What is a Sleeping Porch?
A sleeping porch is an enclosed deck or balcony that is well-ventilated, often with windows or screens on two or three sides, and has one or more beds or similar furniture for sleeping during warm weather. Screened-in sleeping porches allow people to enjoy the feeling of sleeping outside in the cool night air without being bothered by bugs or having to worry about rain. A sleeping porch can be on any level and any side of a home. These porches are often furnished to resemble a cottage or cabin. They can be used during the daytime as places to rest, relax, read or otherwise enjoy one's self.
Sleeping porches were especially popular during the early 20th century, before the advent of air conditioning for homes. Many people at that time, including many healthcare professionals, believed that sleeping in fresh air could help ease respiratory problems such as tuberculosis. In cities, many houses were built with one or more small sleeping porches on the second level. These porches usually were not enclosed and featured only short railings or even no railings. In rural areas, homes such as farmhouses often featured large, enclosed sleeping porches on the ground floor where the entire family might sleep during warmer weather.
On modern houses, sleeping porches are most often enclosed by screens or windows, especially in areas where mosquitoes and other bugs are present. They also are usually large and might have room for several beds and other furniture. The modern sleeping porch usually is designed with comfort in mind and might feature many soft pillows on the beds and other furniture.
For many people, one of the attractions of a sleeping porch is the sounds of the night. They might enjoy hearing the rain falling onto the porch roof, the crickets chirping, the coyotes howling or other sounds of nature. For other people, especially those in more populated areas, the sounds of the outdoors might keep them from getting a good night's sleep, so they often use earplugs to be able to enjoy the cool night air without being bothered by noises.
My vacation cabin has central air conditioning, but I'm seriously considering adding a sleep porch just for nostalgic purposes. I grew up sleeping on an enclosed porch at my parent's farmhouse, and I miss that feeling of a good night breeze blowing over me while I'll slept. I think I'm going to hire a contractor to build a new deck porch, then get him to enclose it with a mesh screen and a retractable canvas roof.
My grandmother's house had a sleeping porch, and of course we kids loved it. She had a few electric fans in her house for air circulation, but no air conditioning. We'd all sleep outside on the sleeping porch, which had screens to keep the insects out. For us, it was like summer camp. I tried sleeping indoors a few times, but the heat was just too unbearable.
Post your comments