Groundbreaking Sleep Study By Harvard Researchers

There was a recent sleep study held at Massachusetts General Hospital by Harvard researchers to determine whether the right mattress can significantly reduce back and neck aches as well as morning soreness, stiffness, and pain in addition to many other quality of life measures that often suffer as a result of poor sleep.  Fibromyalgia patients know too well how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep when we are in so much pain.  I know I personally end up spending most of my nights on the couch because I can’t lie in bed long enough because I’m not comfortable. 

In this study, the researchers examined several factors including sleep surface, sleep quality, sleep quantity and the impact all of these factors have on a person’s quality of life and overall well-being.

A total of 84 people, men and women both, participated in the study by completing a Sleep Screening questionnaire and they used a Select Comfort Sleep Number mattress.  According to the research abstract from the study:

Once accepted, each individual and couple participated in a six-week protocol in which they filled out a series of questionnaires, some only at the beginning and end of the study, some daily, and some weekly.  After filling in daily and weekly questionnaires for two weeks, each subject received a SLEEP NUMBER® mattress that was the same size as their current bed, along with pillows of their choice based on their usual sleeping positions.

The results of the study found that:

After six weeks, the majority of the participants who switched to a different bed reported a significant improvement in sleep quality, the ability to fall asleep faster and sleep longer, a decrease in back and neck aches and a significant decrease in soreness, stiffness and pain. Study participants also reported that improved quality of sleep led to improvements in their quality of life, such as a decrease in food cravings, a belief that they appeared younger-looking, and a decrease in negative moods. Participants who also were part of a couple reported that improved quality of sleep led to greater intimacy and expressions of affection with their partner. Specifically, the majority of study participants reported an increase in the stimulating exchange of ideas with their partner. And, nearly half reported increased kissing and laughing as a result of improved sleep quality.

I have often talked to my husband about looking into a Sleep Number mattress but I haven’t personally talked to anyone who has used one. I know that he tends to like a firmer sleeping surface and pillow while I like a bed I can “sink” into. I like my pillow soft and fluffy too.

Pete Bils, a prominent sleep researcher, recently appeared on the popular new show, The Doctors, talks about the importance of a proper mattress and he also discusses how mattress pressure points can increase aches and pains.  The interview with Pete Bils is on the Health Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making video on YouTube.

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  1. My husband and I are currently looking for another new mattress as the Mattress made from the all Natural Rubber Tree(Plant). It was 2 layers of Natural Latex. We had a 1 year Trial. The first week if felt okay but several months later I do not think the 2 inch latex was enough to support our weighs and the top part felt like we were sinking and my back felt out of alignment. We tried a different Temperpedic. I think it was a Cloud Supreme but that did not work & caused our pain to be worsen just after 1 night. Now, we are looking again. Found your article and will make sure my husband reads it, As we are doing our research even on the Consumer Report Magazine.

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