The World of Mattresses: The Evolution of What You Sleep on Every Single Night


Even though many of us still find choosing a mattress difficult, that’s only because they’ve become so far advanced that there are many different benefits and options available. Cast your mind back thousands of years when you had no choice what you slept on and where uninvited guests were commonplace, and you’ll realize how lucky we are to have such a wide variety of comfortable mattresses available to us today.

So, next time you dive into the heavenly bed, think back over the course of history and the sleeping arrangements many of our ancestors had to put up with:

A History of the Mattress

10,000 Years Ago: Primitive beds started to become used in the Neolithic period.

3400 BCE: The benefits of raising a bed off the earth started to become apparent to Egyptian pharaohs. A bed of gold and ebony was constructed for King Tutankhamen while common people had a heap of palm bows in the corner of their houses that they slept on.

The Roman Empire: The first luxury bed was introduced in the Roman Empire, and these were often decorated in bronze, silver or gold. The mattresses that were used were stuffed with feathers, wool, hay or reeds. The Romans were also responsible for discovering the waterbed and those privileged enough would be placed in a cradle of warm water until they started to doze off before they were then lifted in a cradle nearby that had a mattress within it. They would then be rocked to sleep!

The Renaissance: During this period, mattresses were made using straw or pea shucks and would sometimes be constructed out of feathers which were stuffed into coarse ticks before being covered in silks, brocades and velvets to provide a luxurious night’s sleep.

The 16th and 17th Century: One person who was renowned for staying in bed during this time was Louis XIV. In fact, he was so in love with his bed that he reportedly owned 413 different beds and would often hold court in his bedroom! His favorite style of bed was an ostentatious, spacious one – which is perhaps not very surprising to hear!

The Late 18th Century: This is when the cotton mattress and the cast iron bed became popular. When combined, these two features helped to reduce the amount of bugs people found in their bed, which, until this time, had been widely accepted as something you had in your bed, even if you were royalty.

1865: A patent was produced for the first coil spring bed.

The 1930s: Upholstered foundations and innerspring mattresses became the must-have during this time, and are still one of the most popular styles of mattresses in Canada and the U.S. today.

The 1950s: Foam rubber pillows and mattresses started to become popular.

The 1960s: A number of things were introduced in this period, including the modern waterbed, adjustable beds and no-flip mattresses.

The 1980s: The airbed was introduced.

The 1990s: Spacious sleeping became increasingly sought after, which resulted in the queen-size mattress becoming the most popular mattress size in America in 1999. This was the first time this happened and it overtook the twin / double size.

The 2000s: Contemporary bedding has become key in this millennium with comfort and choice being at the forefront of all mattresses. A vast range of mattresses are introduced, giving the consumer even more choice than ever before (see this online at

Modern Day Mattress Choices

During the 1970s, foam mattresses became very popular due to the fact they were easy to maintain, were mold resistant and were hypoallergenic. Today, they remain just as popular for the exact same reasons. Memory foam has also become a huge contender in mattress choices, and this gel-like material was initially designed by NASA. However, memory foam never made it into space and instead became introduced to the general public by a Swedish company in the early 1990s.

Coil mattresses or innerspring mattresses also remain popular and these are made out of a number of metal coils that are attached to a metal frame. Several layers of fabric are then used to cover this metal frame, providing comfort to the user by preventing any of the coils from poking through the fabric. These types of mattresses tend to have barrel-shaped pocket coils or hourglass-shaped open coils that provide even more support.

As you can see, the mattress has come a long way since the medieval times when peasants were sleeping on sacks of itchy materials with bugs crawling all over them during the night! 

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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