One of the most common questions our doctors routinely get asked is, “what kind of mattress or pillow should I buy?” Or, “what is the best office chair for my back?” Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size fits all answer. Our doctors do not typically recommend one specific pillow or mattress due to everyone’s variability in sleeping positions and need for support. But what they do typically provide patients with are some general guidelines that can help them select the best option in their search journey.  

 

What Should I Look for When Selecting a Mattress? 

Remember, there isn’t one perfect mattress for everyone. There are a lot of factors that can influence what makes the “best mattress” for you. This includes sleep position, body type, sleeping temperature (hot/cold), sleeping with a partner, etc. What might be ideal for you might not even be ideal for your partner. If you are sleeping with a partner, it is important to recognize both of your sleeping habits and try to find a mattress that accommodates both of you to the best of its ability.  

One of the biggest tips our doctors recommend when shopping for a mattress is to shop in-person. And yes, we know how convenient online shopping is but when you shop for a mattress in-person, you can test for firmness and pressure points in your preferred sleeping position. This is definitely one purchase worth making the time to go to the store for.   

Next, it’s important to determine what type of mattress you prefer. Do you prefer a softer mattress that contours closely to your body? Or do you enjoy a firmer mattress that provides sturdy support? The ideal firmness of a mattress heavily relies on your body type and preferred sleeping position. 

Once you’ve determined which sleeping position you prefer, consider these:  

  • Stomach sleepers and heavier-set people generally benefit from a firmer mattress to prevent excess lumbar curve. 
  • Side sleepers generally benefit from softer materials that contour to their body to relieve pressure points on the hips and shoulders. 
  • Back sleepers generally benefit from medium support and having more support in the area of the hips and shoulders. This sleeping position is often heavily influenced by body type (lighter people generally do better with a softer mattress and heavier-set people generally do better with a firmer mattress.) 

A few more important things to consider:  

Price does not always correlate to comfort. Price is based on construction, quality, and expected life time of the mattress.  

Be sure to purchase from a company that offers a sleep trial and don’t be afraid to return! Short term comfort does not always mean a full night of comfortable sleep. 

 

What Should I Look for When Selecting a Pillow? 

If you’re already in the market for a new mattress, you probably are also looking for a new pillow. Similar to mattresses, there is no one pillow that is best for everyone. Your ideal pillow is based on factors such as sleeping position, weight, and other sleeping conditions, such as snoring, sleep apnea, etc.  

Generally, when you are sleeping, you want to keep the neck in a neutral position and not elevate the head. However, if you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea this could be different.  

Once you’ve determined which sleeping position you prefer, consider these: 

  • Stomach sleepers generally do well with a flatter, softer pillow to prevent the head from being propped up. 
  • Side sleepers generally do well with a thicker pillow to keep their head up and spine aligned. 
  • Back sleepers generally do well with a medium-firm pillow but have more flexibility in their selection. 

You might consider an orthopedic/ergonomic pillow with extra padding for the neck if you need extra support to maintain spinal alignment.  

If you snore, you will want a higher and firmer pillow to keep the head in an elevated position while sleeping. 

 

What Should I Look for When Selecting a Desk Chair? 

When selecting a desk chair, our doctors typically recommend selecting a chair that offers lumbar support and adjustable seat heights. It is important to select a chair that you can adjust to the right height so that your legs and feet are able to touch the ground.  

Here are some great tips for selecting a chair:  

  • Seat Pan should come to about 0.5-1 inch behind the knee when sitting at the back of the chair and support at least 3/4 of the thigh.  
  • Seat height should be adjustable to where the legs are parallel to the ground or slightly below, and the feet can be planted firmly on the ground. You should be looking directly at the center of the monitor at proper height. 
  • Look for a chair that has lumbar support. Adjustable lumbar supports can be easier to use as minor changes can be made to find the proper position. 
  • Ensure proper hip space below the lumbar support region so that the hips are not pushed forward when sitting back against the chair. This can create not enough support for the thighs. 
  • Ensure movement of the arms is free without hitting the back rest. You do not want the chair to be too wide. 
  • If you choose a chair with armrests, ensure that they are adjustable. 

Check out this quick video of our Fairfax Clinic Director, Dr. Gilmour, explaining why she recommends this ergonomic desk chair (and other office supplies) from Amazon. 

Let’s Review 

As you can see, there isn’t one perfect mattress, pillow, or desk chair. It’s important to find one that accommodates you and your body type, sleep style, work habits, etc. We don’t know about you but we take our sleep and back support very seriously around here!  

 

Get Treated At Kaizo Health 

At Kaizo Health, our world-class team of chiropractors in Rockville, MD; Landover, MD; Fort Washington, MD; and Fairfax, VA, practices an evidence-based approach combining chiropractic care and guided, individualized rehabilitative exercises prescription. We provide the treatment and resources you need to recover your health and strength as best-in-class, state-of-the-art chiropractors. If you are suffering pain, don’t hesitate to contact us here. We are here to help! In the meantime, make sure that you check out our blog for more information on the chiropractic field, as well as our free virtual self-assessment chiropractic web app here.

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