Massachusetts General Hospital Sleep and Well-Being Study


OBJECTIVE: A sleep study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital examined sleep surface, sleep quality and quantity, and the impact of these on quality of life and well-being.

STUDY DESIGN: The in-home sleep study was executed through Massachusetts General Hospital by Dr. Nancy Etcoff, PhD, the director of the program in aesthetics and well-being at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and commissioned by Select Comfort Corporation. A total of 84 participants, 38 men and 46 women, enrolled in the study between May 1 and July 19, 2008. The sample included 35 bed partners and 14 single sleepers. Participants ranged in age from 25 to 71 years old with a mean age of 43. Some subjects were individuals who usually slept alone; others were bed partners who had shared the same bed regularly for at least one year and who completed a sleep screening questionnaire. Once accepted into the study, each individual and couple completed a six-week series of sleep questionnaires – at the beginning and end of the study, daily, and weekly. After completing daily and weekly questionnaires for two weeks, each subject received a SLEEP NUMBER® mattress the same size as their current bed, along with pillows of their choice based on their usual sleeping position.

RESULTS: After six weeks, the majority of participants who switched to the SLEEP NUMBER® bed reported a significant improvement in sleep quality, the ability to fall asleep faster and sleep longer, a decrease in back and neck aches, and a significant decrease in soreness, stiffness and pain. Study participants also reported that improved sleep quality led to improvements in their quality of life, including decreased food cravings, the belief that they appeared younger-looking, and a decrease in negative moods. One participating couple reported that their improved sleep quality led to greater intimacy and expressions of affection with their partner. The majority of participants reported an increase in stimulating exchanges of ideas with their partner, and nearly half reported an increase in kissing and laughing as a result of improved sleep quality.

CONCLUSION: After switching to the Sleep Number bed, participants saw significant improvements in their sleep quality and ability to fall asleep faster, along with a reduction in aches and pains. Improved sleep quality led to other quality-of-life improvements including a decrease in food cravings and increased intimacy with their partner.

 

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