Is the term "Orthopaedic Mattress" a marketing ploy or real?

Buying a new bed in 2019 can be a tricky decision, with every brand offering the supposed "best" product on the market. 

In this article, we will be looking at the latest in local marketing trends: The orthopaedic mattress.

"Orthopaedic Mattress?"

A few weeks ago, I had a terrible sleeping experience at a guest house I visited. The mattress supplied was extremely firm with minimal comfort layers to reduce pressure points.

As a result, I woke up every hour with pain in my hips and side. I have since come to realise how loosely the South African (and frankly, the international market for that matter) mattress industry uses the term.

Bed manufacturers are not required by law to provide proof that they can produce a real orthopaedic mattress.

So what is an orthopaedic mattress? 

Simply put, it's a mattress designed to support your back and joints or combat problems that arise from a bad back or joints. And by that definition, to some degree, even the cheapest of mattresses can be called Orthopaedic. To be fair, it does sleep better than the floor and offers better support than a hammock, but is it ethical? Someone is buying that mattress with the impression that the mattress will improve their sleep and support their spine. Bed shops are under no obligation to refund your purchase on the premise that their product isn't Orthopaedic.

So how would one know what bed to choose if you suffer from back or joint-related pain? 

There are plenty of useful guides on the internet on choosing the right bed, but the main thing is not to be fooled by the term Orthopaedic. Instead, leave that out of the equation entirely and research which materials are in the mattress. 

High-quality materials will support your spine and relieve pressure points. A good indication of this is usually the guarantee and service warranty a manufacturer is willing to put on the product. Avoid opting for anything less than 15 years service warranty. 

Another indication of a good quality mattress is the weight restriction that the manufacturer places on it. Usually, the higher the weight limit, the better the quality material used. Even though your weight might not come close to that limit, it is always better to go for a mattress that can support more than 120 kg per person.

In conclusion, it is safe to say that although some companies are legitimately selling products aimed at bettering your quality of life, many are interested in your money before your comfort levels and sleep.