As a chiropractor, I am faced with questions regarding proper mattresses and pillows almost on a daily basis. The average adult gets anywhere from 6-8 hours of sleep per night, which is 42-56 hours weekly, or 2,184-2,912 hours each year. In other words, we spend a significant time of our life sleeping; therefore, it is important to have proper support when doing so. Recently, I was in the market for a new mattress and found myself asking the same questions patients ask me all the time: What is the best mattress for my back? Like most markets in America, there are countless options when shopping for a mattress. Do I need firm or soft support? Pillow top or memory foam? Stationary or adjustable foundations? Name brands from Sealy, Serta, Tempur-Pedic, to revolutionary brands such as Casper? The options are limitless and can in fact be overwhelming, at least from my point of view. When you consider the investment (money and time spent sleeping), the selection of a particular mattress is a firm decision, no pun intended.

Just as characteristics of mattress may vary, the variety of spinal support varies per individual. I hope my shopping experience can provide some insight on finding the best mattress for your back.

Steps to Finding the Best Mattress

First thing, you must get out there and test drive different mattress from brands, materials, and firmness. Although a five minute test in the store doesn’t provide the optimal sleep experience, you will get a feel for what type of mattress is comfortable for your needs. From a spinal support perspective, a firmer foundation provides ideal support and allows your spine to be in a neutral position when sleeping on your back or side. The ideal mattress will conform to the natural curvature of the spine and evenly distribute pressure. For simplicity purposes, any firm mattress that allows the spine to remain in neutral position is the most important characteristic when finding a mattress that is best for your back. Other qualities come down to personal preference.

After trying out different styles, research the mattresses online. Consumer reviews provide another perspective on product quality and overall experience. Some things to consider include coil count (the more the better) and the breathability and heat retaining properties. Also research the type of materials used for chemical and allergen exposure. Daily and close contact with such chemicals and allergens may have adverse health reactions for some individuals.

Lastly and most importantly, whichever mattress you decide to invest in,  ensure there is a window of time or a trial period to test out the product. Many distributors like Mattress Firm, department stores such as Macy’s and Sears, and direct companies including Casper and Bear, allow consumers to test out the mattress for 30-100 days. The true testament of the mattress will be determined after multiple nights of sleep. Such trial periods allow for proper mattress assessment and provide the option to exchange and in some cases, even return the product. My personal experience supports this time period. My first few nights on my new mattress were far from dreamy. At one point I wanted to throw the mattress out the window; however, after a few nights to allow my body to adjust to the change, I now am satisfied with my decision. The point of it all, once you have made your purchase, be patient and allow your body time to adapt to your new mattress.

Best wishes on your ideal mattress hunt. Please comment below and share your favorite mattress type.

What is the name of your business and what is its function?

Our business is Catalyst Fitness. To the general public we offer One on One Personal Training, Small Group Personal Training on Demand, Yoga, Massage, and Corporate Wellness Programs. Our Small Group Personal Training on Demand is unique in that your session begins when you arrive and ends when you complete the workout, rather than starting and ending at a predetermined time. This allows members to fit in a workout that works perfectly with their schedule. For example, if you are 5 minutes late for an Orange Theory or Blast class, you’re stressing out trying to get there and not interrupt the class. Or if you are 15 minutes late you’d probably decide to just not go if they haven’t already given up your spot since they over sold the class. Our On Demand model eliminates the stress of being late or missing the class completely because the workout doesn’t start until you arrive. It also allows us to keep our Group Training “Personal” by regressing and progressing movement patterns (aka exercises) to meet the individual goals and needs of the participant. On the Industry side, our educational team speaks at and conducts conferences, clinics, and workshops all over the world. We write educational platforms for equipment companies and curriculums for educational organizations. By educating and training thousands of trainers each year, we are able to impact the lives of millions of people around the world.



Dr. Samaira utilizing the ViPR during her one-on-one training at Catalyst Fitness.

How long have you been in Atlanta?

Catalyst Fitness opened its doors in 2004 as a brick and mortar facility. Our owners, Bill and Valorie Sonnemaker, have lived in Atlanta for over 20 years and have long considered it their home. They have two kids, ages 11 and 2, and love being an integral part of Buckhead and the surrounding communities.

What do you like most about Atlanta?

We love the slow and smooth pace of the South and the small town feel with the big city options. Atlanta is steeped in Southern charm, but it’s balanced by the buzz of a Metro culture. Its central geographic location and easy access to the airport are also a big plus given our frequent national and international travel for industry conferences and engagements.

What separates your business from the others and makes it the best?

SCIENCE…At Catalyst Fitness, we have developed an evidence based approach to health and fitness that is systematic, progressive, and scalable. We use methods that are founded in and backed by science, following a specific system and order that progresses in intensity and challenge for the individual, and that is scalable to every individual’s specific needs. We provide clients the results they want while addressing their biomechanical needs in order to achieve optimal functionality in the safest and shortest amount of time possible.

Who is you ideal client?

We value clients who recognize the difference of what we offer as compared to others. Our ideal client is educated and discerning. They want the best for themselves, and they recognize who offers the best in the industry and why.

Is there something that people in the community do not know about your business that they should know?

We are the authority on health and fitness. What we do today with clients is what others in the Atlanta area will do with their clients in 5-8 years. For example, we were the first to bring TRX, Trigger Point Therapy, and ViPR training tools to Georgia, and we continue to stay at the forefront of health and fitness by working with new and innovative companies as well as educational companies. We have won more international and national industry and popularity awards that any other facility in the Southeast and are home to the 5X winner of Atlanta’s Best Personal Trainer, Bill Sonnemaker, and Personal Fitness Professional (PFP) Trainer of the Year, Valorie Sonnemaker