The Evolution of the Mattress Has Saved Countless Lives

The Urban Monk

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed in 2021 is quite a different story from where you might’ve woken up if you’d been born in a different generation…

For example, the generation of our ancestors 77,000 years removed — would that make them Gen A, do you think?

That’s the oldest living example of a mattress that’s been discovered.

It was about as bare and basic as you’d imagine: Reeds and thrushes with leaves and grasses to repel insects and less than an inch thick. A welcome change from sleeping in trees, however, which is what earlier hominids did. (Imagine the spinal compression on those guys!)

It’s been a slow climb to get to where we are now…

Around 1,000 BCE, Egyptians were sleeping on raised wooden platforms on mattresses made of wool and bedding made of linen.

Later on, Romans got a little more complex. They suspended their mattresses with ropes and pulleys, sleeping even higher off the ground, and building their bed frames from ivory, metal, or wood. Not much changed technologically about the mattress itself — still wool or feathers for rich people (plus loads of luxurious blankets), and hay or reeds for the poor.

Contemporarily, Asian cultures often kept their mattresses on the floor because temperature regulation was easier — warm in the winter, cool in the summer.

Mattresses stuffed with down feathers didn’t emerge until around the end of the Medieval period, and even then were a symbol of wealth and status.

By the late 19th century, mattresses with internal coil springs were invented, and mattress tech progressed rapidly. A century after the coil spring mattress came the memory foam, latex, and waterbed developments.

And the more we’ve learned about mattress technology, the more we’ve been able to correlate the quality of our sleep with the quality of our health — our immunity, our healing speeds, our energy, etc.

How?

Your Mattress Can Make or Break You

Sleep heals the body. That’s its purpose — the reason we sleep is to rebalance our bodies, strengthen the immune system, perform cell maintenance, and allow us to reemerge ready to fight another day. (Even attempting to focus without sleep feels fruitless… but you can supplement that struggle with this resource.)

Imagine what kind of sleep people were getting before mattresses.

Not people living in open plains and in villages (plenty of those still exist, and actually their cultures don’t even have a word for insomnia) but sleeping on lumpy, dirty makeshift mattresses stuffed with hay…

No protection from bugs or pests… musculoskeletal discomfort and spinal misalignment… crowded partner disruption (beds used to be enormous to fit many people)…

It was pretty rotten.

Human health compounds itself. If we overburden any one system and don’t give it a chance to heal, the ripple effects are palpable. Poor sleep + poor nutrition + poor sanitation, day in and day out, meant human life expectancy was half of where it is today and you spent a lot of it sick.

When mattresses became accessible to the masses and stopped being reserved for the ultra-wealthy, restful sleep became a possibility afforded to millions.

Thus activated the inherent human capability of healing oneself.

Mattress Paralysis Analysis

We’ve outdone ourselves now.

Not only is it taken for granted that we’re all sleeping on mattresses, it’s likely that we’re sleeping on a completely different kind of mattress than our neighbors — latex? Gel? Memory foam? Coil spring? Tempurpedic? Mechanically adjustable?

There are a few markers that experts agree we should be hitting, and a few companies that are actually leading their customers to the wellspring from which good sleep springs.

Organix Bed, the makers of the Tranquiliti — one of the most highly-rated mattresses on the market right now — is one such company.

Gel Matrix, a high-tech elastic gel designed to support the spine with localized pressure point relief, is the secret sauce in this mattress. It’s always what makes it so your partner can’t feel you shifting and tossing in the night. And you can’t feel them, either!

What’s really fascinating about this mattress is that it’s like a time capsule of our journey with mattress technology — it combines so many of the features that have gone in and out of style to bring you the best bits of all of them.

There’s a pocket coil system base for additional localized support and motion control…

The gel technology keeps it firm and cool…

And the top inch is made of CertiPUR-US certified foam that gently cushions the body.

The specific problems that have stood in the way of our health regeneration during deep and active sleep are being solved in this mattress — back support, spinal alignment, and the relief of pressure points.

There’s a lot more to it than that, but I’ll let you find out for yourself — the guys at Organix Bed explain it themselves here.

If you watch to the end, you’ll see me in there, too! Sleep is the source — support the source, and the rest of the pieces fall into place.

NY Times Best Selling Author, filmmaker, and founder of whole.tv.