Mattresses are not a new invention. It almost seems like ever since homo sapiens stood up on their two feet, they’ve been looking for cushy places to lie back down. In fact, the first information we have about these “mattresses” derives further back than 70,000 years! If there’s one thing us humans are consistent about, it’s that we love sleep and put a lot of effort in making sure we have an optimal setup for it.
It’s taken us quite some time to get to the level of comfort we’ve achieved today, here’s the interesting history of the good old mattress
Mattresses: The Early Days
Studies show that these early day mattresses were discovered in caves during archeological digs and weaved out of evergreens. The plants used to make them is also known to repel insects such as mosquitoes. Genius! There was a drawback, however: they didn’t exactly last and had to regularly be refurbished, otherwise, you’d be sleeping on a rotting pile of leaves. Gross.
During ancient times, most people slept on straw mats kind of like animals in a barn (which would explain the baby Jesus scene). But hello, bugs and rodents! Eventually, we upgraded from straw to animal skins (thank Jesus) and finally, someone got the bright idea to stuff cloth bags with straw, wool and even feathers.
It’s not until the 15th Century that we started to see the development of what we would recognize today as a mattress: stuffed with something cushy and covered with good quality fabrics (although back then it was silk or velvet). Interestingly, this is about the time when coil springs were invented, but they weren’t used in mattresses until the 19th Century. They weren’t very popular in the beginning, but as the technology got better it became a leading type of mattress all over the world for centuries!
The Modern Mattress
Throughout the 19th and 20th Century, a lot of manufacturers used coils and filled the additional space with polyester or cotton batting. Yet, with the century’s turn, we saw the introduction of spring coil pockets that were individually wrapped. The aim was to provide a mattress that can offer both comfort and support with the use of independent springs.
This is how mattresses were made for a long time. Although memory foam was invented during the 1960s, it was mainly used to improve the safety of aircraft cushions. It didn’t take very long for manufacturers to realize memory foam could be so much more, though, and started adding it into basically everything, including mattresses.
A 21st Century Revolution: The Foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses have a special way of molding into a unique shape when applying pressure. Thanks to this, it cradles the body while we sleep and offers support in all the right places. Just make sure it’s from a good quality mattress manufacturer.
Today, when looking at the history of mattresses and the constant changes, we learn that any great idea can be improved. The human race went from lying on sleeping mats made of evergreen, to obtaining maximum comfort through a mattress consisting of foam.
And we’re not done, oh no! You’ll see on today’s market lots of mattresses using older foam technology that have a few issues: they don’t allow air to circulate, trap heat, and they can be very heavy and expensive – or very inexpensive and bad quality.
Just because it’s foam doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better, so make sure you shop around to find the best mattress out there.