Are Futons Good For Your Back? – 5 Facts To Know

A comfortable futon brings us better-sleeping quality and improves our mental and physical health. Although sleeping on the futon is very cozy and simple, you may wonder if it causes any harm to your back. Are futons good for your back?

What does sleeping on the futon do to your body? Should you replace a regular mattress with Japanese futons? This post will discuss these issues to give you a simple and in-depth answer.

Based on the information, you can decide if a futon mattress is suitable for your body condition and make the purchase decision. Continue reading to find out!

Are Futons Good For Your Back?

The answer is yes. The traditional Japanese futons support your back excellently and are suitable for many sleeping positions due to their firm surface. It’s also called a shikibuton.

A common mistake people make when choosing mattresses is opting for the softest and most comfortable products. However, soft beds are not beneficial for your back in the long term.

Studies indicated that the soft sleeping surface provides little to no support to your back, body muscles, and spine.

Not to mention, the metal or wooden slats bring many discomforts to the sleepers. As a result, you can suffer from neck pain, back pain, and sore muscles when sleeping on a soft mattress.

Meanwhile, a futon mattress can fix all these problems and provide your back with better support and other noticeable benefits. Here are the most significant positive effects of sleeping on a futon mattress:

Keeps The Spine Aligned

Overall, human biology and the body are not designed for sleeping on soft surfaces. From the ancient age, humans had been sleeping on rocks and firm ground for centuries without any problems.

Although the futons may not be as comfortable as the soft mattresses, their firm texture provides great support for our muscles, especially the spine.

Traditional soft mattresses will begin to sag or overstretch over a long time. Meanwhile, the Japanese futons have the floor underneath the surface, preventing the bed from sagging or overstretching.

When sleeping on futons, its firm surface can naturally align your back, and you can move on the bed easier. It gives you an even sleeping surface that keeps your backbones and spines aligned all night.

Supports Back Muscles

Many professional athletes and runners regularly sleep on firm ground or mattresses. They believe that the firmness of the sleeping ground can support their spine and back muscles more efficiently.

As you can see, these athletes have the most healthy and powerful back muscles, with firm evidence of the benefits of sleeping on futons.

Read more: IKEA Mattress Review

Reduce Back Pain

If you experience back pain and soreness when waking up, try switching from the soft mattress to a futon or firm sleeping grounds to see if the pains go away.

It is because of the unhealthy sleeping posture and restricted body movements caused by the sagging surface of the sleeping spot.

By tossing and twisting in the night, our body can adjust to a more comfortable sleeping posture and release stress and strains on the muscles. If the mattress is too soft, it will sag down and block our body’s natural movements.

As a result, the blood flow cannot circulate efficiently, and some body parts will take more stress than others. That’s why you experience soreness and back pain when sleeping on traditional mattresses.

Other Benefits

Besides the mentioned advantages of futons, there are some noticeable benefits of sleeping on futons. The first one lies in their versatility and portability.

You can quickly move a futon from one room to another by rolling it. So, it is also easier to clean the futon as you can put them in the washing machine.

Furthermore, you can store it neatly in the closet and get more space for placing other furniture. It makes your room look much tidier.

The Cons of Using a Futon for Back Health

  • Inadequate Cushioning for Side Sleepers:
    • Side sleepers might find futons too hard, leading to discomfort in the shoulders and hips. This can misalign the spine, causing potential back problems.
  • Potential for Inconsistent Firmness:
    • Depending on the futon’s material, there might be inconsistencies in firmness across the surface. This can lead to uneven support and potential pressure points.
  • Lack of Long-Term Support:
    • Over time, even the best futon might lose its firmness. This can lead to inadequate support, affecting spinal health.

What Are 5 Common Sizes Of The Futon Mattress?

There are typically five types of futon beds of different sizes and characteristics.

  • Twin: It is the smallest futon on the market only 38 x 75 inches in size. The twins are commonly used and placed underneath the loft bed in tight spaces, suitable for one person to sleep on and camping.
  • Full: The full-sized futon (54 x 75 inches) is the most common type on the market, ideal for two sleepers, and can replace regular sleeping beds. The full-sized products are also thicker than the twins.
  • Queen: Another popular type with 60 x 80 inches in size, equalling a queen-sized bed for two adult sleepers in all sizes. Despite its large size, a queen-size futon can be rolled and stored when not in use.
  • King: It is the largest futon type 76 x 80 inches in size, giving you more space and comfort for stretching. Yet, king-sized mattresses are significantly costlier and rarer than the other common types.
  • Loveseat: A special type about 54 x 54 inches that are commonly used as a sitting spot in the living rooms. It is ideal for eating and gathering on the floor with no need for any chair.
Stylish natural living room with raw wooden furniture and orange accents

How Are Futons Different From The Regular Mattresses?

Regular mattresses and sofa-bed are generally more expensive and less comfortable. Meanwhile, a futon is very versatile and convenient to use, bringing us greater comfort when sleeping.

However, the futons do not have a cover, so you must clean them regularly because the surface can get dirty quickly. Cleaning is very convenient by washing manually or putting it in the washing machine.

As space is becoming more luxurious, the futon helps users make the best of the tight spaces in their homes. It can be placed in any room and used for various purposes such as sitting, sleeping, and putting on sofas or chairs.

They are an excellent choice for tiny houses and rooms that don’t have much space for a large bed. You can roll out the futon to sleep and store it neatly in the closet when not in use.

FeatureFutonsRegular Mattresses
PriceGenerally more affordableTypically more expensive
ComfortVersatile and can be quite comfortableCan offer a range of comfort depending on the type/model
CoverUsually don’t come with a permanent coverOften come with a permanent cover
Cleaning & MaintenanceRequires regular cleaning; often machine-washableTypically spot-cleaned; may require professional cleaning
Space EfficiencyHighly space-efficient; foldable and storableFixed size; cannot be stored away
VersatilityCan be used for sitting, sleeping, or as furniturePrimarily for sleeping

Read more: Best Round Mattresses

How Do You Make A Futon More Comfortable?

  • Add a Mattress Topper
  • Regular Flipping and Rotation
  • Layer with Pillows and Cushions
  • Protect with a Mattress Cover

You can consider adding extra padding or a mat under the futons to increase the thickness and get more support for your back. Some options are memory foam, air mattresses, or layer comforters on top.

Remember to clean the futon regularly because they can get dirty very fast with no cover. Dirty mattresses are an ideal place for bed bugs, which can cause itchiness and inflammation.

In addition, you can also put the futon by the wall or side corner so that they have enough support and would not slip around.

Also, don’t forget to clean the pillow and blanket because they can catch bed bugs. Choose high-quality products to get better sleep.

Add padding or a mat to increase thickness and support.
Young adult woman relaxing on a sofa using a digital tablet. Kyoto, Japan. May 2016


To sum up, futons are an ideal option for people of all ages, sizes, and weights with different sleeping postures. It also provides excellent support for the back and gives us more comfort in the usage process.

We hope that you are satisfied with the information provided in this post.

Thank you for reading!