On most occasions, this was just to make a temporary, easy chair sort of bed, while having lunch on the job. A few times, I put a sheet over the gravel and then a blanket over top, so it could be used at night. The rocks retained heat for a long time.
I suppose there are certain dangers to sleeping on top of a big commercial building, with no railing, but I'm not a sleepwalker. No need to search for the urinal.☺
If you build a pea gravel bed, may I suggest that it be framed with 2x8 lumber, on a nice ground level, brick patio that faces south.
For the full story on a guest house based on one of these beds, check out this thread. The gravel covers a rocket mass heater.
Dale Hodgins wrote:
On most occasions, this was just to make a temporary, easy chair sort of bed,Yeah buddy!! , I can relate:
While building a stone basement, and two story cordwood house, for two summers, we would go down to a river close by for lunch and there we all built lounge chairs out of river boulders. One might think that they would be a waste of energy after laboring all day, and uncomfortable as we had no padding on these chairs, but you could place the boulders so that you were supported in all the right ways, semi reclined with knees bent over a rock, back and neck fully supported. Being so close to a roaring mountain river that you could climb in to full immersion and then go back to the sun warmed rock chair was an extremely amazing way to have a lunch break. It was hard to go back to work, as cool as the project was.
Elias Antoniou wrote: Latex mattresses do the best job at conforming to the curves of the body and relaxing the spine (which is what we seek after, the surface to conform to our figure and not the opposite) but loose their attributes quite fast if they are full natural (100% natural latex) and are very expensive.
Best job at conforming to the curves of the body after memory foam... But memory foam is most certainly not organic. So yeah...
Also, there is no such thing as 100% natural latex. According to this, that's a misconception. Any ad that says otherwise is misleading. Latex is only mostly natural.
Being wool, and therefore a naturally non-flammable material, most regulations don't require fire suppression to be added to the mattress. The only ingredients are wool, wool, more wool and cotton thread.
Depending on where you live, most mattresses require a prescription to be made chemical free, but wool usually doesn't.
After ten years, the mattress has compressed a bit in the center, as expected. Part of this is my fault as I don't turn the mattress as often as I should.
The bedframe needs to let the mattress breath, so slatted wood or rope frames are most common. The mattress fits on an Ikea bed frame just fine. I have a simple, unfinished pine one.
At the shop where I bought the mattress, they had it displayed on tatami mats. This was incredibly comfortable and if I had the money, I would most definitely use this for a sleeping platform. Some of my most comfortable nights have been on a thin cotton or wool mattress on tatami mats. Or even just a blanket between the mat and myself were enough for a delightful sleep - I like a firm mattress whenever possible.
One of the most important things with a natural bedding mattress is that you fold down your covers each morning so that the mattress can breath. DON'T make your bed first thing. If you MUST make your bed for one reason or another, than do so after breakfast.
Other mattresses I've tried are wool and straw ticks that we use for medieval recreation. This is very different than the Shepherd's dream mattress. These are basically a sack of duck cloth that are stuffed with straw or wool that has been fluffed up. After a couple of nights, the contents need to be repositioned a little, but it's not much more bother than fluffing a pillow - especially if you have the special mattress fluffing stick. With straw, one usually needs to change the filling every year or 6 months. With wool, every year or two.
Thekla McDaniels wrote:Another sleep system that I did not see mentioned on this thread yet is a "kang", a "chinese heated living platform". So folks think of the rocket stove mass heater with a cob bench as the mass. The cob bench made wide and long enough to sleep on is your kang. I remember Ianto Evans said people sometimes make heated personalized cob recliners, and that the situation of receiving heat from the cob seems to soften the material, it does not seem like you are resting on brick. I know people have over heated mass benches and singed the bottoms of their sleeping pads, attention would have to be paid... but why not a cob kang, whether heated with hot water coil or the exhaust gases from the rocket stove?
This is what I'm planning to build into our completely off-grid cabin (RMH heater bed / kang) - here in New England, while even most summer nights are chilly, some are downright thick (hot & humid). All that thermal mass and humidity control from the dry cob will go a long way toward providing a consistently comfortable sleeping environment. After mentioning this to a colleague in New Mexico, he recalled a story about the "cowboy's bed" where the cowboys of old would build a raised stone bed platform over a fire pit to throw their sleeping rolls on for the night, providing a comfortable night's sleep while out on the range. This would also help to keep scorpions at bay which was, of course, a major concern to anyone sleeping on the ground in the southwest US. From what I understand, the cowboys themselves borrowed this idea from shepards in old europe
Scary about the singed sleeping pads though - never thought about that. I guess thicker is better when constructing one of these, just to help buffer that heat a little and keep things safe.
Rachel Watersong wrote:The only downside we've found is that as a pair of snuggly newlyweds, it's a bit harder to spoon on the bed because one of us is usually on a buckwheat-lump. But... I think it's worth it.
Just a quick update-- we realized the lump was actually because of the bed frame-- the buckwheat pods were falling in between the slats everywhere but along a ridge in the middle. Moved the mattress to the floor and it's now even better, snuggle-ability has increased 100%!
Rory Rivers wrote:I realize it's not for everyone, but sleeping on the floor can be surprisingly comfortable. You just need something to insulate you from the ground and provide a little cushin (I use two wool blankets each folded in half). The first week or so it feels like, well, sleeping on the floor; but after that it just feels like sleeping in your bed i.e. the most comfortable place to sleep.
I have just started to sleep on the wooden floor, and it was bad only for a few nights.
I use it for reeducating my spine.
So, pains and aches....
Now I can sleep a fullnight, after 1 week may be...
I still feel as if some of my vertebras were welded in the middle of my back, and my cervicals are not great.
I use a blanket, folded to be narrow, so that my shoulders can expand on the side, that was the most relieving part!
I got the idea from a feldenkreis exercise. It was made on a rolled blanket, just below the spine, and of course that is too much for a night balance.
I still do this when I want to relax my back,
At night, I still put something under my knees (psoas muscle is too tight).
I still have something under my head, not much.
I change both gradually, so that I reeducate my spine curve.
The result is already visible in the mirror from the side: I am straighter.
And writing on the computer is hard, I always forget the posture!
For hot nights like Florida I discovered a air mattress on a cool concrete floor is very effective natural cooling. A thin topper covering it makes it feel more natural. The reverse applies: I froze on a air mattress on a cold concrete floor in a cold climate lol.
I adore waterbeds. But my temporary house, a Chevy van, might balk about a waterbed. Hey, what about a thin layer of water? Hmmm, anyone heard of such a thing? Overheating in Florida was a big discomfort so I thought about a water cooled bed?
I sleep on a blanket on the floor. I really love the freedom that gives me. I don't have to be caged to a soft bed. I can sleep anywhere. I transitioned slowly to floor sleeping. Taking short naps a couple times per week. Then longer naps every other day. Then a half night a couple times a week, etc, to slowly build up my ability to sleep on the floor/ground without injuring myself by starting out doing it for a whole night.
I sleep on a blanket on the ground. That's usually best if there is a water impervious groundcloth to keep ground moisture from evaporating and chilling me.
Or I just plain old lay down on the ground.
Skandi Rogers wrote:I've heard of wool stuffed mattresses, they should last a lifetime, but they do need re-stuffing every 4-5 years, and apparently that is a very specialist task. I don't understand how people manage to sleep on the floor, my back doesn't mind, but my hips hurt like fury and I wake up every hour or so with numb legs from the pressure on the hips.
Do you sleep on your side?
I have elaborated a system of matresses, blankets, pillows etc, to get the right support for my body. The best are rolled blankets and balls of clothes, sheets, small blankets etc, to fit the form you want! I have found out that sleeping can reeducate the body and also take care of the jaw, the famous important TMJ. Also it is an absolute that we much come to a nose breathe might and keep saliva in the mouth for teeth regeneration.
When on your back, you might need something under your knees.
If on your belly, you need to be able to not twist your neck on the side. I have a system with a sheet and blanket, to support my forehead and let go my lower-jaw: very confortable and very useful when the moon shines! In that case I need support under the tibias, so that my ankles and feet do not get stretched exagerately.
On side, I need to care about the posture of the jaw, and Ii need big support of my head, to let shoulders free and have a good breathing. I also need waist support to not block the hip.
Coming from Feldenkrais (awake, not for sleeping or not at first): try a rolled blanket under the spine and practise to balance your right and left side on it, and feel your body with your inner sensations. It opened my shoulders too, and could notice how much I needed to open my breathing there!
One idea we've thought about (jokingly) is hay... He also has a big problem sitting, he has this big plastic inflatable ball that used to work quite ok, but now he says that it's not working. I still don't get it: some couches are too hard, and others are too soft. But he really is suffering, and I would like to help him find something that could ease the pain. Any suggestions?
I've noticed that our bodies change to trap themselves into the equipment that we use... They mold themselves to fit our chairs, our beds, our habitual posture, our clothing. Mixing things up can help alleviate aches and pains. For example, alternately sleeping in different beds can help mobilize muscles and joints that were frozen into a certain position by always sitting/sleeping in the same way. Walking backwards, or sideways, or skipping, or hopping, or twirling, etc can use different muscles and joints in different ways, so that they don't get trapped into the same position. We can squat, or sit cross legged, or sideways, or use alternating chairs, etc... Again with the idea of keeping joints and muscles flexible and using more of their full range of motion.
i can tell about the way I do it, I have two mattresses side by side on a wooden floor, and really, I just discover on which I am in the morning! Which includes very often to be suspended between the two, as in a hammock... or i can be on the side and my shoulder in the hole, so my chest has space to breathe.
It is also good to have many cushions or blankets to suport the body where needed, as the body choses at night when sleeping.
Then all is about the cause. The need to alternates make me think about muscles contractures, and the incapacity to have something established. When you change you are less stiff!
Interesting Xisca, about your sleeping solution! He started having serious problems already in his early 20's. He blames his back problems on bad mattresses that ruined his back, and this for me is not the only answer. He thinks that all his backpain will disappear if he finds the perfect mattress, which of course will not happen, as the major problem is within him. Hopefully he'll be able some time to look at it in a different way.
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