Living with Chronic Pain

Tips for Choosing a New Mattress


Quality sleep is important for everyone, especially for individuals with chronic pain or other chronic health conditions. A negative sleep/pain cycle can be interrupted by getting a proper night’s rest, leading to less pain throughout the day. Sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress can contribute to problematic sleep issues; replacing the mattress could be the answer to getting quality sleep.

When is it time to replace a mattress?

Knowing when to replace a mattress is important. Since mattresses vary considerably in quality and type, there is no universal rule about when to replace a mattress.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Expired warranty. If the warranty for a mattress is expired, it may be time to purchase a new mattress.
  • Signs of wear and tear. If a mattress is showing signs of visible wear and tear (e.g., sagging in the middle, squeaky or poking springs, etc.) a new mattress may be a good investment.
  • Motion transfer. If a sleeping partner’s movement is causing sleeping issues, purchasing a new mattress may be in order. Over time, mattresses lose their ability to prevent motion transfer.

If purchasing a new mattress is not in the budget, several things can be tried first:

  • Try flipping the mattress. However, this is not possible with pillow top mattresses.
  • If the mattress is a pillow top, try rotating it.
  • If a firm mattress is needed, try placing the mattress on the floor or place a piece of plywood between the mattress and the box spring.

Purchasing a new mattress

Buying a new mattress can be an expensive proposition. Here are some tips for purchasing a new mattress:

  • Watch out for gimmicks such as “orthopedic” or “medically-approved.” No legitimate medical organizations or groups approve mattresses.
  • Learn about the various types of mattresses.
  • Don’t assume that a firm mattress is best, even if back pain is an issue. Research shows that the best type of mattress for back pain is a medium-firm mattress.
  • Visit a store where it’s possible to try out different mattresses.
  • Check the length of the warranty.
  • Look for a company that offers a money-back guarantee and generous trial period.
  • Read reviews from actual customers.
  • Ask a health care professional for advice if specific health conditions are a concern.
  • Ask friends and family members for recommendations.
  • Look for recommendations from other individuals in the chronic pain community who have the same or similar conditions. The Mighty is a good source for this.

Remember, higher price does not always equal better quality.

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