A fine mattress should provide good neck and back support and keep your spine in alignment. Either a firm or soft mattress can offer a comfortable position. Since your back or side is not naturally flat, you don’t want to get a mattress that is super flat. Yet, a firm mattress is not necessarily a stiff one. An overly soft mattress, on the other hand, can cause unwanted curves and eventual pain. A mattress could be comfortable to an individual but when tests are performed through brain waves (electroencephalogram) results do not necessarily correlate with the person’s preference for the mattress. It is best to keep mattress choice a personal one. Each individual has different needs.

One study looked at 27 people with shoulder and lower back pain. Their own bed was replaced by medium-firm mattresses that were layered with foam and latex, adjusted to their comfort and sleeping position. After 12 weeks, they reported significant improvement in their back pain and stiffness on the new mattress. They also noted less poor sleep quality. This study shows that sleep surfaces affect the individual’s sleep quality and is especially beneficial for those with back pain.

Another study compared the personal bed with an improved new bedding system (medium-firm) in a group of men and women. After 28 days of using the new system, they reported a reduction in their original shoulder and back pain. There was also an improvement in their sleep quality and comfort. Interestingly, the cheapest qualities of personal beds were associated with lower back pain. This study suggests that maintaining a good quality of sleep is dependent on a timely replacement of the bedding system.

Let’s talk about washing what is on top of your mattress. You want to make a good habit of washing your sheets, pillowcases and blankets on a weekly basis. This habit will get rid of tiny creatures that you do not want sharing your bed. I am talking about dust mites, bacteria and fungus. Your skin sheds cells into the bedding. Dust mites love those cells. Imagine how many dust mites camp out in your bed if you don’t wash regularly. I forgot to mention one more thing- they make feces too, in your bed. There is other stuff too: You sweat at night, cat and dog dander, if you own any, and pollen. Bottom line: Make a habit of keeping your bedding clean so you don’t have to breathe all these creatures. When you do your washing, you want to use the hot-water and hot dry cycle to kill the germs. If you can bleach (white sheets) that is even better. Also use a mattress cover to further protect against allergens.

Keep clutter out of your bedroom. An organized bedroom brings harmony to your mind as you ready yourself to sleep or as you wake up. This includes making your bed in the morning. Do a bedroom spring cleaning not only in spring but other seasons. Throw away stuff you don’t need. Use organizers. Hang up your clothes or place in shelves. Clothes don’t belong on the floor.



Jacobson BH, Boolani A, Dunklee G, Shepardson A, Acharya H. Effect of prescribed sleep surfaces on back pain and sleep quality in patients diagnosed with low back and shoulder pain. Appl Ergon. 2010 Dec;42(1):91-7.

Jacobson BH, Wallace TJ, Smith DB, Kolb T. Grouped comparisons of sleep quality for new and personal bedding systems. Appl Ergon. 2008 Mar;39(2):247-54.