Getting healthy sleep can be difficult when dealing with back problems or recovering from surgery. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to get and stay comfortable long enough to sleep on a regular flat mattress. It is worth considering an adjustable bed as an alternative. Because of their lifestyle and health benefits, these beds are growing in popularity to meet an individual’s spine, posture, and sleeping needs.
An adjustable bed can raise and lower a mattress’s orientation to different angles, allowing the upper body to rest at a slight incline, such as 30 to 45 degrees, with support under the knees as they bend at a slight angle. The body can feel better in an inclined or semi-upright position rather than lying flat. Individuals with back or neck problems or joint conditions like shoulder arthritis have reported feeling better in this position.
The number of adjustments varies from model to model. Available features include:
- Adjustable firmness for the low back/lumbar area.
- Adjustments may be made by remote control.
- Some offer massage options.
- Zero gravity – NASA invented the zero gravity position to reduce pressure on astronauts during takeoff. In this position, the head and knees are raised above the heart, making the body feel weightless.
- Adjustable beds are sold in single, queen, and king sizes.
- Split queen and king sizes allow the settings to be customized for each side of the bed.
- Over 90 million Americans snore during sleep.
- The main cause of snoring is the blockage of the windpipe while sleeping, which can be caused by several factors, but most commonly by the weight of the neck on the windpipe, preventing the individual from breathing properly.
- An adjustable bed allows for an inclined position, decreasing the pressure on the windpipe, reducing snoring, and allowing for a more relaxing sleep.
- Asthma can disrupt healthy sleep and make breathing difficult at night.
- COPD and chronic lung conditions can worsen over time, impacting sleep quality.
- Lying flat often irritates these lung conditions.
- Sleeping with the head and feet in a raised position makes breathing easier.
- Unhealthy posture causes soreness, stiffness, tightness, headaches, and other health issues.
- Adjustable beds provide postural support to the spine and can improve posture and increase overall health.
- 80% of individuals deal with various back issues and symptoms.
- Adjustable beds provide support and alignment to the spine by allowing the mattress to conform to the body’s contours.
- This can prevent sciatica, enabling the nerves to relax and rest without added body pressure.
- For those with sciatica, pain can be alleviated by using a raised leg position to take the stress off the nerves and increase circulation.
- Lowering the bed up and down can help stretch the back.
- An adjustable bed can help with digestion issues.
- An inclined position prevents indigestion and acid reflux and helps the body process food more efficiently.
- A six-inch raise is recommended to increase digestion.
- Individuals who go to bed on a full stomach should raise the incline as there is more digestive activity.
Inflammation, Swelling, and Injury Recovery
- When dealing with neuromusculoskeletal injuries, doctors often recommend elevating the injured part of the body to speed up recovery.
- An example is propping up the feet and maintaining elevation for a certain period.
- An adjustable bed lifts or raises the mattress and elevates the limbs while maintaining a neutral/natural sleeping position.
- Physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause back discomfort symptoms, sciatica, circulation issues, and swelling.
- Pregnant women can use the zero gravity position to reduce swelling, alleviate back pain, and improve circulation.
- This position also makes back sleeping safer for the mom and baby.
Individuals should research all the styles and features available to find what works for them.
Ancuelle, Victor, et al. “Effects of an adapted mattress in musculoskeletal pain and sleep quality in institutionalized elders.” Sleep science (Sao Paulo, Brazil) vol. 8,3 (2015): 115-20. doi:10.1016/j.slsci.2015.08.004
Söderback, I, and A Lassfolk. “The usefulness of four methods of assessing the benefits of electrically adjustable beds in relation to their costs.” International journal of technology assessment in health care vol. 9,4 (1993): 573-80. doi:10.1017/s0266462300005493
Tetley, M. “Instinctive sleeping and resting postures: an anthropological and zoological approach to the treatment of low back and joint pain.” BMJ (Clinical research ed.) vol. 321,7276 (2000): 1616-8. doi:10.1136/bmj.321.7276.1616
Verhaert, Vincent, et al. “Ergonomics in bed design: the effect of spinal alignment on sleep parameters.” Ergonomics vol. 54,2 (2011): 169-78. doi:10.1080/00140139.2010.538725
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