Adjustable bed bases have become quite popular recently, due to more affordable options than ever before. This type of bed offers owners the ability to adjust their position with simple controls and can be helpful for a wide range of people. Though previously associated with hospitals, modern adjustable beds blend seamlessly into home decor and offer a range of benefits for perfectly healthy people as well. In this article, we will go over the basics of adjustable beds and offer some tips for deciding whether or not an adjustable bed might be a good addition to your home.
Adjustable beds have actually been around for a long time; some evidence suggests rudimentary adjustable beds may have been used as early as the 16th century! Today’s three-part adjustable bases, featuring the ability to raise and lower each segment, were developed by Dr. Willis Gatch in the early 1900s. The Gatch Bed revolutionized health care due to its ability to elevate the patient into specific positions to promote healing through increased circulation and oxygen levels after surgeries. Anyone suffering from long bouts of bed rest also found them to be considerably more comfortable for a variety of activities, making sitting up and relaxing in bed easier.
In order to extend this comfort to consumer markets, several manufacturers began producing home adjustable beds in the mid to late 1900’s. These were made popular by brands like Craftmatic, and targeted towards aging consumers. In addition to health benefits, modern bases also offer several comfort features like massage and are designed to coordinate with home furnishings. Now, adjustable beds appeal to wide range of buyers, from baby boomers to young couples.
A Few of the Therapeutic Benefits of Adjustable Bases
Alleviate Back Pain
People with back pain are advised to use adjustable beds. A flat bed may not provide the proper support for the spinal cord, resulting in excess back pain and restless sleep. Inclining the bed at 45 degrees provides relief for the lower back. By raising the foot of the bed, you can relieve even more pressure on the spine. People having low back surgery feel an adjustable bed is far more comfortable than a flat bed.
Relief from Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Those suffering from acidity benefit from having their upper body elevated 6 to 8 inches. This helps the stomach to retain the acids. On a flat bed, acid moves to the esophagus leading to episodes of acid reflux or heartburn.
Asthma and Snoring
Elevating the upper body benefits people with Asthma. On a horizontal mattress, it restricts air tubes and increases the difficulty of moving air to vital major organs. The FDA has said that adjustable beds aid in the treatment of a number of medical afflictions and illnesses. Snoring is not a problem, except for your partner. Normally adjusting the upper part of the bed to a higher position eliminates or reduces snoring.
People experiencing pain from arthritis located in the upper body or lower body will benefit from an adjustable bed. Individuals with Osteoarthritis of the spine, or facet joint arthritis, often wake up quite stiff and sore in the morning. Sleeping on an adjustable bed may provide better support and therefore decrease the irritation by minimizing joint compression.
Lifestyle – Reading, Working on Laptop and Watching TV
We enjoy relaxing after a long day. We usually try to imitate an adjustable bed by stacking pillows against the headboard to get comfortable while we read, work on our laptop or watch TV. After about 10 minutes the pillows moved around and we end up in a very uncomfortable position. Your back was fine, and now it hurts because you are in an awkward position. Your neck hurts, your shoulders hurt and probably your back hurts. The Adjustable Bed can be programmed to the correct position that allows you to be perfectly aligned and relaxed. The perfect pillow will make the experience even better.
Types of Mattresses Best for Adjustable Beds
An adjustable bed base lifts the top and bottom of the mattress (the head and foot sections) between 40 and 70 degrees. That means the most important thing to consider when choosing an adjustable mattress is its flexibility and durability. A mattress that’s best for adjustable beds will bend and flex to follow the contour of the base, while still maintaining its support and structural integrity. The four types most commonly paired with adjustable beds are memory foam, latex foam, innerspring, and airbeds.
Memory foam and latex mattresses are usually the best choices to use with an adjustable bed. They are flexible enough to match the curves of the base, and if you pick a company that uses high-quality foam and materials, it will maintain its support and durability. However, you should be aware that there are significant differences in construction among the manufacturers that make memory foam and latex mattresses.
Try to find a company that uses the best, most modern materials. Otherwise, you could wind up with a bed that’s uncomfortable and wears out quickly.
Innerspring and airbeds can also be used on adjustable bases and reclining beds if necessary, but they have a few issues you should be aware of.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam conforms to your body shape and evenly supports your weight. That eliminates the common complaint of pressure points other mattresses have. When used with an adjustable bed, memory foam flexes easily to match the contour of the base without compromising comfort and support.
Like memory foam mattresses, those made from latex are 100% foam and similarly effective at preventing pain and pressure points. However, they have a different feel that is commonly described as “buoyant.” Because they are slightly more rigid, choose a thinner size so it can properly adapt to your adjustable base.
Innerspring mattresses are most likely what your parents and grandparents slept on for most of their lives. Before the development of foam mattresses, they were the best kind available.
Innersprings are made from coiled springs and a padded top, which makes them notably stiffer. Therefore, they do not usually work well with a reclining bed or adjustable base. However, some manufacturers make more flexible models to use in this situation.
Innersprings are still fairly common because they can be cheaper than foam beds. The lower cost comes at the price of decreased performance, however. Innersprings are known for creating pressure points, having limited flexibility, and require more frequent replacement.
Airbeds are made with one or more inner air chambers, and allow you to adjust their support by increasing or decreasing the air pressure. However only specific types are suitable for use with adjustable beds.
Models with multiple chambers are usually fine. Just be aware that when the adjustable base bends, it can impede the airflow and reduce support. We don’t recommend using an airbed with a single chamber though because they are almost always too rigid.
The last thing you need to consider about the mattress you pair with your adjustable bed is its thickness. No matter how flexible the material, it can become too stiff if it gets thick enough.
Depending on the mattress type, the ideal thickness is between 6” and 14”. The more rigid the material, the thinner the mattress should be. It should still be thick enough to provide a supportive night’s sleep, though.
The most common thickness for foam mattresses on adjustable beds is 10”-12.” Our most popular models to use in this situation are the Liberty and Revere beds.
Now you know the four key things to consider when choosing a mattress for your adjustable bed: flexibility, durability, support, and thickness. If you’re going to use an innerspring or airbed, make sure that it’s designed for adjustable bases and reclining beds.