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An In-Depth Look Into The Intriguing History Of Mattresses

An In-Depth Look Into The Intriguing History Of Mattresses

We tend to take our mattresses for granted, it being such a constant in our life. After all, we spend a third of our lives sleeping on one. It’s no wonder the mattress is such an inextricable part of our lives and so necessary to our sleep health, a fact that has been true since the dawn of humanity.

We have always needed a place to rest, so it stands to reason that humans have always been looking for the most comfortable way to do so.

For thousands of years, people have worked at optimising sleep as best as we know how. What we know to be modern mattresses have seen thousands, perhaps millions, of iterations since the start. This article will take you through some of the most prominent and fascinating examples to illustrate how far sleep technology has come.

The first mattresses

Although not a mattress we’d recognise today, the first mattresses made are believed to have been fashioned 77 000 years ago, somewhere in South Africa. These mattresses were about 1/3 of a metre thick and nearly 7 metres long. They were created using many layers of plant materials.

An improvement

Egypt’s mighty and ancient civilisation saw fit to make some adjustments to this mattress thousands of years later in the 3000s BC. The upper-class of Egyptian society began to sleep on raised mattresses, similar to how we sleep today. The commoners, however, made do with leaves on the floor.

The first waterbed

The Romans were the next to take the plunge into mattress development with the invention of the first waterbed! While this probably isn’t the waterbed you’re thinking of, they created an impressive sleeper that allowed children to lay down in a tub of water to help them sleep.

The mattress as we know it

The first inklings of the mattress, as we’ve come to think of them, came about in the Renaissance Era. People started to incorporate softer materials to make their mattresses more comfortable. This often came in the form of straw and feathers. It was around this time as well that bed covers began to become commonplace. Sometimes, bed covers were made from velvet and silk for those who could afford them. They also popularised the curtained four-poster bed.

A new sleep set-up

By the tail end of the 18th century, those living in Colonial America began using bed frames made of iron, much like see them in the present. Since the renaissance era, cotton mattresses were also becoming all the rage. By the mid-19th century, spring coil mattresses were the norm. Finally, in the 1900s, innerspring and futon mattresses were also options.

New and distinctive

By the 1950s, the time for experimentation was here. Pillows were made of foam and rubber, and the modern waterbed was the latest fad.

New and distinctive

The modern mattress

Today, mattresses aren’t just a place to sleep; they’re where you watch TV, play games, and use your phone. In other words, you’re not just using it for a third of the day anymore. Hence, mattress manufacturers everywhere started to prioritise quality and comfort over everything.

Today, there are no limits to mattresses you will find. They come in a wide variety of sizes, materials, and styles. The innovations made to accommodate all different kinds of sleepers are no less than commendable. For example, the chiro mattress is a feat of engineering by Four Star that utilises memory foam for a durable bed and cushioned sleep. The Chiro+ series features mattress that incorporate chiropedic technology combined with pocket spring, memory foam and latex materials to deliver all the right elements needed for optimum support. Certainly, a long way since beds made out of plants!


Humans have found exciting and ingenious ways to facilitate sleep for as long as we can remember. Four Star is no different. Established in 1968, we’ve since become Singapore’s one-stop shop for all sleep-related needs. Our wide range of high-quality, well-designed mattresses is yours for the taking. Contact us today to find out more!


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