It’s in the news and on TV’s and we’re reading it in blogs: “sleeping on a Futons restores health”. For anyone of us in U.S. a Japanese futon would portray a thick/thin mattress on a wooden frame or rather a Futon sofa that can turn into a bed. Well, Futon is a Japanese word that means a blanket or a mattress. And for a surprise, Wikipedia is explaining Futon as an English word derived from Japanese word!
Nevertheless, Futon for a Japanese person is one of the secrets to a healthy life. According to Japanese traditions a Futon should be laid on the floor and used for sleeping. It has few parts to complete the futon set that Japanese use, as follows:
Shikibuton- A set of two futon laid on the ground. Shiki is driven from the word hiku which means “lay”; it is attached to futon and becomes “shikibuton”, pronounced with a b. It can be one single thick futon or a combination of a thin mattress lay on top of a foam mattress. Traditionally, futon had one standard size and were made of 100% cotton but now, you can get custom made futons and you have a variety of fillings available.
Kakebuton- The word kakeru is a verb which means “lay on top”. Kakebuton is the blanket that Japanese use for covering up. You can get Kakebutons according to your choice as well with different thicknesses and materials. The material for kakebuton covers is chosen according to the temperature and season.
Makura- Makura is the pillow. Traditional Japanese makura are small in size and stuffed with beans or buckwheat. If you are in process of trying out futon for Japanese way of sleeping, then avoid using the traditional Makura-it is too hard for American style of living.
The traditional Japanese futon is worth the try. It has many health benefits which are visible from the health, fresh, and slim Japanese. It might not be for everyone, especially those that are used to the American way of living with luxurious spring and foam mattresses. Here’s more to impress you-the advantages of Futons:
Multi-Purpose Space– Traditionally the Japanese Futon is only laid out at night and in the morning it is tucked away in the closet. You can even utilize the same space for setting up a Futon sofa.
Futon is Safe- Futon is generally laid on wooden slate which allows circulation of the air. In this way, you don’t sweat and in case if you are allergic and asthmatic- you stay dust free.
Futon is Comfortable– It’s a myth that futons are not comfortable and do not enable you to sleep well. The truth is that you sleep better and stay free from back-ache. The cushion it has is usually enough for a good night’s sleep.
Futon is Light Weight– Futon and even kakebuton can be changed according to the seasonal and temperature requirements. They are very light weight and can be easily packed. Even during the winters Kakebuton gives a little hug than heaviness.
However, there are some disadvantages as well:
Extra Care- Futons need extra care. They need to be beaten and hanged out in the sun to remove dust and molds.
Hassle of Tucking Futon Away- As per Japanese tradition, futons have to be tucked away during the day. This can seem as an advantage for Japanese but it does not match the American lifestyle.
Extra Space in Closet– Futon is not that small and therefore requires a section of the closet to maintain the entire futon set inside.
Too Low for Those who have Joint Issues– Since futon has to be kept quite low, so anyone who has trouble in getting up or down from the floor should avoid futon.
As stated before, a futon may not be for everyone, but it’s a great option to rejuvenate your health and get your joints functioning well. Futons are even worth the cost and space; whether you have small space or a large space- you can use the futons for both areas. Especially they serve well in case of sudden guests who have to stay for a night.