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15 Alternatives to a Mattress
A variety of different sleeping options you can utilize instead of a mattress
Mattresses are a westernized convenience that has quickly become the mainstream way to sleep. However, there are still plenty of cultures and societies where mattresses are not nearly as common as they are in the Western world. Whether you live in a smaller space, are moving around often or are simply seeking an alternative sleeping option to the traditional mattress, we have put together a list of the best mattress alternatives on the market. We have included everything from Japanese floor futons to air mattresses and folding beds. There is something for every style and every budget in this article.
15 Mattress Alternatives
What customers love: Organic materials. Same floor style futon that Asian cultures have used for centuries.
A Japanese floor futon or Shikibuton has been used for centuries and is specifically formulated for sleeping on the floor. It is also made with organic wool and cotton in order to provide a healthy and hypoallergenic sleeping surface. You can get a shikibuton in a variety of different styles and materials. If you are looking for a healthy and comfortable alternative to a standard mattress and bed set then this could be a great pick for you. If is also about half the price of a standard mattress set up.
What customers love: Multiple functions and very comfortable to sleep on.
The folding couch is just as it sounds. A bed that can also function as a couch. Simply flip the side up and POOF you have yourself a couch. This bed comes in twin and queen sizes and is a perfect addition to any loft, basement or tv room. This folding bed is a 8″ thick, which is much thicker than many of the other options on this list. You can be sure that it will provide a comfortable nights sleep or lounge spot for any size individual.
What customers love: Easy to fold up and take anywhere. Quality memory foam mattress.
This fold up mattress by Milliard is easy to fold up and take on the go or to put in the closet for when a guest comes over. The mattress folds into three layers and comes with a carrying handles for easy portability. The mattress is made to be put directly on the floor and is 6″ thick with memory foam for a comfortable sleep for sleepers of all weights. At 75″ long this mattress will comfortably fir sleepers up to 6′. If you are looking for a longer mattress you can see our suggestion for larger individuals and couples.
BEST FOR LARGER SLEEPERS OR COUPLES
What customers love: Affordable and large enough for all guests.
Giantex has made the ultimate tri-folding queen size mattress. It is made with a removable bamboo cover for easy washability as well as a 4.5″ of support foam with 1.5″ of memory foam for the an extremely comfortable nights sleep for individuals and couples of all sizes. The mattress also comes with a zip up transport bag that keeps the mattress clean during storage and makes it easy to take on the go.
BEST FOR TRAVEL
What customers love: Comfortable memory foam Easy to roll up and transport.
The Better Habitat floor mattress is made from CertiPUR-US memory foam and is a great option for on the go comfort or for the occasional extra guest. This mattress easily rolls and unrolls for quick use and fast storage. It also comes with a carrying bag making it simple to take with you on the go. Many people prefer to take a foam mattress like this camping over an air mattress because they prefer the comfort level of foam.
What customers love: Made with organic cotton. Comfortable sleep anywhere pad.
The Japanese have been sleeping on the floor for years, so when it comes to floor mattresses they have perfected some great designs. This organic cotton floor futon is perfect for any room and easy to fold up and store. It can also be used as a yoga mat, mattress topper or play mat for kids. This versatile usage coupled with the positive reviews and the all around comfort make this mattress a great choice for anyone.
BEST FOR CAMPING
This isn’t your ordinary camping mattress. This mattress utilizes 4″ of compress-able foam to shrink when not in use and to give maximum comfort when sleeping. This mattress is also waterproof and comes with a carrying strap, making it easy to take with you anywhere. While this mattress is specifically made for camping it is great to use on the floor in any house when needing to house extra sleepers. Customers on Amazon rave about this mattress and its superiority over most other air pads on the market.
To be clear, this is just the cover that is for sale. You stuff it with pillows from your house. But for the price this is a great fun way to set up a floor mattress for kids that can be easily stored when not in use. This bed comes in a variety of patterns and can be taken anywhere and simply stuffed with pillows or blankets that you have on hand.
This air mattress by SoundAlseep is one of the highest reviewed air mattresses on Amazon. It has thousands of 5 star reviews and is well made. It includes and internal pump so is a breeze to self-inflate. It also utilizes a comfortcoil system and a griped bottom layer to provide maximum support and no slipping or sliding on the floor. It also inflates to 19″ thick allowing for a more comfortable sitting surface as well. This mattress comes with a 1 year warranty along with free shipping and free returns.
BEST OF THE BEST
What customer love: Very sturdy and supportive frame. Comfortable mattress.
The diplomat fold up bed comes in at our number one option for the best overall fold up sleep system. It comes with a twin size folding frame as wall as a 4″ memory foam mattress included. Customers love how sturdy this fold up bed is and have raving reviews about how comfortable the mattress is. Milliard makes all sorts of sleep products and has a great reputation in the mattress industry for providing high quality sleep products at affordable prices. Based on the price and all of the features this bed offers we have ranked the Diplomat as our Best of the Best Fold up bed option on the market.
The Frame: The wheels on the bottom of the frame make it easy to roll in and out of storage and come with a safety locking feature that ensures the frame will stay put. The bed also folds up to only 14″ thick for easy storage in a closet or under a bed. The frame on the diplomat also utilizes 4 sets of support bars as well as lattice style wired base to ensure there is zero sagging and optimal support for even the heaviest of sleepers. One of the most common statements in customer reviews is how sturdy this bed is.
The Mattress (Included): The 4″ mattress is included with your purchase and is made with memory foam, as well as a non-slip bottom fabric and a soft polyester cover to give the sleeper maximum comfort.
BEST BUDGET OPTION / BEST SMALL SPACE OPTION
What customers love: Affordably priced, no assembly required and folds up very small.
Coming in at only $125, the Lesuit fold up guest bed is about half the cost of the Milliard mattress set shown in number 1. While the mattress is not quite as thick, you still get a great quality fold up bed set for a fraction of the cost. The greatest elements of this bed are its ease of setup and small footprint. The bed comes folded up and can be ready for sleeping in only 5 minutes. When folded in half the bed bed is a meager 6.5″ which makes it extremely easy to fit in a closet or underneath a bed. The Lesuit fold up bed comes with a 3″ memory foam mattress that is great for supporting the average size sleeper.
What customers love: Beautiful quality furniture. Easy to pack and unpack the mattress.
Night and Day furniture made this foldable mattress and “Murphy Cube” as an option for those who do not have a convenient place to store their mattress. The mattress easily fits inside the murphy cube when not in use and functions as a piece of furniture. Simply pop the top off and lay the mattress out when ready for bed and fold up during the day. This allows those with small living areas to have a non-intrusive sleeping option for themselves or guests. The product includes both the Murphy cube and the mattress which is a standard queen size. The cube also is available in multiple finishes to match your living area and style.
What customers love: Elegant design and affordable for a murphy bed.
The Nestar’s fold up wall bed, or “Murphy Bed” as they are called, are a great option for those will small living quarters who are looking for a way to integrate another sleeping accommodation into their home. The Nestar provides a sleek looking wall unit when closed and a fancy looking headboard when open. The modern style mixed withe the functionality of a murphy bed makes this company our favorite Murphy Bed manufacturer on the market.
BEST FOR CAMPING & OUTDOOR USE
What customers love: Comfortable pillow included. Very sturdy and easy to fold up.
This fold up cot by Alpcour is the real deal for those on the go our spending nights out under the stars. The alpcour can accommodate individuals over 6′ tall while also folding into a 40″ by 7″ bag that you can take with you on the go. Thisd cot comes with a sturdy leg system, a waterproof cover and a built in pillow. With over 400 5-star reviews the Alpcour cot is our top pick for a folding camping bed.
BEST FOR KIDS
What customers love: Very affordable and the perfect size for kids.
The my cot by Regalo is the perfect little cot to have at the house for any additional little ones you may have staying over. It is small, compact and affordable and offers a sturdy nights sleep for young kids. This cot has over 1,000 5-star reviews and has raving reviews from the customers who have used it. At $25 you can’t find many cheaper sleeping solutions other than sleeping on the floor.
What can you use instead of a mattress?
There are a variety of different types of beds and pads that you can use as alternatives to a standard mattress. Standard mattresses have become mainstream in western culture but there are plenty of cultures who prefer not to use them. Below are a few different types of sleeping products you can use as mattress alternatives.
Japanese floor futon: A Japanese floor futon, also called a Shikibuton or Futon, is an all organic wool and cotton mattress pad that is meant to be put directly on the floor. This type of mattress has been used by Asian cultures for centuries and is actually argued by many to be a healthier more supportive way to sleep. Floor futons are about half the price of a standard mattress.
Murphy bed: A Murphy bed is a bed that folds up into a piece of furniture when not in use. This is great for smaller apartments or for people who want to have additional sleeping space for guests that doesn’t take up a lot of room. Murphy beds come in a variety of styles to meet the decor and space of any home.
Cots/Folding beds: Folding beds or cots are great ways to have a comfortable sleeping option without taking up a lot of space. A cot can fold down extremely small and be stored in a closet when not in use.
Camping pad: A camping pad is meant for sleeping on the floor while camping but can also be a great way to sleep on the floor at home as an alternative to a mattress. Camping pads are easy to roll up and store and a quality one will actually provide sufficient padding for an every night sleeper.
Air mattress: An air mattress is another mattress alternative that most people are familiar with. While there are many low quality air mattresses on the market, if you purchase a quality one you will find that they have come a long way over the years.
Is it better to sleep without a mattress?
Whether you use a mattress or not is all about personal preference. Some experts actually say that sleeping on the floor with minimal padding is healthier for your back and spine than sleeping on a mattress. If you enjoy a firmer surface you may enjoy sleeping on the floor or one of the floor sleeping options on this list. While western culture has pushed spending thousands on a quality mattress, the truth is there are alternatives that can provide the comfort you need for a great nights sleep without a traditional mattress. For proof just look at other cultures and how they sleep throughout the world.
Can a sleeping bag replace a mattress?
Sleeping bags do provide some amount of padding when sleeping on the floor, however, we would not say that they fully replace the use of a mattress. If you plan to sleep in a sleeping bag every night we would recommend a camping pad or a Japanese floor mattress to put underneath for adding some comfort and pressure relief.
Are there healthy alternatives to mattresses?
Many people are concerned about the foams in their mattresses and opt for a healthier sleeping option. If you are looking for a healthy alternative to the traditional mattress we would recommend a Japanese futon mattress. Many futons are made with cotton and wool and are 100% organic and hypoallergenic. The Japanese have been using them to sleep on for centuries and prefer them over a mattress.
Can you make a homemade mattress?
If you are looking to make a homemade mattress instead of buying one, there are a variety of options that DIYers have come up with over the years. Here is a link to a page with a variety of homemade mattress options.