Ergonomics in bed design: the effect of spinal alignment on sleep parameters

Ergonomics. 2011 Feb;54(2):169-78. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2010.538725.


This study combines concepts of bed design and sleep registrations to investigate how quality of spine support affects the manifestation of sleep in healthy subjects. Altogether, 17 normal sleepers (nine males, eight females; age 24.3±7.1 years) participated in an anthropometric screening, prior to the actual sleep experiments, during which personalised sleep system settings were determined according to individual body measures. Sleep systems (i.e. mattress and supporting structure) with an adjustable stiffness distribution were used. Subjects spent three nights of 8 h in bed in the sleep laboratory in a counterbalanced order (adaptation, personalised support and sagging support). During these nights, polysomnography was performed. Subjective sleep data were gathered by means of questionnaires. Results show that individual posture preferences are a determinant factor in the extent that subjects experience a negative effect while sleeping on a sagging sleep system. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: This study investigated how spine support affects sleep in healthy subjects, finding that the relationship between bedding and sleep quality is affected by individual anthropometry and sleep posture. In particular, results indicate that a sagging sleep system negatively affects sleep quality for people sleeping in a prone or lateral posture.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Beds*
  • Dyssomnias*
  • Equipment Design
  • Ergonomics*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Polysomnography
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Spine / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult