Futon Mattress Explained

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Whenever it comes to comfort and retiring to take some rest after a long day, you can only think of your soft and cushiony mattresses.

With the rapid advancements in technology in every walk of life, the use of mattresses has also evolved in a lot of ways.

Mattresses are nowadays not only used to make those soft and cushiony beds for that ultimate comfort experience, but they are also now used in a lot of other ways. You often might be wondering how these amazing Futon Mattresses are made?

What makes them so comfortable? There may be many questions, and, in this piece, we will try to answer all such questions. To begin with, let us try to understand what a Futon Bed is and then we will address all other questions that may come up

What is a futon bed?

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Traditional Japanese Ryokan room with tatimi mats and futon, pillow and table, Japan

Though the question seems to be pretty simple, the answer to the same may not be as simple as you probably might think to be. People may often think that futon is a couch or a couch cum bed or simply a bed.

Different people perceive a futon differently but what is Futon? What does it really mean? And why is it even called a Futon?

To answer this, you would need to look at the origin of the word – Futon. The futon is a Japanese word that simply means or stands for a traditional bed.

And this traditional Japanese bed or Futon has a lot of parts that include the shikibuton that means the mattress, the kakebuton that means the comforter, the makura which is the pillow. The shikibuton is the ancestor of what the Futon is today.

The traditional futon is not that thick, and the thickness is only about 3 inches, which makes for a good firm bed, but they are a little too firm and are not usually good as side sleepers.

But in American terms, the idea of a Futon is a sofa that usually doubles up as a guest bed for times when an additional one is required.

This feature of being a sofa cum bed along with subtle differences in the construction of it is what makes it different from a usual mattress that constitutes a standard bed.

Futons are technically made using highly compressed layers of cushiony and soft materials such as cotton, latex, and wool.

The best part of the Futons is the fact that they are usually made from organic materials rather than synthetic foam and other similar materials.

There is no use of chemicals in the making of these beds and hence these beds are better than the usual ones.

But again, there are many manufacturers who also make Futons made out of synthetic materials, but the ones made with organic materials are better and usually last longer than the synthetic ones.

So, that talks pretty much about what a Futon bed is. Let us look into the other questions that we usually come across.

Is it good to sleep on a futon?

You might think that a sofa that doubles up as a bed is only good as an occasional sleeping surface and may not always be the best surface to sleep on.

It is but a mere perception and often we find that a Futon is way more comfortable than your queen size bed in the bedroom. But this is again dependent on the make and the model of your Futon bed.

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Spacious living room with gray sofa and modern decor.

Many people like the traditional ones which are flat sofas that double up to be flat futon beds. Well, these can be pretty comfortable. Based on the type of cushioning you opt for your experience with your futon bed may vary.

This also depends on the type of materials used in the manufacture of the beds. We stated that organic materials are used to manufacture the Futons.

The materials include organic cotton, organic latex, rubber, etc. and all these materials are highly compressed and used as cushioning for your futon beds.

So, when you get cushioning of such organic materials in your futon beds, they are bound to be comfortable for you.

More than comfort, the question is Futon beds good to sleep on? Now, this can be determined by analyzing the health impacts of the Futon beds. Are Futon beds really healthy to sleep on?

You can answer that yourself if you know the materials they are made up of and the cushioning that you get. Many doctors say that hard surfaces are good for your spine.

So, a Futon bed is cushiony, but it is not that squishy, it is a rather less cushioned surface than a usual mattress which has a deep cushioning. A thickness of about 3 mm is apt for a healthy spine and maintaining the best sleep posture.

And as such a Futon bed is good not only in terms of comfort but also in terms of your health. A futon bed helps you take good care of your spine by maintaining a healthy posture and also lets you sleep well. 

So, the answer to the question – Yes, a Futon bed is a good surface to sleep on. Now, let us move on to the next question that often comes across. We talked about the Japanese origin of these beds.

So let’s find out more about why these beds are so popular in Japan.

Why do the Japanese sleep on futons?

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Woman using a laptop computer while laying on Japanese futon

There are several reasons why the Japanese sleep on Futons so much. Traditionally the Japanese had a habit of sleeping on the floors and gradually that changed into tatami mats.

But mats were expensive and hence what came through were these organically made Futons.

Though the Japanese have gradually moved towards westernized beds and those huge beds are common in the modern Japanese households, there is no dearth of people who still sleep on futons on a daily basis.

The reasons are many. One – sleeping on these Futons helps the Japanese save a lot of space.

Japanese are known to be very active people involved in martial arts and other types of things that they do and for doing all that they always need space in their living areas.

As such, these futons can be easily rolled and kept in the closets and the Japanese use all space for all that they want to do.

Two – Owning a bed complete with the frames and mattresses and pillows and everything else that comes with it is pretty expensive. Japanese work a lot and work hard for their money.

And they often like to save the money by not spending it on things that they do not find necessary. And so, you will find a lot of Japanese opting for these Futons and sleeping on them on a daily basis even today.

On top of that imagine the nightmare of moving the beds if you are shifting – it adds up to more costs. And Japanese love to avoid all that cost.

Three – The most important reason of all is the fact that the Japanese find it very healthy to sleep on the floors on these Futons. Japanese people from always are a health-conscious lot.

They eat stuff that is healthy, they follow a healthy lifestyle and they do all the healthy things that you can think of. And they maintain the same when they are off to their beds as well.

Sleeping on a comparatively less cushiony surface such as a Futon is something, they consider healthy as that keeps their head, back, shoulders, and hips in a neutral position so that your spinal nerves or the nerves at the back of your shoulders are not compressed or damaged during sleep.

These issues are often common when you are sleeping in thick beds with squishy and comfortable mattresses. As such, you will always find Japanese preferring these Futons over extra-comfortable and soft sleeping surfaces.

So, that covers pretty much about why the Japanese prefer Futons. There can be other socio-economic factors as well that have made the Japanese lifestyle like that among all the other reasons we talked about. Let us look at certain other questions.

Are futons better than mattresses?

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Man’s hand pressing on white mattress. Checking hardness and softness. Choice of the best type and quality. Top view. Close up.

So, are Futons better than the usual sleeping surfaces? Are they better than the mattresses?

Now, whenever you compare two things you have to look at the pros and cons of the two and of the pros of one outweigh the cons that are when you can arrive at a decision on which one is better.

Since we would now compare the two, we can compare the two pon the basis of certain parameters and draw out the comparisons as below:


  • Okay, now from all that we talked about, comfort is certainly a grey area about the futons.
  • Some who have been sleeping on relatively harder surfaces all their lives will find Futons comfortable while others who have been used to soft squishy extra thick mattresses will find them less comfortable.
  • From a comparison perspective, a Futon loses out on the points since they are less in thickness. But from a comfort perspective, it is more on the user who sleeps on it rather than a reviewer comparing it.
  • So, it is user based and while some may find it comfortable, others may not find it so comfy.


  • Well, this is the biggest plus point of a Futon bed.
  • Its low cost is the reason why most of the users usually opt for a Futon bed over a full-size bed.
  • A futon bed is obviously cheaper than a full-size bed with a mattress and hence is obviously better in terms of the cost when compared to a mattress.
  • So, in this parameter, the futon beds win and that is why perhaps they are so popular as well amongst the owners.

Materials Used:

  • This is another aspect where the Futon beds get a clear advantage over the mattresses.
  • Futon beds generally are made from organic substances that we have mentioned earlier and such they are bound to be healthy and free from any chemicals.
  • Mattresses, on the other hand, are made from chemical or synthetic substances and as such they are obviously not that good in terms of their health.
  • So, this is another area where the Futon beds win. 

Health Factor:

  • Sleeping on hard surfaces is said to be orthopedically good for your spine and your overall back posture.
  • Futon mattresses are made out just in the way that they are neither too hard nor not too uncomfortable to sleep on as well.
  • As such they are healthy to sleep on as compared to sleeping on usual mattresses.
  • So, in this parameter as well, the Futon mattresses win.


  • A mattress can simply be used to sleep on.
  • You cannot think of any other usage of a mattress. But you can use your Futon mattress bed as your sofa and an additional bed to sleep on.
  • There are many manufacturers who make these. Whether you get an unexpected guest, or you had a fight with your partner, your Futon mattress bed will solve the purpose for you.
  • Just get it ready and spend the night sleeping out in glory on your Futon bed. It becomes your sofa in the living room by the day and your bed to sleep on by the night.
  • So, here again, your Futon bed emerges as a winner of the two.


  • Ever been through the harrowing job of shifting apartments?
  • Well, if you had you would know that shifting a full-size bed is a nightmarish experience.
  • The frames are heavy and the costs of transportation and shifting make it even more harrowing.
  • But that is not the case with your Futon beds.
  • They are lightweight, easy to dismantle, roll up and shift, so you can transport the same from one apartment to another and another.
  • Whenever you have to. 

So, the answer to that question – Yes, Futon beds are better than the mattresses for all the reasons we quoted and all the points of comparisons we covered. We’ve reviewed the best futon mattress 2020!

What size mattress is a futon?

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Beautiful modern penthouse, bedroom view

The traditional size of the futon is generally 32 inches by 75 inches that are also known as the cot size. The other size which is the twin mattress size is 39 inches by 75 inches.

You can also get the full-size futon mattresses which are 54 inches by 75 inches and then you can opt for queen size futon mattresses as well which are 60 inches by 80 inches. 

So, you see that these Futons mattresses are available in variable sizes and the costs of each will vary depending on the size. Based on your needs you can select your Futon bed as specified below.

Single Sleeper – Twin (38″ x 75″) & Twin XL (38″ x 80″)

If you are a single person staying alone in an apartment this one can solve the purpose. You can opt for either Twin or Twin XL depending on the comfort you are looking for.

Single or Couples – Full (54″ x 75″) & Full XL (54″ x 80″)

This one is a little bigger than the Single sleeper version with some extra space and you can use it for single sleeping or with your partner.

For Couples – Queen (60″ x 80″)

If you are a couple looking for some luxury with your futon this one is the size for you. This one is the standard size for a bedroom futon mattress.

For Couples – King (76″ x 80″)

This is the ultimate futon mattress for couples who wish to have a dash of luxury in their everyday living. This size is obviously the most spacious Futon mattress size of all.

So, that takes care of the size, let us look one another question related to the durability of these Futon beds.

How long do futon mattresses last?

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Young woman watching a movie on a laptop while laying on a futon

We already kind of touch-based this earlier. These Futon mattresses are made from organic materials that contribute to their durability and longevity. Their long life is also attributed to their construction.

They are made from compressed materials, comparatively less thick. This means that they withstand the impact better than the usual mattresses and hence they do not wear out and get damaged easily.

The average life of a Futon bed mattress is close to 15 years and that again depends on several factors, like the usage, maintenance among other things. So, to answer that question – Futon mattresses are pretty long-lasting.

They can last for many years and you can almost spend half your life with these beds if maintained properly.

The Conclusion

So, looking at all that we have found out about the Futon mattresses, in our review we find the Futon beds as one of the best sleeping surfaces.

For all the health benefits, cost savings, compactness, versatility along with comfort that they offer, the Futon mattress shall be the mattress of choice for you. 

Use this piece to make an informed decision before you embark on your Futon mattress experience. It is sure to give you many nights of good sleep!!

You can read more about best innerspring mattress and best pillow for neck pain.

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