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Staying comfortable in bed

Staying Comfortable In Bed Panel

Whether you're actively living independently or concerned about an elderly loved one, ensuring comfort and safety in bed is crucial for a good night's sleep and overall well-being.

Common scenarios and concerns

Lifestyle and equipment options to help you

Difficulty getting in and out of bed.

This can lead to an increased risk of falls and reduced independence

Equipment: Bed rails, grab bars, assistive risers, adjustable beds.

Discomfort while sleeping.

This can lead to sleep disturbances, back pain, and difficulty getting a good night's sleep

Equipment: Supportive pillows, mattress toppers, pressure-relieving mattresses, and adjustable beds.

Difficulty maintaining a comfortable temperature.

This can lead to night sweats, chills, and sleep disruptions

Equipment: Temperature-regulating bedding, bed rails with pockets for hot and cold packs, fans, and humidifiers.

Difficulty reaching items

This can lead to Reduced independence and frustration

Bedroom modifications: Bedside organisers, reachable shelves, bedside tables with drawers, assistive reaching tools.


Challenges to staying comfortable in bed

As we age, several factors can contribute to discomfort and difficulty managing everyday tasks in the bedroom:

  • Reduced mobility and flexibility: Getting in and out of bed, adjusting sleeping positions, and reaching for objects can become more challenging with reduced mobility.
  • Arthritis pain: Joint pain can make lying in one position for extended periods uncomfortable and disrupt sleep.
  • Balance issues: Difficulty maintaining balance can increase the risk of falls, particularly when getting in and out of bed.
  • Limited strength: Lifting oneself from a lying position or reaching for objects can become difficult due to weakened muscle strength.
  • Sensory changes: Sleep disturbances caused by temperature fluctuations, difficulty finding items in the dark, or needing assistance with personal needs can impact sleep quality.

Equipment and aids to help enhance your comfort and independence in bed

Fortunately, various equipment and strategies can significantly improve comfort, safety, and independence in the bedroom.

Getting in and out of bed

  • Bed rails: These sturdy bars provide support and leverage when getting in and out of bed, reducing the risk of falls.
  • Grab bars: Installing grab bars on walls near the bed can offer additional support and stability.
  • Assistive risers: Placing risers under the bed legs can increase its height, making it easier to get in and out.
  • Adjustable beds: These beds allow you to adjust the head and foot sections for easier entry and exit, improved circulation, and comfortable positioning for sleeping, reading, or watching TV.

Improving sleep comfort

  • Supportive pillows: Choosing the right pillow for your sleep style and neck position is essential for proper spinal alignment and reducing neck pain.
  • Mattress toppers: A mattress topper can add an extra layer of comfort and support, especially if your current mattress is too firm or soft.
  • Pressure-relieving mattresses: These specialised mattresses are designed to distribute pressure evenly, reducing the discomfort and pain associated with pressure points.
  • Adjustable beds: As mentioned earlier, adjustable beds offer various positions for sleeping comfort and can alleviate pain and discomfort.

Maintaining a comfortable temperature

  • Temperature-regulating bedding: Materials like breathable cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics can help regulate body temperature and prevent night sweats.
  • Bed rails with pockets: Choose bed rails with built-in pockets to hold hot or cold packs for targeted temperature control.
  • Fans and humidifiers: Fans can help cool you down on warm nights, while humidifiers can add moisture to the air, especially during the winter, preventing dry skin and respiratory issues.

Reaching for items

  • Bedside organisers: Utilise hanging organisers or caddies to store frequently used items like glasses, medications, books, and remote controls within easy reach.
  • Reachable shelves: Install shelves or cabinets within reach of the bed to store necessary items.
  • Bedside tables with drawers: Opt for bedside tables with drawers to organise and store personal items out of sight but still readily accessible.
  • Assistive reaching tools: Consider tools like long-handled grabbers or reachers to help pick up dropped items or retrieve objects from shelves without needing to get out of bed.

Additional tips for a comfortable night's sleep

  • Develop a consistent sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends, to regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Take a warm bath, read a book, or listen to calming music before bed to wind down and prepare for sleep.
  • Limit screen time before bed: The blue light emitted from electronic devices can interfere with sleep patterns, so avoid using them close to bedtime.

Where to buy equipment to help you stay comfortable in bed

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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