Physiologic responses during rest on a sleep system at varied degrees of firmness in a normal population

Ryan Lahm, Paul A. Iaizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This study explores the hypothesis that a high degree of sustained muscle activity associated with a sub-optimal spinal orientation may compromise an individual's ability to relax or initiate sleep. Data from 22 participants who were considered to be part of a normal, back-pain-free population were used in these studies. Participants laid down on a mattress in a foetal position (i.e. on their sides) at three varying bed pressures while EMG activities, heart rates, blood pressures, subjective comfort levels and spinal alignment data were recorded. Minor effects of mattress inflation pressures were associated with changes in EMG activity, heart rate, blood pressure and/or subjective comfort. In contrast, spinal alignment assessment revealed significant differences between the three different inflation pressures studied (827.4, 2413.2 and 3999.0 Pa). It was concluded that in a population of normal participants, although mattress inflation pressure induced significant changes in spinal alignment, these changes were of little physiological consequence. Nevertheless, this data provides baseline information needed to assess similar correlations in a symptomatic population (e.g. those with either acute or chronic neck or back pain).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-815
Number of pages18
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 15 2002


  • EMG
  • Mattress interface pressures
  • Spinal alignment


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