Choosing a Bed and Pillows
In general, a firmer bed is better, and sleeping on your side is better than on your back, and never on your stomach. A long body pillow will provide stability and support for your upper shoulder. However, while discount stores may be cheaper in the short run, you’ll often get better quality bedding from department stores.
Types of Beds
Traditional. Spring and coil based beds are difficult to purchase because the manufacturers play games with names and models to keep the consumer from making an informed decision. Some have complained to me that they are not even sure they are getting what they paid for. With this type of bed, you may make a better choice by asking questions about the components of the beds. The number of coils in the size of bed you’ve chosen, the gauge of steel in the coils, which will reflect firmness, and the layers of padding.
Memory foam. The main concern with memory foam is that it’s really good at retaining body heat, thus making the bed too warm for some people. Also, you tend to sink into it, making it difficult for some people to turn or get out of bed.
Air based. Reviews are mixed. The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that air beds don’t work well for couples when one person is significantly larger/smaller than the other. Others complained that they’re noisy.
Latex rubber. Believe it or not, this is my favorite. Rubber beds are well-known in Europe but I’m an advocate for them here. They’re firm enough and have the advantages of memory foam without the heat retention and sinking feeling. They’re also comparable in cost to a good quality traditional mattress.
I do not like the “ergonomic” pillows with the dip in the middle, or so called “orthopedic” beds. First, for many people age 40 and older, extending their neck causes compression of the spine, and if you sleep on your side you want your head neutral, not dipping one way or the other. When buying a standard pillow, look for a firm pillow that will fill the space between your neck and the tip of your shoulder.
I work with a company that makes custom pillows. Call for an appointment and I’ll take the necessary measurements and they’ll send you a nice, comfortable pillow, comparable in cost to a quality store-bought pillow.
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