The best mattress for you will depend on many factors - one of which is your overall size and weight. If you are heavier than average, you will need a strong supportive mattress for your best possible comfort and health.
How do you know if you are heavy?
If you are heavier than average, then odds are you are likely already aware of this. Perhaps your doctor has already mentioned your weight to you as a possible health issue.
A good impartial way to know if you are heavy or not is to look at your body mass index, or BMI. If you don't already know your BMI then don't worry - all you need to do is to use this handy Singaporean BMI calculator (see reference 1). Just input your weight and your height, and it will do the work for you! If your BMI is high enough to put you in the at-risk range of health complications, then you tend to be on the heavy side. If this is the situation, it's important that you select a mattress which is supportive and will align your spine and joints properly.
Everyone is different
There is a big difference between being a couple of kilos heavier than you'd like (but still within the normal range), to being officially overweight (according to your BMI), to being clinically obese. All of these have different definitions.
Following similar trends worldwide, the obesity rate is increasing in Singapore (references 2 and 3). Currently around 10% of the Singaporean population is obese (references 2 and 3).
The heavier you are, the more important it is to pick a mattress which is suited to your needs. Therefore if you are classed as being overweight or obese, then selecting the proper mattress is going to be very important for you.
What is the best mattress firmness for heavy people?
In general, the heavier you are, the firmer the mattress you will require. This is to ensure that the mattress offers enough support for you that it doesn't sag. Also, a firmer mattress will tend to hold its support for longer - another factor that is important for a heavier person. A mattress which promotes proper body alignment is best for your spine and joint health, and a mattress cannot offer proper alignment if it sags.
It's not only the firmness, but also the density that counts in this situation. A denser mattress is best for a heavier person, because it provides more support per square centimetre than a less dense mattress.
While a firm mattress can sound somewhat uncomfortable, it need not be. It all depends on the type of mattress. Latex can be amazingly comfortable even in the firmest levels. Also, if you are heavier, you will actually find yourself feeling more comfortable anyway on a firmer mattress because of the fact that your joints and spine will be aligned properly.
Are you heavy but still want the comfort of a soft mattress? In that situation, go with a firm mattress and add a soft top for comfort. Our Heveya range of mattresses can be customised for this purpose. It's not worth picking a soft mattress that may feel good for five minutes but give insufficient support in the long term, leading to aches and pains in the morning.
What is the best mattress material for heavy people?
As we have learned, a firm supportive mattress is very important. One of the best and most comfortable of these is a latex mattress. This is because latex is naturally springy and bouncy, giving a soft comfortable feel. Yet latex still fulfils all of the firmness and high density requirements we learned about above. A latex mattress is a luxurious, natural foam block made out of the sap of the rubber tree. A latex mattress is highly durable - much more so than an innerspring mattress which is mostly like made of several parts and layers of metal springs and foams.
Being heavier means paying more attention to spine and joints
You may be a lot more prone to back pain and joint pain if you are overweight (reference 4). Overuse injuries of the back and joints become more common and more severe in those who are heavier. Degenerative disk disease in particular can cause major problems for sufferers, and is a lot more prevalent in those who are heavier (reference 4).
Therefore, besides eating a healthier diet and exercising more, it's also critical to pick a mattress which offers proper alignment of spine and joints. A latex mattress is ideal for this, and in addition it delivers a wonderfully comfortable and luxurious sleeping experience.
If you are of heavier weight, then you need a firm, supportive and dense mattress that aligns your spine and joints properly. A latex mattress is the ideal choice in this case. In addition to helping your musculoskeletal health, a latex mattress is simply so restful that you will wonder why you have never tried one before!
Of course, a good mattress is no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. The aim of getting safely and healthfully down to a normal weight should not be neglected. But since we all spend about 1/3 of our life asleep anyway - regardless of our weight - you should do that on a mattress which supports your weight properly.
Money spent on your health is money well spent, so consider investing in a new latex mattress if you are of heavier weight. It'll set your body - and your mind - at ease.
4. Mehmet Oz, MD and Michael Roizen, MD "Could Weight Gain be the Cause of Your Back Pain?" in Sharecare, February 2012.