Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Adjustable Beds: Enhancing the Sleep Experience

The current evolution of sleep technology suggests considering an adjustable bed for improving sleep quality at any age. Although hospital beds are a form of adjustable bed and have been around for years, the thought of placing one in the home was previously only considered for the elderly and debilitated. Why has the adjustable bed captured almost 40 per cent of premium beds sales in the 21st Century? First let us understand the importance of a sound sleep.


Sleep has all of the following characteristics:

  • a lack of or decrease in awareness of environmental stimuli
  • the maintenance of core body temperature (in homeotherms or mammals like us)
  • is easily reversible (to wakefulness)
  • has distinct EEG patterns in mammals (different from a state of wakefulness)
  • has spontaneous occurrences with inherent repetition (independent of other bodily needs and environmental cues)
  • sleep offers the benefit of conserving energy while focusing on repair of the body


Humans spend one third of their lives in a somnolent state. This is one reason your bed is so important. Here are some others:

Sleep deprivation impairs thinking and suppresses the immune system.

Neural activity inducing sleep is synonymous with such that regulates temperature. Much evidence exists that indicates the origin of the sleep process was simply a method of body and mind maintenance. This included both temperature control and the enhancement of memory recorded by neural activity during REM sleep. More specifically, sleep is a period of time whereby the brain and body can learn and mend without the interference of outside sensory stimuli or sleep-disruptive motor activity. In simple terms, we recuperate, learn and commit new information to memory when we sleep. How important might this be for a student?

Thus, sound sleep is a state required for learning new neural patterns. In other words, in order for the nervous system to grow and change, there must be down time from active behavior. Creatures as primitive as worms require adequate sleep. Don’t you think humans deserve at least as much?


  • First Beds - The first beds of ancient man likely consisted of soft grasses and leaves on rock palettes or open ground.
  • Fancy Ancient Beds - Thousands of years before Christ, in ancient Egypt, royalty slept on the first feather bed mattresses supported by bed frames made of gold, bronze and ebony. Sometimes hay, wool or grasses were substituted for the feathers. Wool and feathers were great for maintaining body temperature and we’ve just touched upon the importance of such.
  • Renaissance Materials - The Renaissance Era brought great improvement in mattress plushness. Feathers, straw and/or the shucks of legumes were covered with fine silky or velvety fabrics.
  • 16th Century - In the sixteenth century, foundations created by a web of ropes were developed to create flexible support for mattresses. This is thought to be the origin of the phrase: “sleep tight” because by tightening the network of ropes, more support was provided.
  • 18th Century - During the 18th century, cotton was utilized for mattress stuffing which was a deterrent for bed bugs that had become accepted as commonplace.
  • Early 20th Century - In the 1930’s America introduced the innerspring mattress.
  • 1950’s - Latex foam rubber mattresses were introduced by Goodyear in the 1950’s and marketed by Sears and Roebuck.
  • 1980’s - Airbeds hit the market in the 80’s.
  • 1990’s – Memory foam mattresses by Tempurpedic® ® hit the USA.


The advent of high quality foam mattresses in the 1990’s brought about innovation. In 1994, it is this author’s belief that, Back Be Nimble was the first company to expound on this by partnering a memory foam mattresses with an adjustable bed from Electropedic. started a nationwide marketing campaign offering a combination of the now famous Tempurpedic® memory foam mattress with this high quality adjustable bed and groomed it for residential environs.

Labeled the European Adjustable Sleep System by Back Be Nimble in 1995 and offering a Tempurpedic® Mattress / Electropedic Adjustable Bed combination, it was brought to the attention of Dave Fogg, the then current CEO of Tempurpedic®, Inc. Mr. Fogg did not feel that the adjustable bed market could be expanded beyond the geriatric market and that Tempurpedic®’s target customers would not likely have interest in such. Additionally, he expressed that beds in this price range would also not sell through online catalogs.

Following this conversation, proceeded to market the European Adjustable Sleep System via both brick and mortar and online media. After three years, almost 50 per cent of Back Be Nimble bed sales were adjustable beds vs. the conventional flat bed.

Needless to say, the bed and mattress industry took notice, nonetheless Tempurpedic®, Inc. It is this author’s contention that 50% of Tempurpedic®’s sales from 2004-2005 combined their Tempurpedic® mattress with one of their Leggett and Platt adjustable bed frames. The rest is history.


  • Restful & rejuvenating
  • Reduces tossing and turning
  • Increases the period of REM sleep
  • Comfortable & adjustable
  • Pain free & relaxing
  • No heartburn, no snoring
  • Zero pressure-point adjustable bed mattresses
  • 1000 positions for you and your partner with independent controls for each (with dual-adjustable beds)
  • Wake up rested and refreshed
  • Hmm… Maybe this is “Zzzz” sleep you’ve imagined

Gravity and Zero-gravity Effects of Adjustable Beds

While the beneficial floating or weightless effects of zero-gravity on the spine are experienced on an adjustable bed, these beds also use gravity to benefit your health.

Indigestion: By elevating the torso, normal digestion is enhanced. The stomach acids actually flow down hill, helping to alleviate the discomfort of reflux, GERD and acid indigestion. Breathing is enhanced for more complete oxygenation of the tissues.

Low Back Pain & Sciatica: By elevating the legs while bending the knees, your adjustable bed uses gravity to aid circulation while relieving lower back pain and tension on the sciatic nerve.


Still think adjustable beds are only for the elderly? We don’t either. Sleep was meant to be good at all ages and people of all ages have insomnia or less than adequate sleep. A pressure-reducing mattress on an adjustable bed platform is the current best practice for achieving a restful, rejuvenating sleep.

TEMPURPEDIC® is a registered trademark of TempurPedic®, Inc. and use of such does not imply endorsement of this blog by Tempurpedic®,Inc.