Mattress Buying Guide

How to buy a mattress you’ll love sleeping on.
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06.People with special needs

People who are elderly or infirm and those who have asthma or back problems have special needs, and should consider the following points when choosing a mattress.

  • An inner-spring mattress can be very heavy and may be difficult to flip or turn regularly by people who are older or have back problems. A foam mattress (see Alternatives) may be a better option.
  • The same people may have difficulty getting into and out of a bed that’s too high or too low. When you sit on the edge of the bed, your feet should reach the ground comfortably, and you shouldn’t need to use much effort to stand.
  • If you’re prone to pressure pain from sitting or lying in the same position for too long, choose a mattress with soft padding.
  • Don’t go too soft — the underlying support (provided by the spring unit) should be firm enough to allow you to roll over and sit up easily. The softness should come only from the surface cushioning.
  • Beds with names involving ‘paedic’, ‘chiro’, ‘ortho’ and so on aren’t necessarily better for you than others without medical-sounding terms — it could just be the marketing.
  • Also be wary of endorsements from medical-sounding organisations. While some are legitimate, in some cases manufacturers buy the rights to use one, rather than earn it, and other manufacturers have been found to claim endorsements from impressive-sounding but non-existent organisations.
  • Although a firm bed can help some lower back pain, a bed that’s too firm could also aggravate some back conditions. Some back problems may benefit from a soft bed, so it’s important to ask your doctor or back-care specialist for advice first.
  • Asthmatics and allergy sufferers may find that an anti-allergy cover will help prevent dustmites settling in the mattress. Vacuum your mattress regularly. A slatted bed base will improve ventilation and provide fewer places for allergens to accumulate.

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