Mattress Matters: How to Get a Great Night's Sleep

We all want a great night’s sleep, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Ever wake up feeling worse than when you went to bed? You might need a new mattress, or maybe just a little pillow repositioning.

Picking the perfect mattress:

When it comes to buying a mattress, don’t cheap out! If you're willing to treat yourself to expensive dinners and pamper yourself in other areas of you life, you shouldn't scrimp on your budget when it comes to buying big-ticket items like your bed. Think about this: You will spend almost half your life sleeping on your mattress! Considering all the time you will spend in your bed, it’s worth buying a quality mattress.

Firm is favorable. Doctors say you should purchase the firmest mattress you can tolerate. Soft mattresses lack the support necessary for your back, neck and hips. As much as some of us love flopping into a thick featherbed, it isn’t the best idea for our spinal cords.

When shopping for a mattress, bring your significant other with you. It’s important that both of you are there to choose the mattress together. You are both going to be sleeping on it, so you should both agree on the feel of the bed.

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to firmness, so you should come to an agreement on a mattress that best suits both of your support needs. And, yes, go to a mattress store and test the mattresses. You need to be able to feel the support. No online description or telephone operator is going to be able to tell you if the mattress is a good fit for you.

Mattress toss. Doctors agree your old mattress should be swapped for a new one about every 5-8 years. Fox Health Managing Editor Dr. Manny Alvarez compared mattresses to running shoes. They wear out with use, and can feel comfy long after the proper support is gone.

Although it may sound expensive to replace your mattress this often, the medical bills to treat chronic back, neck and hip problems could turn out to be much more costly than replacing your mattress regularly.

Pillow Talk

If you have a relatively new mattress and you’re still waking up with a sore body, here are some tips on how you can use your pillow to prevent your aches.

--If you sleep in the fetal position, you will want to position a pillow between your knees so that you aren’t twisting and putting stress on your lower back and hips. By placing a pillow between your knees, you keep your knees parallel to each other and allow your spine to be supported evenly on your mattress.

--If you sleep flat on your back, you will want to position a pillow under your knees. This allows the stress to be taken off of your hips and again allows your back to be supported fully by your mattress.

--When using your pillow for it’s original intention, your head, one pillow should do the trick. Using more than one pillow opens up the possibility of overextending your neck, which can cause neck and shoulder issues. Dr. Manny suggested buying a C Shape or "cervical shape" pillow. The advantage is this pillow has a carved out spot for your head to rest in, which allows the neck to be at the ideal angle for sleep.

E.D. Hill anchors "FOX News Live" from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET weekdays on the Fox News Channel, and is the former co-anchor of the network's weekday morning program "FOX & Friends."

For more useful health information, watch Dr. Manny’s health segments on Fox News Live Mondays through Fridays.