Back Support Research
The most important function of a mattress is to support your back. If your back is not properly supported while you sleep, you will wake up with back pain and stiffness. The core system, or support layer, of your mattress is what supports your back. If it allows your hips to sag into the mattress it will throw off the alignment of your spine, causing back pain. The Support Index measures the effectiveness of different types of core systems.
What is The Support Index. This index seeks to quantify the relative ability of different mattress core materials/systems to properly support the human body, specifically the back. The single most important thing that the mattress core must do is to prevent the hips from sinking too deeply into the mattress. All of us know the importance of standing up straight. When standing straight, the hips are centered directly beneath the shoulders. This places the least amount of stress and strain on the skeletal structure. It is essential that this same posture be maintained when sleeping. After all, each of us has probably felt the pain in your lower back in the morning after sleeping on a bed that sags. But achieving this is not as easy as it sounds.
The lower torso is the heaviest part of the body, so gravity pulls harder there. If the mattress, particularly the core allows the hip to sink too far into the mattress, a mis-alignment occurs. If one is sensitive to misalignment, lower back pain results, and over time, almost all of us would develop a bad back. In order to prevent this from happening the mattress must push the hips into alignment with the rest of the body so there is no sag in the skeletal structure.
While this is the best condition for the back, it creates other problems. The hips are sensitive to pressure and the more pressure, the more tossing and turning occurs, which is why the comfort layers are so important. This chart seeks to compare various commonly used core materials that both initially, and over time provide the best skeletal support. By far, the best system at keeping the skeleton aligned is a quality support coil. Support coils are laced together so that they work in unison to prevent the hips from sinking too deeply into the mattress.
Softening is another factor to consider. If the core softens over time, it loses its ability to support the body properly. That is why foam cores make poor support systems, and why many who purchase latex and memory foam beds begin to feel back pain after a couple of year’s use.
Air beds are not included in this analysis because they provide variable support depending on the firmness setting. At soft settings, they provide poor support. At firm settings, they provide good support. Since they allow the user to self-adjust the support from poor to good, we do not recommend an air bed for anyone who is sensitive to lower back pain.
intelliBED with its unique combination of a top quality innerspring and advanced cushioning intelli-gel provides the perfect combination of firm horizontal support that doctors recommend for the healthy spine and pressure relief that holds your hips and shoulders in the ideal sleep posture.
For more information on back support in mattresses, please watch the two videos below.