I put a halt to a lifetime of discomfort and pain when I was 38 years old. That was the year I discovered stretching, exercise, and comfortable working positions. Sitting in an office chair was contributing to my sciatica and hip pain. I work in bed, with my legs propped up on pillows. It makes a world of difference compared to the discomfort of sitting in a desk chair. Now I am shopping for a pillow upgrade. I am looking for an adjustable bed.
Are adjustable beds good for back pain, GERD, insomnia and snoring? Yes, they are good at relieving pain, swelling, snoring, and arthritis. Propping up your head and legs in different combinations and heights relieves pressure and discomfort. That relief helps you sleep.
In forum conversations and product reviews, adjustable bed users praise their adjustable beds for their help in relieving arthritis, soreness, acid reflux, snoring, and back pain. While some of the marketing promises are hard to verify with medical studies, I do believe that internet posters make these claims in good faith.
If you use pillows to prop yourself to relieve GERD symptoms, then an adjustable bed will probably help relieve your acid reflux discomfort. If you put your legs up for back, hip, knee or leg pain relief, then an adjustable bed will probably also relieve your pain. If a position works for you using pillows or foam wedges, an adjustable bed will give you that same benefit, but at the push of a button or two.
How Adjustable Beds Help Relieve Pain and Relax the Body
You might consider getting an adjustable bed for the convenience, movement assistance, and comfort it offers. Some of these benefits include:
it’s easy to watch TV, read, work on laptop, tablet, have breakfast in bed
- a raised head opens airways, providing some snoring and sleep apnea relief
- people with weak abdominals and injuries find it easier to get into and out of bed
- raising the legs above the heart reduces the heart’s workload
- raising the legs with bent knees takes pressure off the back, and decreases lower back pain
- massage relaxes sore muscles and improve blood circulation
- a raised head reduces acid reflux
- raised legs reduces leg swelling and appearance of varicose veins
- massage brings relaxation and pain relief
Use an Adjustable Bed for Back Pain Relief
Is an adjustable bed going to hurt your back? Can an adjustable bed relieve your back pain?
Many people say that their adjustable bed relieves their back pain.
If you have a very specific back issue affected by movement or body position, you might have a problem with an adjustable bed.
Outside of that specific situation, adjustable beds help to relieve back pain. Chiropractors and adjustable bed owners both praise the beds for helping to relieve inflammation, soreness, and tension.
“Adjustable beds are a great option. Adjustable beds allow you to elevate your head and knees in order to relieve pressure on your lower back. If an adjustable bed isn’t in the budget, you can get the same effect using pillows.” Pure Chiropractic
Adjustable bed helps relieve back pain using support and position options.
The mattress you purchase will determine the basic support level. Some beds come with extra support. All electric adjustable beds will allow you to change position to support your back.
“I had to sleep in a club chair with an ottoman for two months because I could not lie flat in bed … it felt like I was being stabbed in my spine! My pain doctor suggested an adjustable bed. I bought one that raises the legs in a bent position, which took the pressure off my spine. It’s great and I can sleep without pain.” Consumer Reports Customer
In the “Zero Gravity” position, your legs and back are higher than your pelvis. I have spondylolithesis, and I can attest that this relieves my back and hip pain. I also like lying with my legs higher than the rest of me. Anything that puts my legs up is a relief.
An adjustable bed “lumbar support” cushions the lower back. A “head tilt” option gives you more ways to position your head, neck and shoulders. A “foot tilt” option gives you more ways to position your feet and legs.
“Consider an Adjustable bed. If you tend to be more comfortable sitting in a recliner than lying down, an adjustable bed might be a good fit for you. They allow you to elevate your head and knees to relieve pressure on the low back.” Markson Chiropractic
Use an Adjustable Bed for GERD and Acid Reflux Relief
People suffering from acid reflux often prop up the pillows to raise their head higher than their stomach.
An adjustable bed does this with a push of a button, no extra pillows required.
Elevating the head of the bed on 6 inch blocks or sleeping on a specially designed wedge reduces heartburn by allowing gravity to minimize reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. Do not use pillows to prop yourself up; that only increases pressure on the stomach. WebMD
Bonus: How I got Rid of My GERD… and it’s EASY!
I got rid of 99% of my acid reflux, and I want to share how I did that with you. It is 99% and not 100% because I have to keep up my regimen.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, this section is for information, and you are responsible for your own health decisions, yadada yadada.
The force behind this remedy is the theory that acid does not cause GERD: Too little acid causes GERD. Acid reflux happens when the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus is open. The signal that tells that gate to close? Acid. When the sphincter does not detect acid, it opens, and we feel the acid reflux as a result.
Then we throw antacids (ANTI ACIDS) at it, which relieves the symptoms in our chest, but ensures the problem never ends.
My remedy took about 30-45 days before I noticed lasting changes. So give it a fair trial before deciding if this works for you. I stopped taking my GERD prescription over a year ago, and I could not be happier using my solution instead.
- Take once a day, every day, for a minimum of 45 days
- A 16 oz. glass of water
- The juice of one fresh lemon. It is essential that you use a fresh lemon, and not bottled lemon.
- One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Shake the bottle before serving.
- Optionally add Stevia for sweetness
- Stir and drink
Use an Adjustable Bed for Snoring and Sleep Apnea Relief
Many users say their adjustable beds help reduce their snoring. Adjustable beds can also help relieve sleep apnea symptoms, but they are not a cure for sleep apnea. If you use a CPAP device for sleep apnea, an adjustable bed probably will not allow you to stop using it.
“Sleeping on your back with your body elevated from the waist up may help keep your airway from collapsing and, in turn, improve your condition, the American Sleep Apnea Association says. Use foam wedges, not soft pillows.” Penn State Hersey Adam Article
Use an Adjustable Bed for Arthritis, Soreness, and Inflammation Relief
I use pillows for all sorts of arthritis relief. I have spondylolithesis. I have had a spinal fusion. Now I am getting osteoarthritis in my knees and elbows.
Most of my pain is from inflammation, so I can tell when elevation and bending my knees in specific ways is reducing that swelling.
I am looking forward to getting an adjustable bed to replace the pillow circus I am in now. I am grateful that pillows help relieve my pain. It will be a blessing when I can get the same relief from the push of some buttons.
Based on my reading hundreds of adjustable bed forum discussions and reviews, I am confident that adjustable beds are particularly good at relieving arthritis, soreness and inflammation pain.
It’s Healthy to Sleep with Elevated Legs
The Vein Institute of NJ says that you should elevate your legs to reduce noticeable leg veins.
How an Adjustable Bed Works
An adjustable bed is composed of a base and a mattress. The base uses one or more electric motors to raise and lower the head and feet. You will feel more comfortable, and help your legs’ blood circulation.
“Leg elevation, you’ll notice, feels good immediately. It takes the pressure off your leg veins… encouraging the blood to flow out of your leg veins emptying them, and undoes the pressure of the day by giving your veins a break for a few hours as blood flow moves away from the leg and courses through the rest of the body…. varicose vein prevention, reduce swelling.” Vein Institute of NJ
The mattress sits on the base. It moves as the base moves. Because the mattress has to be movement-friendly, adjustable bed mattresses are made of foam.
What You Need to Know About Adjustable Beds
All electric adjustable beds come with a remote control, head movement and foot movement. The most basic adjustable bed comes with a wired — rather than a wireless — remote control.
Optional features include massage, lumbar support, and programmed remote control buttons. In the table below, learn about the features you can get in an adjustable bed.
When you buy an adjustable bed, you will make decisions about the base features as well as the mattress features.
How to Understand Adjustable Base Features
Bed massages vary in quality. Some are a simple vibration, but better massage devices offer actual compression activity. Massage is so helpful in relieving pain that it is worth reading bed reviews to find a good massage system.
As the head rises, it scoots backwards toward the wall. This gives you better access to your night table. A very thick mattress is still going to interfere with your night table reach.
Under Bed Lighting
Under bed lighting provides soft lights for night vision.
Almost all adjustable beds come with wireless remotes. Only the most basic electric bed offers a remote using a wire.
A phone app that allows you to control the bed from your phone instead of the remote.
Voice control allows you to use your voice instead of the remote control.
USB ports in the remote allow you to recharge devices.
Remote Control Flashlight
The remote control is also a flashlight.
Whole Bed Elevation
Elevates the head but lowers the feet so you are still lying flat but your head is higher than your body
A Leggett & Platt feature that uses a gripping material to keep Split King beds pushed together.
How the Leggett & Platt Remote Works
Raises the head about 15 degrees
Positions the head and legs higher, and positions the torso lower.
Flattens the mattress
A relaxed sitting position
"Whole Bed Elevation" described above in this article
Independent Pillow Tilt
Tilts the head up or down
Independent Foot Tilt
Positions the foot up or down
Adjustable Bed Mattress Options
Adjustable bed mattresses come in latex foam, memory foam, and air filled types. Some inner spring mattresses work with adjustable bases, but many do not.
Density is the amount of foam per cubic foot. Denser foams are more expensive than lighter foams. Whether the denser foam is one piece, or is made of several layers, dense foams top out at about 5 lb. per cubic ft. Cheaper and lighter foam is about 3 lb. per cubic ft.
Edge support adds a layer of material around the mattress perimeter. An edge support upgrade prevents sagging.
Should You Get a Memory Foam Mattress?
Memory foam is a shock-absorber material that conforms to your body shape. Press your hand into memory foam and it will leave an imprint that slowly recedes back to normal.
Memory foam is soft, with no bounce.
Depending on your preference, you will find memory foam to be like a soft cradle or a quicksand pit.
Memory foam can be good for people with joint pain.
Memory foam retains heat, making it a better choice for people who always feel cold, and an annoying choice for people who want a cooler temperature.
Cooling gel combined with memory foam reduces body heat retention.
Memory foam is also “motion isolating.” Movement at one part of the mattress does not transfer to other parts of the mattress.
Memory foam takes some time to off gas.
Memory foam gets stiffer in cooler temperatures.
Should You Get a Latex Foam Mattress?
Latex foam is a rubber material with more resilience than memory foam. Latex is not a resilient as an innerspring mattress, but it does not contour to your body shape the way that memory foam does.
Latex has slightly less motion isolating properties than memory foam. It is much more motion isolating than an inner spring mattress. Latex foam does not retain heat. Natural latex foam does not off gas, but synthetic latex foam does.
A 100% natural latex rubber foam mattress is at the very highest end of the adjustable bed price range. Latex foam is resistant to temperature changes, meaning your body will not make it hot, and cool air will not stiffen up the mattress.
Adjustable Bed Weight Limits
Most adjustable beds have a weight capacity of between 500 to 850 lb. There is some correlation of weight load to price, but it is not always a direct correlation. Some stronger beds are in the lower price ranges.
What is a “Split King” Size Bed?
A King Size adjustable bed has one King Size adjustable base and one King Size mattress. If two people are sleeping in the King Size bed, the adjustable base moves both people at the same time.
Two Twin XL Size Beds
A Split King Size bed is composed of two Twin XL Size beds pushed together. The Split King Size bed is the same size as the standard King Size bed. Each Twin XL is 36 x 80 in. Both the King Size and the Split King Size dimensions are 76 x 80 in.
A Split King adjustable bed has two Twin XL adjustable bases and two Twin XL mattresses. It also has retainer bars or sheet suspenders to ensure the two beds stay next to each other. Sometimes the two Twin XL beds drift apart.
I have only ever seen one good solution to keeping the two beds together. Attach a bar across the bottoms of the two bases to keep them from moving apart.
Split King Size beds allow two people to sleep in one bed, but they each have their own adjustable base. One person can sit while the other lies flat. The two bases isolate motion. When one person or one side moves, the other person does not feel the movement.
It is easier to move a Split King into the house. Each Twin XL base and mattress is half the size of a King base and King mattress.
Designed for Two People
For one person sleeping in the bed, the Split King Size bed does not make sense. A Split King Size bed works for two people who each need their own bed adjustments.
Split King Size Bed Sheet Requirements
Each Twin XL Size mattress requires a Twin XL Size fitted sheet. The two beds together then take a King Size flat sheet and blankets. Some sellers make it easy to buy this combination of sheets. Look at this Amazon link for a Split King sheet set.
Adjustable Bed Sleep Positions
The best way to sleep on an adjustable bed is any way that is comfortable over the course of the night.
When it is flat, an adjustable bed is just like a regular bed. You can also sleep in any position your bed offers. All adjustable beds can raise the head and the foot areas.
Some models have many more positions. Theoretically, you can sleep in any adjustable bed position. You might find that it is difficult to sleep or to turn, though, so you will have to experiment.
How Long Do Adjustable Beds Last
Bed warranties vary so much that I can only encourage you to read the warranty before purchasing the bed. Many come with 10 or 20-year warranties. They all have exceptions, pro-rated clauses, and rules you must follow.
Adjustable beds have a lot of moving parts and electrical motors. The movement subjects the mattress to duress and friction. They have MSTB — more stuff to break — than regular beds. One of my “must haves” for my adjustable bed is an excellent warranty.
Is an Adjustable Bed Worth the Extra Cost?
Considering the comfort and pain relief benefits, I believe an adjustable bed is worth the extra cost. I can attest that lying with my legs up helps relieve my spondylolithesis hip pain.
Buying an adjustable bed is a personal decision. Following are benefits people have claimed about using an adjustable bed.
- Back Pain Relief
- Arthritis Relief
- Neck Pain Relief
- Frozen Shoulder Pain Relief
- Cramping Relief
- Spinal Stenosis Pain Relief
- Osteoarthritis Pain Relief
- Spondylolithesis Pain Relief
- Insomnia Relief
- Breathing Relief
- Snoring Reduction
- Swollen Leg Relief
- Heartburn/Acid Reflux/GERD Relief
- Increased Blood Circulation
- Restless Leg Relief
An adjustable bed also adds a ton of convenience to your life. Anything you can do with pillows or foam wedges, you can do automatically with an adjustable bed. Personally, I do not mind paying more for being comfortable with so little effort.
Adjustable beds make it easy to sit up to watch TV, work on your laptop, and eat from a tray table.
Foam mattresses that usually come with adjustable beds do not transfer motion to your partner. If you are sleeping in the bed with another person, your movement will not translate to their side of the bed.
Good massage therapy is hugely relaxing and relieves pain. Adjustable bed massage used to be just a vibration, but the technology is now much better. I will recommend the best massage options in our recommended adjustable bed article, coming soon.
Split King beds allow partners to sleep together but both have their own bed positions.
Lumbar support is a simple option that can add a lot of back pain relief.
What You Should Expect to Pay for an Adjustable Bed
The adjustable bed price depends on the bed’s size and optional features.
The simplest electrical adjustable bed allows you to raise your legs and head, and has a wired remote. It does not have massage, remote control programmed positions, USB ports, lighting, or independent pillow tilting.
The Adjustable Bed Sizes You Can Buy
Adjustable bed sizes are the same as regular bed sizes. In addition, the Split King is a King Size bed created from two Twin XL beds put together. The bed and base sizes you can buy are:
- Twin: 39 x 75 in.
- Twin XL: 39 x 80 in.
- Double/Full: 54 x 75 in.
- Queen: 60 x 80 in.
- King: 76 x 80 in.
- Cal King: 72 x 84 in.
- Split King: Two Twin XL beds totaling 76 x 80 in.
Cost to Upgrade the Adjustable Bed Size
Updated May 2021
Let’s look at what you get for your money when you upgrade your adjustable bed purchase. We’ll use the Leggett & Platt Falcon 2.0 to compare features and prices. All values below are from real internet prices, but your mileage may vary when shopping for your bed.
The Leggett & Platt Falcon 2.0 Twin Size is the cheapest base of all the offered sizes. You pay a 5% charge to upgrade to a Twin XL Base, or 6% more to upgrade to a Full Size. The Split King costs 69% more than the Twin. The Split Queen costs 75% more than the Twin.
How to Choose an Adjustable Bed Model
As you upgrade the adjustable bases in our sample, you get more and more features. Each upgrade has all the features of the model below it. The Leggett & Platt Falcon 2.0 Twin Size comes with these features:
- Backlit Wireless Remote
- 850 lb. Capacity
- 5 in. Diameter Legs
- Remote Control presets include:
- Head Only
- Feet Only
- Zero Gravity
Compare that to the Simplicity brand Twin Size which goes for about 53% more than the Falcon Twin. For the extra price, you get everything in the Falcon, plus these features:
- 5 in. Diameter Adjustable Legs
- Remote Control Buttons:
- Two Programmable
- Under Bed Lighting
- Power Down Battery
- Full Body Dual Massage with Wave
The upgrade from the Simplicity to the S-Cape model costs $1200, which is $100 more than the Simplicity model. For that extra $100, you get the Simplicity features, and the S-Cape adds the following:
- Apple Phone Remote Contr
Commpare the Falcon and Simplicity to the S-Cape brand Prodigy Twin Size bed, which is 136% more expensive than the Falcon Twin. This bed has everything in the previous models, plus:
- Pillow Tilt
- Four USB Ports
Insurance and Medicare Adjustable Bed Coverage
Are adjustable beds covered by insurance or Medicare? No, adjustable beds are not covered. This answer is from Cigna, United Healthcare, and Medicare.
Insurance companies and Medicare do not classify adjustable beds as medical products. To get the bed covered, it has to be “Durable Medical Equipment” (DME) sold by an approved DME supplier.
“Medicare Part B (Medical insurance) covers hospital beds as durable medical equipment (DME) that your doctor prescribes for use in your home.” Medicare Hospital Bed Coverage
“Medicare will only provide DME coverage if your doctors and DME suppliers are enrolled in Medicare.” Super Coder Hospital Bed Coverage
People Also Ask
Do you need a box spring with an adjustable bed? You do not use a box spring with an adjustable bed. The bed consists of the base and mattress. The base provides the support for the mattress.
How much is an adjustable bed? Adjustable base and bed combinations range from about $900 for a low-end Twin Size to $4800 for a high-end Split King Size.