Most Americans have been conditioned to believe that they must sleep on a thick mattress to get a good night’s sleep. This belief is as much a part of the culture as believing a chair is where one should sit. But this is not true in other areas of the world. For example, tatami beds are widely accepted throughout Asia as an ideal sleep surface. When one considers the mainstream paradigm of traditional mattresses being the best solution, or that a 2 to 3 foot deep system of mattresses and box springs would be needed to get the “firm bed” effect,” it does seem a bit silly. As more people seek out a firm bed for comfort, tatami beds are an ideal choice.
The whole concept of soft and comfortable mattresses being the ideal place to rest our tired bones might just be a myth perpetuated by the mattress industry. In reality, most sleep experts find that rejuvenating sleep comes from surfaces with less “fluff.” The Japanese seem to have perfected this concept through their popular tatami beds. The preferred sleeping surface in Japan still seems to be a futon mattress spread out on the floor, or a Japanese futon set.
Futons are usually stuffed with cotton batting and wrapped in a durable cotton twill fabric. Tatami beds are similar to this, but they use a tatami mat and low-profile bed frame beneath the futon. The tatami mat provides ventilation beneath the futon, keeps the futon from becoming damp with perspiration, and helps to regulate the body temperature. It also keeps the futon off of the floor, which might be drafty for sleeping. Tatami mats can be placed on top of a slatted surface that is raised a few inches off of the floor, or a platform bed might also serve as the tatami mat if it has a slatted surface.
People with back problems often find that traditional mattress systems don’t work and they seek out Japanese tatami beds as an alternative. Ideally, a sleep surface should provide a “spine-neutral” position in which all three curves of the spine (cervical, thoracic and lumbar) are present and in alignment. Tatami beds are an excellent solution for people who suffer from scoliosis, arthritis, rheumatism and some circulatory conditions.
For the best selection of authentic Japanese tatami beds, tatami mats, futons and platform beds, shop at Chopa.com.