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With many mattress options available, older adults may wonder which mattress is most suitable for them. While difficulty sleeping can result from a number of reasons, finding an appropriate mattress may help seniors get a restful sleep.
Sleep disturbances are common among seniors. This is likely due to physical and psychiatric illnesses, resulting pain from the conditions, and the medications taken to treat them.
Therefore, finding a comfortable and supportive mattress, which may help reduce pain, might allow older adults to sleep with less disturbances.
In this article, we will discuss what factors are important in a mattress for seniors, and provide a list of a few suggestions for people to try.
Although manufacturers may claim their mattresses have health benefits, there is limited research to support these claims. For example, while many may use the term “orthopedic mattress,” this term has no medical meaning or defined standard and may not provide any benefits.
According to the International Chiropractors Association, the following are key factors a person should consider when choosing a suitable mattress:
- Size: Individuals need to determine what mattress size will meet their needs.
- Firmness: People 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.
- Cushioning: Individuals need to determine how much softness they seek in a mattress, as well as 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.
- Warranty: A quality mattress should have at least a 10-year warranty.
Research suggests that one in three adults do not get enough sleep. Ideally, older adults should aim to get 7–9 hours sleep every night. However, more than half of older adults report experiencing frequent problems sleeping.
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 2015 study suggests that a medium-firm and self-adjusted mattress can promote sleep in those with back pain.
Finding an appropriate mattress can allow seniors to achieve optimal sleep comfort and quality, which is important for overall health.
Typically, a mattress has a life span of approximately 8 years. However, depending on the quality and type of mattress, a person may get more or less time from it.
A person should replace their mattress when it begins to deteriorate, as an uncomfortable mattress can interfere with a person’s ability to get a good night’s sleep, which can negatively affect their health.
Many suitable mattresses are available on the market. Below, we list seven products that seniors may wish to try.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All product information is purely research-based.
This mattress is a combination of pocketed mini-coils, memory foam, and poly-foam, with a Euro-top padding layer. It is also available in three different firmness settings.
The manufacturers describe the mattress as particularly suitable for sleepers in the heavier weight group. They also state that thanks to the wire support in the center of the mattress, the design may help keep the spine aligned and reduce pain in the joints.
Brooklyn Aurora Hybrid
Combining individually wrapped coils with layers of foam, this hybrid mattress is available in three different levels of firmness.
The top layer comprises cooling fabric, followed by a copper-infused layer, which the manufacturer claim promotes cool sleep and repels microbes. The next two layers consist of foam, then 8 inches of individually encased coils, and finally a foam base layer.
Nectar Memory Foam
The manufacturer claim that the majority of people with back pain who use this product say it helps them sleep better.
This mattress provides medium-firm support, and the manufacturers claim the design minimizes motion transfer. The mattress consists of a Tencel cover on top, followed by a gel memory foam layer to distribute weight evenly and base layers to provide support.
DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid
This mattress consists of a base layer, followed by an innerspring layer, which the manufacturer claim can provide targeted support. Next, there is a transition layer, then a layer of gel memory foam, which the manufacturer say can follow the body’s contours. Finally, the mattress has a cover made of quilted foam, topped with cashmere.
According to the manufacturer, the design of this mattress may help relieve pressure points.
This luxury hybrid mattress consists of four layers, with a Tencel top layer reported to keep people cool, a Euro-pillow top with gel-infused foam, zone support made up of individually wrapped coils, and extra support along the edges.
It is reportedly comfortable for people who sleep on their sides, backs, stomachs, or a combination. The company offer a lifetime warranty.
This mattress may be suitable for those with back pain because it reportedly helps align the spine, relieves pressure points, and conforms to the shape of the body.
Layla Memory Foam
This mattress is flippable, so purchasers can choose between a soft or firm side. Both sides consist of cooling covers, followed by layers of antimicrobial copper-gel memory foam, with support foam at the core. The manufacturer state that it promotes cooler sleep and reduces motion transfer.
This 10-inch all-foam mattress provides medium-firm support. The top 2 inches comprise a breathable foam to promote cool sleeping. The next 2 inches are memory foam, and the bottom 6 inches are solid foam.
The manufacturer claim that the foam in their mattress provides cooling, contouring, and pressure-relieving support.
Although it is common for seniors to have trouble sleeping, in addition to purchasing a suitable mattress, they can also adopt the following healthy sleep practices recommended by the National Institute on Aging:
- 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
As with people of any age, sleep is extremely important for seniors. However, sleep can be hard to come by for older adults, particularly for those dealing with pain.
Finding a suitable mattress that will meet an older person’s particular needs may help them achieve a more restful sleep. They can also try adopting good sleeping habits to help them fall and stay asleep.