History of Sleep

The History of Sleep

  • 10,000 years ago, in the Neolithic period, people began sleeping on primitive "beds."
  • 3400 BCE - Egyptian pharaohs discover the benefits of raising a pallet off the earth. King Tutankahmen had a bed of ebony and gold. Common people slept on palm bows heaped in the corner of their home.
  • Roman Empire - First luxury bed. Often decorated with gold, silver or bronze, these beds featured mattresses stuffed with reeds, hay, wool or feathers.
  • FUN FACT: Great bed of ware. On display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, it originally measured 18 feet six inches wide by 12 feet long and was elaborately carved and canopied. It could accommodate 68 people.
  • Roman Empire - Romans discover the waterbed. The sleeper would recline in a cradle of warm water until drowsy, then be lifted onto an adjacent cradle with a mattress, where they would be rocked to sleep.
  • Renaissance - Mattresses were made of pea shucks or straw, sometimes feathers, stuffed into coarse ticks, then covered with sumptuous velvets, brocades and silks.
  • 16th and 17th centuries - Mattresses were generally stuffed with straw or down, placed atop a latticework of rope.
  • FUN FACT: The expression "sleep tight" comes from the 16th and 17th centuries when mattresses were placed on top of ropes that needed regular tightening.
  • The late 18th century - Advent of the cast iron bed and cotton mattresses. Together, they provided a sleeping space that was less attractive to bugs. Until that time, assorted vermin were simply accepted as a typical component of even the most royal beds.
  • FUN FACT: Louis XIV was inordinately fond of staying in bed, often holding court in the royal bedroom. Reportedly, he owned 413 beds and displayed a special liking for the ultra spacious and ostentatious variety.
  • 1865 - The first coil spring construction for bedding was patented.
  • 1902 - Horsehair mattress makes its debut.
  • 1925 - Innerspring mattresses and upholstered foundations revolutionize the way we sleep.
  • 1950s - Foam rubber mattresses and pillows and pillows appeared on the market.
  • 1950s - Waterbeds are first introduced, although they did not become popular until the Sixties. Adjustable beds also started to become popular.
  • 1980s - Airbeds are introduced.
  • 1990s - NASA spun off their technology for memory foam mattresses, creating a new alternative in mattress options.