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The Evolution of Beds: Cavemen to Built-in-TVs

Do you ever have those days where you’re counting the hours until you get back into bed? Well, we’re not so different from our 70,000-year-old caveman cousins in that respect. For nearly ten millennia, humans have created soft, warm beds to sleep in at night. Although the world has gone through countless changes since then, we still yearn for those eight hours of kip!

We’re now at the stage where we can incorporate TVs into the bed frame, and watch in comfort. We’ve come a long way since the make-shift prehistoric beds of old. We thought it would be good fun to journey back through time, and look at how our ancestors slept. It tells us a lot about how we treat and respect our downtime.

Although styles and comfort levels have certainly changed along the way, the basic principle has barely altered. We’re still looking for warmth, comfort, and a soft fabric to catch those Zzzs. Without further ado, let’s jump straight into our list.

Caveman beds

Archaeologists recently uncovered the oldest bed on earth. Dating back more than 77,000 years, the bed was surprisingly well preserved. It was found in a rock shelter in South Africa, and it’s the earliest sign of sleeping behaviour yet. The archaeologists found a mattress complete with soft bedding. It was made primarily from stems, leaves and other plant materials. Even back then, we were looking for a comfy night’s sleep. What surprised scientists most, however, was the use of natural insecticides. Cavemen clearly knew how to keep mosquitoes at bay, and get a quiet night!

Bronze Age Egyptian beds

The Bronze Age is most typically identified with the Egyptians. They were one of the most resourceful, and forward thinking empires in history. They invented paper, written language, and levers. They were also one of the most decadent civilizations that ever existed. From their enormous pyramid tombs to the gold Pharaoh staffs, they knew how to indulge themselves. It was no different when it came to their sleeping habits. The upper echelons of the Egyptian culture slept in gold plated beds. They were also used to eat meals and entertain guests.

Four poster beds

Four poster beds are perhaps the most iconic form of bedroom furniture around. They are considered the most regal and indulgent bed you can get your hands on. They have their origins in the 14th and 15th century, where rich families loved to indulge themselves. Historians claim that the oldest four poster bed still in use is 400 years old. It resides in Gloucestershire, and is owned by the aristocratic family at Berkeley Castle. The four poster style set the trend of bedroom furniture for centuries to come.

Water beds

As we move towards more contemporary designs, there was plenty of experimentation. One of the strangest trends was the water bed. Although a similar idea has been used since the 1800s, the modern patent was filed in 1971. It then became incredibly popular throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. Early versions were ‘free flow’, which meant that a wave effect was caused with every movement. Later on, things were corrected by using ‘chambers’ of water. Either way, you wouldn’t want this to burst while you were sleeping!

Japanese flat beds

Japan has always had an inimitable, minimalist style. Their low, flat beds have been a part of their culture for centuries, along with their penchant for sitting on the floor. It’s not just a style choice, but a design that fits their way of life. Despite its history, it became a hugely popular style that was co-opted by western manufacturers. The traditional Japanese flat bed has now become an incredibly popular modern design. It is simply, stylish, and contemporary, typically finished with dark mahogany wood.

TV beds

Finally, we arrive in the modern day world, and start to look to the future. In the 21st century, technology and home comfort collide. In a world where we always have our smartphones to hand, we are intricately linked to technology. It’s no wonder that we can now integrate flat screen TVs into the architecture of a good bed. The TVs themselves rise slowly from the foot of the bed. It’s the perfect way to enjoy those lazy Sunday mornings, or watch a film before you go to sleep.

The cavemen would be proud (and astonished) to see how far we’ve taken their humble plant mattress. Still, after seven millennia, we are still enjoying the simple luxuries of a warm, comfortable bed. We’re easily pleased, aren’t we?