Why Do Japanese People Sleep on the Floor? – not only Tradition!

black framed glass sliding door japanese sleep on floor

Why Do Japanese Sleep on the Floor?

I have traveled to Japan a few times in the past, and it always seemed strange to me that so many Japanese people would opt for sleeping on the floor.

The Japanese sleep on the floor because of … well … tradition. And they find comfort in it. I also tried it for weeks and it is more comfortable than a bed, much lower to the ground which is great for grounding and a sense of freedom.

Japan has a very unique sleeping culture, let’s talk about is more deeply…

Why Do Japanese People Sleep on the Floor?

Japanese people sleep on the floor on tatamis because it is a tradition that has been passed down for generations. Sleeping on the floor also saves space in small homes, which is especially important in Japan where living space is quite limited. And finally, many people believe that sleeping on the floor allows for more freedom within the house.

Key Takeaways

Japanese people sleep on the floor because it’s tradition
Space-saving in small homes
Easy customising for summer/winter
Allows for more freedom in the house
But it’s not always warm or comfortable
There is the risk of noise or pests
It can be difficult to get up in the morning

What are the benefits of sleeping on the floor?

There are many benefits to sleeping on the floor, including better circulation, reduced back and muscle pain, and cooler temperatures. Additionally, sleeping on the floor is said to be more comfortable due to the lack of pressure points and better spinal alignment. When not in use, the mattress can be rolled away, making it more space-efficient.

  1. Sleeping on the floor can help to regulate your body temperature better, keeping you cooler in summer months and warmer in winter months
  2. Sleeping on the floor helps to improve your sleeping
  3. It can also create a sense of grounding, helping you to feel more connected to the earth (similar to sleeping outside)
  4. Sleeping on the floor can improve your posture and alignment
  5. It can also help to relieve back pain and other aches and pains
  6. Sleeping on the floor can also help to increase blood circulation and boosts the immmune system

Disadvantages of sleeping on the floor

On the one hand, sleeping on the floor has a few disadvantages. For starters, it can often be quite uncomfortable to sleep on the floor, especially if the ground is cold or hard. Japanese people however sleep on futons which are thin mattresses that can be placed directly on the floor. This means that there may not always be enough warmth or comfort when sleeping in this way. Additionally, it can be difficult to clean if there is an accident.

There is also always a risk of noise or pests and i have learnt it myself that it can be difficult to get up in the morning if you are not used to it. Japanese people even have so called tatami rooms.

Does Sleeping on the Floor Provide Similar Grounding Benefits as Other Methods?

Many people believe that sleeping on the floor can offer similar grounding benefits as other methods. Proponents of grounding methods for sleep claim that connecting to the Earth’s natural electric charge can improve sleep quality and overall well-being. However, scientific evidence on this topic is still limited.

How does sleeping on the floor improve your sleep quality?

There are a few reasons why sleeping on the floor might improve your sleep quality. One reason is that sleeping on the floor enhances your blood flow, which helps to improve your circulation while you sleep. Sleeping in a natural position will also prevent the numbness and tingling caused by poor circulation. Additionally, sleeping on the floor can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

A Brief History of Japanese Sleep Tradition

Japanese people have a rich sleeping culture that is unique and different from other cultures. One of the most notable differences is their preference to sleep on the floor on tatamis. Despite the modern conveniences of beds and mattresses, many Japanese people still prefer to sleep on the floor.

What do japanese sleep on?

Japanese people lived in small houses with few furnishings. Beds were not common, and people often slept on futons (thin mats) placed directly on the floor. This tradition continues today in many Japanese homes, where people still sleep on futons or tatami mats.

What is a tatami room?

A tatami room is a space that features tatami mats as its flooring element. Tatami mats are traditionally woven from rice straw and come in a variety of colors and patterns. They are soft, comfortable, and provide a good amount of cushioning. They are also very durable and can last for many years with proper care.

The tatami room was originally used as a study room, and it became more commonplace amongst commoners. Tatami mats are still used in many Japanese homes and businesses, as they provide a comfortable surface to sleep on and offer an elegant and unique look.

brown wooden table near window tatami room

Understanding Japan’s unique floor culture

Tradition, tradition, tradition

Japanese people have a strong tradition of flooring that goes back centuries. This traditional way of flooring can be difficult to handle for furniture and often Japanese people opt for light, easy-to-move furniture pieces instead of heavy pieces of furniture.

In Japan, the traditional flooring material is made from fresh cut straw and changes color as it ages. Tatami mats are still commonly found in many Japanese households and businesses.


The benefits of sleeping on a tatami mat

Sleeping on a tatami mat is very popular in Japan and there are many benefits to doing so.


One of the biggest benefits is that it helps you get a great night’s sleep. This is because when you lie down on a flat and hard surface, your body is evenly supported which means there are no dips in the bed and each part of your body is supported. This helps reduce pain in the morning and allows you to wake up feeling refreshed. Additionally, when you lay down on a hard surface like a tatami mat, your entire body is aligned which means there are no obstructions to breathing and blood flow. This helps keep your spine aligned and prevents any pain or discomfort from occurring.


In addition to the health and comfort benefits, sleeping on a tatami mat can also be beneficial for the environment. Tatami mats are made from sustainable materials, so they are an eco-friendly option for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Earthquake and Volcano Danger

Japan is a country with many active volcanoes, making it susceptible to natural disasters. In order to reduce the risk of injury during earthquakes or other disasters, they have chosen furniture that has a low profile and takes up as little space as possible. This way, people are less likely to be injured if something falls on them or if there is a lot of debris in the room.

More Living Space

Japan is a densely populated country, with over 127 million people living in a relatively small area. This means that space is a valuable commodity and people have to get creative in order to make use of the little room they have.

For example, many people sleep on futons that are stored away during the day; in order to save space. Additionally, when someone says ‘making your bed’ in Japan, it means setting out your sleeping futon every night before going to sleep.

Safety and Transportability

There are a number of reasons why sleeping on the floor is often seen as a safer option than sleeping in a bed. Firstly, having space in the room allows people to move around more easily in the event of an emergency, such as an earthquake. In the event of an emergency evacuation, a large and heavy bedframe could cause injury to people trying to leave the room quickly. Finally, the futon is really easy to transport which can take away some of the headaches associated with moving house.

Flexible for guests

Sleeping on the floor is a familiar option than sleeping in a bed. For one, it allows for more space in the room. This is especially beneficial when guests are staying overnight because it can convert a single room into a comfortable space for many people.

What about when japanese want a nap?

In Japan, napping is very common and seen as a good thing – they know that napping does not count as sleeping. Most bosses in the west would not welcome naps during work in the same way as the Japanese do. Inemuri is a Japanese tradition of taking a nap at work which is seen as a sign of exhaustion and is usually practiced by older employees who have more rights.

Napping can be a great way to rest, recharge and rejuvenate – especially if you know how long should you nap.

japanese woman siting inside tatami room

What is the sleep culture like in Japan?

The rest and sleep culture in Japan is quite different from other cultures. They have a rich sleeping culture that spans back for centuries. Japanese people sleep on the floor and beddings are rolled out on top of the tatamis. Even today, many Japanese homes do not have classical beds, and people often prefer to sleep on the floor because it is seen as more comfortable and natural.

Co-sleeping is common

In Japan mothers and young children often sleep in the same room together, and they keep the lights on. Additionally, mothers cover their bellies during sleep but uncover their feet. This is most likely due to cultural beliefs about keeping warm.

Sleeping on futons

Futons are thin mattresses that can be rolled up and stored away during the day. They are typically made of cotton or wool and are filled with either down or synthetic fibers. Futons are very popular in Japan because they are easy to store and transport, and they can be used both as a bed and as a mat for sitting or sleeping on the floor.

Even side sleepers can sleep on japanese futons but they need to take some precautions tosleep well.

Sleeping in capsule hotels

Capsule hotels are a type of hotel popular only in Japan. They consist of small capsules (usually just big enough for one person to lie down in) that are stacked together like bunk beds. Capsule hotels are typically used by business travelers who need a place to stay for just one night, as they are much cheaper than traditional hotels.

Why do japanese sleep with lights on?

Sleeping with lights on is beneficial to both the older and young japanese people. Older people have a difficult time getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and children may have a fear of the dark. Many young children like to sleep with lights on so they feel safe and secure.

What Time do the Japanese Wake Up?

The Japanese are known for their punctuality. They work hard but the go to sleep way to late and get up way too early. But what time do the japanese wake up?

What are the Health Benefits of Sleeping on the Floor like Japanese People?

Sleeping on the floor like Japanese people may reduce inflammation with earthing. This practice is believed to help improve circulation, reduce stress, and promote better posture. Some claim that sleeping closer to the earth’s natural energy can have positive effects on overall health and well-being.

Cultures that sleep on the floor

People used to sleep upright in the past. There are a variety of reasons why people sleep on the floor all over the world. In developing and poor countries, it is often a result of a lack of beds or other sleeping accommodations. Sleeping on the floor is a common practice in Asian and African regions.

In developed countries, there are many people who still choose to sleep on the floor for a variety of reasons, including cultural tradition, comfort, and health benefits (think about pregnant women sleeping on the floor safely).

For example also Koreans sleep on the floor they used heated floors called Ondol in the past. Monks also sleep on the floor and they use it to be grounded and relaxed.


By lezt

Lez Taylor, Founder and CEO of Corala Blanket. She tried every sleep system and trick to conquer her insomnia for good.