The Tudor Society

Sleeping in Tudor Times

I love finding out more about how Tudor people viewed and did everyday things, things that we do today, so in this week's Claire Chats I'm looking at sleeping in Tudor times. I look at how sleeping was viewed, its links to health and religion, what kind of bedtime routine a Tudor person might have followed, the bed and bedding they used, how they slept, and what they used to help them sleep.

Sources and Further Reading

There are 6 comments Go To Comment

  1. M

    Wow, they really had quite a complicated view of sleep, didn’t they? Thanks for all the research that went into this talk about sleep. This was really interesting. I could sleep on the floor, too, (actually, I’d prefer it!), with a nice rock as a pillow! Thanks again. Michelle t

    1. C - Post Author

      We had to sleep on the floor recently with just a bit of padding and it was bliss, I slept really well.

  2. R

    In everyday life in Carolingian times the author pointed out they didn’t actually go to bed at sunset. They had first sleep and second sleep.

    The early evening chores were completed, the children and servants put to bed, then a quiet time sought for prayers and to prepare for sleep. They slept for four hours, arose between midnight and 2 a.m and prepared for the morning. They then went back to sleep for two to four hours and rose at six for prayers, to get dressed and then do morning chores and then had a good breakfast before the farm chores or market or other life chores with a good meal at midday.

    1. C - Post Author

      I think I’d find the 2-sleep routine difficult as it takes me ages to get to sleep. I’d end up with not much sleep.

  3. R

    Sounds like good advice on digestion for the evening which we know has a good deal of truth to it. You really can’t sleep with a heavy meal on your tummy. Drink doesn’t help and lack of sleep does upset your stomach and the way you function and we all know how grumpy we are with disruptive sleep. Winding down is good. Our tablets cause disruption.

    Lucy Worsley has done a series on the bedroom and sleep the preparation for sleep is important. The many layers on grand beds is amazing and you slept partly upright which actually does help you to breathe better. All good advice. Sounds complicated but it is good and we know that today the cool room is advised as well. Beds were important things to hand down and very personal. I love the picture of Henry Viii’s sumptuous bed, made of oak and of course the bed was huge. No such thing as privacy and beds being shared as you say was normal and blessing beds before the wedding night was good as well. Prayer and meditation is a good way to help you to sleep and to switch off even now. Raised heads should sleep with raised heads even now for digestive problems, so they knew a thing or two even then. I suffer from reflux and so sleep raised and Steve has raised sleep to help as well. Fennel is good for digestive problems and hops really does make you sleepy.

    Many thanks for another wonderful talk.

    1. C - Post Author

      Yes, much of it is very sensible advice and would help many people today.

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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Sleeping in Tudor Times