Spanish Chinese (Simplified)

While they are relatively uncommon in the West, traditional Japanese floor beds are still an important part of Japanese culture. This article explains the ways in which Japanese futons are better than their Western counterparts. These light and portable beds are much more convenient than Western-style beds, and they put the body in a more natural position at night. According to Swedish researchers, their lack of metal parts may also reduce the risk of cancer.

Most Westerners think of futons as mattresses on frames that convert into couches. Futon is actually a loan word from Japan. Japanese futons, called “shiki futons” or “shikibutons,” are thin mattresses that are typically filled with cotton. Many people in Japan still sleep on these traditional mattresses, and people in other countries are beginning to catch on. Some may prefer the squishy embrace of memory foam or a pillow top mattress, but shikibutons continue to convert more and more people to the Japanese way of sleeping.

In many ways, Japanese futons are much more convenient than Western-style mattresses. Instead of being placed on a frame, Japanese shiki futons go on the floor. This means that shikibutons can be put on the floor at night for sleeping and rolled up and stored during the day. Using a storable bed turns the bedroom into a multipurpose room with plenty of space whenever you are not seeping. Rolled-up futons can also be used as seats, and they double as yoga mats when unrolled. The portability of shikibutons makes them even more functional. Transporting a thick mattress, bed frame, and box spring is one of the worst parts of moving. With a shikibuton, you can simply roll up your bed and throw it in the trunk of a car.

Shikibutons may be thin and portable, but that does not mean they are less comfortable than thicker mattresses. In fact, many people find Japanese futons to be much better for sleeping. Thickly padded mattresses can encourage a poor sleeping posture as they allow the hips to sink into the bed. The sinking hips cause the lower back to collapse, throwing the entire spine out of alignment. The cotton
stuffing of the shikibuton gives enough padding to prevent discomfort without depriving the body of the support it needs at night. Improving the body’s posture and alignment allows more air to enter the lungs as you deep, and it also enhances the circulation of blood. A firm and supportive Japanese bed can therefore lead to a more restful sleep, better health, and relief from back pain.

According to recent evidence, Japanese-style beds may even lower the risk of cancer. Scientists have been baffled for years by Japanese cancer rates. Many types of cancer are far less prevalent in Japan than they are in the West. For example, the Japanese prostate cancer rate sits at ten percent of the rate in the United States. The Japanese breast cancer rate is a mere three percent of the Swedish rate. When researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden studied the disparity, they concluded that the problem may lie in Western sleeping habits.

These researchers postulate that the metal in Western-style mattresses and box springs amplifies TV and radio waves much in the same way as an antenna. This amplification would also explain the left-side dominance of melanoma and breast cancer. In the West, these types of cancer are more likely to develop on the left side than on the right, an anomaly which is not found in Asian countries. Previous research shows that both men and women prefer to sleep on their right sides, which would expose the left side of the body to the highest field strength of the amplified radio and TV waves. Japanese futons do not contain metal, ensuring that they will not increase the intensity of electromagnetic radiation from broadcasting towers.

The convenience, comfort, and therapeutic effects of shikibutons make them a perfect addition to almost any lifestyle. The extra weight of a thick mattress and box spring is unnecessary, especially when it interferes with the natural sleeping position of the body. A mattress that is just a few inches thick may take some getting used to, but a quality shikibuton will soon have you wondering why you ever dealt with a cumbersome bed and frame to begin with.

Related Posts