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Many older adults experience sleep disturbances, and a mattress should be comfortable, supportive, and reduce pain and discomfort. We look at 11 of the best options for seniors looking for a new mattress.

Medical News Today ranks mattresses on five key features:

  • whether a company offers free in-home setup
  • if the mattress has CertiPUR-US certifications
  • if a company has a sleep trial, and how long the trial is
  • if the company offers a competitive warranty
  • whether the company offers free returns

Setup may be especially important for older adults as mattresses are heavy. If a company does not offer setup, people may wish to ask friends and family to help with delivery.

MNT chooses mattresses for older adults that meet the following criteria:

  • Motion transfer: All mattresses will have features that limit motion transfer to reduce the risk of lighter sleepers waking up if someone else tosses and turns.
  • Height: MNT will include mattresses of a lower height so that most people can more easily get on and off the bed.
  • Edge support: MNT will choose mattresses that have reinforced edges to prevent a feeling of rolling off the bed. Edge support can also make it easier for people to get in and out of bed.
  • Sleeping position: As people tend to sleep on their sides as they age, MNT will choose mattresses that support all sleeping positions, including side sleepers.
  • Budget: MNT will include mattresses that are more affordable on a fixed budget.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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The following table compares the features of the different mattresses in this article.

Mattress typeFirmnessStandout featurePrice
DreamCloudhybridluxury firmbest for relieving pressure points$799
Nectarmemory foammedium-firmbest for back pain$695
WinkBedhybridmedium-firmbest for side sleepers$1,799
Saatvahybrid• plush soft
• luxury firm
• firm
best for joint pain$1,995
Brooklyn Beddinghybrid• soft
• medium
• firm
best for a cooler sleep$1,865
Laylamemory foam• soft
• firm
best flippable mattress$1,099
Leesamemory foammedium-firmbest for all body types$1,299
Nolahhybrid• plush
• luxury firm
• firm
best for spinal alignment$2,499
Sealymemory foammedium-firmbest for couples$1,079
Tempur-Pedicmemory foam• soft
• medium
• medium hybrid
• firm
best for durability$3,399
Caspermemory foamfirmbest for combination sleepers$1,295

Still unsure? Read our comparisons of the brands in this roundup:

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Sleep changes as a person ages. According to a 2018 review, older adults generally do not sleep as well as younger people.

The review states that as people get older, they often:

  • do not fall asleep as easily
  • have a harder time staying asleep
  • spend more time in lighter sleep stages
  • are more easily disturbed when sleeping
  • spend more time awake during the night

The National Institute on Aging suggests that the sleep habits of older adults often shift toward getting up and going to bed earlier. It states that they also tend to report more daytime sleepiness and take more naps than younger people. According to the 2018 review, not all older adults experience the same degree of sleep disruption, with older males appearing to be more prone to sleep disturbances than older females.

Sleep problems can contribute to a range of other health concerns, such as memory issues. Purchasing a new mattress alone is not likely to improve sleep. However, if a new mattress makes it easier for older adults to fall and stay asleep, it may help enhance their general well-being.

Research suggests that 1 in 3 adults do not get enough sleep. Older adults should aim to get 7–9 hours of sleep every night. However, the majority of older adults report having significant sleep disturbances.

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being, especially in older adults. Getting enough quality sleep can help protect a person’s mental and physical health, quality of life, and safety.

A common cause of sleep disturbance in older adults is pain. A 2021 literature review of 39 studies suggests that a medium-firm mattress can improve comfort and sleep quality and reduce back pain. However, current research is limited in this area.

Finding an appropriate mattress can allow older adults to achieve optimal sleep comfort and quality, which is important for overall health.

Although manufacturers may claim their mattresses have health benefits, research supporting these claims is limited.

For example, while many may describe a product as an orthopedic mattress, older research states that this term has no medical meaning or defined standard and may not provide any benefits.

People may wish to consider the following when choosing a new mattress:

  • Size: Individuals need to determine what mattress size will meet their needs, such as larger mattresses for people with larger bodies, or those who sleep with a partner.
  • Firmness: People can get better sleep and have less morning stiffness when they sleep on a mattress that supports the shoulders, hips, and lower back while keeping the spine aligned. The right firmness will vary depending on the individual, and people may wish to try a mattress in-store or use a sleep trial to find the right option.
  • Cushioning: Individuals need to determine how much softness they seek in a mattress and what their temperature control needs are — that is, whether they tend to get hot or cold when they sleep.
  • Durability: This is how long a mattress will provide its basic level of comfort and support. A person should replace a mattress that is no longer supportive or shows signs of wear or damage.
  • Warranty: A person should choose a mattress with a lengthy warranty period to protect them if the mattress comes with or develops a fault.

What is the best mattress type for seniors?

There is no best mattress for a particular population. The mattress a person chooses depends on several factors, such as the type of support and comfort they require.

There are many different mattress types. The most common include:

  • Innerspring: These mattresses use steel coils that compress under a person’s weight. While innerspring mattresses tend to be more affordable than other options, they are less durable and may offer less targeted support.
  • Memory foam: Memory foam contours to the body and provides a “sinking in” feeling. This type of mattress may be suitable for individuals experiencing aches and pains and requiring pressure relief. However, people may find it difficult to move in. Learn more about how memory foam mattresses compare with hybrid mattresses.
  • Latex: Latex mattresses are similar in feel to memory foam but offer less bounce. Additionally, latex does not retain as much heat as memory foam, providing a cooler sleep. However, these mattresses are unsuitable for those with a latex allergy. Learn more about how latex mattresses compare with memory foam mattresses.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid mattresses have one or more layers of memory foam or latex and a layer of pocketed coils. This type of mattress combines the bounce of innerspring mattresses and the contour and pressure relief of memory foam and latex.

Help to buy beds on a fixed budget

Some mattress companies can help with the cost of a bed by allowing individuals to pay in installments rather than one lump sum. However, not all of them offer interest-free payments, so people should always read the terms and conditions before using this service.

Some local charities or churches may offer furniture assistance programs. While people are unlikely to receive a higher-end mattress when using these programs, they may be able to receive a free or less expensive bed.

Typically, a mattress has a life span of approximately 8 years. However, depending on the quality and type of mattress and how a person looks after it, they may get more or less time from their mattress.

A person should replace their mattress when it begins to deteriorate, as an uncomfortable mattress can interfere with sleep.

The following are signs that it may be time to shop for a new mattress:

  • lumps and bumps in the mattress
  • sagging at the sides or in the middle
  • protruding springs
  • odors
  • congestion, sneezing, or other signs of allergies in the morning
  • waking up with stiffness, aches, and pains
  • sinking more deeply into a mattress
  • hives or rashes of unknown origin
  • bed bugs, mildew, or mold
  • stains

Although it is common for older adults to have trouble sleeping, they can, in addition to purchasing a suitable mattress, adopt the following healthy sleep practices the National Institute on Aging recommends:

  • establishing and following a routine of going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends
  • limiting napping
  • avoiding large meals and caffeine late in the day
  • exercising regularly
  • keeping the bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature
  • creating soothing bedtime rituals, such as taking a warm bath
  • avoiding using tablets, phones, or computers with disturbing bright lights before bed
  • avoiding alcohol before bedtime because even small amounts are likely to interfere with sleep

A medium-firm mattress may be suitable for older adults, as it balances cushioning with support.

However, mattress firmness is a very personal choice, and people may wish to use sleep trials or test mattresses in stores to find the right firmness for their needs and preferences.

Older adults should consider their height and any mobility challenges to decide on the best mattress height for their needs. Mattresses or bed frames that are too high may be difficult to get in and out of.

There is not one specific type of mattress that is best for older adults. However, older adults should consider whether their new mattress will:

  • support neutral spinal alignment
  • cushion the joints
  • promote a comfortable sleep temperature
  • provide motion control to reduce disturbances

The appropriate mattress firmness is a personal choice at any age. According to a 2020 research review, a medium-firm mattress may help prevent or relieve low back pain, which could be important for older adults.

Trying out a mattress before purchasing it, or taking advantage of some manufacturers’ sleep trials, can help a person find the right firmness for their needs.

Medicare may pay for up to 80% of the cost of an older adult’s mattress as a piece of durable medical equipment if:

  • the person is enrolled in Medicare
  • the individual’s doctor is enrolled in Medicare
  • the doctor determines that the mattress is an essential part of the individual’s care
  • the store supplying the mattress is enrolled in Medicare

Older people with arthritis should consider a mattress that offers cushioning and support. Hybrid mattresses can offer a good balance of these two important elements, and because of the bounce the springs provide, they can be easier to get in and out of compared to memory foam mattresses.

Research suggests that a medium-firm mattress can benefit people with back pain.

Sleep is essential for people of any age. However, older adults may experience disturbed sleep, particularly those experiencing pain.

Finding a mattress that will meet an older adult’s particular needs may help them achieve more restful sleep. They can also try adopting beneficial sleeping habits to help them fall and stay asleep.