Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a relatively common condition in which the muscles in the throat collapse, causing a complete or partial blockage of the airway, which pulls the individual out of a deep sleep intermittently throughout the night. While most cases occur in people between the ages of 30 and 60, it can affect both men and women at any age.
As most people are unaware of their disturbed sleep, the condition often goes undiagnosed. In fact, most people only realise they have a problem after a partner notices their symptoms.
If you are someone who suffers from sleep apnoea, you will know how much of an impact it can have on your quality of life. Prolonged periods of interrupted sleep can cause you to feel extremely tired during the day, which can hinder your concentration and productivity – not to mention making you more prone to accidents and injuries. If left untreated, it can also increase your risk of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and an irregular heartbeat.
What many people don’t know is that sleeping on a standard bed can actually exacerbate sleep apnoea. On the other hand, an adjustable bed can be good for sleep apnoea—helping you achieve a restful night’s sleep by adjusting your sleeping position.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnoea?
During sleep, the muscles in the walls of the throat relax and narrow, disturbing regular breathing. The lack of oxygen causes your brain to re-establish breathing by waking you up completely or bringing you into a lighter sleep. After you fall back into a deep sleep, you may experience repeated episodes of apnoea throughout the night. In severe cases, episodes can occur every couple of minutes until you wake in the morning.
While it’s not uncommon for the muscles in the throat to collapse to some extent while you sleep, in most cases, it is not enough to affect normal breathing. Most people who experience OSA will also have snoring problems and their breathing may be loud, strained or interrupted by gasping during an episode.
If you think you have OSA, it’s important that you seek medical help. Your GP will be able to assess your symptoms and you may be asked to undergo an assessment of your sleep to enable a diagnosis to be made.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the ways an adjustable bed can help with sleep apnoea.
Can adjustable beds help sleep apnoea?
Medical professionals will often recommend patients elevate the upper body while they sleep to prevent their tongue from falling back into the throat and blocking the airway. This means adjustable beds are often highly recommended for those with sleep apnoea.
What’s the best sleeping position to prevent sleep apnoea?
Many people who suffer with sleep apnoea spend much of their nights sleeping on their back. This sleep posture can cause the sleeper’s tongue to fall back into their throat, making sleep apnoea worse.
If using a standard bed and mattress, the best sleeping position for sleep apnoea is lying and sleeping on your side. However, with an adjustable bed you can easily lie on your back in a position you find comfortable, all while maintaining a posture that helps prevent sleep apnoea.
Rather than lying flat on a standard mattress (which can aid the gravitational pull on the throat and cause the airways to narrow), these electrical beds can be inclined at the head to help adjust the windpipe and open up the back of the mouth, making it easier to sleep. Sleeping in a riser recliner chair can also have the same effect.
Additional benefits of an adjustable bed
Propping up your head can also help to prevent snoring problems that are often associated with OSA. The slight incline can also ease weight off the neck and reduce pressure points, which can be especially helpful for patients who are overweight, or have physical problems that may be triggering the condition, such as a narrow airway. Not only does sleeping in a fixed, semi-upright position alleviate pressure from the upper torso, it can also help to prevent acid reflux.
Doctors will often advise patients to sleep on their side to enable normal breathing throughout the night. An adjustable bed can help to keep your spine aligned while in this posture and save you from waking up feeling sore and stiff the next day. Our range of adjustable beds are also equipped with an exclusive Airflow® memory foam mattress that can help provide superior support so you can achieve a better rest.
If your condition is keeping your partner awake at night, many of our dual, twin and split adjustable beds can also be adjusted separately on either side, meaning you and your partner can both benefit from a peaceful night’s sleep while remaining side by side.