Since the beginning of mankind and the advent of ancient civilizations,? ?people have been desperately seeking the best way to get a comfortable night’s sleep.? ?The search for an answer to this question began with the ancient Egyptians, who discovered that elevating pallets off the ground and placing a mattress [stuffed with palm bows] on top of it c?reated a surface that could help a person rest well at night.? On the extravagant side and not to be outdone, ?King Tutankhamen had a bed made of ebony and gold– though it may certainly have lacked a little something in comfort. ? Since those days, of course, t?he mattress has evolved significantly.? Many cultures, including those of ancient ?Egypt and Persia, in addition to that of the Romans and Renaissance Europeans? [?and now Americans] have contributed to the development of the modern mattress.
? ?For the past two centuries, the mattress has been the centerpiece of every American’s bedroom.? Recognizing the ?importance of a good night’s sleep at the end of the tiring Civil War era,? the United States witnessed ?the patent and subsequent release of the spring-coiled mattress in? ?1865.? Due to successive improvements in mattress design, ?serious contenders in the industry began to emerge in the 1930s, and innerspring mattresses and upholstered foundations began to emerge in the mainstream society of the United States and Canada.
The 1940s and ’50s presented new innovations in the industry’s design and production of mattresses.? ?The World War II era, as well as the beginning of the Cold War, focused a great deal of attention on the American household, and many inventions were thus introduced for the bedroom: the Futon mattress,? ?the Murphy bed,? ?and foam rubber mattresses [and pillows].? The adjustable bed as well as the waterbed were premiered as well. ?
By the? ?1970?’?s, the waterbed eclipsed the foam rubber mattress as the popular choice for nighttime comfort in the eyes of the American consumer.? ?Many were convince that it provided the greatest comfort due to its capability to support weight more evenly across the body where it is the heaviest.? ?Eventually, however, its intense popularity began to wane because of the constant upkeep that it required.?
The? ? air mattress was introduced in the 1980s, and was hailed for its comfort and pressure-relieving qualities that eliminated the use of water.? ?Their tendency to leak, however, restricted their use to temporary purposes such as camping or for overnight guests in the home.? ?Moreover, they were found to be potentially harmful to small children, as air levels could drop in the night and thereby pose a suffocation risk.?
Significant evolutions have characterized the last 20 years of the mattress industry.? ?Beginning in the? ?1990?’?s, the desire for more spacious sleeping became the popular new fad.? ?For the first time in the? ?20th century, the Queen-sized mattress surpassed the Twin size in volume sold.? ?New innovations began to trickle into the home décor marketplace, such as non-flip ?and pillow-top mattresses,? ?and the development of different types of foam.? ? Visco-elastic foam [“?memory foam?”] ?was introduced, and variety and comfort became the principle ideals of the bedding industry.?
Memory foam offers American consumers an attractive alternative for a restorative night’s sleep.? ?When compared to the designs of spring coil,? ?air,? ?and waterbed mattresses, ?memory foam is exceptional in its ability to provide comprehensive support to the entire body.? ? This feature, in addition to its body-temperature adaptation and ?joint pain prevention characteristics ?[not to mention its impressive capability to increase blood flow throughout the body], has led to the recommendation of memory foam by leading health authorities as a powerful way to improve overall physical well-being.
The Better Sleep Council. . http://www.bettersleep.org/Mattressology/bed_in_history.asp. 2009. Bellis, Mary. History of Beds. http://inventors.about.com/od/bstartinventions/a/bed.htm New York, New York. 2009.