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10 Ways an Adjustable Bed can Benefit your Health

10 Ways an Adjustable Bed can Benefit your Health
August 1, 2019 Yvonne Cassidy

Traditionally seen in hospitals and care settings, adjustable beds have long been considered a mobility aid for older people, people who are disabled and those with chronic illnesses; however this is no longer the case! Adjustable beds are now bringing health benefits to homes up and down the country!

Take a look at just a few of the ways an electric adjustable bed can benefit you.

Relief from Sleep Apnoea and Snoring

Sleep apnoea is a potentially serious disorder which causes interrupted breathing, snoring and night sweats.

During an episode a sufferer may experience repeated episodes of not breathing, snorting or gasping for air. The lack of oxygen in the body alerts the brain that something is wrong; and awakens the sufferer from their deep sleep – to a lighter sleep or to full wakefulness – allowing the airway to reopen and for normal breathing to resume.

Lying flat encourages obstruction of the airways – by elevating the upper body in adjustable bed, the airways are uncompromised and a good night sleep is on the cards!

Fact: Many people are unaware they have sleep apnoea; however, sleep disorders are the 4th most common principle diagnoses among elective inpatient hospitalisations at Irish hospitals.

Lessen acid reflux and heartburn

Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux; a burning sensation in the chest caused by stomach acid travelling from the stomach to the oesophagus. In Ireland, it is estimated that 60% of the population suffer from heartburn, with a further 5-7% living with reoccurring and consistent heartburn; referred to as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or GORD.

Acid reflux and heartburn can be particularly problematic during the night; but adjusting the head of your bed by only 6-8 inches has been proven to alleviate the symptoms! By standing in the way of gravity, an adjustable bed can prevent the acid in the stomach from travelling to the oesophagus; reducing the need for medications and providing a good night’s sleep.

Maintain independence

Age dependency is on the up in Ireland –  a study by Ronan Lyons of Trinity College Dublin and Lorcan Sirr of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)  found that 88 per cent of older people are “very happy with their current home”- with 40% saying they feared losing their independence should they move.

For older people, an adjustable bed can play a key role in maintaining this independence. The act of shifting one’s body from a supine position (lying horizontally, face up) to standing relies on core strength as well as groups of individual muscles and joint movements. Easily adjustable at the touch of a button, electric beds allow the user to get in and out of bed, without the assistance of anyone else.

Improved digestion

It is reported that 1 in 5 Irish adults suffer from gastric disorders on a regular basis- and the way we sleep has a profound effect on the way the body digests food. During the day the body uses gravity to assist in processing and digesting foods; however when we eat later on in the day – or even when we snack during the night (guilty!) that is not the case.

Lying flat makes it harder for the body to digest foods – causing interrupted sleep and discomfort ranging from mild to severe pain. Raising the upper body by as little as 6 inches can have a positive impact and vastly improve digestive health.

While pillows can help, they do not provide adequate support for the upper back or shoulders – causing discomfort and eventually misalignment issues!

Reduce neck and back pain

The prevalence of chronic pain among Irish adults is 35.5%; and along with stress and the flu, back pain is one of the most common causes of absenteeism in Irish workplaces – costing Irish businesses nearly €500 million annually.

Sleeping in a crooked position and using pillows to create a support can cause compression of the neck which can lead to serious back problems. Adjustable to multiple positions, adjustable beds provide support at the head and foot of the bed; giving the back a well supported surface and alleviating unnecessary pressure on the spine.

An incline of 45-degrees relieves compression of the lower back and can significantly reduce pain.

Improved sleep quality

Sleep requirements vary from person to person, however general advice states that adults should sleep for anywhere between 7 and 9 hours per night – although that’s sometimes easier said than done!  A recent study by Aviva revealed that 41% of Irish people only sleep for 6 hours a night; and that females are more likely than makes to sleep for 5 hours or less.

Sleep has a profound effect on our day-to-day lives; and a lack of it can affect our work and relationships, as well as our physical and mental well-being.

A high quality electric bed is adjustable to a number of positions – maximising sleep quality and leaving you refreshed following a good night’s kip!

Pressure relief

Those spending prolonged periods of time in bed are at risk of developing pressure ulcers; they occur when pressure (body weight) limits blood supply to the skin, causing the skin to break and become discoloured. Not only painful and unsightly, untreated pressure sores can become infected and lead to potentially fatal complications.

These types of ulcers are most common in bony parts of the body such as elbows and feet; with NHS advice stating that pressure should be relieved every 2 hours to effectively manage the condition.

An adjustable bed allows users to sleep in an elevated position which does not apply pressure directly to the affected areas; they can also improve circulation and mobility, which helps speed up the healing process and prevent any further sores from developing.

Fact: The cost of treating a single case of pressure sores is over €119,000 per patient!

Improved circulation

Keeping the circulatory system pumping throughout the night is key to ensuring a good night’s sleep. Sleeping in an elevated position enhances blood and oxygen flow, while also keeping the windpipe open and allowing the lungs to expand, and diaphragm to contract freely – sending optimal levels of oxygen around the body and too the lungs.

Adjustable beds allow the user to create a ‘bespoke’ sleeping position, reducing pressure and increasing blood flow to the heart and rest of the body. Particularly useful for those with diabetes, adjustable beds elevate the feet and legs to ease the swelling associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Fact: Over half of adults aged 45 and over have high blood pressure – a leading cause of poor circulation in the legs and feet.

Easier breathing

Raising the head of an adjustable bed supports the windpipe and reduces pressure on the respiratory system. By elevating the head, neck and upper body, the volume of oxygen flowing around the body is increased – dramatically reducing strained breathing, and in turn, reducing interrupted sleep.

Particularly helpful for allergy and asthma sufferers, adjustable beds can offer relief from the problematic symptoms associated with the conditions; including snoring, wheezing, whistling and excessive coughing.

Fact: There are more admissions to Irish hospitals for respiratory complaints than any other condition.

Ease insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder which characterised by difficulty in sleeping, or staying asleep for the desired length of time.

According to leading sleep specialist, Joe Harbison – the effects of sleep deprivation can be worse than alcohol – an alarming thought when you consider that 16% of the Irish population are affected by insomnia.

Insomnia can have a whole number of causes, and finding a solution to the issue can often seem impossible. A well adjusted electric bed and sleeping position will promote circulation by allowing optimal supplies of blood and oxygen to flow around the body; making falling, and staying asleep much easier.