Your Bed and Your Back should Get Along

by Dr. David Fishkin, DC, MPH

Mattresses and pillows are the main topics people have the most trouble with. generally speaking, firmer is better for people who sleep on their sides, not on their bellies. A body pillow that is long provides more stability for your shoulder area. You may as well bite the bullet and purchase from a department store, discount stores are not high quality.


Traditional Style

It can be difficult to decipher which bed is best for you. Manufacturers make it confusing using names and models for mattresses. it is often difficult to know what you are buying. Your best bet is to ask about the number of coils and steel gauge of the springs, as well as padding layers.

Foam Mattresses

The biggest complaints that I hear from memory foam is how warm they are. They tend to give off heat, which is not condusive to sleeping. I also hear that people get a sinking feeling as if it is hard to get out of the position they are in.

Air Types

The two main reasons I receive complaints are the noise factor and the problem with two people of different size and weight in one bed. I have gotten mixed reviews on this one.

Latex Mattresses

Yes folks latex rubber is my favorite. These are well known in Europe but I have been an advocate here. I find them to be firm enough and have a bit of that memory foam feel without the sinking in and heat issues. Not much more expensive than a high end traditional mattress.


Finding the right pillow can be worse than the bed. I do not repeat do not like the pillows with the dip in the middle or so called orthopedic beds. Firstly, for many people 40 and above, extending their neck causes compression of the spine and if you sleep on your side you want your head neutral and not dipping one way or the other. When buying a standard pillow at the store, look for a firm pillow that will fill the space between your neck and tip of your shoulder. Recently I found the company which actually customizes pillows to the individual specification. The measure you in the office and a very nice firm pillow is returned which cost no more than the space age pillows sold in the store.

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