Find Your Inner Caveman | Make a Comfortable Bed (Advances in Bedding)

Posted by Aline Martin O'Brien on 31st Aug 2020

Find Your Inner Caveman | Make a Comfortable Bed (Advances in Bedding)

Bedding has been important for centuries, from the Cradle of the King of Rome (Napoleon II) to the “protest bed” of John and Yoko. Archaeologists have now established that bedding was an essential creature comfort as long ago as 200,000 years – back to the Stone Age! Forget “The Flintstones” and the rock slab beds; our ancestors had creature comforts in mind.

The oldest previous bedding discovered was a mere 77,000 years old. A South African site had evidence of people using grasses and medicinal herbs as bedding, and that they sometimes burned the old grass bedding layers and left them in place. Recent analysis of the Border Cave, also in South Africa, establishes that people were making comfy beds as long as 200,000 years ago.

Like today, people used bedding to create comfort, pleasant sensations, and protection from mites, insects and allergens. Grasses and aromatic herbs were gathered and arranged in protected sleeping areas. People also tried to keep their beds clean by burning the layers of dirty bedding. Burning dirty bedding would have helped control lice, fleas, and unpleasant smells. Charcoal and ashes from the fire were added to make a clean, odor-free, and insect-repelling base for the bed.

The archaeologists found another similarity to today’s world – the Stone Age people often worked from their beds. Chips and pieces from working their stone tools were found mixed in with the bedding.

Parallels for Today

As with our Stone Age ancestors, spending one-third of our (much-longer) lifespans in bed requires some careful thought and dedication to achieve a comfortable and healthy environment. Let’s review the 200,000-year-old basics:

Birds make their nest, homo sapiens make their bed, and it is our instinct to look for comfy bedding. So go back to your basics and sleep paleo; do not feel guilty -- you can never get too comfortable!

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