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Mattresses Panel

A good night's sleep is essential for maintaining physical and mental well-being. However, for older adults, an uncomfortable or unsuitable mattress can significantly impact sleep quality. This can lead to back pain, aches, difficulty getting in and out of bed, and even disrupted sleep patterns.

Common scenarios and concerns

Lifestyle and equipment options to help you

Discomfort and pain: A worn-out or unsuitable mattress can cause back pain, aches, and difficulty sleeping soundly.

This can lead to reduced sleep quality, fatigue, and the potential for daytime discomfort.

Supportive mattresses: Choose a mattress that provides proper support for your body weight, sleep position, and individual needs.

Difficulty getting in and out of bed: A low mattress or one that doesn't provide enough support can make getting in and out of bed challenging.

This can lead to increased fall risk and the potential for frustration.

Mattress toppers: Adding a topper can increase the height of your existing mattress for easier transfers. 

Adjustable bed bases: Electrically adjustable bases allow you to raise the head and foot of the bed for easier entry and exit.

Temperature regulation problems: Sleeping too hot or too cold can disrupt your sleep quality.

This can lead to disrupted sleep, night sweats, and the potential for chills.

Cooling mattresses: Utilise materials like gel or copper to promote airflow and regulate temperature.

Joint pain and pressure points: A mattress that doesn't conform to your body shape can exacerbate joint pain and pressure points.

This can lead to discomfort throughout the night and difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position.

Pressure-relieving mattresses: Memory foam or other pressure-relieving materials can alleviate pressure points and improve comfort for those with arthritis or other joint pain.


Common sleep problems related to mattresses

Here are some sleep issues that an unsuitable mattress can contribute to:

  • Discomfort and pain: A mattress that's too soft, too firm, or simply worn out can cause back pain, joint pain, and general discomfort throughout the night.
  • Difficulty getting in and out of bed: A low mattress or one that lacks sufficient support can make transitioning from lying down to standing a challenge, potentially increasing the risk of falls.
  • Temperature regulation problems: A mattress that traps heat can lead to night sweats and disrupted sleep, while a cold mattress can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Pressure points and aches: A mattress that doesn't conform to your body shape can create pressure points on your shoulders, hips, and lower back, leading to discomfort and aches.

Choosing the right mattress for a good night's sleep

Finding the right mattress depends on several factors, including:

  • Sleeping position: Side sleepers typically benefit from a softer mattress, while back sleepers and stomach sleepers may prefer a firmer one.
  • Body weight: Mattresses are designed for different weight capacities, so choose one that provides adequate support for your body type.
  • Personal preferences: Consider factors like firmness, pressure relief, and temperature regulation when selecting a mattress.

Here are some mattress features to consider for improved sleep:

  • Supportive core: The core of the mattress should provide adequate support and distribute your weight evenly. Consider options like innerspring, memory foam, or latex.
  • Comfort layers: These layers provide cushioning and pressure relief. Memory foam, gel foam, and pillow top options are popular choices.
  • Cooling features: If temperature regulation is a concern, explore mattresses with gel-infused materials, breathable fabrics, or ventilated cores to promote airflow.

Mattress accessories for improved comfort and accessibility

In addition to choosing the right mattress, several accessories can enhance your sleep experience:

  • Mattress toppers: Adding a topper to your existing mattress can increase its height for easier transfers or provide additional pressure relief. Consider toppers made from memory foam, latex, or other supportive materials.
  • Adjustable bed bases: Electrically adjustable bed bases allow you to raise the head and foot of the bed, making it easier to get in and out of bed or find a comfortable sleeping position.

Additional things to consider

  • Trial periods: Many mattress retailers offer trial periods, allowing you to test the mattress at home before committing to a purchase.
  • Professional advice: Consult with a sleep specialist or physiotherapist for personalised recommendations based on your specific needs and sleep challenges.
  • Investment in quality: A good mattress is an investment in your health and well-being. Choose a well-made mattress from a reputable brand that will provide you with years of comfort and support.

Where to buy equipment to help sleep easier at night

Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon, and Livewell Southwest have jointly commissioned NRS Healthcare to deliver the Safe+Well service, and they have over 2,500 daily living aids that you can purchase by mail order, telephone, or online.

View the Plymouth Safe+Well website

NRS has a dedicated phone line with a trained team of specialists who can answer any questions you might have. Just call 0345 6461860.

Other places to buy equipment from:

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  • Free assessment tool: Select the area of difficulty that is relevant to you. You will then be asked a few questions to guide you towards helpful daily living aids. 
  • Free telephone advice line: Complete the online form, and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time to call.



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