Health Topics

Healthy Living

August 2011
Choose the Right Bed
Dr. Maulik Patwa
Times have changed… both with respect to what kind of beds doctors recommend and what patients prefer. It is no more a question– which bed is for girls and which for the boys—soft for the delicate damsels and hard for the macho men? Many a people now prefer the body-contour mattress or the waterbed to the hard futon.

In fact, gone are the days, when doctors unanimously used to recommend that firmer a mattress was, the better it was. So, how do we find the bed that is just right for us? ‘Try and discover’ is the answer.

Doctors never recommend hard bed or soft bed; they just advocate the right bed, which is different for different people. Doctors do not advocate real hard bed, like wooden bed without mattress – they are advocated by bonesetters for backaches or to correct deformities – but these beds are very dangerous and can increase the problem.

Hard or firm bed means that the mattress is either made up of compressed cotton or coir and gives good support to back and neck, as its slight compressibility matches with the curves of the body.Soft beds, like spring mattresses or foam beds or water beds are good for short term use to feel different for a while, but they tend to make you curl-up more, increasing your spinal curves and can cause problems of back or neck pain. They are very inconvenient when you want to change sides during sleep and you might require lots of pillows to stabilize you.

So, the crux of the issue is, that ‘you’ choose a bed that matches ‘your’ style of sleeping and matches ‘your’ curves or body contours. Firm beds are best as they give support and thus young people without any illness with good muscle bulk or obese persons can use them. But these are never recommended for elderly and lean persons and are a strict ‘no, no ’ for persons with pain – a softer bed is recommended for them – since the firm bed may cause stiffness and pains in these people.  

Soft beds are good for hotels, as they feel luxurious and comfortable for short stays. But it is advised that you use proper pillows for support and be careful while getting off the bed, since these are deep and cause an effort to wriggle out of.

The second important point is the right size to enable stretching lest you spend the night in a curled-up position. The third point is the depth – it should be deep enough to give you support and not as shallow that you touch the base. The fourth important point is the height of the bed – to make you comfortable in getting on and getting off.

Dr.Maulik Patwa Spine Surgeon Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad
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