Views:1 Author:Site Editor Publish Time: 2021-08-24 Origin:Site
A good night's rest is essential for people aged 65 and older, particularly those who live with hospital beds. According to recent polls, more than half of seniors living on their own experience persistent chronic pain, while 80% of seniors living in nursing homes also deal with chronic pain.
These individuals require a sleep surface that provides the support and comfort needed for healthy, restorative sleep. Some hospital bed mattresses are designed to conform closely to the sleeper's body, which can help align the spine and alleviate aches and pains in sensitive areas like the neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips. Other mattresses offer little to no conforming, and these models may exacerbate chronic pain symptoms.
This guide will look at key considerations for selecting a hospital bed mattress for an older adult, including mattress type, features, and shopping tips for seniors. First, let's look at the root causes behind some common sleep issues for seniors. Please note: for the purposes of this article, anyone aged 65 and older is considered a senior.
How Aging Affects Sleep
Insomnia is more common in seniors, according to recent polls. The causes vary; some experience insomnia due to health issues or anxiety about aging, while others have a hard time sleeping due to side effects of prescription medication.
Seniors are also more susceptible to certain sleep disorders. These include sleep apnea, or temporary loss of breath during sleep, and restless legs syndrome, which is characterized by painful itching and numbness in one's legs when they are laying in bed.
Choosing the Best Hospital Bed Mattress for Seniors: Qualities & Features to Look For
The following characteristics and functions of hospital bed mattresses can significantly affect sleep quality in older people.
The term 'mattress support' refers to how even and stable the sleep surface is. A supportive mattress will keep the sleeper's body level and flat throughout the night, which is instrumental in preventing and alleviating back pain.
Unsupportive hospital bed mattresses, on the other hand, tend to sag in the middle, creating an uneven sleep surface that can hinder spinal alignment and exacerbate existing aches and pains.
Sagging of less than one and a half inches may lead to some discomfort, but the greatest amounts of pain and pressure are associated with sagging that measures more than one and a half inches. This is key to evaluating mattress warranties.
Conforming and Pressure Relief
Mattresses that conform closely will create a mold-like impression around the curves and contours of the sleeper's body. This helps align the spine and alleviate pressure points, and also provides even support throughout the body.
Some hospital bed mattresses do not conform much, if at all. Others may conform closely in some areas but not others, creating an uneven sleep surface that can increase pressure in sensitive areas of the body.
Mattresses that offer consistent levels of conforming, such as foam and hybrid models, can provide much needed relief for seniors suffering from chronic pain.
Mattress firmness is tied to support, and sleep surfaces that are either too soft or too firm will not provide adequate support for most sleepers. Your ideal hospital bed mattress firmness depends on both your body weight and sleep position.
Heavier individuals tend to experience the most support on mattresses that are 'Medium Firm' or 'Firm'; softer mattresses tend to sink too deeply.
Likewise, lighter individuals (less than 130 pounds) typically prefer 'Soft,' 'Medium Soft,' or 'Medium' mattresses because they conform more closely; firmer mattresses may not sink deeply enough, depriving the sleeper of close conforming and targeted pain relief.
Preferred sleep position is also important for determining the proper firmness. The back sleeping position naturally aligns the spine; those who sleep on their backs require a hospital bed mattress that will provide even, level support, particularly in areas where their weight is concentrated. A hospital bed mattress with zoned support system and a mid-level firmness settings can be ideal for these sleepers.
Other sleep positions do not align the spine. Side sleeping puts most of the body's weight on the shoulders, which can increase pressure in the head and neck, as well as the hips. These sleepers benefit from softer hospital bed mattresses which can counteract this effect, allowing the shoulders and hips to sink deeper than other areas of the body, reducing pressure and promoting spinal alignment.
Stomach sleepers are also at risk of spinal misalignment. Stomach sleeping often results in sagging at the sleeper's midsection, where most of their weight is usually concentrated, and this causes the spine to dip. A 'Firm' or 'Very Firm' mattress is best for stomach sleepers, as it prevents sagging and enables them to lie flat on the hospital bed mattress surface.
The table below lists the optimal firmness for each weight group and sleep position, based on hospital bed mattress owner feedback. Please note that these ratings are subjective; the best way to determine the proper hospital bed mattress firmness for you is to try out different designs and models.
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