Finding the ideal mattress can be challenging for anyone, but it's even more of a minefield for people living with rheumatoid arthritis. Not only do you need a mattress that satisfies your personal preferences, but you also need one that doesn't exacerbate the symptoms of your condition. Here are some things you need to consider when deciding what type of mattress is best for rheumatoid arthritis.
How do sleep and arthritis affect each other?
Studies have shown that around two-thirds of people with arthritis are also prone to insomnia. That's not surprising, given that one of the most prominent symptoms of arthritis for many people is chronic pain. But it isn't just that arthritis affects sleep quality. Low-quality sleep can exacerbate arthritis symptoms while causing a host of problems of its own.
One way in which sleep quality affects arthritis is by lowering the sufferer's pain threshold, making it seem as if their pain is worse than it is. This creates a feedback loop that can be physically and emotionally taxing. The increased pain makes it more difficult to sleep, and the difficulty sleeping makes the pain worse.
The type of mattress you sleep on can make a significant difference to your sleep quality and, therefore, play a major part in determining the severity of any arthritis symptoms you experience.
What type of mattress is best for rheumatoid arthritis?
Spend just a couple of minutes looking online at what mattresses are recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis, and you will find plenty of advice, much of it contradictory. With so many different suggestions, it can be hard to know what advice to follow and which to ignore. The problem is that most of this advice is accurate - for some people anyway. Conditions like arthritis affect everybody differently, so what works for one person won't necessarily work for the next. There are no universal solutions here; there isn't a single mattress that will work for everyone.
The best mattress for any person living with arthritis should be tailored to their individual needs and experience. It should, first and foremost, be comfortable to sleep on. If you already know what kind of mattress you prefer, hard or soft, for example, you should start your search there. For the best results, look to bespoke mattresses. Bespoke mattresses can be customised, so they have the specific properties you want and are made from whatever materials you prefer.
There are numerous types of mattress available, and everyone has their own preferences when choosing what type they want to sleep on. The only way to know for sure which type of mattress you respond best to is to try them out for yourself. High street mattress retailers are a good place to start because you can actually lie on them and experience what they feel like. Once you know what type of mattress you find the most comfortable, you can go online to place your order and customise your mattress as you see fit. Below are some of the most common mattress types that people with rheumatoid arthritis often prefer to use.
Innerspring mattresses contain an internal layer of steel coils that give them a bouncier and firmer feel. For some people with arthritis, firmer mattresses help to reduce their discomfort during the night, especially for those who sleep on their back or stomach. However, they aren't as well suited to those who sleep on their side.
Memory foam mattresses are a great choice for people with arthritis. While everyone responds differently to different mattress types, memory foam has a high success rate compared to other common types. Memory foam naturally contours to the sleeper's body, ensuring proper spinal alignment and providing an exceptionally comfortable surface to sleep on.
Latex is a premium mattress material that is usually one of the most expensive options available. Latex is favoured for its responsiveness, making it an ideal choice for many people with arthritis. It contours naturally to the sleeper's body like memory foam, but it offers a little more resistance. Latex mattresses are suitable for any sleeping position and perform excellently when the user moves a lot during the night.
How to choose the best mattress for you
When you're deciding which mattresses to consider for your arthritis, there are some key points you should bear in mind. For example, one of the most common mistakes buyers make when they're looking for a mattress is confusing support with firmness. While firm mattresses tend to offer good support, you can also find softer mattresses that provide the right kind of support. People with arthritis should look for a mattress that minimises contact pressure against their most sensitive joints. You can find this in a soft mattress made from the right material.
Most of us move in our sleep to some degree. In fact, moving while asleep is important for reducing stiffness. Sleeping in one position for several hours will mean you ache when you wake up, even if you're sleeping on a soft mattress. The softer a mattress is, the more difficult it is for you to move while asleep. A soft mattress is often helpful for people with arthritis, but you don't want something you will sink into too deeply.
A high-quality bespoke mattress can make an enormous difference to people with arthritis, especially for those who were previously unaware of the link between their sleep and the severity of their arthritis symptoms. Everyone with rheumatoid arthritis is different, don't buy a specific type of mattress just because it's worked for someone else. If possible, you should try different mattress types out before deciding which one to buy. Finding the type of mattress that works best for you could make a big difference to your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.