what kind of mat would be good to sleep on every night (instead of a bed)?
February 15, 2009 7:46 PM   Subscribe

are there any roll-up/fold-up mats i could be comfy sleeping on every single night for, let's say, a year? i'm about to move to a teeny tiny room (about 11'x5'4"). i have plenty of common space available to me in the larger apartment but would love for my room to contain more than just a bed.

it would be great if i could quickly roll up my bed every morning and gain floor space. i fear that the foam pads/mats made for hikers aren't meant to be used daily (in terms of comfort and/or durability), although i have no idea. another thing that came to mind was a thai massage mat (i remember getting a thai massage and thinking the mat was so comfortable i could sleep on it). again, i don't know how long one would last if it were used for 8 hours every night.

i know that plenty of people all over the world sleep on mats/the floor and their bodies survive just fine. any recommendations?

i'm a professional acrobat, so it IS important to me to have a sleeping situation that is good for my back and my body in general.

and i don't want a loft bed.
posted by nevers to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Twin size cotton futon on the floor? They roll up okay, in my experience, although the sheets and blankets are kind of a pain.
posted by dilettante at 7:54 PM on February 15, 2009

I slept for three years on an old Therm-a-Rest self inflating pad and a doubled over wool blanket under it. While I was sleeping on it I quickly adapted and grew to love the relatively hard sleeping surface, after a few weeks I slept fine, after a few months I'd never slept better. For the entire time I slept on it I remember feeling wonderful almost every morning. I only stopped using the simple bedding because of a relationship, though I'm very tempted to move back to it.
posted by Science! at 7:57 PM on February 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and that Therm-a-Rest was about $30 when I bought it, and was at least 5 years old when I started using it as my bed.
posted by Science! at 7:59 PM on February 15, 2009

I don't know how to get around the sheets and blankets hassle, but I slept just fine for about a week or two on an egg crate mat on top of a folding gym/camping-type mat (the sort of material you'd use for tumbling). The egg crate mat rolled up and the folding mat folded in thirds from a narrow twin-size mattress into a square. I don't know why that combination worked, but it did.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:01 PM on February 15, 2009

A sleeper chair maybe? A mesh lounger? I've slept many nights in a similar mesh lounger when I couldn't get to sleep in my regular bed and really wouldn't have a problem sleeping in one on a regular basis.
posted by chairface at 8:01 PM on February 15, 2009

I slept for three years on an old Therm-a-Rest self inflating pad and a doubled over wool blanket under it.

I did the exact same thing, but for only three or four months. The first couple of days were a bit uncomfortable, and then it felt great (and the firm surface was nice for my back). If you have a dating life, though, there's no mood killer quite like bringing someone home and having them start laughing at your little hermit's nest. Thermarests are actually great for sex; the problem is convincing someone that it is cozy, not evidence of incipient unibomber-ness.

And recently I visited a friend and slept on their floor on an amazing, ultra-thick and comfortable new Thermarest. Evidently they now sell versions that are more for car camping (or hippy bachelor apartments), and I'd definitely suggest one of those rather than the old-style ultralight backpacking pads for indoor use.
posted by Forktine at 8:16 PM on February 15, 2009

Best answer: nthing a Thermarest. Never slept on one long-term, but I love mine when camping, even when sleeping on uneven or rocky surfaces. This might be the best option for you, but it's expensive--although not as expensive as a mattress and frame.

And perhaps the fact that you're an acrobat will convince any ladies you're bringing home that it might be worth giving a shot--although you won't want to fit two people onto one of those mats.
posted by Picklegnome at 8:46 PM on February 15, 2009

Seconding dilettante. Get a cotton futon. Cotton futons work much better if they're rolled and unrolled frequently. It keeps them soft and comfy. Much nicer than a thermarest imo.
posted by airplain at 9:03 PM on February 15, 2009

Why not loft your bed?
posted by Foam Pants at 9:16 PM on February 15, 2009

Christ, the one time I don't read through to the last sentence.
posted by Foam Pants at 9:17 PM on February 15, 2009

How about one of those cots where you sleep on taut fabric? They collapse really small and are very comfortable in my experience. But, they can be a pain to assemble.
posted by yesno at 9:24 PM on February 15, 2009

Japanese tatami and futon (they are thinner than Western bed-framed ones if on the floor). Do you have a Japanese homewares store near you? I have a bad back and am picky about my sleeping, but I have always slept wonderfully in Japan on traditional flooring and bedding. The tatami flooring is equally as important as the bedding for it to be comfortable.

Also, get a futon with a cover you can wash. And do it regularly. You will need to be fastidious about keeping the floor clean too.
posted by wingless_angel at 9:37 PM on February 15, 2009

In college... it was just a small mattress against the wall, with an extra set of sheets of funny design. When you need the room, you just flip the mattress up against the wall and drape the funny sheets over it. It also provided a good place to sit on the floor and lean up against the wall against something soft and bouncy.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:50 AM on February 16, 2009

Another vote fot the Thermarest - - beyond your immediate needs, it is a great long term piece of equipment that rolls up tiny waiting to be called upon.

My original light version is now 25+ years old and never needed a patch and works like the day I bought it. However, I bought one of the thicker versions with a bigger surface area as an upgrade for my aging bones.

The price may look high when you go to buy one, but pro-rate the dollars over your lifetime and you'll find it a remarkable value for a marvellous tool.
posted by fairmettle at 3:27 AM on February 16, 2009

As for rolling it up every night to save space - - the Thermarests also have an accessory strap that turns it into a chair...
posted by fairmettle at 3:36 AM on February 16, 2009

What about a hammock?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:37 AM on February 16, 2009

I slept on one of these for more than a year. Eventually it got a little thin in places, but they're pretty well made. They fold far more easily than a twin futon mattress (not a bad idea, but I wouldn't plan on easy storage) and they're cute, too. Urban Outfitters has a few different designs and they also sell frames like the one in the picture, but I was totally happy snuggling up on the mat without any frame. Also because they're so cute They work well for extra seating and you could use it without a sheet-- just buy one of these sets and you'd have a very easy to store semi-permanent bed solution!
posted by big open mouth at 9:14 AM on February 16, 2009

In line with what xengargoyle said, flipping whatever up against the wall, rather than rolling it up, will save time, effort, and space. If you have to put your bed away every morning and get it out every night, you may end up just leaving it out. But just a flip against the wall is easy - and you can leave the sheets on it. 5'4" is plenty of width for up to a queen-sized mattress - flip it up the long way and get back all but a few inches of the space (over half your 11') it takes up when down. Alternately, get an actual futon - frame and all - rather than a mattress or even just a futon pad. Then you can have a couch in the daytime.
posted by attercoppe at 9:17 AM on February 16, 2009

Response by poster: thanks for all the ideas and especially the therm-a-rest endorsements. i had already bought a bed when i posted this question, but since buying it (and revisting the room and reminding myself just how small it is) i was wondering if it was really the way to go. good to know my options if i decide i don't like it. even the most deluxe therm-a-rest is a good value compared to a bed+mattress. and a twin bed is probably better for my dating life than a mat on the floor, but not by much. i'm pretty resigned to not having anybody over for the night while i live here.
posted by nevers at 10:17 AM on February 16, 2009

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