Spinal Alignment and Personalization.
The ultimate goal of designing your ideal mattress construction is to keep the spine aligned during sleep, while also balancing other preferences and needs like temperature, feel, and pressure relief. Research has found that you optimize sleep quality, back health, and overall comfort when you achieve spinal alignment during rest.
Sleeping position plays a surprisingly key role in determining the best personal mattress design. Researchers have found that stomach sleepers simply require a higher level of support, while back sleepers require less, with side sleepers falling somewhere in the middle. In addition, studies have shown that there are gender-based factors (the natural differences between the male and female body) that require adjustments to maintain performance. Most notably, men with pronounced shoulders and women with pronounced hips require higher point elasticity in order to achieve spinal alignment.
Spinal alignment is unsurprisingly one of the key factors in sparking restorative REM sleep. One study found that people sleeping on a bed which kept their spine properly aligned throughout the night, particularly side and stomach sleepers, spent 49% more time in REM vs. those with a misaligned or curved spine.
In a study of sleep quality among individuals of different body sizes and shapes, researchers at University of Gothenburg found that sleep quality was optimized not only by accommodating individual feel preferences, but at different levels of support determined by body type and size, concluding that “the choice of a firm or a soft mattress is not only a matter of likes or dislikes but that individual subjects can indeed have specific needs.” Another study found that a customized mattress is the most effective sleep surface for achieving spinal alignment during sleep, particularly for men with a more pronounced body type.