The effects of air mattress upon sleep and bed climate

Appl Human Sci. 1997 May;16(3):97-102. doi: 10.2114/jpa.16.97.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of an air mattress upon sleep and bed climate. This air mattress, which employs a pump and timer to increase or decrease the inflation pressure in order to cure and prevent decubitus was tested. Six healthy female volunteers, aged 18 to 23, served as subjects. The experiments were carried out under three conditions: using regular Futon (Futon), the air mattress with pump and timer activated (Air+) and the same mattress without pump and timer activated (Air-). Room temperature and relative humidity were controlled at 22-23 degrees C and RH 50-60% respectively. Subjects' sleep was monitored by using EEG machine throughout the night, and subject's body temperature and bed climate were also continuously checked. Subjective estimation of bed and sleep were obtained before and after the recording sessions. Sleep onset latency and wake after sleep onset tended to be reduced in Air+ compared to Futon and Air-. The time and percentage of Stage 3 was increased significantly in the middle one third of the night in Air+. A significant difference was observed in bed climate of the waist area. Temperature tended to be higher in Futon than in Air+ and Air-, while relative and absolute humidity were significantly higher in Air+ and Air-. Significant difference between Air+ and Air- was observed only during one hour after sleep recordings started. Thermal sensation in the morning was cooler and comfort sensation tended to be better in Air+ and Air-. Subjective sleep estimation was somewhat good under all conditions. These results suggest that although these air mattresses do not affect sleep, we have to be cautious in using these mattresses as relative and absolute humidity were kept higher than with Futon. Further study on materials and construction of these air mattresses to decrease the humidity is needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Beds / adverse effects
  • Beds / standards*
  • Climate*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pressure Ulcer / prevention & control*
  • Thermosensing*