Getting Ready For a Good Night's Sleep with an Adjustable Bed

Recently, preparing for bed has been getting more and more difficult. I have had Parkinson's disease (PD) for almost 2 years. At times, I use a cane or rollator. I sleep on a modern stationary platform bed which is about 16 inches off the floor.

At the beginning of my journey, I could get in and out of the bed with little difficulty. I would use strategies such as placing my foot on the footboard and hoisting myself up to climb into bed. This technique sufficed for a while. I tried using a small step stool, however, it was not safe and did not reduce the problem. 

Using a bed rail

Eventually, I found it more difficult to get into bed independently. I needed some assistance from my wife, Hilary. Subsequently, I purchased a quarter-sized bedrail that was anchored under one side of the mattress.

I needed the rail to help me scoot myself up toward the pillow. I used it as a grab bar to raise my body to a sitting position with my legs dangling off the side of the bed. Then I was able to grab onto my rollator and stand up. But after a while, I needed an additional strategy to help.

Smooth materials

The next day, I ordered a set of silky pajamas and a sheet for the mattress of the same smooth material to help me slide and move easily on the bed. This worked for a while, but my PD was slowly progressing. I realized that my current bed was not suitable anymore to meet my changing movement-disorder needs.

Getting an adjustable bed

I discussed my situation with my movement disorder neurologist as well as my occupational therapist. They suggested that I consider purchasing an electric-motion adjustable bed. The type of bed they recommended would automatically raise my head, back, and legs.

I went to several furniture stores to try out the different options and mattresses. By laying down on them, I noted the comfort level, ease of operation, and how it would impact my day-to-day abilities.

My wife and I ended up choosing an adjustable bed that came in a hybrid wrapped coil system, enhanced with memory foam, in a split-king size. Each twin-sized mattress includes separate wireless controls for each bed. We are able to independently able to set the bed up and meet our comfort levels.

My sleep patterns have improved

In addition to assisting with my movement issues, the adjustable bed helps reduce my snoring and eliminate my gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). I now get relief from back, neck, shoulder, and leg pain caused by PD, and my overall stiffness isn greatly reduced when I get up in the morning.

Incidentally, my feet and ankle swelling has gotten better. My sleep pattern has improved and I now sleep throughout the night and wake up refreshed.

Additional benefits

To further reduce my leg pain and swelling, I elevate my legs so fluids don't pool. Sometimes, I experience restless leg syndrome, whereby I have an intense need to move my legs due to reduced blood circulation. Elevating my legs about 5-6 inches reduces the nighttime twitching and never-ending leg and foot movement.

In addition, I have coronary artery disease. Adjusting the base height of the bed to 45 degrees enhances the blood and oxygen flow going to my heart and brain.

In my experience, an adjustable bed is well worth the investment in helping with my PD, and it offers preventative measures to improve related health issues as well.

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