Sweet Dreams: Best Bed Rails For Seniors

Key Points

  • Falling out of bed is a genuine risk for many adults that can lead to severe injuries.

  • Installing bed rails for seniors can minimize the risk of falling out of bed.

  • Bed rails for seniors come in various styles and types that provide extra support for getting in and out of bed.

  • Adding bed rails provides peace of mind, which helps seniors get a good night's sleep.

Everyone has the same goal for bedtime — to slip between comfortable bedding and doze off for seven to eight hours of quality sleep. Unfortunately, an accidental fall out of bed will hamper your goal of a good night's rest. Can bed rails for seniors prevent those falls? Absolutely. It is just a matter of finding the best bed rail option.

According to the CDC, one out of every five falls for a senior results in severe bodily injury. Those injuries can include broken bones or a head injury. The older we get, the more challenging it is to recover from those injuries. Installing bed rails for seniors stops those tumbles. That is an excellent way to create sweet dreams at night!

Why Bed Falls Occur

Before you deploy bed rails for a safe night's sleep, it's helpful to understand why accidental bed falls occur.

REM Disorder

As we sleep, we go through different phases. Rapid eye movement (REM) is the phase of sleep where dreams occur. Unfortunately, that is also when the occasional nightmare crops up.

A REM disorder can trigger thrashing, tossing, and turning. Without bed rails, all that abrupt movement can lead to a fall.

Traumatic Medical Event Recovery

Recovering from a traumatic medical event can include mobility challenges. A fall can occur when the recovery process compromises your ability to easily get in and out of bed.

Medication Side Effects

One of the most common side effects of prescribed medication is lightheadedness. Unfortunately, being dizzy often equals an accidental fall.

A New Sleep Environment

There is always a period of adjustment whenever you change your sleep environment.

For example, when you replace your mattress or change your bedroom lighting, those changes can trigger disorientation. That's never good for keeping your balance.


Those same medications that cause dizziness can also cause incontinence. That can create a situation where you are rushing off to the bathroom.

Leaping up from a prone position to standing is never a good idea, especially in a dark bedroom.

Another option to consider is using overnight diapers. Those could be an alternative to the nocturnal bathroom trips.

Chronic Conditions

There are also chronic conditions, such as dementia, that can cause confusion at night. Confusion or disorientation creates problems with staying safe in bed.

Incorporating bed rails for seniors with these issues reduces the risk of falling out of bed. That provides peace of mind for everyone in the house.

Benefits of Bed Rails for Seniors

Bed rails provide a level of independence for seniors. No one wants to depend on someone else to get them in and out of bed.

Bed rails also offer safety and convenience. For example, consider the following bed rails benefits.

  • Helps with adjusting sleep positions

  • Provides support for getting in and out of bed

  • Offers comfort by feeling secure

  • Allows easy access to personal items

Once you embrace the concept of bed rails, it is time to decide which type will be best for your sleep environment.

Types of Bed Rail for Seniors

Being comfortable can help with recovery during a hospital stay. If you've ever spent the night in a hospital, then you are familiar with the concept of bed rails. You will not feel confined by these attachments. Instead, rails contribute to your safety, which can be very relaxing.

The bed rails for home use are all portable. In other words, the bed manufacturer doesn't make them. Instead, you attach them separately to the bed.

These are the types of portable bed rails to consider.

Bed Rails with Legs

Bed rails with legs have an L-shape design that you can adjust to match the height of your bed. You tuck one end of the rail under your mattress. There are support legs that go down to the floor for stabilization.

Legless Bed Rails

As the name implies, you secure legless bed rails under the mattress without the support of floor legs. In addition, these rails come with a safety strap that provides another level of stability.

Legless bed rails work best with larger mattresses like queen or king-size. The heavier the mattress, the more stable support for the rails.

Fold-Down Bed Rails

A fold-down bed rail offers easier access for the user. In addition, you can take these bed rails apart and pack them for hotel stays.

Dual Bed Rails

Dual bed rails provide safety barriers on both sides of a bed. They have crossbars that go underneath the mattress to hold them in place.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bed Rails for Seniors

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best bed rails for seniors. Here is what you need to research:

  • Length: Bed rail length can start at 18 inches and go up to four feet.

  • Weight: Most bed rails weigh less than 10 pounds, many as light as two pounds.

  • Price: You can expect to pay between $30 to $150 for a durable set of bed rails.

  • Accessories: You can adapt your bed rails for personal use by adding LED night lights, storage pouches, ergonomic grips, and an adjustable grab bar.

Bed Rail Safety Assessment

A bed rail installation should always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Someone without mobility restrictions should assess the bed rail before you use it.

You must firmly secure the rail between the bed and mattress. Most bed rails can support a person's weight of up to 300 pounds. Once installed, practice using it to ensure it is in the best position.

Bed rails are consumer products. That puts them under the watchful eye of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

From the FDA website: "All bed rails should be used with caution, especially with older adults and people with altered mental status, physical limitations, and certain medical conditions (for example, patients who are disabled, injured, or those post-surgery or hospitalized)."

Where To Buy Bed Rails

As with most things in life, you can find reliable bed rail options on Amazon.

Here are a few bed rail options to check out.

Vaunn Medical Adjustable Bed Assist Rail Handle and Hand Guard Grab Bar

The Vaunn Medical Adjustable Bed Assist Rail Handle and Hand Guard Grab Bar is an L-shaped bed rail with legs. It has a frame that supports up to 300 pounds. It has slip-resistant pads on the handle and feet. It fits on twin, full, double, queen, or king-size mattresses.

Stander EZ Adjust Bed Rail

The Stander EZ Adjust Bed Rail adjusts to lengths from 26 to 42 inches. In addition, you can fold the bed rail down when not in use and lock it into place with two easy-to-use knobs.

It works on either side of the bed with mattresses between 12 to 16 inches thick. This bed rail also has an organizer pouch ideal for TV remotes, glasses, books, and more.

Able Life Bedside Extend-A-Rail

You can use the Able Life Bedside Extend-A-Rail with most traditional platform beds. It is easy to install without any tools. The extend-a-rail length can go from 20 to 30 inches.

Vive Bed Rail

The Vive Bed Rail is a compact version of a bed rail that helps with standing up and sitting down in bed. The aluminum frame is 22 inches long with nonslip foam padding for a secure grip.

The frame slips between the mattress and box spring and has an anchor strap for additional stabilizing.

Vide Bed Assist Rail

The Vive Bed Assist Rail offers safe bedside support with a two-leg frame design. The height can adjust from 13 inches to 21 inches. There is no need for tools to put the rail together.

Safe Bedroom Setup for Seniors

A significant consideration for a safe senior bedroom would be the location. For example, the bedroom should be on the first floor if the house has stairs. A first-floor location significantly reduces the risk of accidents on stairs.

Bed rails are vital to creating a safe bedroom environment for seniors. However, you can implement other safety steps beyond the bed rails to ensure the room is safe.

Create a Clear Path

You want to ensure a clear path from the bed to the door, bathroom, or closet. Creating that clear path starts with removing the following items that could cause tripping:

  • Low-hanging bed skirts

  • Oversized comforters or duvet covers

  • Pet beds, crates, or toys

  • Electric cords

  • Decorative pillows

  • Throw rugs

It will also help to keep the clutter out of the bedroom. That means no laundry baskets, shopping bags, or anything stacked on the floor.

Provide Phone Access

Seniors need to have phone access within reach of their beds. A landline phone on a nightstand that is easy to reach would be ideal.

You can also program speed dial numbers for quick access to help.

Upgrade Lighting

A well-lit room for a senior means the lights aren't too bright or dim. Nightstand lamps should be touch activated. There can also be motion sensor night lights that illuminate a path away from the bed.

Install Nonslip Flooring

You may need to rethink the flooring in your senior loved one's bedroom. Carpeting is an excellent option to prevent slipping. However, it might not be the best choice for someone who uses walkers or canes.

Hardwood floors can become slippery. Adding safety strips can provide traction for walking. Of course, you also want to avoid waxing those hardwood floors.

Nonslip socks can help reduce the risk of accidents. However, if pulling on those socks is challenging, sock aids can be a big help.

Minimize Furniture

Another way to reduce clutter in a senior bedroom is to minimize the furniture. It could be simple with just a bed, dresser, chair, and bed table.

Better Quality Sleep

"Unfortunately, research shows that our sleep systems start to weaken as we age, so sleep fragmentation and insomnia symptoms are higher among older individuals compared to younger," Dr. Rebecca Robbins, a sleep scientist at Brigham & Women's Hospital, recently shared with TODAY.

In addition to the health benefits, waking up from a good night's sleep sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. Installing bed rails provides a level of security that creates a positive sleep environment.

In other words, you sleep more comfortably if you feel safe in bed.

You can also adopt other habits to create better sleep quality every night.

Set a Regular Sleep Schedule

Achieving quality sleep starts with setting a regular sleep schedule. It would be best if you strived to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. That includes the weekends and when you're on vacation.

Skip the Naps

An afternoon nap might feel great, but it can lead to staying awake at night. Consider whether a cat nap is worth the risk of disrupted nighttime sleep.

Take Time to Wind-Down

Your nightly bedtime routine should include wind-down time. That should happen before you plan to drift off and can consist of some of the following calming ideas:

  • Reading a book

  • Listening to relaxing music

  • Taking a warm bath

You should avoid watching television, checking email, or scrolling through social media for your wind-down time. Not only will the lights from those devices interfere with sleep, but so will the content.

Cut Off Caffeine

It would help if you also had a caffeine cut-off in the afternoon. Drinking caffeine after the sun goes down can keep you up.

Sweet Dreams

You can get the rest you need when you create a safe and comfortable sleeping environment. Installing bed rails is a good start for your sweet dreams goals. In addition, consider integrating healthy bedtime habits to ensure a sound night's sleep.

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