May 30, 2024

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A History of Beds and Mattresses Across Centuries and Cultures

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It’s estimated that people spend somewhere around a third of their life in bed. Given how much we rely on beds, it should come as no surprise that they have a rich and complex history. Quite likely, they rank among our earliest inventions. Primitive humans would fashion simple mattresses out of leaves and other biomaterials, and then cover them with animal pelts.

During the times of the Roman Empire, beds looked more like what they typically look like now. The bed would often be a raised platform with a mattress stuffed with hay or wool.


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Of course, such luxury beds were limited to the wealthy. Less fortunate folks typically slept on pallets and cots.

By the medieval ages, many beds were covered with curtains, allowing for increased privacy. Many common folks didn’t enjoy such luxurious setups, however. It was common during these times for multiple families to sleep on one giant mattress. The idea of private sleeping arrangements for the masses didn’t emerge until more recent times. The more prudent morals of the Victorian age led to more private sleeping arrangements and often even couples didn’t sleep together.

These days, people have access to many types of beds. From king-sized mattresses for adult couples to race car beds for small children and cribs for babies, everyone can enjoy more comfortable sleeping arrangements. This has helped lead to more restful sleep for many.

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