A good night’s sleep is an important component of health but is often elusive for many older adults who find it difficult to sleep soundly through the night. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study on healthy sleep in 2014 and found that sleeping less than seven hours a night can increase your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity and mental distress. Seniors are no exception, requiring at least seven to eight hours of rest each night.
If you wake stiff, with aches and pains or numbness, your mattress may be partially to blame. If the mattress sags in the middle or is lumpy and sleeping on the couch seems like a preferable choice, it may be time to shop for a new mattress.
Investing in a good supportive mattress may be one way to combat restless nights but there have been quite a few advances in sleep technology over the past 20 years and it may be confusing to shoppers who have been in the market for a new bed recently. Firm mattresses were once recommended to offer more support than softer versions but today’s technology allows a soft mattress to support the whole body and alleviate pressure points and soreness.
Things to Consider:
- Memory foam mattresses can help aches and pains associated with aging because they offer support without putting pressure on joints.
- Try to shop with the person or persons who will be using the bed, test driving a mattress is important to finding comfortable support.
- Traditional innerspring mattresses use coils or springs set between padding to support your sleeping body. The higher the coil count, generally the more support you’ll receive but the wrapping/padding around the coils and the design of the springs is also important.
- Latex foam mattresses can also relieve pressure points and provide support. It warms with body heat to conform to the body. Some foam mattresses can trap heat but new technology is addressing this drawback to foam.
- A hybrid combination of latex or memory foam over a spring mattress can give you the support of coil construction with the pressure relief of foam.
- Adjustable beds give older adults the option to elevate the upper body to help lessen acid reflux or help those with COPD breathe better. They can also be adjusted to take pressure off sore joints.
- Waterbeds can provide warmth and pain relief for older adults with arthritis.
The biggest mistake most people make when buying a bed is not lying down and trying it in several positions for at least 10 or 15 minutes to evaluate it’s comfort. A good salesperson will not rush you; you cannot test a bed by feeling it with your hands – keep in mind that more expensive does not always mean a better mattress for your body.