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Is Your Mattress Hurting Your Back?

  Source: With expertise from the Department of Physiotherapy, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.  

If your mattress does not provide adequate support for your spine, you may wake up with back pain.

Are you using a suitable mattress that protects your back?

If your mattress does not provide adequate support for your spine, you may wake up with back pain and a general feeling of restlessness. What you lie on can affect the quality of your sleep, so do check if your mattress is up to par.

Overly hard mattress

If your mattress is too hard, place a foam sheet about 5 cm thick on top of it. Hold the foam sheet in place with a fitted sheet. Try it for a week. You can experiment with foam sheets of various thickness. If your back pain doesn't get away, you may need to get a new mattress.

Mattress too soft

If your mattress is too soft or sags when you lie on it, you can firm up the base by laying it on the floor. Try it for a week. If you feel better, place a board between the mattress and the base of your bed. Or start shopping for a firmer mattress.


Another way to prevent back pain when you sleep is to support your lower back using a night roll. This will support the hollow of your back while you are lying on your side or back. 

How to make your own night roll

  • Fold a bath towel so that it is wide enough to fit three-quarters of the length around your waist.
  • Place a folded towel on a flat surface and put an old belt across it so that the belt sticks out past the edges of the towel.
  • Roll the towel up and bind it with tape to keep the arrangement in place.
  • When you go to bed, fasten the belt around your waist so that the night roll fills the hollow of your back.
  • Make sure that the night roll is tight enough so that it does not move up and down as you sleep.
  • In general, the roll should fill the hollow at your waist when you lie on your side, and support the hollow in your lower back when you are lying flat.
  • Adjust the roll so it doesn't cause you any discomfort.

Article contributed by the Dept of Physiotherapy at:

Singapore General Hospital

Ref. R14

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All information provided within this web and mobile application is intended for general information and is provided on the understanding that no surgical and medical advice or recommendation is being rendered. Please do not disregard the professional advice of your physician.



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