Will an Adjustable Bed Help Me Sleep Better?

Adjustable twin beds from Abberley Adjustable Beds.

Some physical problems such as back pain, arthritis and obesity can prevent good quality sleep.  One of the best ways to find a more comfortable sleeping position with these conditions could be by using an adjustable bed.

The examples here are from the Best Adjustable Beds Guide – see:


Although there is little scientific research into whether adjustable beds help a person to better sleep, comfort is subjective.  So the short answer to the question posed by the article title is ‘try one and see’.  That might seem flippant but we’ll look at some of the advantages and limitations of adjustable beds as well as what to look for before you buy so that you can be confident that you’re spending wisely.

Which are the best adjustable beds?

Adjustable, hospital or electric beds (they’re all different names for the same sort of thing) are controlled by a remote or electrical control panel and let you gradually change your position.  If you want to sleep, read or watch TV, there should be a position that’s comfortable for you.

  • The head of the bed will rise to lift your head and shoulders and then bend you at the waist to a sitting position.
  • The section under the legs will bend so that your knees bend comfortably over the mattress.  This relieves pressure on the lower back.
  • The whole foot of the bed may rise, making the feet slightly higher than the hips, which will help if you have circulatory problems.
  • The height of the bed may be adjustable on some models to make getting in and out easier and to help a carer lift or aid you.

    Height-adjustable bed (Lifting and Profiling Bed) Abberly Adjustable Beds.

  • Some adjustable beds have heat and massage features that may help people with back or joint conditions.
  • The remote controls that adjust these movements let you choose the precise angle that’s comfortable for you.
  • The best adjustable bed will be the one that’s right for you so read our 3-point guide to finding an adjustable bed below.


The examples here are from www.best-adjustable-beds-guide.co.uk.

Guide to buying an adjustable bed.

When buying an adjustable bed there are several things to look out for:

  1. Decide what size bed you want.  Adjustable beds come in all the standard sizes – single, double, twin, queen and king.  Many models allow individuals in double/twin to adjust for their own preference – ie you can be sitting up reading while your bed partner is lying flat.
  2. Decide on the mattress you favour.  Foam mattresses, latex, coil sprung and air mattresses are all available with adjustable beds.  Look here for our article on Sleep Number beds and there’s information here on Sleep Number vs Comfortaire (both air mattresses).  An ordinary mattress with an adjustable bed base won’t work, so the mattress and base need to be bought together and made for each other.
  3. Do your research.
    1. If you’re not sure whether an adjustable bed will work for you, try using pillows in your bed to prop yourself up and raise your knees so that you’re comfortable (look at this article on pillow placement for more help).  If this helps then a more permanent solution would be an adjustable bed.
    2. Look on the internet at the brands offered in the ads, as well as independent reviews of models and brands.  Look for prices, varieties of models, returns policies and warranties.  Take this information and…
    3. …Look in local bed specialist stores and try the beds there.  Do the showroom staff give you time to try the beds?  Do they have a variety of bases and different mattresses? Do they ask you about your needs?  Do they want to sell you a bed or help you buy one that’s right for you?  Can they match the prices, warranty etc that you’ve found on the internet?
    4. Look for brands or stores that let you try the bed in your home for a good length of time – 60-90 days isn’t unusual.  Also check who pays for the return if you’re not satisfied.
    5. When you’re looking in stores, consider not taking your pain meds and see if you get adequate relief from a bed when you’re at your most uncomfortable.  This way you’ll know it’s the right bed for you and not pain meds that might make one bed seem much like another.

What are the limitations of adjustable beds?

There aren’t many but cost is one factor that makes people think twice about an adjustable bed.  They are often considerably more expensive than ordinary beds.  However if you consider the research and development it has taken to make them, and that they are more sophisticated, with more moving parts etc than an ordinary divan, you can see where your money is going.

Beds shouldn’t be bulkier than a standard divan bed base so this shouldn’t be an issue.

If you have a particular style of home or colour scheme, then you may find the beds don’t appear to your taste.  Some companies will provide a variety of upholstery colours to suit customers’ needs and tastes.

You may have to buy a headboard separately in some cases.

What about bariatric beds?

Bariatric beds are designed for people who are significantly over weight and have specific health needs.

If you have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 40 then a bariatric bed may make sleeping better for you.

A bariatric bed is an adjustable bed that allows you to find your most comfortable position (as above) but is more solidly build than a standard adjustable bed.

Again, these beds need to have the correct mattress to accompany them.  Choose the right one for you as too soft a mattress can impede movement in bed, and if it’s too hard this could lead to the development of bed sores.

The bed base may be bigger than standard so measure the floor space you have available and then follow the buying guide above.

Elspeth Raisbeck

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