This old saying had nothing that needs more attention than what it means in its literal sense. Sleeping on rocks was a luxury. It was a symbol of comfort and power for the people at that time. Today, we require more and more comfortable beds. We need soft pillows and springy beds to get comfortable sleep today. People today have a hard time trying to sleep on the floor or on any surface that is not soft. The pillows today are filled with something soft, while in the old days, it was just plain and simple rocks.
We have references from the Greeks and Romans about the existence of soft pillows, but when we explore a little longer, we have people sleeping on wood, metal, and stone pillows. In the Egyptian, Chinese, and Mesopotamians era, pillows were considered a luxury and a sleep aid.
The invention of rock pillows
The rock pillows are not made of memory foam technology that people could sleep on to leave an impression. While we may think the rock pillows were not any help, they were made to provide support to the shoulders, back, and head while sleeping. Necessity is the mother of invention! As most people used to sleep on the floor at those times, they suffered from back pain and neck aches due to no support for the head. Rock pillows were not just comfortable but also had several other benefits.
Sleeping on the floor is like becoming the floor as the insects, bugs, and vermin can have a short trip over your body or face. A rock pillow immediately solves these problems by keeping insects like centipedes out of your nose, ears, and mouth.
Why rocks? You ask. Humans could not implement materials like leaves, hay, and other similar things to make pillows until they could master sanitation. Otherwise, these leafy pillows will become a home for insects or worse.
A technical reason that justifies the use of rock pillows is that rock pillows could be cooler in terms of airflow. It cannot trap any heat and can keep the air circulating under the neck as well. A soft pillow blocks the airflow to the parts that are pressed against it. That is why rock pillows could be much better during the climates.
The Mesopotamian times had carved stones in the shape of the half-crescent shape for pillows. Sleepers used the pillow to stand their neck and back of the head for support. Their skull would still touch the ground.
The Egyptians followed the same Mesopotamian style with a little better design. There were two different ways of sleeping using the headrest. While some preferred sleeping straight with the headrest under their neck, others slept sideways with the headrest just above ears.