Over the centuries our bedding evolved as civilization has advanced.
To begin with there was only the ground and rocks to sleep on.
Thousands of years ago our ancestors were more concerned with staying alive than where to rest their heads at night. They slept where they could on the ground as long as it was safe.
As civilization advanced though the ages so did our bedding as we progressed from the bare ground and animal skins to sleeping on piles of straw and roughly woven blankets.
Yet, there was still a problem of sleeping on the cold damp ground and fighting off the bugs.
As our ancestors settled into communities and developed the skills of husbandry, it wasn’t long before they were weaving blankets, stitching them together and stuffing them with wool, feathers, and straw. And Lo and Behold the first primitive mattress was created!
Once a basic mattress had been designed, the next evolution in bedding was getting off the ground. The first mattress frames were just an elevated platform. This eventually gave way to a wooden frame with ropes woven through it. It worked but the user had to constantly tighten up the ropes to keep it from sagging. It was from this crude arrangement that the saying ‘sleep tight’ originated.
Mankind finally emerged from the dark ages with the invention of wire springs and coils. Not quite what we are used to seeing today though, these coils were built into the bed frame while the mattress, remained as just a woven blanket stuffed with feathers, animal hair or straw which rested on the springs. Later in the 1900’s when mattresses began being manufactured they often had bugs in the stuffing even though they were new. If you mother has ever said to you “goodnight, don’t let the bed bugs bite’, well now you know where that saying came from.
One of the greatest advances of civilization was the invention of foam padding. This padding could be wrapped around the coils and springs to make a fully self-contained mattress that rested on another set of box springs. It truly was one of the greatest inventions in history.
Our beds are still evolving though. Thanks to technology we now have beds that are filled with water, electric fully adjustable beds, and even memory foam developed by NASA, the same people who explore the universe.
Testament to advances in bedding is the waterbed. For those who love their waterbed you may be interested to know that the very first water-filled beds were used in Persia over 3700 years ago. These waterbeds consisted of goatskins filled with water
The modern waterbed was designed by Neil Arnott and given to St Batholomews hospital by Sir James Paget, in 1873. Long term bed ridden hospital patients often suffer from pressure ulcers and it was to treat and prevent these bed sores that Arnott desiged the waterbed. It wasn’t until after the invention of vinyl in the 1960’s those waterbeds really became popular.
We’ve come a long way from sleeping on rocks. There are hundreds of choices available. All that’s left is to for you to find the perfect bed to give you a great night’s sleep!
But even the very basic mattress beats sleeping on the hard ground.