We all know that when it comes to black cats, broken mirrors or ladders it is best to avoid them (especially on Friday the 13th) lest we disturb the evil spirits and bring at least 7 years bad luck to our lives. There are countless old wives tales, superstitions and folk stories, handed down over hundreds of years from countries all around the world. Many of these ancient beliefs are not based on reason or knowledge but stem from our need to explain the inexplicable.
As we spend up to a third of our lives in bed, it is unsurprising the number of weird and wonderful superstitions that relate to beds and sleeping. If you thought that a dark room with a comfy bed was all you needed for a great nights' sleep, think again! Some of your Grandmother's tales may have their origins in science but many of her beliefs suggest witchcraft and magic: that good sleep and even a long healthy life may be more good luck than good management.
Keep your hat off the bed in Italy to ensure evil spirits, which live in your hair, are unable to move via your hat and in to your bed to disturb your sleep. If you are travelling in Spain, November 1 is the day the souls of the dead wander. Ensure your windows are firmly closed before bed to prevent their entry. For longevity in Japan, clip your nails in the morning as premature death is likely if you leave it until bedtime.
Never place your bed under a beam or where moonlight may shine across you as you slumber; is it terribly bad luck. Haunted dreams are a result of eating cheese before bed or from blood rushing to your head, a direct result of placing your bed on the western side of your room. For sweeter dreams folklore suggests going to bed with a steel thimble on your finger, popping a slice of wedding cake under your pillow and of course getting out of bed on the right side.
Whether you believe old wives tales or not, a warm glass of milk before hopping into bed to count sheep will not harm you. It is also far easier than doing summersaults to reset your body clock, the adult version of flipping your baby forwards, head over heels, and a sure fire way to ensure they will sleep at night.