How has technology influenced our natural biological process of sleeping? Obviously, the invention of the mattress, bed frame, and pillow has led to many better nights of sleep than the beds of ancient Rome, which more resembled couches. Indeed, the modern bed did not begin to form until the middle ages, and back then it was guaranteed not to be nearly as comfortable as it is today. Today, there are a variety of materials that form bed frames, mattresses, sheets and pillows. Like with many of our other modern conveniences, the quality of these products is on average far better than even the greatest products of previous ages. In terms of sleep quality, getting a good night’s rest and staying asleep longer has never been easier. That is due in part to technology’s ability to test for disorders such as sleep apnea, and provide medication for insomniacs who can’t seem to get to rest at the hour they want to.

The Early Days of the Bed and Pillow

In medieval times, the poor slept on straw mats and used whatever they could as sheets. These beds were often riddled with all kinds of bugs, and diseases were frequently contracted through them. The richest beds were made of the highest quality materials, and often had privacy curtains as a stylistic choice. Initially, the pillow had what was called a headsheet before the invention of the sewn pillowcase came about. In its earliest forms, beds were stuffed with straw and wool. These beds are probably very uncomfortable in comparison to the mattresses of today. Beds were naturally very prized back then and some might even leave beds to others in their wills.

Sleep Technology Today

Today, beds are made in mass production, are made from a variety of materials both natural and synthetic, and range from very cheap to very expensive. Two of the most popular modern materials for mattresses include spring and foam. Modern innerspring mattresses are very firm. They have a springy center, which is held together by a foundation, and then padded with layers of fabric. This is a very common type of mattress, possibly due to the fact that it is typically considered affordable and comfortable. Another type of mattress that is relatively new is the air mattress. These mattresses are naturally filled with chambers that are filled with air. Some air mattresses are deflatable, which makes them good for traveling or camping. Often they come with a pump that is used to inflate them. The foam mattress is also fairly new, and considered to be among the most comfortable forms of mattresses. These can be made from a variety of synthetic materials that, depending on their quality, can contour around the body of the individual for increased comfort. Naturally, in modern times pillows have also improved. Pillows can be made from cotton, down, or other materials. Overall, sleep technology has drastically improved throughout the ages. Synthetic materials will likely lead to even more comfortable future sleep experiences.