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This is how an adjustable bed works

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

It’s the middle of the night and you still can’t sleep.

Two pillows are too much but one pillow is not enough. Maybe your mattress is lumpy or maybe it is too hard.

No matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get the balance right and it is wrecking your life…

And then it hits you.

You should get an adjustable bed!

But seeing as we live in an age where you do your research before you buy anything, you want to know how an adjustable bed (or electric bed) works, right? Moreover, you don’t want to spend hours and hours on your research.

You want one clear article that tells you everything you need to know about adjustable beds.

Well, you are in luck! Seeing as The Mattress Warehouse has your best sleep interests at heart, we decided to put together a concise guide on how adjustable beds work. Read on.

What’s a bed without a base?

Even though mattresses are a crucial part of any bed, the adjustable base is the most important aspect of this type of bed.


Well, without an adjustable base, your bed won’t be able to adjust. It’s as simple as that.

So, how do these adjustable bases work?

They look quite similar to any normal bed base. However, they function quite differently in the fact that there are moving parts and electronic motors involved.

There are generally two types of bed bases:

  • Ones with one set of joints (moving parts)
  • Ones with more than one joint set

Now you might be wondering what a joint is, right? It is that part of the base where movement takes place. Beds with single joints can only lift up one side of the bed (the head). Whereas adjustable beds with more than one set of joints can lift up and move at the head and foot of the bed.

Oh and just as an aside. Most modern motorised beds can give you a massage.

Just saying.

How do you adjust the adjustable base?

Animation of an old adjustable bed that works with a lever.
Outdated adjustable bed base

No, you don’t need to pull on a mechanical lever to tilt the moving bits into your desired position. Nowadays your adjustable bed comes with a remote with which you can make the desired adjustments.

Some remotes are connected to the bed, whereas others are wireless. Heck, some of the more advanced ones even come with Bluetooth connectivity so that you can manage the angle at which your bed tilts from your phone!

Newly designed beds, like the Sealy Posturematic Odessa, allows you to use your phone or tablet as a remote. Furthermore, you can store your favourite bed positions on your phone. So when you get home after a rough day at work, you don’t need to fiddle with the remote to get your bed set up just right. Simply select the position you want on your phone and voila!

Higher-end motorised beds do not simply tilt up and down, they also come with a wall hugging feature. This allows for the mattress to scoot back as the head of the bed is being lifted. So when you want to lift up the head of your bed, you won’t feel like you are sitting in the middle of nowhere.

No mattress, no bed…

Obviously, no adjustable bed is complete without a mattress. But many people ask:

Do adjustable beds ruin mattresses?

If you have an innerspring mattress, then yes. The adjustable base will most likely ruin your mattress. But do not fear. There are mattresses that are specifically designed to go with the adjustable base of your choice.

Furthermore, if you do not like the mattress that comes with the bed, you can always shop around for your own mattress. However, if you decide to buy your own mattress, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Get a mattress that can change shape without losing integrity (memory foam or latex)
  • Make sure the mattress isn’t too rigid
  • Avoid mattresses that are too thick (25 to 30 cm thick is ideal)

Shop for mattresses here.

Memory foam mattresses work well with motorised beds

Memory foam mattresses are designed to perfectly mould to the shape of your body. Thus they will also seamlessly hug the base of your bed, while still providing you with the right support.

Latex mattresses are a good option

Even though latex mattresses are “stiffer” than memory foam, they can also do the job. Made exclusively from foam, latex mattresses can accommodate tilting without losing its ability to support you while you rest.

Hybrid mattresses might just do it

Hybrid mattresses are not made of 100% foam. They contain individual spring pockets that can move without affecting the other spring pockets. So in theory hybrid mattresses will be able to contour to the base of an adjustable bed.

All of Sealy’s hybrid mattresses and pocket spring mattresses can be used on their adjustable bed bases.

However, make sure that the mattress you order with your adjustable base is indeed a hybrid or contains a pocket spring system. Otherwise, you might end up damaging your mattress. Moreover, if the mattress does not perfectly conform to the base of your bed, it might not give your body the support it needs while you rest.

Speaking of support, you may wonder…

What is the best position for an adjustable bed?

Seeing as you can tilt the bed at various angles, these types of beds are suitable for any sleeping position.

For side and stomach sleepers, it just means that you’ll tilt the bed at shallow angles. Whereas back sleepers can comfortably tilt the bed to steeper angles and still sleep restfully.

If you sleep with a partner, you can even get a split mattress so that both of you can sleep at your own preferred angle.

Wondering what a split mattress is? For larger bed sizes like queen and king beds, you get adjustable beds that come with a mattress that is split, lengthwise, down the middle. So you and your partner can each adjust your own side of the bed without interfering with the other side of the bed.

How is that for the ultimate sleeping comfort?

Looking for an adjustable bed? Look no further

The Mattress Warehouse stocks some of the best adjustable beds in the world.

Sealy adjustable beds

Sealy Posturematic Odessa adjustable bed base with remote.
Sealy Posturematic Odessa adjustable bed base with wireless remote

We’ve already mentioned the Sealy Posturematic Odessa, which is a fantastic bed! But if that is a bit too pricey for you, go and have a look at the Sealy Posturematic Accord. This amazing bed comes with pre-programmed sleeping options, so you can get straight to the fun without having to figure out the controls first.

But what if the pre-set sleeping options don’t do it for you? Don’t stress. You can fiddle with the bed until it is perfect and then save that exact position to the remote’s memory.

Magniflex adjustable bed

The Magniflex Adjustable Bed Set comes with a split mattress so that each side of the bed can be adjusted separately.
Magniflex King-size Adjustable Bed Set

As one of the premier Italian bed brands on the market, the Magniflex Adjustable Bed Set is certainly one of the most desired beds out there.

The Magniflex gives a constant, low-key massage throughout the night. Moreover, the mattress is designed in such a way that it has five distinct support zones – one each for the head, shoulders, back, legs and ankles.

Getting a massage while you sleep allows your muscles to relax fully, which in turn allows for fully restorative sleep.

Tempur adjustable bed

The Tempur Flex 2000 bed with a lady relaxing on it.
Tempur Adjustable Bed is made with memory foam

If you’ve ever looked into getting a memory foam bed, you are more than likely familiar with the name Tempur.

It gives us great pleasure to announce that we are in the process of listing the latest adjustable bed by Tempur. Introducing, The Tempur Flex 2000! Made with flexible and breathable base plates, this luxury bed can not only conform to your body, it also allows you to stay cool throughout the night.

Add to that an amazing memory foam mattress and you have one of the most spectacular sleep systems in the world! Keep an eye out for this one, as it will soon be listed on our catalogues.

So, are adjustable beds worth the money?

Because these beds are built to provide you with the best sleeping experience possible, they do tend to come at a price. But seeing as you spend roughly one-third of your life (33%) in bed, an adjustable bed is worth every penny.

To put it in perspective, we pay millions of Rands to buy fancy cars. But we only spend about 6% of our time in a car. So why would you not be willing to invest some money in an adjustable bed that will almost certainly enhance your quality of life?

Get in touch, so that we can help you select your dream bed.

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