• Sherri HIner

Sleep through time

Where, when, how and with whom we sleep varies widely but the need for a great night’s sleep never changes.

We all sleep. We diffidently need it to stay alive. It’s a recharge for our brain and body. Throughout history and across cultures, sleep traditions vary. We already know why we sleep, so let’s explore the “who, what, when and how” of sleep from the past to the present in the mattress world wide.

How much and how we sleep

In the prehistoric times, people likely slept in two or more big chunks, particularly amid the long nights of the winter months. This is known as “biphasic” or “polyphasic” sleep, and it is still the rule in some nomadic and hunter gather societies today. This sleep patterns allow people the flexibility to sleep on and off throughout the day or night, depending on their circumstances and what needs to be done.

In early farming cultures the usual sleep routine was to rise with the sun and begin to sleep with the sunset. This continuous, uninterrupted sleep is called "monophasic" sleep. However, the introduction of the first electric light bulb which began in the late 1800’s, people started staying up later. Today, we get much less sleep than our ancestors did in the days before our evenings became brightly illuminated.

When Television initially came into our households, there were limited broadcast hours. No programming late at night people often went to bed when the shows ended. Today, we not only have numerous channels of day and night TV programming, we’ve also got 24-hour access to the internet, meaning nonstop entertainment. Somehow we have forgotten the need for great sleep and we get much less than our ancestors did before everything was brightened with the illumination of the light bulb. It should be no shock that 48% of Americans say they don’t get adequate sleep.

The current sleep deprivation has made gave “the nap” a sort of rebirth hence the “nap pods”. Nap pods have become kind of trendy, but we have to be careful because naps can interfere with night time sleep. Just an FYI Americans average 8 ½ hours sleep, about the same as Spain. The sleep world averages about 7 ½ hours sleep. Japan gets the average of 6 hours and 53 minutes.

With whom do you sleep

Who sleeps with us in our bed or in our room influence how much we sleep we get. “Co-sleeping,” (which I do not suggested) where the baby sleeps in the same bed as the mother, was widely popular until the 1800’s and still is common practice in many traditional and developing countries.

Some cultures have all family members sleep in the same room, and have more than one family living in the same house.

In the 50’s it was not a surprise for couples to sleep in in separate beds, it was not until the late 50’s mattress manufactures started advertising Queen or King Mattresses. Even today 1 in 4 couples sleep apart (either for comfort or convenience), they just prefer it that way.

Worldwide, studies show that 25% to 50% of married couples in Japan have either separated beds or Separated rooms. Oh Canada it is estimated to be 30% to 40%.

Where we sleep and what we sleep on

Mattress size vary, however, an interesting fun fact 95% of frisky long married couples still sleep on a full or expand to the “overly roomy queen”. When I asked Harry H. what size he and his wife of 42 years sleep on?

He responded “full size, and we never woke up mad” with a grin and a wink of the eye.

King size mattresses are a favorite of many couples, but these large sizes aren’t as popular in other parts of the world. In many parts of the mattress world like Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, for instance a popular option is the Full size mattress. Japan seems to like the full size futon.

In the world of mattresses, where you sleep, who you sleep with, you will get the best night sleep if you have a supportive comfortable mattress. We hope you have the best night sleep, on the best bed for you.

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