Are adjustable beds good for sleep apnoea?

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 disrupts deep sleep repeatedly throughout the night. Most cases occur in people between the ages of 30 and 60, but 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. This can hinder your concentration and productivity, and can even make 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 and stroke.

What many people don’t know is that sleeping on a standard bed can actually exacerbate sleep apnoea. An adjustable bed on the other hand, can be good for sleep apnoea by letting you easily adjust your sleeping posture for a restful night’s sleep.

 

What are the symptoms of sleep apnoea?

During sleep, the muscles in the walls of the throat relax and narrow, which can disrupt regular breathing. The lack of oxygen causes your brain to wake you up or bring you into a lighter sleep. You may experience repeated episodes of apnoea throughout the night. In severe cases, episodes can occur every few minutes.

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.

An adjustable bed can help you manage the day to day symptoms of sleep apnoea, and give you back a good night’s sleep.

 

Can adjustable beds help sleep apnoea?

Medical professionals often recommend patients elevate their upper body while they sleep to prevent their tongue from falling back into the throat and blocking their airway. Adjustable beds make this effortless to achieve 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 on your side. However, many people find this position uncomfortable due to the pressure placed on your shoulders and hips. With an adjustable bed you can easily lie on your back in a position you find comfortable, while maintaining a posture that helps prevent sleep apnoea.

Rather than lying flat on a standard mattress (which can increase the effect of gravity on the throat and cause the airways to narrow), adjustable electrical beds can be raised at the head. This helps 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, adjustable beds 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 our next-generation AirFlow® adjustable 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 split double 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.

 

An adjustable bed is a long term solution for sleep apnoea

As a temporary solution, many people choose to use pillows to prop up the upper body while in bed. However, the pillows will often shift around during sleep. This can make an upright position almost impossible to maintain throughout the night, often causing you to slip back into a nearly flat position. Investing in an adjustable bed offers a much more long-term and reliable method of getting a good night’s sleep.

Photo of Mr and Mrs Brown

“The bed itself is very comfortable as we can adjust it to the position that we find gives us the most comfortable night’s sleep. With our old bed, my wife would often wake up at 3am in discomfort, feeling quite stiff and tensed up.

However, since using the Adjustamatic Bed this doesn’t happen anymore and both of us always have a great night’s sleep.”

Mr Brown, from Streatham (London)

Should I get an adjustable bed?

Altering your sleeping position may not help all forms of sleep apnoea, but when used in conjunction with other treatments, it can be extremely effective. As well as using an adjustable bed, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make to ease your symptoms. For example, losing any excess weight, reducing your alcohol intake (especially during the evening) and quitting smoking can all help. You should also avoid taking sleeping tablets or any medicines that relax the central nervous system.

It is also worth remembering that what works for some people may not necessarily offer effective relief for you. There is no one bed or mattress that will help all people who suffer from sleep apnoea, and you may require a variety of lifelong treatments to ease your symptoms.

However, there’s no denying that an adjustable bed will help you achieve a better night’s sleep and leave you feeling more energised the following day. If you want to find out more about how our adjustable beds can help provide long term treatment for sleep apnoea and many other health conditions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Alternatively, check out our adjustable bed buying guide for further information.