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Thread: How simple is your bed?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    How simple is your bed?

    Hi, new guy here. Been lurking for a while and finally have a question. Anyone sleep regularly on something other than a standard bed? Camping pad, sleeping bag, hammock, tatami mat?

    I have a heavy latex mattress on a bulky wooden platform. It's very comfy and organic, but sometimes it feels like a burden. It's tough to move and cost a fortune, and I can't say it's worked any miracles on my back pain. Plus I've never liked changing and washing lots of bedding anyway.

    So I've been thinking of simpler sleeping. To start with, I've ordered an REI camping pad. Tried one recently at a store and was very surprised by how comfortable it was. I'll toss a flat sheet and wool blanket over it and call it a bed. Just not sure I'll like sleeping on the floor.

    I've already gone TV-free, car-free, smartphone-free, and other-normal-things-free, so why not bed-free?

    P.S. I have not gone fridge-free or money-free. I draw the line somewhere.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kestra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    I didn't have a regular bed during most of my childhood and for several years when I moved out on my own. Finally I bought a real bed - mattress and box spring but no headboard or footboard and it's been well worth it, though a hassle to move.
    But if yours isn't helping your back why not try something else? You have nothing to lose, especially if you keep your old bed while you try out the new one. Sleeping on the floor is normal in many cultures. North Americans are the weird ones wanting beds so high off the ground.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    We had a California king water bed back in the 90s. Our downsizing was in stages as follows:

    When the water mattress leaked, replaced it with a regular mattress. Because if the water bed structure, no box springs was needed.

    When we moved and the wooden frame was heavy, we removed the large headboard/shelving section.

    When we moved and the frame was still heavy, we cut down the sides by half, so it no longer had the pleather covered padded edges that used to hold the water mattress in place.

    When we moved and there were too many pieces to carry and reassemble, we simplified the structure to remove about a third of the bottom structure. It wasn't needed for the support of a regular mattress.

    When we moved and were tired of carrying heavy wooden pieces, we completely replaced the structure with 2 folding metal interlocking pieces that are so light I can lift one with one hand.

    Now we have a 20 year old California king mattress on these two minimalist support pieces.

    It helped that along the way my husband had wood working skills to make all the iterations of this bed.

    We are thinking of replacing the mattress. It's old and getting lumpy. And I would love to go simpler. Options are interesting. I prefer minimal light transportable ... But I don't want to commit to getting down on the floor as we are both in our 50s. We can do it now ... But what if we can't in a few years, or have back pain, or surgery...

    I'm really interested to follow this thread for everyone's ideas.

  4. #4
    Senior Member awakenedsoul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Hi Oddball,

    Welcome to the forum! It sounds like you have really low living expenses. I sleep on a futon. The frame folds up into a couch, but I keep it open, so it looks like a bed. In the winter I use a duvet cover. Have you ever had one of those? A boyfriend of mine from Australia turned me on to it. He just had a flat sheet on his mattress, and two sheets sewn together to cover the down comforter. It was really easy to make the bed. You would just shake the top bedding and lay it on top. To wash, it had velcro, and you would remove the cover and wash it with the sheets and pillow cases. It was simple, but also romantic, which I liked...

    I have a wool blanket, too. It's alpaca. I knit it last winter. It's super warm and soft.

    Sorry to hear about your back pain. A dancer trick for back pain is to try sleeping on the floor. Now that's really simple...

    I look forward to reading your posts.

  5. #5
    Senior Member pony mom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    NW NJ
    I read on another site that genuine Japanese futons are the best. They're not inexpensive and you use a rush-type mat underneath them; you also have to air them out occasionally. But they're supposed to be great for your back.

    I'd probably put it on a platform if I used a futon. Our floor is laminate on a concrete slab and is always cold.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    We don't have a bed, we sleep on mattresses laid on a wooden storey that is built above half of our living room. We have separate mattresses that are quite light and easy to manipulate with so they can easily be pushed together or separated.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    I haven't had a couch in years, although in the last couple of years, I have been looking at/for futons that also had storage (seems like wasted space). I've even somewhat thought of it as a replacement bed (keep the bedding in the storage). People cannot believe at my age, I can and still do sleep on the floor at times (tile, carpet over concrete or wood), when staying at friends. (stiff is better for my back), but I am not sure I would want to do it regularly (in the cold of winter when heat rises).
    My main bed is a platform bed, currently leaning against an old beds headboard (alarm clock there). If the room were larger, it would be in the center, so I could completely walk around it. It has one large drawer underneath and I would rather build one with separate drawers.
    Another option I would like, although I would rather not spend the money on the mattress and find out I didn't like it, is to try something like those Japanese futon mattresses on a frame that made several stories on the web a couple years ago. There is a renaisance reinactor that builds some furniture and designed this bed:
    I was hoping the futon mattress, could effectively make this a window seat. (dual use) I haven't bought the plans yet (keep debating), but it looks like an interesting project.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dhiana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Genuine Japanese futon on tatami are not all that comfortable although it is probably one of the best overall solutions to minimalist bedding.
    The traditional styled, natural fiber ones seem to get mushed down over time and just get harder and thinner so one decides to sleep on layers of two or three.
    I've found the ones with modern foam style padding to be much more comfortable.

    They do need to be aired out often. Saturdays is the traditional day to throw one's futon over the balcony railing for airing out.

    We do not have a frame for our IKEA double-sized box spring & mattress as it sits on top of tatami mats. A traditional western frame would damage the mats and is way more bed than I want to own.

  9. #9
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Saint Paul, Minnesota
    Quote Originally Posted by pony mom View Post
    I read on another site that genuine Japanese futons are the best. They're not inexpensive and you use a rush-type mat underneath them; you also have to air them out occasionally. But they're supposed to be great for your back.

    I'd probably put it on a platform if I used a futon.
    That's pretty much what we have. It's called a futon, but it's really a somewhat-deconstructed spring/foam mattress, not just a mass of padding. It goes on an IKEA-type platform bed I've had for about 30 years (don't wanna break up the set ). I find it very comfortable to sleep on. DW prefers her old Sleep Number bed, but I never cared for that at all. At least we can both agree on this mattress. And the strips beneath the mattress can be adjusted for firmness (of course, we're at polar opposites of the firm/soft scale). The bed incorporates a headboard and footboard and nightstands, which has made putting it into rooms a little limiting. But it's a beautiful piece (all teak) and it does come with drawers underneath. So it has stayed.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  10. #10
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    I've been sleeping on a couch in my bedroom for many years, because of my fibromyalgia and arthritis. It's a nice big couch with seat cushions that go under the back they don't come loose.
    I have folded up a down comforter and then another comforter on top of that to sleep on top of. It's soooooo comfy. I think the smaller-than-a-bed area of it, keeps me from getting into positions that cause pain in the morning. When I was younger and camped through Europe, I loved sleeping on the hard ground. But no more! Good luck finding a bed that works for you. And welcome to the forum Oddball!

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