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

May 22, 2017 by Niki Widdowson
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

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 ...

Recommended for you

New trial for prosthetic hip joint infection

June 14, 2017

The first ever randomised trial to investigate why some patients develop infections after their hip or knee replacement surgery, and which type of surgical revision treatment is best is being run by the University of Bristol ...

Making prosthetic limbs feel more natural

May 31, 2017

A new surgical technique devised by MIT researchers could allow prosthetic limbs to feel much more like natural limbs. Through coordination of the patient's prosthetic limb, existing nerves, and muscle grafts, amputees would ...

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

May 22, 2017

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 ...

0 comments

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.