Scientific study shows that adults sleep better when rocked as they snooze

Here's another fine development in sleep science today! A new study shows that young adults, like babies, sleep better when rocked. University of Geneva neuroscientist Laurence Bayer and colleagues built a gently rocking bed and used EEG to monitor adults' brain activity as they slept. From Science News:

Study participants fell asleep faster while being rocked, the researchers found. In a stationary bed, people took an average of 16.7 minutes to reach a light stage of non-REM sleep called N2. But when rocked, the young adults hit this sleep stage after an average of 10 minutes. Rocked people also spent more time in a deep non-REM stage of sleep called N3, and had fewer wake-ups. And rocking boosted the number of sleep spindles — fast bursts of brain activity that mark good sleep.

Before people fell asleep, they learned pairs of words, and then were given a memory test the next morning. After a night of rocking, people were better at remembering the words, an improvement that suggested higher quality sleep.

"Whole-Night Continuous Rocking Entrains Spontaneous Neural Oscillations with Benefits for Sleep and Memory" (Current Biology) Read the rest

Noise-cancelling pillow for bedmates of people who snore

Northern Illinois University researchers have designed a noise-cancelling pillow for people who sleep near loud snorers. It works using the same principle as noise-cancelling headphones but with an adaptive algorithm that changes with the snore. Noise-cancelling headboards have been available for some time, but according to electrical engineering professor Lichuan Liu who led this new research, they're bulky and limited in their efficacy because the "quiet zone" isn't right near the sleeper's ears. From IEEE Spectrum:

(The new approach) involves an adaptive filter that receives two input signals—snoring signals, which are detected by a reference microphone, and residual noise (errors), which are detected by two error microphones. Based on these inputs, the adaptive filter then generates the appropriate antinoise signal, which is emitted by two speakers within the partner’s pillow.

What’s more, conventional noise-canceling systems for snoring have relied on least mean square (LMS) algorithms to generate antinoise. Here, Liu and her colleagues used an adaptive LMS algorithm.

“Since each snorer’s snore signals have their unique time-frequency characteristics, it is essential to design an adaptive LMS algorithm for the best cancellation performance for different snore signals,” says Liu. Thanks to the adaptive LMS, the filter in this system can adjust to the length of an individual’s unique snore, and respond to subtle changes in its acoustic characteristics...

Moving forward, Liu and her colleagues plan to use machine learning techniques to recognize the snore signals that are indicative of sleep disorders, for better screening and monitoring purposes.

"Ear field adaptive noise control for snoring: a real-time experimental approach" (IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica) Read the rest

Human beds have much more saliva and fecal bacteria than chimp beds

Humans take hot showers, wash their sheets, and use soaps, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and all sort of other cleansers to keep themselves free of dirt and germs. And yet, after all that effort, chimps win in the clean bed department, at least when it comes to personal bacteria. Yes, according to a study in Royal Society Open Science, chimps sleep in beds that contain less saliva, skin and fecal bacteria than humans.

From National Geographic:

By swabbing abandoned chimpanzee nests in Tanzania's Issa Valley, scientists learned that just 3.5 percent of the bacteria species present came from the chimps’ own skin, saliva, or feces. In human beds sampled in a previous study in North Carolina, the number was a whopping 35 percent.

These findings might seem illogical – how can beds of over-sterile humans be filled with more bacteria from skin, saliva and feces than those of chimps? The answer turns out to be quite simple – chimps make a new bed every night while most humans sleep in the same sheets night after night, letting all that unsavory bacteria build up.

From Smithsonian:

Humans, on the other hand, tend to sleep on the same sheets night after night, accruing bacteria over time. Then there are our mattresses and pillows, which collect massive amounts of dust mites and dead skin over the years.

Also, while chimps sleep among environmental bacteria from the surrounding forests, humans have more or less eliminated outside bacteria from our sleeping quarters, meaning the stuff that comes from us makes up a bigger percentage of the filth.

Read the rest

Super-sized mattresses for your out-of-the-ordinary bedding needs

Do you co-sleep with your children? Do you have multiple partners? Are you tall? Are you larger than average? Do you have orgies on the regular? Do you like to pretend you're tiny?

Well, whatever your reason, there's now an over-sized mattress for you.

The Ace Collection offers over-sized mattresses (along with corresponding bedding and frames).

The first one is called either the "Ace" or the "Ace Player," depending on how you orient it in your room. One way, the Player side, it's four inches wider than a standard King size bed but is much much longer. Flip it and it becomes an extra-wide bed:

The really crazy big one is the "Ace Family" size. It's massive, measuring in at 144 inches wide. By my calculations, you could easily fit 4-5 adults on that thing.

Mattress prices start at $2,250, bedding at $258, and frames at $500.

Thanks, Dixie! Read the rest

Slotted mattress facilitates cuddling

The Cuddle Mattress us made from slices of memory foam, so you can cuddle with your partner without having your limbs fall asleep.

[via] Read the rest

Heinlein's bed up for auction

Want to sleep in Robert A Heinlein's bed? The Heinlein Society was unable to find a museum to take this artifact from his home so they are now selling it on eBay. Apparently designed and built by the writer himself, the bed platform has drawers underneath and two side tables, each with "a drawer, a pull out writing surface, and shelf space, as well as a compartment suitable for a box of tissues, and a trash compartment with a removable container." Robert A Heinlein's Bed (Thanks, Dave Gill!) Read the rest