[Ansteorra] Sleeping sitting up vs lying down

Chris Zakes dontivar at gmail.com
Wed Jul 18 05:10:03 PDT 2007

At 01:55 PM 7/17/2007, you wrote:
>Greetings all,
>  I was watching a documentary the other day and something that was mentioned
>as a passing comment has bothered me so I thought I'd put it out to everyone
>here to see if you have heard of it.
>The documentary was about underground structures and tunnels (Cities of the
>Underworld) and they were in a barracks that was built underground in a fort
>near Philadelphia (I think). The underground bunker was built
>pre-Revolutionary War and was equipped with bunk beds. The host commented
>that the beds were so short because people were shorter back then. The guide
>corrected him and said that it was because people used to sleep sitting up
>because it was "healthier". Sleeping laying down didn't become the standard
>until around the late 1800s and early 1900s. That was why the beds were so
>short, not because people were shorter.
>I've never heard that before...has anyone else? I've heard that some people
>slept propped up on pillows but I don't think that is any different than

The "bad nutrition = shorter people" concept that several folks have 
mentioned makes the most sense to me. *I've* never heard the "people 
used to sleep sitting up" claim before. I've not researched this, but 
I seem to recall seeing a number of medieval pictures of people in 
bed *not* sitting up.

Just out of curiosity, how much space was there between the bunks on 
these beds? Would it have been feasible for people to actually sleep 
sitting up, or would they constantly be bumping their heads?

One other bit of data: When we were touring the Mormon Tabernacle in 
Salt Lake City (built between 1863 and 1875) we were told that the 
pews were so close together because the people who built them were 
smaller than people of today.

         -Tivar Moondragon

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