Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

How to Buy the Right Bed

Humans are designed to sleep on our backs, on hard ground. But we sleep on our sides or stomachs because of either a bad back or a bad bed. Healing that bad back is not the focus of this article, though; so what’s a good bed?


Image via Wikipedia

Well, bad beds are soft beds. A soft bed is like a hammock that sags. A night on your back in a sagging bed will surely produce an aching back in the morning.

A firm bed mimics sleeping on the ground, but lying flat is uncomfortable for people who have tight backs. People with bad backs want a softer bed so they aren’t crushing their shoulders when they sleep on their sides; a softer bed allows the pelvis to drop down into the bed more allowing the spine to be straighter. This is the picture you often see in bed ads touting their special bed—but it’s actually not good for you.

Assuming you want a bed that will encourage you to sleep on your back, I recommend latex. I have a latex mattress I purchased more than 25 years ago and it’s still firm. Latex is natural rubber and it doesn’t off gas like foam; it’s also antimicrobial, it breathes and it lasts.

Also, you don’t need box springs. That’s marketing hype. Don’t blame the mattress sales people though—they’re trained to tell you that. They probably really believe that buying a mattress without a box spring will ruin “your investment.” But my bed is a platform bed, just a mattress, no box spring, and it is 25 years old.

Some people like futons because they are cheap and versatile. But the standard cotton futons get very hard very fast as they compact.  Since the mattress lies on planks, not a platform, you get some spots that are harder than others and it can feel like you’re lying on steel bars.

Memory foam is popular, too, but it releases a lot of gases and it’s hot to sleep on because it doesn’t breathe at all.

Bottom line: you need to test drive the mattress. Lying on it for a couple minutes in a store doesn’t work. If you’re spending hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars on a mattress, get a guarantee that you can return it after a month if you don’t like it. You only have one back. You can buy another mattress.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advance Rolfer, 30 yrs experience,, 208.265.8440.He also blogs about men issues at 

Enhanced by Zemanta

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

copyright 2008 - 2017