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Sleeping is one thing that we all have in common. Another thing that we all have in common is that we have difficulty getting a good night's sleep on the floor. The invention of the mattress relieves that problem. Whoever built the first mattress is shrouded in the mists of time. We should all thank him anyway.
The first mattresses were undoubtedly piles of leaves or soft branches. They were assembled at night and left behind in the morning. The invention of a fabric-covered permanent mattress accompanied the advent of agriculture and houses. There are many sorts of mattresses today.
Buying a new mattress can offer a bewildering variety of choices. Older bedsteads can present difficulties as they will not accommodate a standard size of mattress. The only choice in this case is to have one custom built or to keep up with the old standard of cotton-stuffed ticking. The frame of a modern bedstead will accommodate one of the several standard sizes of mattress, but it is not a bad idea to make some measurements before venturing out to shop for a replacement.
The most common type of mattress is the innerspring mattress. It has an internal frame of very light steel rods connected to an arrangement of springs. The whole bit is surrounded by a padded cover which is available in many colors and patterns. This type of mattress can be placed directly on the bed slats, if there are enough of them, or on top of a box spring. The box spring is an additional coarsely sprung platform that is usually decorated with the same material used on the mattress. In spite of their similarities, innerspring mattresses vary widely in price and quality. One should always test the mattress by lying on it and comparing it to the others in the shop.
Another sort of mattress that is rapidly becoming popular is the foam mattress. Not the old-fashioned foam rubber that we are familiar with in the mattresses of convert-a-beds and the berths of small boats, this is a very advanced substance that has some unusual properties. It is designed to deform with load in a controlled manner so that the pressure on the body is evenly distributed over the entire person. This is reported to be very comfortable. These used be very expensive but have come down to more reasonable levels in the last few years.