A recent study shows that people tend to sleep much better and even suffer less back pain when they sleep on a new mattress. This study was conducted by Oklahoma State University, titled “Back Pain, Sleep Quality and Perceived Stress Following Introduction of New Bedding Systems.”
Bert Jacobson, who is the lead researcher and head of the university’s School of Educational Studies, has researched the link between back pain and sleep quality and new mattresses in the past. The first study Jacobson conducted was published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine back in 2006.
In both of these studies, a total of 59 healthy people reported back pain and sleep quality when waking up in their own beds for 28 days in a row, and then again upon waking up on a brand new mattress set for another 28 consecutive days.
The previous study concluded that the comfort and support of the mattress is directly tied to problems with quality of sleep. Jacobson and his associated found that replacing old mattresses with new, medium-firm mattresses lowered clinically diagnosed back pain, shoulder pain, spine stiffness, and improved sleep quality significantly.
This new study, which was funded by the Better Sleep Council, the International Sleep Products Association’s consumer education arm, closely examined a series of stress-related factors, which ultimately revealed that improvements in sleep and back pain associated with sleeping on new mattresses also came with a marked decrease in stress levels.
The study involved 30 women and 29 men, all of whom had slight problems with musculoskeletal sleep-related pain and problems getting to sleep. All of the subjects owned and slept on commercially-made innerspring mattresses that were at least five years old. The average age of the mattress was 9.5 years.
Analysis from the new study revealed that both sleep quality and lower back pain improved noticeably and consistently over each of the four weeks that participants slept on the new beds. Stress analysis of behavioral reactions and physical symptoms showed marked improvements after the subjects slept on the new beds.
A majority of the subjects involved in this study who slept on the new beds reported a significant decrease in back pain as well as an improvement in overall sleep quality. The researchers who conducted the study noted that even greater improvements would have been seen if only the last week was used for analysis, because participants reported an increase in improvement every single week.
The most important finding of this new sturdy was that a decrease in back or shoulder pain was accompanied by a decrease in mental stress. Jacobson said that the results of the study shouldn’t be generalized though, as there are many different factors that can contribute to stress. He cites the huge range of variables in mattress firmness and support, along with variations in the subjects’ bodies. Jacobson concluded that there is no doubt that sleeping on a new mattress can lead to a decrease in back pain as well as improved sleep quality.