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Q: Does 8 hours a night lying on memory foam cause loss of muscle tone? ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Does 8 hours a night lying on memory foam cause loss of muscle tone?
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: pocketdora-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 14 Jun 2006 14:58 PDT
Expires: 14 Jul 2006 14:58 PDT
Question ID: 738192
Since I bought a memory foam mattress for my bed, I seem to have got
fatter and my muscles have got noticably softer. Of course, this may
well be due to other vices, but I couldn't help but wonder - if one of
those medicine / chi balls can keep your muscles strong by forcing
them to work really hard to keep balance, could you get the reverse
effect from a material that prides itself on letting you slump into a
completely relaxed state?
Subject: Re: Does 8 hours a night lying on memory foam cause loss of muscle tone?
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 14 Jun 2006 19:18 PDT
Hello Pocketdora, 

   No. For sleeping, you want to be in a completely relaxed state. Our
grandparents believed one needed a firm bed, but that idea has gone by
the wayside these days.

   ?Though traditionally recommended by doctors for patients with back
pain, sleeping on a mattress that is too firm can cause aches and
pains on pressure points. A medium-firm mattress may be more
comfortable because it allows the shoulder and hips to sink in
slightly. People who want a firmer mattress for back support can get
one with thicker padding for greater comfort.19
Choosing a mattress that provides both sleep comfort and back support
can be difficult. It is best to try different options before buying.
Can money buy better sleep and back pain relief? The Duxiana Dux beds
cost from $4,000-$8,500.20 The McRoskey Airflex mattress runs $3,000
to $5,000.20 Mid-cost beds such as the Tempurpedic memory foam beds
(from $1,500 for a standard Queen) are an alternative to traditional
beds. And the Select Comfort SleepNumber beds (from $1000 for a
standard Queen) allows you to control the firmness of the mattress by
automated inflation/deflation of the internal air chambers.
Actually, very little independent research has been done to determine
which mattresses work best, though many high-end beds are
scientifically designed to provide an ideal night's sleep.20 Only one
study done recently in Spain reported that medium firm mattresses ease
lower back pain more than firm ones do.20,21 Ultimately, it is
personal preference. Generally, a high-quality mattress is worth the
investment considering its impact on the quality of life.?

?When it comes to mattresses, harder does not necessarily mean better.
A new study, reported in the medical journal The Lancet, has found
"medium-firm" mattresses are actually better than firm ones for low
back pain.?

?Many people think of their sleeping bodies as if they were cars
parked for the night--motionless, engines off, headlights dimmed. But
sleep is an amazingly complex state of being. As we sleep, muscles
tense and relax. Pulse, temperature and blood pressure rise and fall.
Chemicals crucial for well-being course through the blood stream. The
brain, like a Hollywood director, conjures up fantastic stories,
complete with a plot, characters and action.?

?During REM, your brain waves resemble those of waking rather than of
quiet sleep. The large muscles of your torso, arms and legs are
paralyzed, although your fingers and toes may twitch. You breathe
quickly and slowly, the flow of blood through your brain accelerates.?

?While one percent of the population has narcolepsy, only a third know
what's wrong with them. Usually symptoms worsen over time. In addition
to daytime sleepiness, norcoleptics develop problems sleeping at
night, experience realistic, horrible sensations and hallucinations as
they shift from wakefulness to sleep and back again and cannot move
for several minutes after waking because of a condition called sleep
paralysis. Many also suffer from cataplexy, a partial or complete loss
of muscle tone usually triggered by intense emotion or excitement.?

I found no evidence that lying on any mattress, including memory foam,
gel beds, or air mattresses will cause loss of muscle tone, with
normal use, 8 hours per day. Lying in bed for days at a time, with
little activity? well, then any mattress can cause loss of muscle

?With complete inactivity, muscle strength decreases by 5% per day,
and reduced muscle strength can lead to falls both while still in the
hospital and when the patient returns home.  For reference, even young
men on bed rest lose muscle strength at a rate of 1.0 to 1.5% per day
(10% per week).   Furthermore, inactivity contributes to muscle
shortening and changes in joint structure, both of which contribute to
limitation of motion and development of contractures. The most rapid
changes occur in the legs.  Bed rest also markedly decreases aerobic
capacity leading to deconditioning which is going to substantially
hinder recovery.

Bed rest is also very damaging to our bones.  In older adults,
especially those with preexisting osteopenia or osteoporosis, lying in
bed can cause vertebral bone loss 50 times faster than in younger
adults. The loss incurred from 10 days of bed rest takes 4 months to

One study researched the effect of two months of bed rest in women:
?They did however lose three to four kilos of muscle, mainly lower
down the body, above all in the extensors (the muscles which enable us
to keep upright), less so in the flexors (used for bending the limbs).
The speed of recovery varies from organ to organ: a matter of days for
some, months for others. After three weeks of physiotherapy, most of
the volunteers felt fine and ready to resume a perfectly normal daily
routine. Within 24 hours, all of them were able to walk (although in
some cases with their sense of balance impaired somewhat).?

??muscular tone has more to do with lifestyle than a particular
posture. In other words, someone who does not exercise and 'sits down'
most of the time will have poor muscle tone and a tendency to obesity.
Someone else with a desk job but regular exercise will be less likely
to have lax abdominal muscles.?

"For some people, such as those in traction, immobilization will
require long periods of bedrest. Lying in one position in bed for an
extended period of time can result in sores on the skin (decubitus
ulcers) and skin infection. Long periods of bedrest can also cause a
buildup of fluid in the lungs or an infection in the lungs
(pneumonia). Urinary infection can also be a result of extended

People who have casts, splints, or braces on their arms or legs will
generally spend several weeks not using the injured arm or leg. This
lack of use can result in decreased muscle tone and shrinkage of the
muscle (atrophy). Much of this loss can usually be regained, however,
through rehabilitation after the injury has healed.

Immobility can also cause psychological stress. An individual
restricted to a bed with a traction device may become frustrated and
bored, and perhaps even depressed, irritable, and withdrawn.

There is the possibility of decreased circulation if the cast, splint,
or brace fits too tightly. Excessive pressure over a nerve can cause
irritation or possible damage if not corrected. If the cast, splint,
or brace breaks or malfunctions, the healing process of the bone or
soft tissue can be disrupted and lead to deformity."

It?s quite possible your other vices are responsible for loss of
muscle tone, especially if they include gaining weight from junk food,
drugs/or and alcohol. Are you exercising regularly? Eating a healthy
diet, including sufficient protein? I would recommend that you visit
your doctor for a check up, to rule out muscle wasting diseases or
metabolic disorders.

I hope this has helped you out. Please request an Answer Clarification
if anything is unclear, and allow me to respond, before you rate this

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
loss of muscle tone +  mattress
loss of muscle tone +  memory foam
memory foam mattress + dangers
loss + muscle tone + inactivity
muscle atrophy + bed rest
Subject: Re: Does 8 hours a night lying on memory foam cause loss of muscle tone?
From: alanna-ga on 14 Jun 2006 15:03 PDT
I think I'd go with the "other vices" theory (unless you sleep 20 hours a night)...
Subject: Re: Does 8 hours a night lying on memory foam cause loss of muscle tone?
From: timespacette-ga on 14 Jun 2006 20:31 PDT
for what it's worth, I happen to think that these memory foam
mattresses aren't so good.

I don't know about losing muscle tone, but I found that the mattress
was SO comfortable that I didn't turn enough during sleep (one of
their selling points; I think it's too much of a good thing).  I would
wake up feeling stagnant, and it was actually difficult to turn after
being in the same position for way too long.   I doubt that this
reduction in nightime turning would actually affect muscle tone (much)
and I tend to agree with crabcakes-ga and alanna-ga, that you should
probably look to your other 'vices' for improvement there.

I just think memory foam isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Expensive too.


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