You recently turned 50 and a few days later you found a surprise letter in the mailbox. The AARP welcomed you into the seniors club. It used to be seniors began enjoying the golden years at the age of 65, when retirement kicked in and free time meant playing with grandchildren and improving golf games.
My, the times have changed.
We’re not sure why the AARP has turned 65 years into the new 50, but we do know one thing: Aging is the reason we created a comprehensive guide to help seniors find the best mattresses. For this discussion, we define a senior as someone who is at least 65 years old. The 15 years difference between the new AARP induction age and 65 years old is huge when discussing how to buy a mattress. At 50, you probably enjoy sleeping on a softer mattress because of the absence of a neck, back, and shoulder pain.
Many Seniors Have Trouble Sleeping
No other age demographic has more trouble falling asleep and more difficulty staying asleep than seniors. Although retirement eases the stress of maintaining a prosperous career, other sleep disturbances slowly take over the nightly slumber routine. Seniors experience many of the same sleep problems, which leads to friends and relatives assuming it is just the norm for aging people.
Although how we sleep changes as we grow older, the need for getting quality sleep does not change. In fact, seniors require the same amount of quality sleep as they did 40 years earlier. However, because of several reasons, many seniors are unable to settle into bed, count a horde of sheep, and fall into deep slumber.
Why Seniors Have Trouble Falling Asleep
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 50% of seniors over the age of 65 reports having difficulty falling asleep and/or remaining asleep. Women in the senior age demographic experience sleeping difficulties more often than men. Some seniors experience sleep difficulties for seemingly no reason. However, seniors that take medication and/or have one or more medical conditions are much more likely to deal with insomnia.
Here are some of the reasons why seniors experience sleep difficulties:
- Frequent urination
- Acute joint pain caused by arthritis
- Difficulty breathing because of COPD
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
- Leg cramps caused by poor blood circulation
- Acid reflux
- Parkinson’s disease
- Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease
Medications that impede healthy sleep include diuretics, beta blockers, decongestants, and corticosteroids. Seniors that take medicine to control psychiatric, neurological, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal conditions can also experience sleeping difficulties.
Sleep Architectural Changes Because of Aging
A healthy sleep cycle consists of four phases. Also referred to as sleep architecture, the standard adult sleep cycle starts when your muscles start to relax and brain neurotransmitters become less active. Stage two begins light sleep that is not accompanied by dreams. The length of stage two sleep determines the quality of the deep sleep experienced in stages three and four. Deep sleep includes Rapid Eye Movement (REM), which prompts the neurotransmitters in the brain to once again fire up. REM sleep is when we experienced the most intense dreams.
Healthy sleep consists of repeating the cycle four or five times during every night. However, as we grow older, we tend to spend less time in the body and brain recuperative stage of deep sleep. The reduced time in stages three and four makes us lethargic during the day and in many cases, makes us drowsy enough to take naps. Although we cannot change the irrefutable law of aging that affects sleep, we do have control over another factor that is often ignored by seniors.
We can change the mattress we sleep on at night.
Why a New Mattress Can Help Seniors Sleep
Despite losing the battle with Father Time, seniors can still turn back the clock a bit by purchasing a new mattress. Although there is not one “miracle” mattress that provides the sleep antidote for all seniors, there are several options for seniors to consider that restores a healthy sleep routine. The Better Sleep Council suggests everyone replace their mattresses every seven years.
For seniors, the replacement rate might be less than seven years, especially if you experience the following conditions:
- Waking up in the morning with minor pain
- You feel tired during the day
- Sleep away from home is better than when you sleep in your own bed
Since buying a new mattress improves sleep performance, seniors should enjoy several health benefits. Many of the health benefits also apply to other age demographics.
- Better mood
- Decreased stress
- Enhanced memory
- Lower inflammation
- More creativity
- Weight loss
All the health benefits associated with a sound sleep pattern contribute to seniors living longer by avoiding common ailments that naturally diminish the quality of life.
Attention All Seniors: What to Consider When You Shop for a Mattress
Seniors should follow many of the same tips other people follow for buying the right mattress. Nonetheless, if you have reached the magic age of 65 and you want to buy a new mattress, you have a few unique factors to consider for regaining control of the night.
Most seniors live on fixed incomes, which can make spending around $1,000 for a mattress seems like an unnecessary expense. With your health at stake, you should view spending $1,000 for a new mattress in a different light. If the mattress lasts you the standard of seven years, you end up spending a little less than 40 cents per night to improve your health and well being. When we mention price as a mattress buying consideration for seniors, we are referring to price shopping. Compare the deals offered by mattress retailers and manufacturers to save money on a high-quality mattress.
Seniors bring numerous potential health issues to the table, and with a new mattress, they can mitigate the issues by sleeping in the proper position. The best new mattresses for seniors provide plenty of support to ensure the correct spine alignment. Mattress manufacturers rank firmness on a scale from one to 10. Although you do not need to buy a rock solid mattress that ranks as a 10 in the firmness category, you should strive for a firmness ranking of at least six.
With a six firmness rating a new mattress will contour enough to the body to relieve hip, neck, back, and shoulder pressure points. You should also enjoy improved regulation of body temperature by purchasing a firm mattress that encourages the circulation of air. A firm mattress edge prevents sagging to make getting in and out of bed easier to accomplish.
Firm latex and high-density memory foam mattresses help seniors alleviate the pain caused by the following ailments:
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle tightness
Seniors sleep the fine line between comfort and firmness. If you buy a mattress that is too firm, you run the risk of exacerbating the pain caused by active pressure points. You experienced pinched nerves and poor blood circulation, which produces pain that feels like you just woke up on a bed of pins and needles. During sleep, you can expect to change positions often to avoid feeling the pain caused by a mattress that is too firm.
Balancing comfort and firmness does not have to be a high-wire juggling act. Several mattress manufacturers devote resources to developing technology that helps seniors sink into mattresses that respond quickly to contour the body. Comfortable mattresses for seniors keep the spine in the proper alignment, without causing the body to become too rigid during sleep. Your spine is the command center that controls nerve activity. An improperly aligned spin sends out pain signals that can disrupt a healthy sleep pattern.
When you sit at the edge or lie in the middle of a mattress, you want to experience minimal motion transfer. For seniors, mattress motion transfer is much more than a problem of disrupting the sleep of a partner. By simply rolling over at night, seniors can experience levels of motion transfer that disrupt sleep. In fact, motion transfer represents the most common reason why seniors need to purchase new mattresses. The action a mattress delivers after you roll over in sleep should never be enough to wake you during the night.
As we transition into deep sleep, our bodies tend to generate heat because of the tremendous amount of neurological activity. For seniors, the temperature issue is typically the big chill. High quality mattresses include body heat prevention features such as ventilation and phase change materials. Therefore, seniors do not have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night pouring sweat into the sheets. Your primary concern as someone who has reached the golden years is to find a mattress that retains body heat to ensure warm comfort throughout the night.
As we age, our reactions to allergens get more severe. From dust mites that grow like the plague under a mattress to a mattress material that make seniors sneeze the night away, finding a mattress that prevents allergies from disrupting your sleep should be a high priority. Most mattress manufacturers have created specialty mattresses that prevent allergens from disrupting the sleep of seniors.
Seniors that sleep on their backs often experience discomfort. By raising the top half of a bed and elevating the feet, you can reduce the pressure placed on the neck and back and hence, improve blood flow throughout the body. A body that is elevated opens partially blocked air channels to alleviate the unhealthy side effects of sleep apnea.
You should consider buying an adjustable bed if you suffer from one or more of the following ailments:
- Leg cramps
- Acid reflux
- Poor blood circulation
- Neck and/or back pain
- Sleep apnea
Three Recommended Mattresses for Seniors
The mattress list for seniors is by no means a short one. Nonetheless, we especially like three mattresses that cover the unique sleeping issues many seniors face.
Plush Beds Medium Botanical Bliss Latex Mattress
Available for seniors in all of the standard sizes, the Plush Beds Medium Botanical Bliss Latex Mattress contains a Joma wool barrier located between the latex layer of the mattress and the bed sheets. The Joma wool barrier produces the most comfortable body temperature for sleeping. Joma wool helps seniors that suffer from chills to stay warm throughout the entire night, regardless of what the weather is doing outside.
The mattress consists of natural, organic latex for all three layers. Each layer delivers a different degree of firmness, but the three layer work flawlessly together to provide supreme comfort, while not sagging in the middle of the mattress. By unzipping the cover, you can adjust each layer to achieve the most comfortable feel. You can also change the order of the layers to alter the firmness of the mattress. The unique design of the Plush Beds Medium Botanical Bliss Latex Mattress makes it a sleeping hit for seniors that suffer from back pain.
The firmness of the mattress ranges from medium to very firm. If you weigh less than the average senior or prefer to sleep on your back, we recommend adjusting the mattress to sleep firm. Side sleepers that do not require as much firmness can adjust the firmness of the mattress to medium. Latex is a particularly health friendly type of mattress foam for seniors because it is responsive to body curves by contouring around the back, hips, and shoulders.
Zinus Ultima Comfort Top Spring Mattress
With four different thickness options ranging from eight to 13 inches, the Zinus Ultima Comfort Top Spring Mattress ensures seniors enjoy optimal sleeping comfort. The hybrid mattress designed and manufactured by Zinus combines hundreds of coils and comfortable foam to stabilize the hips, neck, back, and shoulders. Measuring seven and a half inches thick, the icoils target the pressure points in the hips and shoulders that can cause immense pain. The icoils keep motion transfer to a minimum, which makes the mattress ideal for senior couples that shared the same bed.
Three layers of memory foam include two layers that Zinus specifically designed to relieve pressure points. The foundation layer contains high-density foam that provides more support for seniors who carry above-average weights. Zinus manufactures the proprietary foundation BioFoam with natural plant oil and the foam exceeds CertiPUR certification requirements. The bottom line is the Zinus Ultima Comfort Top Spring Mattress ensures a senior’s neck, back, hips, and shoulders remain pain-free for years to come.
Best Price Memory Foam Gel-Infused Mattress
Four different mattress sizes make the Best Price Mattress Memory Foam Gel-Infused Mattress perfect for seniors that want mattress size versatility. The mattress offers two forms of thickness at nine and 11 inches. We recommend the mattress that offers 11 inches of thickness. Thicker mattress typically feels more comfortable, as well as leaves more space for the foam to recover after you sink into the mattress. The foam recovery includes quick contouring around the curves of the body, especially at the hips and shoulders.
Best Price introduces the proprietary Sleep Cool Layering System. At nearly eight inches, the base layer contains high-density foam to provide maximum support. The top one and a half-inch layer is infused with a gel that cools the body during the transition from light to deep sleep. At two inches, the middle layer creates plenty of space between the top and foundation layer to circulate air. Many expert bedding reviews applaud the mattress for its superior breathability.
Thousands of gel beads create an open cell structure to keep you cool and refreshed. If you live in a year-round warm climate, the Best Price Memory Foam Gel Infused Mattress is an excellent option to enjoy cool comfort throughout the year. The cover is designed with knitted polyester Jacquard, with satin piping to exude softness. Best price has designed a non-slip bottom, which is an important feature to prevent seniors who have trouble getting out of bed from falling.
Mattress Buying Tips for Seniors
Buying a mattress demands considerable research. Our goal is to make this buying guide the go to first research tool for seniors in the market for the perfect mattress. Company websites represent solid starting points for researching mattresses, but you should also examine the objective reviews written by bedding industry experts.
Here are some tips that ensure seniors make the right mattress choices.
Shop in Person, Not Online
Most seniors still believe in an old-school, hands-on approach to buying products. However, a growing number of seniors have turned to online shopping not only because of convenience but also because health issues prevent them from shopping in person. For buying the right mattress, seniors must shop in person. If you suffer from a health problem that prevents you from visiting a bedding retailer, we suggest sending a trusted friend or relative to make the in-store visit. You can perform all the research you want from home, but an in-store visit is what should seal the deal for buying a mattress designed for seniors.
Test Drive a Mattress
The primary reason we encourage in-store visits to purchase a mattress if you can find out directly if a mattress is right for senior sleeping. “Test driving” a mattress requires you to try different sleeping positions from lying on both sides to turning over on your back to detect the level of sinkage. A new mattress should not sink at all when you test it at a retail outlet. Spend about five minutes testing each sleep position and you should come away with an accurate assessment of how a mattress performs. Research demonstr4ates most consumers have the same impression of a mattress after the 100th day of sleeping on it as they did during the first night of sleeping on the mattress.
Review the Warranty and Return Policy
Manufacturers offer mattress warranties that declare a warranty length spanning between 10 and 25 years. However, some mattress manufacturers stipulate exceptions to warranties that void the agreements. Read the terms of service agreement to ensure the mattress manufacturer has not tucked any warranty exceptions into the fine print. Moreover, you need to make sure you can return the mattress within the free trial period. Do you receive a full cash refund or does the manufacturer limit mattress refunds to the purchase of another mattress designed and constructed by the company.
How to Handle Delivery Day
If you have reached the age of 65, chances are you prefer the retailer where you bought your new mattress deliver the mattress. If you ordered a mattress directly from mattress manufacturer, delivery is one of the perks offered to encourage the purchase of a mattress. When delivery day arrives, you have to pay attention to a few things. First, thoroughly inspect the mattress to confirm it is in mint condition. Transporting a mattress can cause the fabric to tear on the cover or produce punctures on the top player. Your new mattress should contain a label that says “All New Material.” Verify you have received the mattress size you tested in the store. You do not want to sign off on a new king mattress when you ordered a full-size mattress. If you find any issues with a mattress that is delivered to your home, immediately contact customer service to explain the problem.
The Bottom Line
Aging introduces several new health issues that can slow down seniors. You can prevent many of the aches and pains by choosing the right mattress. The best mattress manufacturers specially design mattresses that account for the unique sleeping needs of seniors. From developing mattress foam technology that prevents body chills to creating layering systems offering both comfort and support, seniors should have no problem finding mattresses that ensure they enjoy deep sleep on most nights.