Best Mattresses For Alzheimer’s And Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, And Parkinson’s Disease Patients | An Expert Weighs In
Because many neurological disorders are associated with poor sleep, choosing the right mattress can go a long way to improve the restorative and rejuvenating effects that uninterrupted sleep delivers. If you or a loved one suffers from Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, even migraine headaches, restoring sleep can be facilitated by having the right kind of mattress.
Neurological orders are directly tied with sleep quality, and because many patients must take medications that also affect sleep, there can be further issues, such as seizures, that can be exacerbated by sleeping on a poor quality mattress.
It’s important that a person is properly paired with a mattress that is both comfortable and supportive, since REM sleep requires a lot of celestial alignment for everything to go right, insuring interrupted sleep for a solid 7-8 hours per night.
We will discuss the most common neurological conditions and how to manage sleep issues by focusing on two mattress types that I recommend considering.
Failure to get a consistent 7-8 hours of deep sleep, for most people, can increase health risks such as seizures, sleep apnea, headaches, anxiety, and other conditions. Epileptics, for example, get far less restorative sleep, with about 30% of patients enduring night time seizures which may go easily undetected.
Seizures are highly disruptive to brain waves, essential to the most deepest phases of sleep, where the brain is busy repairing itself, processing memories, and rebooting itself for the next day.
Lack of sleep can also cause headaches, which is problematic for people who already suffer regularly from migraines or strokes.
Some migraines can be so painful that they cause a person to wake, resulting in insomnia and disrupted sleep.
In fact, I receive a lot of emails from people who suffer from migraines or whose loved ones experience chronic pain from other neurological ailments.
Memory Foam And Natural Latex Mattresses: the best mattress types for neurological disorders
While it is almost impossible to categorize one mattress option as being the best option, in a wide variety of cases, I often recommend either a memory foam mattress or a natural latex mattress, because of the cradling and calming nature of these components.
Memory foam, for example, is a kind of polyurethane foam that most people are familiar with, and because it is excellent at relieving pressure and distributing weight away from the body, it often relieves restlessness and can induce deeper sleep.
The secret that lies inside memory foam is that it is an “open cell” foam. This means that as pressure is applied to a section of cells, air is squeezed slowly from one to another. The signature melting in sensation that memory foam provides is caused by air being moved around through microscopic openings.
It’s also excellent for people who are either bed bound or spend the vast majority of their time in bed.
This is due to the ability of memory foam to reduce the incidence of bed sores, since it spreads pressure and weight laterally, rather than down, where pinpoint pressure can cause tissue damage.
Memory foam has multiple advantages in addition to pressure point reduction for patients suffering from neurological conditions.
It distributes weight to the side, and fills in pockets that need extra support, such as the lumbar region, and the void area between the rib cage and hips then sleeping on your side.
This can help reduce back pain in patients as well as promoting calmness, reducing anxiety, and helping with sleep induction and REM sleep. Not every likes the feel of memory foam, however, and often is not bouncy or reactive enough, but there is an option: Natural latex is a livelier material that is immediately responsive and sought after by many individuals looking for all natural, greener mattress alternative.
Natural latex works in much the same way, like moving pizza dough across a pan with your hands, pushing the pressure away from the body. Natural latex is also ideal if you are sensitive to petroleum based products, fragrances, or have allergies, as it is a naturally hypo-allergenic material. Hand collected in liquid form and then converted to a solid material, natural latex is gently buoyant, immediately responsive, and provides lift and support.
Natural latex mattresses are also excellent for relieving pressure, but also keep an individual buoyant and on top of the mattress.
It “hugs” you a little bit less than memory foam, which makes it ideal for restless leg syndrome as well as general tossing and turning often observed in patients suffering from neurological disease.
The ability to freely move around and not feel constricted is critical for many individuals in sleep induction (falling asleep) as well as getting to deep REM sleep. Often individuals who initially move around before falling asleep, “find their” center once they fall asleep, and then become completely immobile.
Let’s discuss a spectrum of neurological diseases and explain how a better mattress may improve sleep hygiene and overall quality of life.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can affect sleep patterns to different extents depending on the stage of the disease. At early onset, people generally start sleeping longer, become disoriented, and avoid activity, often receding to the bedroom because of increased anxiety.
This behavior increases fairly steadily, often to the point where individuals spend more time napping and sleeping during the day which disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
Failure to maintain a regular sleep schedule also increases aggression, often brought on by fatigue and restlessness, and can cause confusion, incontinence and other symptoms.
I’ve had personal experience with my father dealing with dementia, and watched his sleep patterns behind to deteriorate as the disease progressed. Though he still wanders and is restless, providing him with a better mattress (he has a memory foam mattress) helped to calm his restlessness, and increased the number of hours he spent in deeper sleep.
A curious side effect of Alzheimer’s patients is their tendency to be more anxious around sunset. This phenomenon is called Sundowning Syndrome, and symptoms can include enhanced confusion, anxiety, and increased bedwetting. A memory foam or latex mattress can help with anxiety by simply providing a slightly immersive sensation that may in fact, be womb-like, inducing a calming effect.
I’ve had customers of my own describe the experience of having substantial body contact with a more immersive mattress as being calming, soothing, and restful. Both memory foam mattresses and natural latex mattresses provide a higher amount of skin surface area contact.
According an article published by NIH in 2014, the intricate relationship between stress and skin conditions has been documented since ancient times. The skin, when considered as an organ, is hardwired to the brain to communicate outside stress sensations such as skin conditions, and can cause the appropriate release of hormones, epinephrine, and anti-inflammatory chemicals which can help alleviate symptoms.
At the same time, the skin responds to sensations that the brain considers pleasing, like soft strokes and touching, such as a baby senses when it is bonding to its mother during the critical first few days after delivery. These stimuli can also be produced the a body lies on a particular kind of sleep surface, and when certain levels of pressure (hugging and embracing stimuli) are applied.
Similar tactile effects can easily be produced by a mattress that is properly designed, and create a sense of calming and anxiety relief, much like the triggers in an ASMR video can help promote sleep induction and deeper REM sleep.
People living with Parkinson’s Disease often suffer from insomnia, which can be caused by tremors and other symptoms like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and bedwetting.
Certain medications used to reduce tremors can also ravage sleep patterns and make falling asleep very difficult. Typically, individuals with Parkinson’s disease experience much less quality sleep time, as little as 5 hours of sleep per night. By contrast, a typical adult needs 7-8 hours of productive sleep to function optimally during the day.
Sleep apnea can affect 1 out of 5 Parkinson’s pattens, and insomnia is even more prevalent. Rigidity is also a symptom that can reduce the relaxation and calming that is necessary for sleep induction.
A memory foam mattress is good alternative for PD patients, since the material is fairly immersive and a softer option may help to increase immersion, offering a better hug and embrace effect, to control restlessness.
Since muscles don’t relax fully in many patients who suffer from rigidity issues, these patients also experience punching, kicking, and hyperactive involuntary muscle movements. A softer, more yielding sleep surface is a better alternative than a rigid coil mattress, for example.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves. The resulting nerve damage disrupts communication between the brain and the body. Multiple sclerosis causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. The symptoms, severity, and duration can vary from person to person.
Because of the primary symptoms of MS is fatigue that is caused by disrupted sleep and insomnia, a mattress should be properly selected for sufferers. I’ve had long conversations with MS patients looking to find a mattress that helps to improve sleep quality. The interviews I conducted always pointed to only a few kinds of mattress options that could help, based on characteristics desired and needed.
Again, a memory foam or latex mattress that allows for a substantial amount of immersion or sink, but yet not so much that makes it difficult to get in and out of bed, or so restrictive that it prevents body movements- is often ideal.
As with other neurological conditions, a memory foam mattress or natural latex mattress is a good option.
To distinguish between the two options, I’ve created a few bullet points to help make differentiating them easier. Also, if you scroll below, you will find some brands that I have thoroughly reviewed and that I recommend.
Benefits Of A Memory Foam Mattress And Best Applications
Most effective pressure point relieving material, developed by NASA. Made from a sophisticated polyurethane foam material, has unique melting sensation that accommodates body with hug-like sensation.
Calming, may reduce restlessness and promote relaxation. Best for typical height and weight profile, not ideal for obese patients.
Best for individual sleeping alone. Couples may find that memory foam sleeps warmer than other surfaces.
Excellent for back pain, neck pain, even shoulder pain. Works for all sleep positions.
- Available in a wide variety of soft to firm blends. Check out or link below to find the memory foam mattress dealers that we have reviewed and recommend.
Can be ordered in several firmness options, though I recommend a medium to medium firm if possible.
Best side-sleeper option.
Benefits Of A Natural Latex Mattress And Best Applications
Naturally produced using a botanically derived material, best for anyone with chemical or fragrance sensitivities, allergies.
Has longest known lifespan of any mattress making component.
Buoyantly supportive while gently yielding. Provides lift which enables easier turning, also offers best edge support with no slipping while sitting. Excellent support for couples.
Tends to be firmer than memory foam, not quite as immersive or body hugging.
Excellent for back sleepers, as it promotes natural spine alignment qualities.
memory foam and natural latex mattresses we recommend to improve sleep
our #1 choice for best mattress for neurological conditions: the nolah 10” original mattress
Our #1 choice for best memory foam mattress is based on 25 years of experience with my own designs for memory foam mattresses I’ve created for many web sites before I began reviewing them for therapeutic use. though they offer three models, I highly recommend their Nolah Original 10” Mattress as the best overall option for neurological medical conditions.
The Nolah company doesn’t use the term “memory foam” in their descriptions, because their highly breathable material, while having the pressure relieving qualities and yielding qualities that are familiar to us, actually sleeps cooler and is a little bit firmer in feel.
The top layer of AirFoam combined with the slightly bouncy and highly responsive immediately below make turning and getting in and out of bed much easier than conventional “memory foam” does. I’ve tested the Nolah 10” Original mattress myself, and for reducing pressure, minimizing bed sores (by spreading weight horizontally, away from the body) and offering a slight “hug”, this mattress could help with calming, sleep induction, and result in deeper, more restorative rest.
Bases on my own test drives, actual customer feedback and write-ups by other review web sites, the mattress seems to be the best option for side sleepers, too. By gently filling in pockets like lower back, the void area between rib cage and hips, you’ll get better support and reduce restlessness as well.
the dreamcloud luxury hybrid mattress
At just $999 for a queen, this mattress has lots to offer. The cashmere quilted top is luxurious, yielding and supportive without being so soft that transfer and turning becomes difficult.
It contains two specialized foam layers above its’ core- a pocketed coil system that allows for lateral load dispersion without creating downward pressure point.
Overall height is 14″, and components meet the specs I like to see including all components being free of toxic substances often used in mattresses like ozone depletors, PBDE’s, chemical fire retardants, heavy metals, mercury, lead and pthalates.
For people with neuro disorders and mobility issues, it’s a great option.
Excellent pressure reduction, sleeps cool, properly designed for side sleepers and back sleepers.
Fills in void areas, buoyantly supportive, yet immersive enough to provide relief for neurological conditions.
15% less than Nectar or Purple and other big name brands. Shipped to your door in vacuum package shipping (roll packed, easy install)
Built similarly to resort mattresses I’ve designed. Generous components that invite restorative, restful sleep. Also excellent for bed bound patients. Use with mattress protector.
the latex for less natural latex mattress
I was a latex mattress designer for 25 years, so choosing Latex For Less was a calculated choice. This mattress offers buoyant support with minimal sink, is ideal for neurological disorders affected by allergens, chemical additives, and fragrance sensitivities too.
You get a reversible mattress with a firmer side, and a softer variation when flipped. Crafted with 100% all-natural latex mattress is a pure, botanical product that is sustainably harvested from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree.
$1099 in queen, I consider it reasonably priced considering the high end components and botanical latex.
120 day no questions asked trial, 10 year warranty, and free shipping in vacuum packaged box.
Good lumbar support, excellent for back and side sleepers. Natural latex is the most therapeutic material fo patients with neurologic conditions.
the novos gel/memory foam mattress
Crafted using three unique foam layers that cradle, support, reduce motion, and promote REM sleep. A good choice for people with limited mobility and neurological symptoms, including pain and inflammation.
With washable outer Tencel cover, it’s 11” tall finished height. You get 120 night no questions asked trial period, 15 year warranty, and it’s just $1399 for a queen. Free shipping.
Marc’s comments: One of few mattresses offering 4” of premium memory foam (most offer 2” piece and then filler foams). Subtle melt in sensation, calming and embracing effect which is ideal for Parkinson and demential patients. May help resolve sleep issues.
Excellent spine support, with generous memory foam layer to help with pressure relief and pain
Choose your level of firmness, soft, medium, or firm – details on site help with making right choice.
For couples, minimizes motion transfer and promotes restful couples sleep.
the awara natural latex mattress
This unique latex mattress offers 4” of pure botanically derived rainforest latex hovered above a pocketed coil system, bench built to deliver optimized sleep. For patients with neurological disorders, it offers restorative and calming rest.
At $1299 for a queen, it’s reasonably priced in my opinion. With your purchase, you’ll also enjoy two complimentary latex pillows, a set of cotton sheets, and a mattress protector.
For those with neurological issues, this design offers outstanding support and is easy to maneuver on. One of my overall favorite recommendations, the outer covering is crafted from organic New Zealand wool and organic cotton.
365 day no questions asked trial period, free return shipping if you don’t love it.
Lifetime warranty on construction, including coverage on compression and the outer covering.
Stellar reviews for comfort and support
Not too soft- about 6.5 out 10 on the firmness reference scale- excellent spine alignment on this model.