Everything You Need to Know About Adjustable Beds for Seniors

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Did you know that approximately 14.8% of Australians are reported to suffer from chronic insomnia?

Insomnia is a very serious problem because getting at least 7 hours of good quality sleep is vital for our physical and mental health, especially for old-aged individuals!

This is why a large number of seniors who have difficulties in getting a good night’s rest on traditional beds and mattresses are choosing to get adjustable beds now.

If you’re thinking of getting an adjustable bed and want to know everything about it, then you’re in luck! You’ve come to the right place!

By the end of this post, you’ll know how adjustable beds function, their health benefits for seniors, and what things you should consider when purchasing one.

So, let’s jump right in!

What is an adjustable bed?

Adjustable beds are commonly used by sleepers who don’t find traditional mattresses and box springs to be comfortable or adequate enough to meet their needs and wants.

Lying completely flat on a bed isn’t for everyone; spinal injuries, gastroesophageal acid reflux disease, heart failure, obstructive sleep apnea, joint pain, and edema are some medical conditions that make sleeping completely flat at night a bad idea.

Similar to reclining hospital beds, adjustable beds have customizable support settings for a person’s head, feet, and back. They are often controlled by a handheld remote and can be elevated or lowered for immediate comfort.

These types of beds are also ideal for people who want luxury sleep and like to sit up in bed when watching TV or eating.

The best part? These beds can be adjusted at any time by the simple touch of a button, meaning you can easily prop yourself up when you want to read and just as quickly lower your support when getting ready to sleep.

The benefits of sleeping on adjustable beds

Adjustable beds do much more for seniors than just giving them an option to prop up their feet (or head) and allow them the opportunity to position themselves comfortably. They also offer a plethora of other benefits for seniors such as:

Ease sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects roughly one in ten Australian adults. Seniors are usually more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) due to age-related changes of the upper respiratory tract and associated muscles, which leads to increased collapsibility of the airways.

Sleep apnea sufferers often feel tired 24/7, have daytime somnolence, and feel like no amount of sleep is ever enough. This is because OSA prevents them from reaching the deep stages of sleep where actual rest happens.

Studies have proven that raising the head (like you can do with an adjustable bed) can take pressure off the upper airways and allow for greater airflow, which eases the effects of OSA. This gives people with OSA the opportunity to sleep deeply and soundly at night.

Easier transitions for seniors with mobility impairments

For seniors with mobility problems, simply sitting up and moving into or out of bed can be a daunting task. But having the ability to raise or lower the mattress in different ways (as found in adjustable beds) can help make such transitions a lot easier.

Reduce snoring

Snoring might sound like a harmless thing. After all, how can something like snoring disrupt your sleep in the first place? Well, ask your partner or spouse and they’ll tell you — it’s a big sleep disruptor (maybe not for you but certainly for the person sleeping next to you)!

Snoring is also a signal that indicates that a person has poor quality sleep. It’s a tell-tale sign that your breathing airways aren’t completely open during your sleep.

Most of the time, you can curb snoring by simply raising the head by a few degrees with an adjustable bed and mattress.

Stop acid reflux and heartburn

Heartburn becomes more common with increasing age. This is because of age-related weakening and loss of functioning of your sphincter muscles.

The sphincter muscles are mainly responsible for managing the opening present between the esophagus and your stomach. When these muscles weaken, the acid present in your stomach can easily get displaced upwards into the esophagus. This upward movement of acid is what leads to “heartburn”.

Numerous studies have suggested that sleeping with your upper body and head elevated can help keep acid where it is supposed to be — in your gut. Investing in adjustable beds can therefore help prevent acid reflux in many seniors.

Help relieve chronic pain

Adjustable beds can be used to achieve the “zero-gravity” position, which essentially balances a person’s body weight in a way that prevents excessive pressure from being exerted on your back, spine, and legs.

This position is very common in massage chairs and can help you sleep better. The “zero gravity” position makes you feel like you’re floating and relieves pressure points on your bones and joints. The elevation changes also stimulate increased blood flow and circulation.

This gives your body the chance to repair muscles, joints, and bones without being distorted by the way you sleep.

Some things to consider before choosing an adjustable bed for seniors

Just like any other traditional bed, you can find adjustable beds at dirt cheap prices but this will most probably do you more harm than good in the long run.

Similarly, you can also end up spending unnecessary and extravagant amounts of money on something that performs the same way as other reasonably priced mid-range options.

What we suggest is to always go for adjustable beds that are affordable and have decent performance in the mid-range price bracket.

Good quality adjustable beds can cost between $800 to $4000, which may or may not include the cost of the mattress. On the higher end, you can expect to spend around $8000 to get an adjustable bed and mattress combo! The overall price you end up paying varies and depends on factors like the bed and mattress size as well as the brand name.

All in all, adjustable beds are without a doubt a large investment. But when you take into account the price of a good night’s sleep spread over the life cycle of the bed, the investment is absolutely worth it!

Some manufacturers also offer financing options that make it easier to pay for the purchase on a monthly basis over a period of time and is something worth considering.

The mattress options available for adjustable beds

Traditional mattresses usually don’t mix well with the frame of adjustable beds due to their rigidity and inability to flex. Here are a few types of mattresses that do work well with adjustable bed bases.

Memory foam

This type of mattress conforms to the shape of your body and supports your body weight evenly. This helps eliminate pain and pressure points when sleeping, which makes this type of mattress ideal for seniors who suffer from chronic pain and body aches.

Memory foams are also a perfect match for adjustable beds due to their inherent ability to flex and bend easily. These foams, therefore, match the contour of adjustable bed bases with ease and don’t compromise on support and comfort either.

But one thing to note is that although they offer pain relief and comfort, memory foams also retain some body heat that can cause mild discomfort to sensitive sleepers.

Latex foam

Latex foams come in a variety of synthetic or natural materials and are almost as effective as memory foams at preventing pain and pressure points from developing. They are also quite durable and resistant to bacteria, making them perfect for seniors who are allergic to microbes and dust particles.

However, they are slightly more rigid than memory foams, so be sure to choose a thinner size to make sure it is flexible enough to be used with your adjustable base.

Hybrid foam

These mattresses utilize memory or latex foams for comfort and have flexible pocketed coils at their core for enhanced airflow and cooling properties.

They pair perfectly with adjustable bed bases due to their durable composition. Therefore, you never have to worry about springs breaking or foam getting damaged when changing the elevation angle of your head or feet.

Unlike traditional innerspring mattresses, hybrids use at least two inches of foam and coils. Most innersprings use only a thinly padded top with harder coils. This makes them significantly more rigid than hybrids.

Therefore, innerspring mattresses are never recommended to be used with adjustable bases and reclining beds (while hybrids can be used).

If you’re looking for a reputable mattress company, we recommend Peacelily. Our team has put in significant time and effort to study the various mattress companies out there in the market and we think Peacelily beats them all.

Features that can be found in adjustable beds

There are many different models and types of adjustable bed bases and mattresses available in the market today. Here are some of the features a good quality adjustable bed can offer:

  1. Handheld wireless remote controls
  2. Massager option
  3. Zero-gravity setting
  4. Adjustable firmness levels for the lumbar region
  5. A timer that returns sleeper to a flat position after a set time
  6. Automated cooling
  7. Speakers
  8. USB outlets
  9. LED lights
  10. Smart position adjustment settings

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Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams

We help customers with the latest and up to date sleep health information. If you are interesting in picking the best products for your home to assist with sleep we have you covered.

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