Medical Study Calf Muscle Pump Stimulation and Sleep Quality

University of Pittsburgh Study Shows Calf Muscle Stimulation Improves Sleep Quality

Lynn M. Baniak, Carolyn S. Pierce, Kenneth J. McLeod, Eileen R. Chasens

Research in Nursing & Health. 2016 Dec;39(6):406-414, DOI: 10.1002/nur.21751. Epub 2016 Sep 30, ©2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Correspondence to: Lynn M. Baniak, 
E-mail:, Lynn M. Baniak – Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, 3500 Victoria St., Victoria Bldg. 363A, Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Carolyn S. Pierce Associate Professor Binghamton University School of Nursing Binghamton, NY
Kenneth J. McLeod Professor Director, Clinical Science and Engineering Research Center Binghamton University Binghamton, NY
Eileen R. Chasens Associate Professor University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Pittsburgh, PA


Prevention of lower extremity fluid pooling (LEFP) is associated with improved sleep quality. Physical activity and compression stockings are noninvasive methods used to manage LEFP, but both are associated with low adherence. Calf muscle pump (CMP) stimulation is an alternative and more convenient approach.

Convenience sampling was used to recruit 11 participants between ages 45 and 65 with poor sleep quality. A within-person single-group pre-/post-test design was used to evaluate changes in sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and functional outcomes sensitive to impaired sleep as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire, and Epworth Sleepiness Scale after 4 weeks of CMP stimulation.

Statistical analysis included effect size (ES) calculations. After daily use of CMP stimulation, participants demonstrated improvement in overall sleep quality (ES=-.97) and a large reduction in daily disturbance from poor sleep (ES=-1.25).

Moderate improvements were observed in daytime sleepiness (ES=-.53) and functional outcomes sensitive to sleepiness (ES=-.49). Although causality could not be determined with this study design, these results support further research to determine whether CMP stimulation can improve sleep quality.

Keywords: sleep; muscle stimulation; fluid retention; quality of life

PMID: 27686225 DOI: 10.1002/nur.21751

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