The Benefits of a Lift Chair Vs. Sleep Chair for Arthritis

Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in America.

To date, 54.4 million adults experience some form of arthritis in their joints — that’s one in five adults. By 2040, this number is set to rise to 78 million. That’s the entire population of California, Florida, and New York states. 

Yet despite its growing commonality, older adults with arthritis experience the most difficulty when it comes to managing the pain from arthritis. For seniors, arthritis onset accompanies age-related issues such as degenerating bone density or decreased joint flexibility. 

While there is no cure for any form of arthritis, there are specific and proven methods to alleviating the pain associated with joint pain and arthritis for the elderly. We’ll look at two in this article — the sleep chair and the lift chair — and help you decide which is better for you. 

The Effects of Arthritis on the Elderly

Some of the 140 billion dollars in medical costs associated with managing arthritis goes to medication, hospitalizations, physio costs, and costs of surgery for issues like hip and knee replacements.

These solutions, whether short- or long-term, profoundly affect the quality of everyday life. Even buttoning your shirt or stirring a pot can be cumbersome and painful.

And that’s to say nothing about completing day-to-day functions like: 

  • Accessing rooms around your house (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room)

  • Performing daily activities (getting dressed taking a shower, sitting to watch a movie, cooking, reaching cabinets, etc.)

  • Driving

  • Going up and down stairs

Elderly individuals with arthritis have to re-think and re-design every aspect of their living areas.

For example, to avoid bending down, experts recommend moving electrical sockets higher up the wall or using a letterbox basket and key turner. 

This isn’t a dismissable issue, either. By the age of 65, more than 30% of individuals experience some degree of osteoarthritis (OA) and, in severe cases, these individuals may have to undergo surgery for continuous pain. Since arthritis doesn’t have a cure, this can lead to long-term issues with basic functions — even sleep. 

Studies show that elderly individuals with interrupted sleep become even more sensitive to the pain of OA. Sincce 70% of people with OA already have another kind of sleep disturbance, their pre-existing, problematic sleep patterns exacerbate the pain. 

The Pros and Cons of a Lift Chair Vs. Sleep Chair for Arthritis

Because there’s no cure for arthritis, you need a cohesive and consistent plan of action to help manage your life with it. Exercise and routine physical activity is one part of that equation.

The other element to consider is the use of assistive tools that either enhance and aid mobility or provide therapeutic benefits for those more stationary and restful times. A lift chair or sleep chair can help you ease off from the day’s aches and pains. 

Ideally, you want a tool that will do both, but lift chairs and sleep chairs come with unique functions that a new user might be unaware of. It’s essential to understand the benefits of each so you can understand which is better for your situation.

What Is a Lift Chair?

Lift chairs are built to look and feel like a luxury recliner but with one very unique difference — these mechanized chairs offer a sit-to-stand lifting function. The chair leans forward while moving upwards, mimicking the seated-to-standing movement that comes from the hips.

The chair’s movement can be remotely controlled by the user, helping them to move quickly and seamlessly from a seated to a standing position, without excessive stress or pressure on joints. 

The lift feature makes these chairs ideal for assisting seniors with mobility issues or those who are recovering from major surgeries.

What Is a Sleep Chair?

Like a lift chair, a sleep chair is designed to be an assistive tool. But the way it assists the user is closer to a recliner. It’s intended for relaxing and reclining.

As the name suggests, a sleep chair focuses on promoting good sleep. It does this by giving the user control over the reclining degree and the angle of the back and footrest. Sometimes, a sleep chair can also provide massage features. Many also act as lift chairs in addition to the sleeping function. 

What Should You Look for When Buying a Chair to Help with Arthritis?

When you’re looking for solutions for improving and even alleviating the pain, stiffness, and inflammation of arthritis, a reclining or assistive chair goes a long way.

When you’re buying a lift or sleep chair, there are six aspects you need to focus on:

  • Design — The overall design should support the joints, not further stress out arthritic areas.

  • Armrest — Measure the quality of a handgrip based on how firmly and easily you can hold onto the protruding edge and push yourself in and out of the chair. Look for padding if you need warmth and need support for elbow joint arthritis.

  • Material — If you’re planning to sleep in your chair, look for material that will keep you cool in the summer and cozy in the winter. 

  • Backrest — Your back is especially vulnerable because the aging spine is prone to arthritis. Your upper and mid back, as well as the lumbar region, will need support, especially if you suffer from ankylosing spondylitis.

  • Heat and massage features — If you’re going to rely on your sleep chair for extended periods, heat and massage features might be beneficial for your pain.

  • Comfort, fit, and support — If you’re petite, go for a chair that fits your frame and supports you. This is part of the comfort you should feel when using your chair.

When treating arthritis pain, you don’t want to eliminate movement. You don’t even want to limit it. Instead, your focus should be on minimizing pain. To do this, find a supportive, assistive tool, such as a chair, to strike a balance between movement and rest.

Lift chairs and sleep chairs can help you strike that balance to alleviate pain effectively. Which you should choose depends on the severity of your arthritis pain. 

1) Lift Chairs Are Useful and Safe for Postoperative Arthritis Care

Some seniors will use a lift chair as an assistive transfer device for their post-operative healing. When you come home from surgery, the last thing you want to do is put pressure on the operated area.

Surgery related to arthritis often involves hip and knee replacements. Healing these joints is crucial — you don’t want to rush it, and you don’t want to weight bear faster than necessary.

Lift chairs easily transition from post-surgical sitting chairs to functional, everyday furniture. However, during the intensive healing time, you’ll find that the sit-to-stand mechanism helps you to regain mobility without stressing out your joints. 

2) Sleep Chairs Can Help Alleviate the Pain of Aching Joints

Arthritis pain responds well to functional exercises such as pilates or yoga but you’ll want to have a reliable and consistent method of soothing and healing these muscles after working them. Built-in heat and massage do exactly this.

Sleep chairs that come with therapeutic features like heat and massage can help you make the most of your time sleeping on them. After a long day’s strenuous exertions, therapeutic heat and massage features can help loosen sore muscles around the joints.

3) Lift Chairs Require a Certain Level of Cognition

A lift chair is an assistive device that will both support your arthritis pain healing while also keeping your mental faculties sharp.Because these chairs are mechanized and remotely controlled by you, you need to understand the buttons and engage with the chair.

Seniors with rapidly failing mental cognition, or those with degenerative mental diseases like Alzheimer’s, can sometimes forget that they have to unbend their knees and straighten up to move from a seated to standing position. 

This cognitive demand helps keep the user in touch with their faculties because they have to know how to operate the chair. 

4) Sleep Chairs Can Recline at Any Degree

Sleep chairs are built to help you customize your sleeping position. The idea behind the infinity or zero-gravity positions on many recliners or power chairs is to allow the user to find the perfect degree of incline for their legs, independent of their top half.

This granular level of customization means you can use the sleep chair to elevate your legs slightly above your heart, improving circulation and completely taking the pressure off of aching knee, hip, and ankle joints.  

5) Lift Chairs Ease the Burden on Caregivers

Your level of arthritic pain could stop you from accessing many everyday tasks. Chief among them could be bathing, cooking, and moving without difficulty. You may find yourself getting easily tired after these basic tasks.

In this case, you might employ an occasional or full-time caregiver. It may be a member of your family or a working professional. However, these individuals cannot be with you at all times, so a lift chair can support their care for you.

Even with proper training, transferring you from a walking or mobility device like a wheelchair to a seated position on your chair can be made easier through the use of a lift chair. 

As a user, you can feel much more independent because, regardless of the pain, you can move to a standing position with minimal to no external support. 


Now that you know the benefits of an assistive sitting device like a lift chair and sleep chair, the question is, which is better?

The answer is that there’s no clear choice. You have to take your decision based on your particular experience of arthritis. But if you have to make a decision, it’s best to look for a chair that can achieve both functions — like with Perfect Sleep Chair.

Perfect Sleep Chair is a smart, user-friendly power recliner chair for seniors. It gives you an individual choice to move from a sleep-specific mode to a supported seated mode with a touch of a button. 

Learn more about how Perfect Sleep Chair helps you manage your arthritis pain by balancing sleep and sitting.