Beds & Mattresses

The muscle weakness caused by your SMA may mean that you need a specialist bed and / or mattress to keep you comfortable and safe at night. You may have always needed this but you’re now finding the one you have isn’t working well for you; or this might be a new thing for you if up to now you’ve got on OK with an ordinary bed but it’s just not right any more. Different people find different mattresses and pillows more comfortable. Some find a sleep system (which uses wedges and rolls to support the body) is helpful. Your OT (occupational therapist) can advise you what’s available and what may best suit your needs. If you don’t have an OT, you can ask your GP to make a referral or self- refer to your local authority Occupational Therapy service.

Some families find it useful to buy a portable electric pressure relieving mattress to take on holiday or for when you stay with friends or relatives. Again, you may already have one.

You may find the information pages on this website helpful in any discussions you have with your OT:  click on the tab 'At Home'

If you need to be moved or turned at night to keep comfortable, you’ve probably already come across the tip that having satin or cotton ‘slide’ sheets on top of the mattress can make it easier for whoever's helping you. Alternatively, there are products available such as Wendylett sheets and other devices which can be attached to a hoist, which can assist in turning you safely and comfortably.


The NHS should fund a suitable bed and mattress for you at your main home address. If your parents are separated or you spend a lot of time with grandparents or other relatives it may not be possible for a second bed to be funded. It’s also unlikely a portable pressure relieving mattress would be funded but it’s worth your parents asking your OT.

If you do need additional sleeping options, your parents may want to apply for help to buy them. Support Services at SMA UK can suggest charities that may provide a grant. Most charities won’t fund retrospectively, so it’s important your parents don’t place an order or pay any deposit until all funding has been secured or pledged.

Most charities will need:

  • a letter from your OT / physio to say that the bed / mattress you’ve chosen is suitable, safe and meets your needs and that the NHS won’t fund it
  • your quote from the supplier detailing costs, including any extra accessories and delivery

For related information, please see the Living with SMA section: 
Funding for Equipment

Page last reviewed / updated: April 2021
Next review due: April 2022