Making your bed
Making a bed can be difficult. You may find it helpful to have a lightweight mattress or to use a mattress pad on top of your ordinary mattress, so you only need to lift a thin pad to tuck sheets under. Try fitted sheets and a duvet.
Using an extra sheet under your duvet will mean you don’t have to change the duvet cover as often. Try widening the opening at the base and up the sides of the duvet cover, so it’s easier to get the duvet in. Some duvet covers come with bigger buttons rather than small poppers at the base.
You can also try using pegs to hold the duvet in place on the bed to make it easier to pull the cover off.
Being comfortable in bed
A comfortable pillow can help reduce neck pain and shoulder pain. Shaped or memory foam pillows can help. Don't prop your pillow too high, as this can put your neck at an uncomfortable angle.
A lightweight mattress or mattress pad might make it easier to change the bedclothes, but you should also think about how comfortable it is and whether it gives you the right support.
Your mattress needs to hold your spine correctly:
- When you lie on your back it should retain its natural 'S' curve.
- When you're on your side, it should be straight. Use a gel pad placed between your knees to reduce knee pain in this position.
For most people with arthritis, a mattress that conforms to and supports your body to avoid excessive pressure points on your joints is most comfortable.
Lying on an unsupportive mattress can actually cause joint pain. Mattresses have set lifespans, and when that's over they'll sag. These are all signs that your mattress is past its best:
- it's more than 10 years old
- it's sagging or lumpy
- it's gone floppy
- you feel the springs easily.
You may be advised to put a board under a sagging mattress. However, this can actually create painful conditions at the pressure points of your hips and shoulders.
Buying a new mattress
Before you buy a new mattress, do your research so you know what your options are. Go to a good retailer who can discuss the features and benefits of their products.
Don't be shy about trying out beds, particularly in the position you sleep in. Take your partner so you can find a mattress that suits both of you.
You get what you pay for – generally the more you pay the longer the mattress will last and the better quality of support you get. Put comfort and long life before looks.
Many people find memory foam mattresses or toppers helpful. A common recommendation is to buy a firm or orthopaedic mattress. But whether this is right for you depends on factors such as:
- your weight and build
- your age
- the way you sleep
- the sort of aches and pains you have.
A new mattress may help with aches and pains, but it shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for proper medical treatment.