A good night's sleep rests on your spine's biomechanics

May 22, 2017 by Niki Widdowson, Queensland University of Technology
Credit: public domain

A three-year study by QUT biomedical researchers in the Paediatric Spine Research Group (PSRG) aims to deepen our understanding of the concepts of comfort by using new techniques to look at how the spine reacts in different lying positions.

Dr Paige Little said a QUT team of scientists in the PSRG (a collaboration between QUT and spinal orthopaedic surgeons at Mater hospitals) was getting back to basics to investigate the distribution of weight in different positions on firm and soft mattresses.

"We have partnered with mattress manufacturer Sealy of Australia for possibly the first study to look at what is happening on the outside of the body with 3-D surface scanning and on the inside with MRI," Dr Little said.

"We will ask healthy, young adults to take part in the study so we can map the distribution of body 'load' across a soft and firm surface mattress and then ask them to rate the comfort level."

Dr Little said the findings could have a bearing on promoting general health through comfortable sleep.

"We know that the cartilage in the expels fluid during the day and reabsorbs it during sleep at night.

"This is an important process and our back needs to feel comfortable when we lie down so that we can rest properly and facilitate the process. This is where our findings on understanding the science of comfort will play a part."

QUT biomedical engineer Dr Caroline Grant will use her skills in 3-D simulation, computer visualisation and computational analysis of the spine to develop simulation techniques to better understand critical anatomical structures.

"In this project I will apply these techniques to create virtual replicas of physical bodies in order to study different sleeping postures," Dr Grant said.

Sealy of Australia R&D manager Daniel Green said the aim of the three-year study was the development of a new era of bedding products tailored to individuals' comfort requirements.

Explore further: Certain sleeping positions can impact the quality of your rest

Related Stories

Certain sleeping positions can impact the quality of your rest

June 24, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Sleeping is essential for good health, but there have been debates over the years about whether or not there is a "best" way to snooze.

Location of spinal correction influences risk of PJK development

March 14, 2017
The surgical correction of adult spinal deformities often involves realigning the lower portion of the spine, or the 'lumbar' spine. Yet despite significant advances in spinal surgery, modifying the curvature of the lower ...

Is the pain coming from your hip, spine or both?

February 6, 2017
Many patients live with low back pain that radiates to the buttock, groin, thigh, and even knees. The challenge for patients, and often their doctors, is determining the origin of the pain—the hip, the spine, or both. A ...

Using air conditioner in summer may affect sleep quality

February 16, 2017
A study by a joint research team including professor Kazuyo Tsuzuki of Toyohashi University of Technology, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology ...

Half of childcare centres fail cot mattress safety test

February 23, 2015
Public health researchers at the University of Adelaide are hoping to raise awareness among childcare centres of the potentially deadly consequences of using cot mattresses that are too soft.

Recommended for you

Johns Hopkins performs first total penis and scrotum transplant in the world

April 23, 2018
Many soldiers returning from combat bear visible scars, or even lost limbs, caused by blasts from improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. However, some servicemen also return with debilitating hidden injuries—the loss of ...

'Life support' for transplant livers better than freezing: study

April 18, 2018
Keeping transplant livers on "life support" at body temperature preserves them better than the prevailing method of near-freezing, and could reduce the number of donor organs thrown away, a study said Wednesday.

Study finds no evidence that anesthesia in young children lowers intelligence

April 18, 2018
A Mayo Clinic study finds no evidence that children given anesthesia before their third birthdays have lower IQs than those who did not have it. A more complex picture emerges among people who had anesthesia several times ...

Post-surgical opioids can, paradoxically, lead to chronic pain

April 16, 2018
Giving opioids to animals to quell pain after surgery prolongs pain for more than three weeks and primes specialized immune cells in the spinal cord to be more reactive to pain, according to a new study by the University ...

Evidence mounts that daily opioid users may fare worse after spine surgery, study finds

April 16, 2018
In a multicenter database study of adults who had undergone surgery for spinal deformities, researchers say that those who had used narcotics daily on average had worse outcomes, such as longer intensive care unit stays and ...

Whether the donor and recipient are male or female influences transplant rejection rates—investigators explore why

March 22, 2018
Biological sex differences can have far-reaching, clinical consequences, as illustrated by organ transplant outcomes. Men and women who receive donated organs can have different rates of transplant rejection, in some cases ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.