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Oklahoma State University research shows importance of new mattress

By BedTimes / April 2008

Groundbreaking mattress research from Oklahoma State University has been published in the March issue of the Journal of Applied Ergonomics. The report links greater sleep quality and comfort, as well as reduced back pain, stiffness and shoulder pain to sleeping on a new mattress. And, according to the study, those initial benefits improved over time, regardless of participant age, weight, height or body mass index.

The research article, “Grouped Comparisons of Sleep Quality for New and Personal Bedding Systems,” provides scientific evidence of the critical link among health, sleep benefits and mattress quality, and underscores the importance of people regularly assessing their mattresses.

Improvements from pre– to post–test in specific variables were reported by significant percentages of study participants. These included reduced back pain (62.8%), shoulder pain (62.4%) and back stiffness (58.4%), and improved sleep quality (64.4%) and sleep comfort (69.9%).

“Our work showed that new mattresses have a considerable impact on reduced back pain and improved sleep quality, among other benefits,” said lead researcher Bert Jacobson. “Based on our research, there’s no question that a new mattress can sustain these benefits for just about anyone, regardless of age, weight or gender.”

This latest study represents fresh analysis of work published by the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine in 2006. Conclusions are based on findings from a control group of 59 healthy participants who contrasted their sleep on their own mattresses (at least 5 years old or older) to their sleep on a new bedding system. The study also reported that back pain was more prominent in participants originally sleeping on the cheapest category of beds than those sleeping on moderately or higher priced beds.

“As concluded by both this and previous studies, mattresses have a life expectancy related to sleep comfort and quality,” Jacobson said. “Timely replacement and mattress quality can have a very positive impact on sleep and overall quality of life.”

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