I’ve always had curious people emailing me and asking me why I sleep on a Japanese futon on the floor.
You can buy an all-cotton futon made here in the U.S.! The quality is a world away from what you can find elsewhere. Don’t cheap out.
For those folks, it’s very unconventional and strange because it makes them think of those cheap student futons they had to endure during college, or it is a sign of you not being able to afford a “real” bed, and therefore you are poor.
Well I am neither poor, a college student (those years have passed!) nor cheap (as evidenced by my monthly spending), and I daresay no one can really call me “frugal” except in certain categories such as the lack of furniture I own (should I be called out for not spending in acceptable categories?).
I have been sleeping on a Japanese futon for about 6 years now (AFTER my college days, I would like to add), and I have never looked back. It was definitely different for the first week or so, but once my body got used to it, I didn’t want to go back to sleeping on a regular bed.
IT IS NOT THE “FUTON” YOU ARE IMAGINING FROM COLLEGE STEREOTYPES
The one thing I want to point out before you read on is that those nasty college futons are lumpy and horrible. Yes they convert into a bed from being a sofa or whatever Transfomer-like properties it has, but it is uncomfortable.
I am talking about a well-made, true Japanese futon that adult people use. Speaking of the Japanese…
THE JAPANESE HAVE BEEN SLEEPING ON FUTONS FOR YEARS
Of course, modern Japanese now have Western-style beds, but why fix it if it ain’t broke?
WHY SLEEPING ON A MINIMALIST FUTON IS THE BEST
1. I never have to worry about anyone falling off it
I do not know if you live with the fear of falling off your bed, but I never worry about rolling off my bed.
Furthermore, we bought a Japanese futon for our baby (and will buy ones for our future babies) and as a result, I don’t even need to buy those silly chair rails that parents put on their beds to stop their children from rolling off.
P.S.You can buy an all-cotton futon made here in the U.S.! Don’t cheap out on something you will be sleeping on more than 8 hours a night.
Tell me, is this bed rail that parents buy for their children not ridiculous and a waste of money?
2. It is easy to roll up a futon and move with it
A little cotton string, some muscle power to roll it as tight as possible, wrap it in a futon carrying cover or even with 2 garbage bags, and you are good to go.
It takes up almost no space in the moving truck, and you can even throw it in the back of your car across the backseat, no worrying about breaking the bed.. it’s just essentially a super thick piece of cotton.
In contrast, a “normal” bed consists of any or all of the following:
- A bed frame and possibly a headboard as well
- A boxspring (with springs that poke into your back over the years as it ages)
- A mattress cover or some sort of padding
All of this is not light. If you like sleeping on larger beds like Queen-sized or King-sized ones, this means you have to lift those heavy suckers out, get them down the stairs, out the door, onto the truck, not to mention spending time dismantling that bed frame and headboard.
I can guarantee you that it will all certainly not fit in the back of your car, and if you aren’t careful you might even chip the headboard or bed frame by dropping it because it’s so damn heavy.
3. It is easy to pull out a futon on the floor for a guest
The Japanese do this — you can convert any room with a clear space into a quick guest bedroom. You don’t need a proper bed or even a bulky sofa bed, just pull out your guest futon from the closet, unroll it, slap on some fitted sheet covers and linens and you are good to go.
All of our guests who have slept on the futon have found it quite comfortable, and even if they haven’t found it comfortable, it is all the more incentive for them to not to stay any longer than 1-2 weeks as a guest.
4. Futons let you use a room for more than one purpose
In all seriousness, the Japanese tended to have very open, empty spaces in their homes. They would use each room for different purposes based on what they required, because they did not have a lot of space to begin with unlike Westerners.
An empty room can be converted into anything you wish — a play room, study area, yoga center, and so on, and at night, you can pull out that futon you rolled up this morning, lay it out (with the sheets still on it and everything), and use that empty room as a bedroom during the night.
You don’t need to make the bed, or close the door to hide the bed from guests coming over, nor do you have to worry about dust getting on the bed (you just roll it and put it in the closet).
Multi-functional, multi-purpose, no wasted space. What could be more minimalist?
Of course, being the lazy Western folk that we are, we have a bedroom so we just leave the futon unrolled and use it as our sofa as well as our bed (we watch videos while lying down on the futon), but that is mostly because we have the extra space to do so.
If we had to live in a studio or a one-room sort of deal like the Japanese, we’d certainly be rolling up that bed each morning to make space, and unrolling it at night.
5. It’s a natural, 100% cotton bed that could be sterilized in some way
It is all natural, 100% cotton.
You can put it over a railing and beat out the dust each Spring like those industrious Japanese folk do but we are too lazy for this.
We do it once in a while.
What’s nice is that we can actually lift the futon out, put it over a railing, let the sun beat down on it to sterilize the bed and bring it back in.
You can’t do that with a conventional, heavy, bulky mattress!!!
6. It is better for our backs
Ah, no we come to the main reason why we even found a Japanse futon being comfortable to sleep on in the first place.
It is better for our backs, period.
I know people think that very soft comfortable beds are better for bad backs, but from our research over the years, it has shown that a firm (but not hard) bed is better for your back. It keeps your spine aligned, and you do not wake up with back pain on a futon.
We literally have no back pain any longer, and I used to suffer from a pinched nerve once in a while, sleeping on a mattress that would sag in the middle.
What about getting up in the morning!? What about when you were pregnant!!?
My sister in law was commenting about how nearing the end of my pregnancy I would not be able to sleep on the floor and get up easily, but I found very minimal problems in doing so.
I just rolled over on one side, used a hand to prop up my torso and bump, and then moved into a sitting position and stood up.
Then again my bump was not enormous and I did not put on more than 25 pounds in total, so that has to be taken into account as well.
7. You can layer the futons if you want something more comfortable
We do not do this but you can layer the futons on top of each other if you want something more squishy and comfortable. The Japanese do this, and I am fairly sure it turns into a Princess and the Pea kind of situation with them.
I think they layer up to 3 cotton futons on top of each other, and by all accounts it sounds very comfortable for those who are accustomed to conventional beds.
You could layer 2 of these and have a very comfortable bed, trust me.
8. It’s cheap
A single Japanese futon is about $300.
A conventional bed costs about $1200 on average, and that may or may not come with a boxspring. It kind of depends what you want to buy, to be honest.
My parents paid $1200 for their bed and it came with a cheap looking gold bed frame, a mattress and a boxspring.
9. No one can bounce on a futon and hurt themselves
“3 little monkeys jumping on a bed.. one fell off and bumped his head…”
Again back to the childcare aspect of this, but when I was a child I loved bouncing on my bed. This was very dangerous but I did not have enough developed brain cells to comprehend how dangerous it was.
I have heard of horror stories from parents about their kids jumping on the bed, actually managing to smash their head on the ceiling or just tumble off and break an arm.
It’s kind of a minor “WTF-are-you-spewing-on-about” point from me, but a valid one nonetheless.
No one can bounce on a futon and it removes that danger. Period.
10. People (especially children) love being on the floor
Not just adults.
For some reason, sitting on the floor appeals to children. I suspect it is because everyone no matter how tall is at their same height, they can see your face to interact with you instead of your unresponsive navel or legs.
Maybe it’s because they’re used to beds, and having something on the floor that is soft and comfortable to crawl on makes them excited about the novelty of being able to be ON THE FLOOR, but every kid I have come across has wanted to come and sleep or play on the floor on top of the futon with us when they have visited.
They think it’s great fun and there’s no worry about them falling off it while they’re playing either.
And that my friends is why a Japanese-style all cotton 100% well-made futon rocks.
RELATED MINIMALIST SLEEPING POSTS:
- How to take care of your futon
- How minimalist sleeping on a Japanese futon works
- Frequently asked & answered questions about futons
- Family sleeping on a massive futon with a toddler