Friday, 18 May 2012

Where Do Mattresses Come From?

Having something comfortable to lie on, where we can rest and get a good night’s sleep, has always been a challenge. Our cavemen ancestors slept on the hard ground on piles of leaves, straw or animal skins – and near a fire if possible, to keep them warm and away from predators.

Those who could soon realised that being off the ground was a much better idea and considerably less draughty, cleaner and free from creepy crawlies. Wealthy Romans had mattresses filled with reeds, hay, wool or feathers, and sometimes these were raised on top of basic primitive metal, stone or wooden bedsteads. But the less well off and the slaves still had to make do on the floor. 

The word ‘mattress’ is actually derived from Arabic words meaning “to throw” or a “mat, cushion” and as a result of their involvement in the Crusades in the early middle ages, Europeans started to adopt this Arabic method of sleeping on cushions thrown on the floor. And the word ‘materas’ eventually descended into Middle English. 

Bed manufacturing has come a long way since then - with mattresses now containing a variety of materials as both fillings and technology have progressed over the centuries. Where once straw or feather mattresses were standard, 21st century consumers are now spoiled for choice with everything on offer in their bed: from water to foam to a variety of types of springs.

Although we have come a long way with our sleeping arrangements over the centuries, people today still suffer disturbed nights and struggle out of bed, bleary-eyed in the mornings, complaining of stiffness, back ache and general lethargy. What is amazing is that so many don’t realise all this could be easily cured if they would only invest in a proper supportive mattress to sleep on.  

Sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski found that swapping an uncomfortable old bed for a comfortable new one could account for an average of 42 minutes' extra sleep - four times that achieved by over the counter sleep aids. So, improving the quality of sleep can be helped enormously by making sure you're sleeping on the right bed.

However, until they lie down on one, unbelievably most people don’t appreciate just how great it is to sleep on a really comfortable and supportive mattress – and also just how many different types of beds and mattresses there are to choose from. And of course there is the confusion, how do you know which mattress is right for you?

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