Unusual Facts About Mattresses and Sleep


Everyone needs great mattresses, and mattress stores exist in even the most remote towns in America. Whether your tastes run to the Sealy mattress, a Tempur Pedic mattress, a Stearns and Foster, or just whatever mattresses are cheapest, you’ll be interested in these unusual facts about mattresses and our sleep.

  1. Americans talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. A whole lot of us, 82%, say that we think having an extra hour of sleep is valuable. A 2018 National Sleep Foundation Poll found that 65% of us say that our effectiveness each day has something to do with how well we slept the night before, and nearly everyone knows that healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Yet sleep statistics show that nearly 80% of us are failing to get that amount of sleep, and almost 38% of American adults admit they fell asleep unintentionally during the day at least once in the previous month.
  2. You might not want to make your bed. Yes, your mother will be horrified, but a messy bed actually might be healthier. Uncovered mattresses can dry out and thus are less attractive to dust mites. This in turn can really help with allergies, so if you’re struggling consider skipping this particular chore for now.
  3. Not everyone uses mattresses. In India they use something called a charpoy, which is basically a wooden frame with woven plant matter that serves both to hold the bed together and as the mattress. Many people in Asia and South America prefer to sleep in hammocks, and in Japan people sleep on woven mats rather than mattresses. In China, some people still sleep on straw mats and a quilt; in the frigid north these can be placed on top of the kang–a kind of heated bed with a stove underneath.
  4. Despite the fact that not all people use mattresses, they have been around a long time. The oldest mattress known to us is 77,000 years old! It was found in South Africa and is big enough for a whole family to sleep on. Imagine the mattress store where they sold that!
  5. Insomnia is a serious problem. It should only take a person 10 to 15 minutes to fall asleep, and when it takes significantly longer we call this insomnia. We don’t know as much about this condition as we want, but we do know it can sometimes be hereditary, and that our pets can suffer from it, too. And while one in four Americans takes sleeping pills, our general sleep stats don’t ever seem to improve: meaning that the pills don’t seem to be working.
  6. Don’t read this one if you’re squeamish. You’ve been warned. The phrase “hit the hay” comes from a time when mattresses were stuffed with hay instead of foam or springs. The hay attracted bugs and even small animals, so people had to hit their mattresses with sticks or beat them against the wall before they went to sleep. Of course, the typical modern mattress is home to between 100,000 and 10 million dust mites, so it’s not as if we’re doing all that much better.

We couldn’t sleep without our mattresses these days, and we’re willing to spend quite a lot to get just the right one. A mattress can really affect your sleep quality, so it’s not a bad idea to get the best quality you can afford. If your mattress isn’t giving you a great night’s sleep, why not look at some mattress stores and see if things can’t be better?

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