Age-related health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, chronic anxiety, nighttime urination, and pain can make sleep more difficult. Half of people aged 55 years and up have trouble sleeping, which includes both getting to sleep and staying asleep all night. Yet the National Sleep Foundation reports that seniors need at least seven to eight hours each night to maintain their health.
According to national studies, as many as 20% of seniors report feeling drowsy during the day and often take afternoon naps to compensate. That is often considered a natural result of aging, but being deprived of sleep is not natural. It can be the result of health problems, but, over time, it can also cause them.
Many seniors consider a new mattress a luxury, but if the right mattress can help you get to sleep and leave you refreshed in the morning, then it should be treated as an important health expense.
Improving sleep is an ongoing process for everyone, regardless of age. Since any obstacles to a good night’s rest pose a risk to your well-being, it’s important to use healthy sleeping habits to get the hours of continuous rest you need.
Some of the best things you can do to ensure a good night’s sleep include:
All these habits help convince your body and mind to go to sleep, but even the best sleep practices are no substitute for the right mattress.
Since sleep is very personal, there is no single mattress that will work for everyone. Each type of mattress comes with a unique set of benefits.
Specialty-foam mattresses come in two types: Some are made from layers of latex foam, while the more expensive models are made from a solid block of memory foam.
Memory foam places less pressure on your body than other types of mattresses, while latex adds some pressure to give more support. Both are supported by a sturdier foam base made of “poly foam.”
Innerspring mattresses are what we’re all the most familiar with. They are made of metal wires twisted into coils that are then covered with foam or cloth. They typically cost less than other types of materials, but they offer less personalized support for your body shape.
Hybrid mattresses combine a familiar innerspring interior with a foam layer on top. These mattresses offer a balance between the pressure-relieving benefits of foam and the responsive support of spring mattresses. In more expensive mattresses, the coils can be wrapped individually to provide better contouring.
To choose the right mattress for your needs, consider which material best supports your sleeping habits. After you choose one, you can compare individual mattresses based on five qualities: comfort, support, motion and separation, temperature, and edge support.
A mattress’s comfort can be difficult to measure. You’re looking for a bed that doesn’t apply uneven pressure to your body, which can cut circulation, pinch nerves, and cause you to wake up at night.
Remember that healthy sleep allows you to sleep in one position the whole night. When you’re testing mattresses for comfort, try to copy your sleep position and stay there for a few minutes. If you feel any pain or tingling or it just doesn’t feel right, then you’ll know to keep looking.
No matter your sleeping position, your body has a unique shape that your mattress needs to support evenly — from the contours of your hips and back to the curve of your shoulders.
A mattress with good support allows you to sleep with your spine in a straight line. An unsupportive mattress could be the cause of your daytime drowsiness or even your backache.
Motion and separation is a fancy way of describing how someone else moving on the bed can wake you up. Not all mattresses have a high rate of motion transfer, though, especially foam beds. To test motion and separation, you should have someone get on and off the bed while you’re in a sleeping position.
Different materials and brands of mattresses retain different amounts of body heat. A hybrid mattress’s cloth pillowtop often provides better ventilation than foam beds, particularly cheap ones. That is something to consider if you often feel hot at night.
Edge support refers to how much support you have on the edge of the bed. If you sleep near the edge, particularly if you and a partner sleep on the same bed, you want the support and comfort to go all the way to the edge of the mattress. That is more commonly found in high-quality innerspring or hybrid mattresses than in those made of memory foam.
Many people hear TV specials that advertise mattresses for very low prices, often around $200 to $300. Just as no mattress is perfect for everyone, however, no price is “ideal” for every mattress. The cost depends on the size, quality, and material you get, as well as the warranty, box spring, and frame it comes with.
Generally, mattresses that cost less than $300 are not worth considering. They are either used or too cheap to offer much support. The $300 to $600 range usually features innerspring models, possibly with foam tops like this Sleepy’s innerspring mattress.
For a mattress you will use every night, $600 and up is generally the threshold for quality. In the $600 to $1,000 range — the average price for a quality mattress — you can find better coil and foam constructions, as well as memory foam models like in a Nectar memory foam mattress.
Above $1,000 are the luxury mattresses, such as this high-quality hybrid mattress from DreamCloud. For these mattresses, warranties often last 10, 20, or even 30 years, and the materials used are a higher caliber. The sleep you can expect to get on one of these should match the high price.
Price is not always an indication of comfort and support. Mattresses in the extremely expensive range of $5,000 and higher, such as this one from Intellibed, may not be noticeably better than the high-end ones in the $1,000 range. The trick is to try the mattress before you buy it.
Even most online mattress retailers allow a trial period, so inquire about return windows when you’re shopping for a mattress.
Since mattresses are so expensive, you’ll want to save as much as possible. Many mattress companies run sales all year, but the big dates to watch are the holidays when furniture companies offer additional discounts, such as Memorial Day, Presidents Day, Black Friday, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and New Year’s. Don’t wait until the actual day to start your shopping; start snagging deals the week before.
There are many ways to buy mattresses, including online stores and brick-and-mortar outlets. Each type of store has pros and cons you should consider when choosing your new mattress.
Online may not be your first choice for buying a mattress, but online mattresses tend to be cheaper. The bonus of having it delivered to your doorstep almost makes up for not being able to try it first.
Many retailers, such as Nectar, DreamCloud, and Cocoon, allow you to try a mattress for at least a month before the return period ends, and they will pay for the return shipping.
Big-box stores such as Sam’s and BJ’s offer lower prices than other retailers, including many online stores. These stores offer attractive deals on name brands, but they will not give you expert help finding the right bed and there may not be many choices on display to try.
Department stores such as Sears and JCPenney often have mattress sections where you can try them and ask associates for help. The downside is that they are often pricey compared to other options, so we recommend taking advantage of many stores’ price-match features. Find the bed you want, and then ask them to match the price from a cheaper store.
Stores dedicated to furniture, such as Rooms to Go and Badcock, have mattress sections. That’s convenient for people who want to buy a mattress as part of a bedroom set, which can lead to price cuts on the mattress itself. The main downside is that selection and on-site expertise can be limited.
A store dedicated to mattresses — from chains such as Mattress Firm to local retailers — will have the biggest selection and the most experienced employees. Some have price-match guarantees, but you can usually expect to pay more at one of these stores.
We recommend visiting a mattress store to talk to their associates and figure out which mattress is right for you. Afterward, you can always shop around online to find the best price.
As you begin your search for the mattress of your dreams, keep these things in mind:
We hope this information will make it easier for you to shop for your mattress and get the good night’s sleep you deserve!
Most mattresses are not advertised specifically for seniors, but mattresses that allow you to customize firmness and are listed as being great for back pain could benefit seniors even more than other age groups.
Spring mattresses are OK for seniors as long as they provide a balance between comfort and support. Innersprings are firmer and less contouring than foam, so seniors who suffer from chronic pain conditions should try both to see if either one provides relief.
Both foam and spring mattresses offer different levels of support. Neither one is always better since it depends on your situation. As a rule of thumb, foam mattresses tend to apply less pressure to your body but also usually cost more than springs.
Under certain situations and circumstances, your property might allow you to have younger guests living in a senior townhome. I’d recommend checking with your senior townhome community.
Yes, in some cases you may need to pay monthly HOA fees, but there are many senior townhome communities that may offer low HOAs. The HOA fees for senior townhomes may cover exterior maintenance, upkeep, and other services.