Characteristics of sleep in seniors
Sleep can be broken down into different stages or phases. To begin with, there is the falling asleep stage, which places us into an in-between where we’re not quite awake and not quite asleep. Gradually, we’ll plunge into light sleep and then into deep sleep. Thereafter, we go into a phase called REM sleep, where brain activity is very intense. This is also the phase where we experience dreams. This cycle is repeated 4 to 6 times throughout the night.
Many seniors struggle with sleep. They either fail to reach REM sleep or wake up more frequently throughout the night. This may be due to a disruption of the sleep cycle or due to pain that’s felt at night, likely to be caused by joint problems or aches and pains.
Seniors also often sleep for fewer hours every night. With a shortened night rest, they’re likely to have to compensate for this lack of sleep with one or more shorter naps during the day.
The ideal mattress for seniors, then, will need to help relieve tension and pressure to ease aches and pains and it will also need to be suitable for napping throughout the day.
Choosing a mattress for senior couples
Senior couples need to choose a mattress to meet their needs just like any other couple would. Even though the above-listed criteria in terms of comfort, firmness, and support still apply, senior couples also need to ensure that they have a mattress with low or no motion transfer.
A mattress with low motion transfer does not carry movement across the mattress, meaning that you won’t be disturbed by your partner’s movements at night. This ensures that both you and your partner get a good night’s sleep.
Couples will also need a mattress with more bounce and that supports movements well, making it suitable for sexual activity.
Finally, couples will need to decide if they prefer a larger size mattress or if they’d prefer to join two single mattresses. Much discomfort is caused by not having enough space to sleep, which can easily be solved by choosing a mattress that’s large enough. But seniors will often benefit from choosing individual mattresses to suit their specific needs. These can then be joined through a bed bridge to form one large bed.