Every elderly person loves a good night's sleep, but regular mattresses don't always guarantee that. Individuals over 65 are prone to several body aches and pains that cause difficulties sleeping peacefully.
As a result, they need a mattress that offers the most comfort and support by catering to age-related problems such as back, hip, joint, and neck pains. Here’s what you need to know to find the best mattress for seniors.
Best Mattress for Elderly
So, what exactly should you look for in the best mattress for seniors?
The biggest challenge is finding a mattress for seniors that offers the utmost support, comfort, and pain relief. These are the top qualities of the best mattresses for older individuals.
Luckily enough, the market has thousands of varieties to pick from.
Even though you may find one with these top qualities, it may not necessarily be the best mattress for seniors. Other factors like the materials the mattress is made of, and the elderly's sleep problem determine the best type of mattress for seniors.
Therefore, before shopping for a mattress for your seniors, it's important to understand what type of mattress works best for different needs.
This article will answer most, if not all, of your questions about mattresses for seniors.
Why is Sleep Important for Older People?
The regular sleeping pattern ranges between 7 to 9 hours a day for both the young and old. Sleep has several benefits, including rejuvenating the body's energy, healing and repairing body cells and cognitive damages, and reducing chances of getting sleep deficiency health problems.
Although sleep is good for every person regardless of age, older people need it the most because of its health-related advantages.
Some examples include:
Amnesia is a common cognitive problem among the elderly that can be regulated by having sufficient sleep. Forgetfulness is not only a common old-age problem, but can also be caused by other factors such as sleep disturbances, medication side effects, depression, deficiency in minerals and nutrients, among others.
Getting sufficient sleep is an important additional treatment recommendation for amnesia among the elderly.
Seniors still need to be alert at all times despite their age. For instance, some accidents like falling can occur because of lack of attention and fatigue caused by insufficient sleep. Such accidents may be fatal, or result in severe injuries and further health complications.
Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Older people are no exception to stress, depression, and anxiety. These disorders in the older generation can occur due to loneliness, medication side effects, health conditions, and various sleep problems, such as sleep apnea. Having a good night's rest is among the recommendations that accompany medical treatments for such problems.
Improve Cardiovascular Health
Most cardiovascular diseases diagnoses mention sleep deprivation as one of its causes. Unfortunately, seniors fall into the category of individuals at high risk of getting cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks.
Sleep deficiency deprives the body of the most important time for healing and repairing damaged blood vessels. During sleep, the heart takes a "rest" from its vigorous duties by lowering the blood pressure, stabilizing breath, and slowing the heart rate. Therefore, continuous sleep deprivation can lead to severe damages to these important organs.
What Factors Make Sleep Challenging for Seniors?
Most seniors have trouble sleeping for various reasons. One of the most common explanations for this problem is the decreased melatonin levels that occur with aging. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep patterns. Thus, lower melatonin levels cause difficulties in falling asleep, a common problem that many seniors deal with.
However, several other factors, coupled with insufficient melatonin, can make falling asleep a huge challenge for many seniors. They include:
Aches and Pains
Old age comes with numerous health complications such as backaches, joint aches, neck pains, and much more. Unfortunately, these pains tend to be felt more during sleep, causing sleepless nights. They also become more severe with a poor sleeping surface or poor mattress quality because of the delicate nature of older people's bodies.
An uncomfortable mattress and beddings certainly make sleeping difficult. Similarly, a mattress for seniors that lacks support, sufficient cushioning, and has no motion isolation properties often disrupts sleep.
Restless Legs Syndrome
In addition, other health problems such as the Restless Leg Syndrome, rampant in older people, can cause discomfort. RLS is a strong urge to itch or shift the position of the limbs when trying to fall asleep.
It's not always true that daytime drowsiness is normal in old age. Excessive daytime sleepiness can be caused by poor night's sleep or other underlying medical conditions.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, lack of melatonin in old age alters the sleep pattern causing many older adults to stay awake at night, and feel sleepy during the day.
Sleep disruptions can be caused by health conditions such as nocturia (nighttime urination) that affects 80% of older adults. This, coupled with reduced melatonin, makes it harder for such adults to fall asleep once awakened.
Other sleep disruptions can be caused by squeaking noises from uncomfortable mattresses, and background noises.
Shift in Sleep Schedule
The body's physical, mental, and behavioral patterns ( circadian rhythm) tend to shift forward in time as people get older. These rhythms are affected by light and darkness, precisely night and day.
Sleeping at night and staying awake during the day is one example of the body's response to the circadian rhythm.
When the rhythm shifts forward, the body's response also changes to fit. This explains why older people tend to sleep earlier, and also wake up earlier. Thus, this natural change is also a common cause of sleep challenges among seniors.
The human body begins to lose its ability to regulate temperature with age. As a result, older people may experience uncomfortable changes in their body temperature. Sometimes they get too hot during the night, making it uncomfortable to fall asleep.
Additionally, low-quality mattresses without thermoregulating properties increase the body's temperature to uncomfortable levels at night. Even though the room temperature may be cool, a hot sleeper may not have an easy time trying to fall asleep on a mattress of low quality.
Health Conditions that can Cause Sleep Challenges Among Seniors
Seniors are prone to several age-related medical conditions. Some of these conditions are also responsible for causing challenges in falling asleep among the elderly. They include:
Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Having random disruptive breaks while asleep that can cause snoring.
A mental disorder that can cause chronic sleeplessness (insomnia).
Chronic joint inflammation that can lead to severe pain.
Aches and pains in the hips can be due to several causes, making it difficult to sleep.
Widespread pain caused by an overactive nervous system.
What to Look for in the Best Mattress for Seniors?
Taking care of an older adult is a huge responsibility that determines how well they'll enjoy their later years. Despite the numerous health conditions that such individuals are prone to, proper care contributes greatly to their recovery and general wellness.
Part of the care process may include ditching the low-quality mattress for an ideal mattress for such seniors. Here's what to look for in the best mattresses for seniors:
Type and Quality of the Materials Used
Mattresses are made from different materials, such as latex and memory foam. These materials differ significantly in their characteristics, which affect their comfort, support, and durability levels. Higher quality mattresses provide better performances and durability, but are usually more costly.
Proper Spinal Alignment Support
A senior does not necessarily need to have spinal or back problems to use a mattress that offers excellent spinal alignment support. In fact, a poor-quality mattress for seniors can cause such problems to the elderly. This is because the elderly have delicate bodies, and are more vulnerable to mobility problems.
Most seniors often require support during movement, such as walking, sitting, or standing. Similarly, getting out of bed without support can be difficult for individuals in this age group.
A mattress with good edge support remains firm when supporting the body's average weight, instead of squashing or forming a dip. Such support is important for an elder with mobility difficulties, or aches and pains in the body.
Mattresses without thermoregulation properties cause overheating at night, which causes more discomfort to hot sleepers. Most seniors face this challenge because their bodies do not regulate temperature the same way as younger people.
Since they are prone to getting too hot or too cold, a thermoregulated mattress always comes in handy when choosing the best mattresses for the elderly..
Ease of Mobility on the Mattress
Mobility on a mattress for seniors depends on the materials it is made of, and its firmness level. For example, bouncier mattresses are not the best choice for seniors with mobility issues because of their high levels of motion transfer. Additionally, mattresses without good edge support can make it difficult for seniors to get off their beds.
The Firmness of the Mattress
The firmness level of an ideal mattress for seniors depends on their needs and health conditions. For example, side sleepers need softer mattresses to reduce hip pain, while back sleepers will be more comfortable on a medium-firm kind of mattress. As for combination sleepers, the best pick in terms of firmness is a medium firm type of mattress.
The Health Conditions and Needs of a Senior
Mattress manufacturers have created different categories of mattresses specifically made to improve comfort and support for seniors. Depending on the qualities and properties of the materials used, different mattresses can tackle different needs, such as pain relief for seniors with back pain, hip pain, and conditions such as arthritis.
Cost and Warranty
Buying a mattress is a substantial investment worth protecting, and budgeting for. You may want to look for something within your budget, and with a generous warranty and return policy.
What Types of Mattresses are Best for the Elderly?
Mattresses are often described by the materials they are made of, and their structural design. For this reason, a buyer's choice often depends on whether the properties of a particular mattress meet their needs.
Popular mattress varieties for the elderly include:
Latex mattresses are made from either synthetic, or organic rubber. They are known to be elastic, but fairly firm, and the mattress is best for people looking for a natural option.
Additionally, they can conform to the shape of the body, without causing a dip on the mattress. Latex mattresses are good for relieving pressure points on the body, and providing adequate comfort. They also allow for better air circulation, compared to memory foam mattresses, to provide a cooling effect.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are very popular in the market today. They are ideal for most types of sleepers, because they conform to the shape of the body. Because of this characteristic, memory foam mattresses are an excellent choice for pain relief, motion isolation, and spinal alignment.
However, foam mattresses do not neutralize temperature, and can get too uncomfortable for hot sleepers. Some manufacturers use gel memory foam to create layers on the mattress, and add the cooling effect to the final product.
Innerspring mattresses are made with uniform grids of coils in their inner support core, and layers of cushioning and foam on the outer side. These mattresses have been in existence for years before newer designs saturated the market.
The coils in the support core allow for sufficient airflow, making these mattresses ideal for temperature regulation. Although innerspring mattresses offer good support and comfort, they may not be an excellent choice for seniors needing extreme relief from pain.
This is because the mattresses do not conform to the body's shape as memory foams and latex do. Besides, they may have more motion transfer because of the springs.
Hybrid mattresses are manufactured with two distinctive sections. The first is the support core, which borrows the grids of coils idea from innerspring mattresses. The second section is the comfort system, which borrows from memory foam or latex materials. The coils provide the support benefits, while the foam or latex offer the cushion and comfort benefits.
Hybrid mattresses seem to check all boxes of the best mattress for seniors. They neutralize the temperature, and provide better support, thanks to their support core, guaranteeing comfort, body contouring, and pressure relief. However, with all these properties, these types of mattresses are certainly pricier than most options.
An airbed also has a support core and air-filled chambers in place of metallic coils. Their comfort systems are made of different cushioning materials, foam, or latex.
The airbed technology allows the user to adjust the firmness of the mattress, using a remote control or a mobile app to reduce or increase the air in the chambers. Additionally, different designs allow the sleeper to adjust different sections of the chamber depending on their preferences.
The biggest advantage of airbed mattresses is their ability to self customize the right mattress position to allow for an exceptional sleeping experience. This advantage makes it suitable for seniors prone to on and off pains in different parts of their bodies.
What is the Best Mattress Firmness for the Elderly?
The best mattress firmness for a senior is determined by factors such as the senior's average weight, sleeping position, personal needs, and in some cases, their health conditions.
Because older adults can be a little fragile and prone to body pains, overly-firm mattresses may not offer relief from pressure points, such as shoulders, hips, and back. On the other hand, an overly-soft mattress may fail to provide good spinal alignment and support for their tender joints. Some softer mattresses also lack edge support and motion isolation abilities that most older adults need in a best mattress.
The ideal firmness of a mattress for seniors ranges between the medium soft and medium firm. However, due to the numerous needs of seniors, it may be difficult to pinpoint one mattress with all the right qualities. For this reason, using other mattress accessories, such as knee pillows, is a great way of offering additional support and relief on pressure points.
Latex for Less mattresses have a unique solution for the challenges of finding the ideal firmness in a mattress. Their organic latex mattresses have different firmness levels for the two different sides. On one side, the mattresses are firm, while the other side is medium-firm, making them ideal for all kinds of sleepers.
What are the Best Accessories for a Senior Mattress?
Bed accessories make sleeping more comfortable for seniors. These accessories provide additional comfort and support on a senior's bed to help them rest better while sleeping.
Pillows can be used for both support and comfort while sleeping. They come in various types, shapes, and sizes, and are made of different materials, including natural solid latex and natural shredded latex. Therefore, pillow shopping is also as important as mattress shopping, and their quality matters, too.
Most pillows provide comfort and support to the neck and shoulders. However, others support other body parts, such as the knees, back, and legs. Additionally, these pillows are made of several materials, such as latex, feathers, cotton, and foam.
It's important to note that poor-quality pillows may cause more harm than good to seniors in the form of pressure build-up and more discomfort. For this reason, it's necessary to consider several factors before selecting an ideal pillow that is best for seniors. These considerations include the senior's average weight, the firmness of the mattress, the material used, including head size and shoulder span for head pillows.
Adjustable beds are suitable for customizing sleep experiences to the senior's comfort. They are usually recommended for seniors with mobility difficulties and severe health conditions, requiring them to stay in bed longer. Depending on the bed's design, they can be adjusted to raise or lower the head or feet, using a remote control, or manually.
Adjustable beds for couples are also designed with two sides that move independently to provide motion isolation, and stop sleep disruption. These beds are good for seniors with several conditions, such as arthritis, sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, and restless leg syndrome.
Mattress toppers are an affordable way of adjusting the firmness of a senior's mattress.
A mattress topper is a thick layer of cushioning made from different materials used to adjust the firmness of a mattress. A topper is made of different materials, such as latex and foam to provide various firmness levels for comfort and support.
Toppers come in handy for seniors who have varying preferences, but do not want to change their mattresses entirely. Most toppers are designed to make a mattress less firm, but several designs make a mattress firmer instead. In addition, choosing the right mattress topper also depends on the needs of the senior, such as pressure relief.
Bed rails are a budget-friendly option for providing edge support, enabling seniors to get off the bed easily. They are also known as assist rails, side rails, or bed handles.
These rails are made of metallic bars fixed on the edge of the bed, and cushioned handles to grab on. Some of the rails also have extra bars that touch the floor for extra support.
Other than edge support, bed rails can prevent a senior from falling off the bed while sleeping. Therefore, it is important to look for maximum support when choosing this type of bed accessory.
FAQs About Mattresses for Seniors
Now let's take a look at some of the most common questions people ask about mattresses for seniors.
Do Seniors Need a Softer Mattress?
It's a common misconception that older people need softer mattresses. Although these mattresses are ideal for side sleepers, seniors may have difficulties getting off a soft mattress because of their fragile joints. Seniors need support and relief from their mattress. Therefore, medium-firm to firm mattresses are the most preferred, and best mattress for seniors.
What Are the Best Mattresses for Seniors with Arthritis and Joint Pain?
The best mattresses for seniors with arthritis and joint pain are those with motion isolation, and pain-relief properties. Foam mattresses are known for their pain relief properties, while latex mattresses are ideal for motion isolation. Hybrid mattresses also offer these two properties, and more.
Do Mattresses for Seniors Have a Warranty?
Mattresses are a huge investment, and as such, they attract generous warranties. Many manufacturers offer a 10-20 year warranty on mattresses, including those for the elderly. But be sure to find out about your mattress warranty policy, and what it covers before buying.
How Thick Should Memory Foam Mattresses Be?
Memory foam mattresses that are 10 to 14 inches thick are considered great for the elderly. This, of course, depends on the specific health needs of the user, and their general preferences. You’ll find a wide range of high quality mattress options to choose from from Latex for Less.
Sleep Tips for the Elderly
These sleep tips can help improve sleep quality for many seniors experiencing trouble trying to fall asleep.
● Create a strict bedtime routine, lasting between 7 to 9 hours
● Reduce caffeine intake
● Avoid daytime naps
● Keep the bedroom clean, free of noise and clutter, and with low light at night
● Adopt a pre-bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath, or reading a book
● Stay away from electronics, such as TV and cell phones before bedtime
● Maintain an optimum temperature in the bedroom before sleep
Key Features of Latex for Less Mattresses
Latex for Less mattresses manufactures natural latex mattresses with pure organic cotton covers, and pure natural wool fiber fire barriers.
Here's why Latex for Less offers the best mattresses for seniors anywhere in the market:
● Get two firmness options in one mattress by flipping over your mattress to reveal a medium-firm, or a firm mattress
● Natural wool fibers are breathable, and allow sufficient air circulation for the cooling effect
● Mattresses come with ultra-soft organic cotton covers
● All mattresses have a generous 20-year warranty, and a 120-night sleep trial
● Mattresses are available in different sizes, and can fit different bed foundation bases, platforms, and adjustable bases
● Offers free shipping and return pickups
From latex mattresses, toppers, pillows, foundations and adjustable beds, Latex for Less has all the bedding options for senior needs!