This is yet another example of the interesting things I am forced to learn for work:
The history of the word mattress is a small lesson in the way amenities have come to Europe from the Middle East. During the earlier part of the Middle Ages, Arabic culture was more advanced than that of Europe. One of the amenities of life enjoyed by the Arabs was sleeping on cushions thrown on the floor. Derived from the Arabic word taraha, “to throw,” the word matrah meant “place where something is thrown” and “mat, cushion.” This kind of sleeping surface was adopted by the Europeans during the Crusades, and the Arabic word was taken into Old Italian (materasso) and then into Old French (materas), from which comes the Middle English word materas, first recorded in a work written around 1300. The Arabic word also became Medieval Latin matracium, another source of our word.