Is it your mattress?
When you start waking up with back, neck, or shoulder pain, that’s a good time to ask, is it your mattress? Don’t listen to the mattress industry’s advice that you MUST change your mattress every 8 years, though that’s a general rule of thumb to consider. A high quality mattress may lose some of its support after 8 years of use. (Some lessor quality mattresses may lose support in one year!) If you’re still sleeping soundly and waking up feeling well-rested – no aches or pains – there is no reason to replace your mattress after 8 years or even 10 years, for that matter. On the other hand, if you develop an achy back or shoulders and wake up feeling unwell, your mattress may be to blame.
How to be sure it’s your mattress
If you start waking up with an achy back, neck, or shoulders, it could be your mattress, but how can you be sure? If your mattress is 8 years or older, it may have lost some of its support. If your mattress is still in good shape, it may be something you’re doing or not doing that’s causing your pain. I have a very comfortable, new mattress – it’s not too firm and it’s not too soft – it’s just right. Yet, in December, my lower back started hurting for no reason. I hadn’t exercised too hard or overdone it working in the yard. I though that the problem was I had been too sedentary during the holidays. I’d gone for walks and even jogged a bit, but I hadn’t really moved or stretched my whole body.
I was a little too unpracticed to go to a yoga studio so I looked for yoga videos on YouTube. I discovered Yoga With Adriene. Adriene has so many great yoga videos, and she’s really funny, too. The video that helped the most is Deep Stretch, shown below. I don’t have 45 minutes to do this video every day, but she does a sequence from 3:40 to 19:50 that I do every day (a little over 16 minutes) that has really helped my lower back. (The very best stretch is from 14:40 – 19:50). She has several month-long series of videos around 25 minutes long to get you started if you’re a beginner. Adriene makes it fun and easy to start your yoga journey.
Before shopping for a new mattress, make sure you’re moving your body to the best of your ability. Stretching your lower back, neck, and shoulders and working your core are all very important to back health, as well as your physical health in general. If you do a few weeks of yoga consistently, your mattress is over 8 years old or just not comfortable to you anymore, and you’re still waking up feeling achy and unwell, then it’s time for a new mattress.