What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.



The History of Beds

Initially, there were no beds, people slept where they lay, maybe with leaves or an animal hide for comfort.
But, in 1850, a great storm battered Orkney revealing a Neolithic village named Skara Brae which was inhabited about 3200BC to 2200BC. Each house had a large stone slab bed which would probably have been topped with soft fern and animal skins.
Between 3,000 and 1,000BC the Egyptians were building elaborate beds for the Pharaohs. Ornate wooden bed frames were carved and laid with goldleaf. They were covered with woven mats and a wooden slat mattress. They had wool cushions and linen sheets.

At around 1580BC, the Persians filled sewn-up goatskins with water - the first waterbeds.

In medieval times, people curled up on wooden boards with animal skins, this is where the phrase ‘bed and board’ comes from.


Making the Bed

In Tudor England, the bed was a status symbol, the richer you were, the more ornate your bed. A receipt dating from 1581 details Elizabeth I’s requirements as ‘walnut, richly carved, painted, and gild… valance of silver cloth, figured with velvet, lined with a changeable taffetta, and deeply fringed with Venice gold, silver, and silk’. Mattresses were still rudimentary though, sacks stuffed with straw or wool.

During the 17th century feathers were the preferred mattress stuffing. A feather bed was a prized possession, often handed down from one generation to the next.

In 1865, a man named Samuel Kettle patented the first open spring mattress.

These days there seems to be an infinite choice of mattress, including memory foam which was developed by NASA in the 1960s. 


Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture.

W. B. YEATS (1865-1939)

I at midnight by the clock may creep into your bed.

The bedframe didn’t appear until the 14th century.

Bed of Nails

The dangerous part of sleeping on a bed of nails is getting on and off it. Beds of nails work by evenly distributing your weight over thousands of nails.

The most motorcycles driven over the body while lying on a bed of nails’ is 31 held by Simone Calati ( from Italy.

The most consecutive rope skips on a bed of nails over another person is 117 with Amy Bruney skipping and Jon Bruney lying on the bed of nails 

State beds

Nobles who hoped for a visit from the king or queen used to keep a bed especially for them. One of the most elaborate state beds was built at Wilton House for a visit by George III.

When he arrived in 1778 he had brought his own portable bed with him. This was put together in the state bedroom, next to the extravagant bed that he did not sleep in. 

Fred and Wilma Flintstone were the first couple to be shown in bed together on American prime-time television.

Dysania means  the state of finding it really difficult to get out of bed in the morning.

The impression that you leave in your bed from lying in it all night is called a staddle.

Someone who reads in bed is a librocubicularist.

UK hospitals have had to make their beds stronger for obese patients.

Paid to Stay in Bed

In 2009, 22-year-old student Roisin Madigan earned £1,000 for a month’s work testing out luxury beds for Simon Horn Ltd. Madigan was hired to spend 10am-6pm trying out the beds and blog about her day.

In 2010, Halfords advertised for a sleeping bag tester to spend five days in a tent trying out their products. They wanted someone fit who could ‘demonstrate an interest in camping and outdoors leisure activities’.

When you sleep in a different bed for the first time, half your brain stays awake.

Lord Byron always kept two loaded pistols and a stiletto knife by his bed.

Hurkle-durkle is a Scottish word which means to lie in bed when one should be up and about.