficient support to keep your spine neutral and distribute pressure along the body’s surface If you are applying more pressure to one part of the body, subconsciously you will become uncomfortable and move during sleep to change your posture and thus reduce the pressure at peak points. This disturbs your sleep and you will not feel rested when you wake.

Partner disturbanceLook for brands that offer features to reduce partner disturbance, if this is an issue for you. Remember that a good night’s sleep is key to rejuvenating your body and mind!

As every body is different, there’s no way of advising which mattress is exactly right for you. By following these points, you will have some things to think about when researching and shopping for your next mattress purchase.

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