Mattress Overview
Comfort. Relaxation. Peace. The mattress you choose to share one-third of your life with should embody all the comforts you deserve to help you relax in peace. Mattresses have evolved over the years and manufactures have produced a wide variety of categories and comfort levels for you to choose from which include: innersprings; foam, water, air, and futons.

Value is also important. It is hard to place a value on an item that means so much for your body and for your life. The Waking Value is possibly the most important factor because if you awake well rested after a full rem sleep, your body is totally rejuvenated to experience the new day. After you consider all the options you have to choose from, envision yourself (and your partner) waking up on this mattress then ask yourself…”is this mattress the correct fit for me?”

Practical Advice…here are some ABZ’zzz in each category to help you with your evening relaxation decisions.

About Futon Mattresses
The futon specialty sleep category has grown substantially over the years, so we will start here. Historically, futons equated to a cotton mattress. The origin of the futon began in western civilizations in the Orient. Living quarters were compact and multi-function. During the daytime the main living room also served as the kitchen, but at night, this room would transform to a bedroom simply by rolling out a cotton mattress (a futon) that was placed on top of a rice-straw pad (a tatami.) This simplistic mattress system is all natural, effective and is still used today. Americanization hit the futon. Futons, the original cotton mattresses, became elevated and they were placed on wooden frames instead of tatami’s. These wooden platforms evolved into a dual purpose piece of furniture that was used for sleeping and for sitting. Platform beds were used for the bedroom and convertible platforms were used in the living rooms. Convertible platforms became popular for the futon in studio settings because of their dual purpose and space saving nature.

The next transformation of the futon happened in the late 1980’s when manufacturers infused the cotton futon with combinations of foam and even innersprings. This transformation is still evolving today to improve the comfort and durability of the futon. The original cotton futon was firm in nature, but is extremely flexible and molds well to any platform, especially if it is convertible. Cotton futons are available in any size (cot to king) and any thickness, but standard thickness are 4”, 6”, and 8”.

*It is important to note here that the actual thickness is hard to depict in futons unless they have a tailored border. To gain insight on a futons thickness without a border, measure the edge of the mattress and measure the center of the mattress, then take the average of both measurements. This becomes important when you dress your futon and purchase a cover for it. If your futon mattress has a border, that will match the size cover you should purchase.

Futons adapt further into its American roots when manufacturers add innerspring coils to the cotton mix. This addition adds more comfort and energy to the futon. This innerspring futon has the appeal of a traditional mattress when it is placed on a platform bed, but has a flexible bonus when placed on a convertible frame because it folds up for the sofa look and down for the platform bed look. Quality of the innerspring coil does affect the comfort of the futon mattress. (Please refer to the innerspring section for more details.) Generally innerspring futon mattresses are 6” or 8” in thickness, but again can be made any size.

Foaming at the mouth for foam futons was another craze for futons. Foam will add a whole new life and dimension to the original cotton futon mattress. Literally, there are thousands of grades of foam. Foam is made from chemicals, air, and water. Depending on the mix of those ingredients will tell you how soft or firm the foam will be and how long it will last. In general, the higher density the foam is, the better the performance and durability will be. (Please refer to the foam section for more details.) The range of combinations of foam and cotton are widespread. In general, the more foam in a futon mattress, the longer the mattress will keep its shape and its original comfort. Also, the more visco-elastic foam that is used, the more body molding comfort you will achieve!

Keeping it natural with latex and wool!
Latex is a rubber product (not really a foam because latex comes from the sap of a rubber tree.) The foam industry has made some foams comparable to latex, but only 100% pure latex is natural. Latex will add a definite lively buoyant comfort to the futon mattress. In general, the more latex that is added to the futon, the more durable and comfortable the futon will be.

Wool is another one of nature’s gift of padding. Wool is generally used as a wrap around the cotton, foam and/or innersprings to add comfort and protection. This also tends to keep your mattress somewhat cooler in temperature.

Futon mattresses have come a long way. They are not the flat and extremely firm pads that they once were. Some say, their futon gives them a better sleep than their $2,000 bed! Not many products can boast that! Enjoy one yourself.

Tell a Futon Specialist FAI member retailer about how you will use your futon furniture and they can recommend the right combination that will give you the comfort and durability to match your needs, available at find a futon retailer. recommends Annies Futons recommends The Futons Store, Memphis, TN recommends Futon Planet

Copyright 2008