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Is sleeping on the floor common in Japan?


Sleeping on the floor has been a common practice in Japan for centuries. It is known as “futon” and has become a significant aspect of Japanese culture. The traditional way of sleeping in Japan does not involve the use of a bed, and this has led to many people asking if sleeping on the floor is common in Japan. In this article, we will explore the culture behind sleeping on the floor in Japan, why it is still prevalent, and the benefits associated with it.

The History of Sleeping on the Floor in Japan

Sleeping on the floor has been a part of Japanese culture since ancient times. It is believed that it started during the Heian period (794-1185) when people used to sleep on tatami mats spread directly on the floor. Beds were introduced during the Meiji period (1868-1912), but they were considered a luxury and were only accessible to the wealthy. Sleeping on the floor continued to be popular among the general population, and it remains so to this day.

Japanese Snack Box

Why Do Japanese People Sleep on the Floor?

There are several reasons why Japanese people prefer sleeping on the floor. Firstly, it saves space. Many houses in Japan are small, and therefore, a bed takes up too much space. Secondly, it is more comfortable. Sleeping on a futon is said to provide better support for your back than sleeping on a soft mattress. Thirdly, it is more hygienic. Sleeping directly on tatami mats allows for better ventilation and prevents dust mites from accumulating in bedding.

The Evolution of Futon

The traditional futon has evolved over time to meet modern needs. Today, futons come with thicker mattresses that provide more cushioning and support. Some futons also come with removable covers that can be washed easily, making them more hygienic. Futons are also available in different sizes, making them suitable for both single and family use.

How to Sleep on a Futon

Sleeping on a futon requires a different approach compared to sleeping on a bed. Firstly, you need to make sure that the room is well-ventilated to prevent the buildup of moisture. Secondly, you need to spread the futon out on the tatami mat evenly. Thirdly, you need to make sure that your pillow is at the right height to support your neck and head.

The Benefits of Sleeping on the Floor

Sleeping on the floor has several benefits for your health. Firstly, it helps improve posture by keeping your spine in a neutral position. Secondly, it reduces pressure points by distributing your weight evenly across the futon. Thirdly, it improves circulation by allowing blood to flow freely throughout your body.

The Drawbacks of Sleeping on the Floor

While sleeping on the floor has its benefits, there are also some drawbacks. Firstly, it can be uncomfortable for those who are not used to it. Secondly, it can be challenging for people with mobility issues to get up from the floor. Thirdly, it can be difficult to keep the futon clean and free from dust and dirt.

Why Sleeping on the Floor is Still Popular Today

Despite the availability of comfortable beds, many Japanese people still prefer sleeping on the floor. One reason for this is that it is a cultural tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. Additionally, sleeping on the floor is seen as a way of embracing simplicity and minimalism in a world that is becoming increasingly complex.


In conclusion, sleeping on the floor is common in Japan and has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries. It offers several benefits, including better posture, improved circulation, and a hygienic sleeping environment. While it may not be suitable for everyone, it is a tradition that continues to be embraced by many Japanese people today.

Additional Resources

For more information on sleeping on the floor in Japan, check out these resources:
– “The Art of Sleep: A Guide to Sleeping on the Floor in Japan” by Sadamu Yamaguchi
– “Sleeping on the Floor: Tips and Tricks” by Sarah Johnson
– “Why Sleeping on the Floor is Good for Your Health” by Dr. John Kim

Why do Japanese like to sleep on the floor?

Advocates of the Japanese sleep system argue that sleeping on the floor has numerous benefits, including improved circulation, decreased back and muscle pain, and cooler temperatures due to the settling of cool air. These benefits have positive impacts on both physical and overall well-being.

What is a Japanese floor bed called?

In contrast to American futon sofa beds, Japanese futons are padded sleeping mats filled with cotton or fiber and can be placed directly on the floor or on top of a foam, tatami, or wood mat.

What is the sleep culture in Japan?

Inemuri is a unique Japanese custom where individuals sleep while at work, whether it be during a meeting, on their commute home, or even after a night of partying. While outsiders may view it as a sign of laziness or poor work ethic, it is actually a fascinating phenomenon exclusive to Japan.

Do Japanese people sit on the floor?

In Japan, it is common to sit upright on the floor in many different settings, such as during meals on a tatami floor with a low table or during traditional events like the tea ceremony. It is a customary practice in Japanese culture.

Is it healthy to sit on floor like Japanese?

By getting up and down from the floor repeatedly throughout the day, people can exercise their legs, back, and core in a natural manner. Moreover, sitting on the floor can help improve posture and enhance overall strength, flexibility, and mobility. Research shows that there is a link between the ability to sit and rise from the floor without assistance and a longer life span.

Why do Japanese sleep so low?

There are various theories as to why people in Japan suffer from a lack of sleep, including the extended work hours and travel time. Additionally, the country’s traditional work culture emphasizes mandatory social gatherings that often involve drinking, which may also play a role in causing sleeplessness.

Another reason why sleeping on the floor is still popular in Japan is that it is more affordable than buying a bed. In Japan, beds can be quite expensive, especially for those who are just starting out in life. The cost of living in Japan is also high, and many people prefer to save money wherever possible.

Sleeping on the floor is also a way of connecting with nature. Tatami mats are made from natural materials such as rice straw and rush grass. By sleeping on the floor, Japanese people feel closer to nature and its calming influence.

The practice of sleeping on the floor has also influenced Japanese interior design. Many Japanese homes have minimalistic interiors with simple furniture and clean lines. This design philosophy emphasizes the use of natural materials such as wood, paper, and bamboo. This minimalist approach is believed to create a sense of calm and tranquility in the home.

In recent years, the trend of sleeping on the floor has spread beyond Japan to other parts of the world. Advocates of this practice claim that it can help alleviate back pain, improve posture, and promote better sleep quality. However, it is important to note that not everyone may find sleeping on the floor comfortable or beneficial.

In conclusion, sleeping on the floor is an integral part of Japanese culture that has been passed down for generations. While it may not be suitable for everyone, it offers several benefits for those who embrace this tradition. Whether you choose to sleep on a futon or a traditional tatami mat, there is no denying the simplicity and elegance of this practice.

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