Background: Associations between back pain, the quality of sleep and the quality of mattress have not yet been investigated systematically.
Methods: At check-out we asked 265 consecutive guests of a trade fair hotel about the subjective quality of sleep in the previous night. Nine rooms had been equipped with new mattresses of three different qualities and prices, but this was kept blind to the hotel staff and the guests. Sleep quality was assessed on an analog scale between 1 (very good) and 5 (very bad) and was analyzed in comparison to the remaining 8-year old mattresses of the hotel, but also with respect to social (e.g. private vs. professional reason for the stay) as well as personal (e.g. previous experience with low back and sleep complaints) characteristics of the guests.
Results: The three qualities of the mattresses correlated significantly and positively with the perceived quality of sleep, but the difference to the "old" mattresses was most pronounced for those guests who were staying overnight for professional reasons, or who frequently were suffering from low back pain or sleep disturbances.
Conclusion: At least for chronic sufferers from back pain and sleep problems, the association between sleep quality and quality of the mattress is significant.