Contents of Article
- Why Do I Need A Mattress Specifically For The Elderly?
- How Do I Choose A Mattress Specifically For The Elderly?
- What Types Of Beds Are There?
- Our Favorite Mattresses For Seniors
- Our Thoughts
As we age, we deal with little aches and pains that weren’t there the day before. We deal, that is, until they stack up and we no longer get a restful night’s sleep. If you (or your elderly loved ones) have been sleeping on the same mattress for the last 20 or so years, it might be time to upgrade to match changing needs.
If you aren’t sure where to start or why you need a mattress specific to elderly sleepers, don’t worry. We’ve put together a list of our top recommendations for mattresses for elderly sleepers. We’ve also answered a few questions you might have about how to decide. Let’s take a look.
Why Do I Need A Mattress Specifically For The Elderly?
Aging brings body struggles. Even if aging has treated you well, you’re still at risk for specific aches and pains. An excellent bed may not cure all that ails you, but it won’t contribute to the problem. Some issues may improve if you replace your old mattress with one that properly contours and supports your body.
Some conditions we see in old age that might get worse with a poorly supported bed:
- Chronic back pain – Improper posture and degenerative diseases that come along with age decrease the strength of our back muscles and put pressure on the spine. If your spine and lumbar region are poorly supported, it can make the compression worse.
A similar issue is chronic hip pain or any other major joint. Aging reduces muscle tone and connective tissues, making it all the more important that your bed not put pressure in these sensitive areas.
- Arthritis and Osteoporosis – In line with chronic pain are inflammatory and degenerative diseases. Sleeping on an unsupported or poorly constructed bed puts a lot of pressure on the areas affected by these conditions and can worsen the inflammation. Beds with better contouring and supporting features decompress these pressure areas and relieve pain over the course of time.
- Changes in sleep cycles – Seniors do experience some change in sleep cycle due to pain or other issues (night time bathroom trips, anyone?), but if the mattress is uncomfortable in the first place, there’s no way a senior will make it through. Mattresses that discourage frequent pressure changes remain the right temperature and alleviate pain all help to correct sleep cycle issues.
How Do I Choose A Mattress Specifically For The Elderly?
Let’s look at a few different issues frequently experienced by the elderly to see what to do about this.
Chronic Pain (Particularly Back And Hip Pain)
Conventional mattresses don’t conform to the body. Your body adapts to the bed. If that sounds awful, you’re right.
When the mattress forces your body into an unnatural position, it puts pressure on joints and pressure points. If you sleep on your back, the curve in your lower lumbar region may collapse unnaturally as you lay there, forcing your spine into an unnatural position.
Many modern styles of mattress use two layers of materials instead of one. The top layer or layers are contouring materials. These give way under broader or heavier parts of your body, and the materials fill in where there’s a gap (such as your lower torso). Your spine stays straight instead of collapsing, and you don’t experience as much pressure on various pain points.
Underneath the contouring layers are support layers. These are dense and pushback to prevent your body from sinking too far into the mattress. Between the two layers, you get both support, but your body determines the surface shape of the bed rather than the other way around.
Your spine correctly decompresses, and you find pressure relief around previously painful parts of the body such as hips and shoulders.
Hormonal changes may alter the way you perceive temperature once you get older. If you find yourself too hot or too cold throughout the night, a mattress that helps regulate your temperature can prevent you from waking up constantly.
Many mattress companies focus on the cooling properties of their mattresses since many sleepers suffer from heat and sweat during the night. However, if you find yourself cold during the night, memory foam mattresses may be a welcome change. Some forgo the cooling layers for open cell foams that are breathable but regulate temperature rather than just cool.
Many health professionals recommend a firmer mattress for chronic inflammation, but you still need the same contouring as chronic pain sufferers. As your joints swell, contouring relieves pressure, but the firmness of the mattress prevents your spine from overextending.
It can keep you in a better position overall to sleep naturally and prevent further inflammation.
What Types Of Beds Are There?
There are a few different types of bed you might choose for yourself or your senior loved ones.
Innerspring And Hybrid Mattresses
If you need a firm mattress, many innerspring and hybrid options offer some of the traditional firm feeling. You can get soft options, but we recommend the firm choices because they have proper response and pushback.
Responsiveness is useful if you have trouble maneuvering out of bed in the morning. You can use the springiness of the mattress to help your movements without feeling like you’re trapped. It’s also good for position changes if you have trouble with that.
Memory Foam And Latex
Memory foam is excellent for contouring. It’s also great if you want a softer mattress, but there are firm options as well. Memory foam is excellent for cooler sleepers because it’s naturally warmer and creates a more profound hug than some innerspring mattresses.
One good thing about memory foam is that if you can’t have a super thick mattress for height purposes, thinner memory foam produces the same contour and support as a thicker innerspring. It also deadens motion if your partner is extra restless during the night.
Latex is slightly more responsive and durable than traditional memory foam. It retains a lot of the foam properties, but it’s cooler and a bit springier in average.
Many seniors find relief from adjustable beds. If you need that kind of support, a mattress that’s compatible with adjustable frames is essential. Adjustable frames, especially zero gravity positions, can alleviate any lingering pressure on the spine and reduce pressure points.
Combining it with a well contoured and supported mattress can be a revolution in your nighttime experience.
Our Favorite Mattresses For Seniors
And now for the good part.
DreamCloud – Best Overall
DreamCloud’s unique blend of eight layers creates a sleep experience that’s universally comfortable. Although it’s classified as a medium firm mattress, the two contouring layers give you a very pillowy feeling.
The cover material is a blend of cashmere materials that are stretchy and breathable. The first two layers are contouring memory foams. One is gel infused for better temperature control and stretch. The other is a quilted layer giving the top a pillow feel.
The next two layers are dense foam transition layers that contour but begin the transition to the dense support layer. The micro coil layer underneath is individually pocketed to provide motion isolation, but it has excellent response.
There’s a final dense foam layer to give the mattress structural integrity. It has excellent edge support, so you can sit on the edges or sleep all the way to the sides without too much compression. There’s no middle sweet spot. Every part is supportive.
It’s compatible with a variety of bed frames including adjustable. It works well on platform beds and with or without box springs if you need flexibility in height.
You have 365 nights to try the mattress out before officially deciding if it’s right for you. DreamCloud isn’t in showrooms, so you’ll have to take a chance here, but the generous sleep trial allows you to figure out if your aches have subsided and your quality of sleep has changed for the better.
You’re protected by a lifetime warranty as well. The company will replace or repair a mattress due to defect. Make sure that your bed is well supported, and you aren’t using it for anything crazy so that you don’t void the warranty.
It’s an affordable mattress that’s less than $2000 for all sizes. Plus, you can pick up an adjustable frame from the website as well, and you have 100 nights to try the adjustable frame with the bed. They have a white glove delivery option if you think you’ll have trouble setting the mattress up on your own.
Solay is a highly affordable hybrid style mattress that uses full-sized springs for support. The Tencel cover is excellent for regulating temperature and moisture while the first layer of cooling foam prevents heat from building up in the mattress.
The next layer is a transition layer that reduces motion transfer and eases the body to the support layer. It gives your pressure points further relief while the individually pocketed micro coils in the next layer push back to keep your spine aligned and prevent sinking feelings.
It’s adjustable frame compatible and has enough bounce to aid getting in and out of bed every morning. It’s well supported even to the edges with no sweet spot in the middle. It’s a medium firm mattress, so it works with back issues and joint pain, as well as inflammation.
You have 101 nights to sleep on your new mattress before you make your final decision. If you don’t like it, you can send it back for a refund. You don’t have the option of white glove delivery, so make sure someone is there to help set up the bed if you need it.
You’re covered against defects with the 15-year limited warranty. Make sure the bed is well supported and used only for sleeping, or you risk voiding the warranty.
None of the sizes will cost you more than $1600, and they have affordable payment plan options you can apply for directly on their website.
Honorable Mention Mattresses
These may not have our top pick, but we do have some suggestions for ultra-targeted issues. Let’s take a look.
Purple – Best For Pressure Relief
If you suffer from joint inflammation and you’re a side sleeper, the Purple mattress is one of the better options. It has an initial grid layer explicitly designed to reduce the amount of pressure you feel on your widest parts including hips and shoulders for side sleepers.
The original Purple is all foam, but the New Purple is a hybrid option with both foam and coils. Both still have the pressure relieving layer, so if you’d like more responsiveness, go with the new purple. Otherwise, the original is fine.
It’s temperature neutral so you won’t have as much issue keeping things cool during the night. It’s hypoallergenic as well (excellent for those late in life dust allergies or respiratory problems), and it has a 101-night sleep trial.
It’s only available online, but between the sleep trial and the ten-year warranty, you’re covered if you hate it initially or it doesn’t hold up as well as you expected. It’s even compatible with adjustable beds.
If you’re a chronic inflammation sufferer, you might give this one a try.
Zenhaven – Best For Respiratory Issues
Old age sometimes brings or exacerbates breathing problems. If you’ve got breathing issues, you’ll need a mattress with very little off-gassing. Zenhaven is an eco-friendly, all-natural latex mattress that provides two different levels of firmness depending on the mattress side.
The cover materials are organic cotton with a natural wool flame retardant. They’re breathable, resist mold and mildew, and help regulate temperature. The next layer is a zoned support layer that gives more underneath places like shoulders while remaining denser under areas that need pushback.
The latex core is all Talalay foam, a naturally derived latex. It’s dense and provides enough support to maintain the integrity of the mattress and keep your spine aligned. One side is a firmer side with the support foam closer to the top. The other is a softer side with two layers of cushy contouring foam. We rate them as medium firm and medium soft respectively.
Zenhaven gives you 120 nights to try out your mattress. White glove delivery and old mattress removal are complementary, and the delivery person will set up your bed based on your firmness level.
Nectar – Best Budget Mattress
Nectar’s medium firm, universally comfortable mattress is an excellent alternative to more expensive ones. It has the same contouring and supports layers, but none of the sizes will cost you more than $1000. It’s an excellent, well-made mattress suitable for those who need more wiggle room in their wallet.
It has a tencel cover material, and two gel infused layers of contouring memory foam. Underneath is a layer of adaptive foam that transitions your body to the base support layer. The dense support foam keeps your spine aligned and gives edge support and structural integrity to the mattress.
It works with all types of frames (even adjustable) and has excellent pressure relief. You have 365 days to try the mattress out, and you’re covered by a lifetime limited warranty that will replace or repair defective models. If you tend to sleep very cold, you may want an extra blanket because the tencel material and gel layers do an excellent job of redistributing your body heat away from you and out to the rest of the mattress to disperse.
You won’t have white glove delivery, so make sure you are able to set the mattress up or know someone who can. The upside is you won’t have to wait around for the delivery person, but the downside is transitioning to the new mattress might be more difficult if you aren’t able to set it up yourself.
We love the construction of the DreamCloud. If you and your partner have different sleep preferences, it’s an excellent way to get the support you (or your loved ones) need without sacrificing a soft bed preference if that’s where you are.
The top is deceivingly cushy, so you feel like you’ve got a cloud-like mattress, but there’s no overextension of your spine. The sides are reinforced so you can safely sit on the edge without compression. It also has enough response that getting and out of bed should be a little bit easier if you’ve got issues. As you sleep on it, some of your stiffness and pain should subside with the nightly pressure relief.
The best part? Even if you’re on a fixed income, the DreamCloud is a highly affordable alternative to showroom mattresses without sacrificing any materials or construction. You can transform how you sleep, and your wallet will thank you.
What are some things that you or your loved ones are struggling with as your body ages? How old is your current mattress? Let us know in the comments below.