I’ve been converted to the world of floor-sleeping, or sleeping close to the floor, or sleeping near the floor, or whatever you want to call it. I've been doing it now for nigh on 3 years. I think it's relaxing and calming, you might think it's an agonising invitation to irreversible and lifelong back pain. But really, your back realigns, it moves and adjusts to the advantages of a flat hard surface. We weren’t made for thick mattresses and elevated sleeping, that’s a luxury we invented sometime in the 19th century.
Oh no we didn’t.
Because apparently we can thank the Neolithic period, where beds were raised above ground so they could avoid nasty little insects, dirt, drafts and anything else that lurked in the dark. The first mattresses were made of leaves apparently, with some animal skins thrown in for good measure. I often feel my bed is pretty close to this first rudimentary sleeping method, some leaves with a fur cover, which is the 21st century equivalent of an animal skin. No, that’s not true, comfort is provided by a futon mattress, a harder much thinner version of a ‘proper’ mattress. But the faux fur cover is definitely a throwback to the animal skins.
Back spasms and a stiff neck
However, no matter how awful you may think my bed is, I’ve never had the kind of backache I used to have in a conventional bed, I used to get terrible stiff necks and painful back spasms, which are now a thing of the past. What’s more, although it hurt at the beginning, my back has gradually adjusted to a thinner, much harder surface. So much so, I can’t imagine sleeping on a conventional bed again, unless I’m in a hotel, or a guest in someone’s home.
What I aspire to now is a Japanese bed, or a Raku Tatami bed. The word Raku apparently means comfort, or simple comfort, and who could ask for more?
Tatami for now
And Tatami is:
noun: tatami; plural noun: tatami; plural noun: tatamis; noun: tatami mat; plural noun: tatami mats
a rush-covered straw mat forming a traditional Japanese floor covering.
Yes, the Tatami, a ‘rush-covered straw mat,’ looks much more comfortable than it sounds. You can have the Tatami mats alone to sleep on, or you can go for full on luxury with a standard Raku platform bed. This means of course that your bed is constantly out, whereas I have become accustomed to being able to put the bed away during the day while I turn my bedroom into an office.
I sleep on a Futon.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I had a woman round the other day who took one look at it and said wistfully, ‘Yes, I remember sleeping on one of those…. when I was sixteen.’ I think it was her way of saying that she wouldn’t dream of sleeping on one now she was an adult. But perhaps I’m regressing, yes, like Benjamin Button, hurtling towards dribbles, rusks and plastic mattresses. Before you know it, I’ll be sleeping in a cot with a button down romper suit, grinning inanely at the ceiling, and sucking on a rattle.
Let’s just talk mattresses – I’ll have three please
But in the meantime, I aspire to more simple yet sophisticated Japanese sleeping arrangements, ones I can afford in the here and now. I’d like to invest in a chunkier Futon mattress to sleep on at night before graduating on to a more expensive Raku. I do like the idea of dispensing with the bed frame part altogether, but that would mean I’d have nothing to sit on during the day when I take a break from work. What I could do is buy a couple more mattresses and stack them, so you have 3 in a row, a bit of a Princess and the Pea situation. And it’s so practical, you save so much on space. You also save on money, it’s much cheaper than buying a mattress and a bed. A conventional bed takes up a lot of room, just think what you could do with all that extra space during the day? Perhaps I should dispense with the Raku platform bed idea altogether.
And on more sweet yet childish note, it’s just so reminiscent of sleeping on friend’s floors, a secrecy and specialness about it, and being nearer the floor is also beneficial for you because of the ‘transference of free electrons from the earth into your body,’ yes really (see the link below).
It’s just so comfortable, good for your back, and I love it. And I think you should too.
Fancy reading a bit more? Take a look at the links below….