Most of us spend up to a third of our lives in bed. And some of us invest a considerable amount of cash in the supposed “quality” of that bed. So I wondered if anybody has any evidence about the type of mattress you sleep on versus the health you enjoy (or don’t enjoy)? The mattress industry is huge, and profit margins are huge as well, so is the industry protecting itself from having an informed consumer?
The typical mattress shopping guide will tell you to do the following:
- Lay on as many different mattress combinations as you can.
- Lay on them for several minutes each (15-30 min).
- Lay on them on you back, on your stomach, and on either side. Maybe 5 minutes in each position.
- Don’t let price influence your decision, as price has very little to do with quality or comfort.
- Negotiate with the salespeople, and don’t pay any more than 50% of the list price. There’s always a sale on mattresses, so if they won’t dicker – leave.
- Find out about the warranty and guarantee – you might need them later, and that may be the only difference from one brand to another.
So much for mattress shopping 101. You likely already knew all this.
But what if everything we’ve been told about health and comfort while asleep is wrong?
I started to think about the way we’ve slept for a few hundred thousand years – it’s only in the last few centuries where we’ve had anything close to our modern mattresses. How do animals sleep? How did people sleep? How do some cultures still sleep?
It seems to me that we can sleep almost anywhere – and it’s only recently where we’ve had this need to buy a North American style bed. Many Europeans, most Japanese, and a lot of Africa sleep on something quite different. Something much more minimal. Something hard (sometimes the ground).
This thinking led me to investigate a more minimalist form of bedding. A Japanese form. From all reports (again, biased by the people that sell these things), it’s very comfortable once you spend a few days getting used to it. It’s also significantly less money than the equivalent “traditional” bed.
There’s less money tied up in this style of bed, so there’s less advertising about its “benefits”, if any. I suspect there might be – but nobody takes the research seriously enough to investigate.
My question to you:
- Does anyone have a traditional Japanese Sleeping Mat and Futon?
- What do they think of it?
Please leave a comment….