The term “ergonomics” may be familiar to you. You may have heard it in connection with your car seat or even your work desk. However, ergonomics is just as important for a mattress, topper or pillow.
But hold on – what does ergonomics actually mean? Why is it important to have an ergonomic mattress, topper or pillow? What happens if you do not have an ergonomic bedding product and why are Vita Talalay latex bedding products ergonomic?
What does ergonomic mean?
Ergonomics is the process of arranging or designing products, workplaces and systems so that they fit people who use them. Although the majority of people may have heard of ergonomics in connection with, for example, car controls, it is so much more than that. Ergonomics basically applies to anything that that involves people.
Ergonomics assesses the human abilities and limitations. In turn, these findings are then applied to the products and systems to improve the interaction between the products, workplaces or systems and the human being. In addition, ergonomics helps to minimize the risk of injury or harm to the user, making it safe and healthy.
Why is ergonomics important?
Ergonomics helps to create a safe, comfortable and productive environment around the product, workplace or system. In addition, it helps increase the health and wellbeing of those in contact with them.
Although most information which you may find online is connected to the workplace, the principal idea of ergonomics applies the same way to your bedding products.
Without ergonomics, you essentially accelerate the aging of your bodies. This is because the negative effects of non-ergonomic products are not felt as highly disturbing at first. In most cases, we may even choose to ignore them.
However, over a longer period of time, you may encounter back, shoulder, hip and neck pains. In some cases you may also assume poor posture or worse.
It is also important to remember that prevention is significantly better for your health and well-being than a cure. By making sure that you apply the science of ergonomics in your home and work environment, you will be in better health and shape for life’s everyday challenges.
The human anatomy
In order to fully understand why ergonomics is so important for your health and well-being, it is important to understand a few things about the human anatomy.
Here are some brief explanations of the most relevant parts of the human body in connection with ergonomics. These are the parts of your body which will be positively influenced by the use of an ergonomic sleep system – and those which will be harmed over time without ergonomics!
The Skeleton - the foundation of it all
The skeleton consists of various shaped bones, some of which are fused together. One of its tasks is to ensure the shape of the body and ultimately to ensure the mobility of the body. The other is to serve as a protection for internal organs.
The spine – the supporting structure
The spine is the central structural element of the vertebrates. It connects all other parts of the skeleton. In addition, the spine surrounds the spinal cord located in the spinal canal.
In humans, the spine consists of 24 vertebrae, which are movably connected by 23 discs, and 8 to 10 vertebrae, which are fused to the sacrum and tailbone.
Furthermore, the human spine carries nearly all of the body weight and distributes it to the legs. This is why the spine is thicker at the bottom than at the top. The numerous curves serve as a cushioning against external shocks.
Vertebral column and spinal cord – the bricks of the house called the human body
Even if the individual vertebrae in the different spinal column sections differ somewhat in their external form, the general structure is nevertheless the same in all sections.
Each vertebra consists of a compact vertebral body, which is followed by the bony vertebral arch. The only exception is the first cervical vertebra, which does not have a compact vertebral body.
The vertebral arches form a hole, and are stacked on top of each other forming the spinal cord. It encloses parts of the nerve system.
Transverse process and spinous process – the walls of the house
Each side of the vertebral arch corresponds to a transverse process, which has a joint surface in the chest area. This is where the ribs are attached to. On the back is the spinous process. These serve as an insertion point for ligaments and muscles.
Intervertebral discs – the cement between the bricks
An intervertebral disc is a flexible connection between vertebrae. The human spine has 23 discs. The discs make up about 25% of the total length of the spine. The main function of the intervertebral discs is to withstand pressure. When the spine is flexed forward (or if you have a "crooked posture"), there is enormous traction on the back of the disc. This in turn transfers the traction into the joints, which leads to formation of fissures over a long period of time. This is why the duration of the curved posture could be decisive for the weakening of the spinal discs.
Skeletal muscles – the electric wires of your home
Every healthy person has 656 muscles, which make up about 40% of the man's and about 23% of a woman’s total body mass. However, the muscularity depends on the overall lifestyle of each individual.
Due to the amount of mechanical work that the muscles have to do, they are one of the main consumers of body energy besides the nervous system.
Ergonomics and sleep
Why do you need an ergonomic mattress?
Did you know that we spend about a third of our lifetime in bed? As we spend so much time sleeping and resting, it is extremely important to make sure that our sleep environment is healthy and safe. Many mattresses, toppers and pillows are not ergonomic as they have not been designed this way.
In turn, you make sure that you get the most out of the many hours while sleeping and resting. Non-ergonomic bedding may even be harmful to your health as it may negatively affect your back, shoulder, hip, neck and finally your posture.
A correct sleep system makes sure that the muscles can relax and rejuvenate at night with ease. When we are awake and active, the muscles support and hold the body. During sleep, the muscles temporarily lower their basic tension.
They do not support the spine as they usually do during the day. From a medical point of view, this is a highly important task for a correct sleep system. A good sleep system compensates for the decrease of support of the muscles at night, and adapts itself to the specific features of each individual human body.
Sleeping on a non-ergonomic mattress will bare negative consequences to your health, especially over a longer period of time. In today’s world, many already find themselves in work environments that are not suitable for their back.
This counts for both blue and white collar workers – either you move too much or too little, and in both cases you may also sit or move incorrectly. This makes it even more important to have an ergonomic mattress in order for your back, shoulders, hip and neck to get the much needed rest they deserve.
This is also where Vita Talalay latex plays an important role. A good mattress will help prevent all the possible injuries below.
Back pain and posture - a widespread disease
The most common reason for absence at work due to illness all around the world is predominantly caused by back problems. In addition to adults and older people, more and more children and adolescents are already affected by back pain.
The causes of back problems are usually very complex, be it personal misconduct, a wrong diet, lack of exercise, mental stress or other psychological causes, an unsuitable environment for the back, and so on. As a matter of fact, the BKK, a German health insurance company, found that 80% of the German population suffers under back pain in their 2012 Health report.
Slipped disk – a good reason to think about getting an ergonomic mattress
A slipped disc, also known as a herniated disc, is a disease of the spine, in which parts of the intervertebral disc protrude into the spinal canal.
The fibrocartilage ring of the intervertebral disc is either completely or partially ripped while the back longitudinal ligament remains intact. It may also compress a spinal nerve, leading to excruciating pain.
The cause is often an overload of the intervertebral discs, especially if you had problems with it in the past. One very common example is if you worked a physically demanding job where heavy lifting is required. However, a herniated disc can also occur without external cause.
This is then mostly connected to age as they wear off over time. Symptoms of a herniated disc are severe pain, often radiating to the extremities. Occasionally, there are also signs of paralysis. A conservative treatment is usually possible.
However, treatments depend on the level of discomfort that you suffer and how far the disc has been misplaced. Some serious events must be treated surgically.
Shoulder pain – the nighttime problem
There is only one word in connection with shoulder pain during the night: inflammation. The inflammation of the shoulder may come in many different forms. The most common reasons are through rotator cuff tears, bone spurs, and arthritis in the shoulder.
In addition, a frozen shoulder can also result in inflammation. Important to note here though, is that rotator cuff inflammation or tears, also known as tendonitis, are by far the most common of all.
An inflammation of the shoulder occurs when the shoulder is overused, for example by lying on the wrong mattress. A very usual symptom of an inflammation in the shoulder is that one simply can’t find a comfortable position to sleep in, and end up tossing and turning all night.
You may know this from yourself or your significant other. Especially if you are already using your shoulders more than usual, for example through a physically demanding job, it is even more vital to let them rest and rejuvenate properly throughout the night.
Hip pain – Once again the rotator cuffs
The most prominent hip condition while sleeping is called rotator cuff tendonitis. This is also caused through the long-term degradation of your rotator cuff due to chronic overuse. This is very similar to the shoulder inflammation above.
This includes cause, treatment and pain level. Especially if your hips are placed under repeated and/or heavy stress on a daily basis, it is important to make sure that it rests properly throughout the night. This way it can fully heal and prepare itself for the next day.
One way to prevent this from happening is to sleep on the right ergonomic mattress, such as Vita Talalay latex mattresses.
Neck pain – the right pillow will do wonders
So far, we have mainly discussed the reasons for having an ergonomic mattress. Here, we would like to highlight the importance of having an ergonomic pillow.
The key here is that an ergonomic Vita Talalay pillow keeps your spine straight whilst conforming perfectly to each individual’s neck shape.
If you do some research online, many suggest that you should also adapt your sleeping position if you have neck pains. But this is exactly what ergonomic sleeping products come in – you should not have to adapt.
The product should much rather adapt to your needs instead. Sleeping positions are often chosen early in life and are very difficult to change. Take the easier step and buy a healthy and safe ergonomic pillow.
Although it is common knowledge that having a good posture is important while standing and sitting, many tend to forget that maintaining a good posture during the night is just as important.
Good posture during your sleep is important in order for your spine to rejuvenate after a day’s worth of heavy lifting. On the long run, good posture during the night will protect your back and prevent a lot of pain.
Good posture is only possible with the right combination of both an ergonomic mattress, as well as pillow. The right mattress is the one that is soft and comfortable, yet supportive at the same time. These are both benefits from our unique Vita Talalay latex – all thanks to the round, open cellular structure.
The right pillow on the other hand, should do the exact same – it should support the natural curve of your neck and be comfortable at the same time. It should keep your neck aligned with your chest, as well as your lower back.
Why is Vita Talalay ergonomic?
The main reason why Vita Talalay latex is ergonomic is because it is soft and supportive at the same time. This is usually a paradox in the comfort material industry. However, Vita Talalay latex makes it possible by ensuring low hysteresis and high resilience of the product.
Low hysteresis allows you to move around freely in your sleep. This way you will no longer need to use a lot of energy when moving during the night, and keep the energy for tomorrow’s challenges.
High resilience on the other hand means that Vita Talalay latex products have a fantastic “bounce back”. It will always jump back to its original shape after every single night of healthy sleep.
Vita Talalay latex mattresses provide the spine with optimal support. After the spine supports your body throughout the day it should get it’s much needed and deserved rest. The same applies for the muscles around the spine – after all, they are the ones who do all the heavy lifting!
However, if you sleep on the wrong mattress, you may end up continuously putting pressure on your spine during the night, especially the lower spine.
In turn, other body parts will try to compensate and also suffer throughout the night. This includes the neck, shoulder and hip.
For more information about why Vita Talalay latex is soft & supportive, please click here!
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