The role of sleep has played a pivotal role in fairy tales. Sleep has enjoyed an important part in our civilization, and its influence has trickled down to children’s books that we often read as bedtime stories. You may be familiar with characters in fairy tales that sleep for days, months, decades and even centuries only for a divine intervention to break off their blissful slumber.
A curse befalls upon a newborn princess by a fairy that puts her into a deep hibernation at age 17 when she pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. A century passes until a handsome prince rescues the princess with a kiss that lifts her curse for them to live happily ever after!
Jealous of her beauty, Snow White’s stepmother dresses up as an old lady and gives her a poisoned apple, inducing a deathlike slumber. The dwarves try to wake her up to no avail and put her in a glass casket. When all hope seems to be lost, a handsome prince enamoured by her beauty awakens her from a fateful destiny to spend the remainder of their days together.
Who says sleep can’t reduce the sources of stress in life? Just ask Rip Van Winkle, who was tired of his wife’s incessant nagging wanders off into the woods and falls asleep for 20 years. When the happy-go-lucky Rip finally wakes up, the world has changed and his unpleasant wife has passed away only for him to spend the remainder of his life in peace with his daughter.
A prince’s pursuit to find a ‘real’ princess leads his mother (the queen) to place a small pea under 20 mattresses and 20 feather-downs of a promising princess. The next morning, when the queen asks how the princess slept, she replies that she barely slept a wink because of bruises from the small pea. Her delicacy proved to the queen and the prince that she was in fact a ‘real’ princess.
An innocent tale of a little girl, Goldilocks goes for a walk in the forest and stumbles upon a house. Despite nobody answering her knocks, Goldilocks enters the house because she’s hungry and eats some porridge. Too tired after her little adventure, little Goldilocks falls asleep only to wake up to find three angry bears looking at her. Terrified, Goldilocks runs like the wind never to return to the house of the three bears again!
Fairy tales and sleep have an old and mystic connection that has played a pivotal role in the overall plot of many stories. It has been used as a catalyst to allow miraculous turn of events to take place that change the course of the story. The underlying message is that sleep has powers that we all need and can benefit from, especially on a foam mattress. Whether it’s finding true love, getting out of difficult situations or enjoying life without unwanted partners, sleep is always the answer.