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Yes, you read that right. I sleep on a yoga mat.
You might be aware of the Japanese concept of sleeping on a Japanese futon.
It’s not like the American futon, which is a thick couch that can act as a pull-out bed. You can read more about the differences here.
The Japanese one is lightweight and thin enough that you can fold it up in the morning and put it away.
This frees up your living space during the day and it’s very minimalistic.
Why The Heck Would You Sleep On A Yoga Mat?
It’s More Zen
In recent years, I’ve gravitated toward the idea of incorporating more Asian zen concepts into my everyday life to create a calmer home environment.
I associate yoga mats with fun and calm times doing yoga at the yoga studio, or striking beautiful poses on a sunny terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean in California.
In a sense, yoga mats calm me down and “zen” me up for a restful night.
While we might not always get a choice of how our work environment (or the outside world) is set up, we have a control over how our bedroom is set up.
No one says we need to have a bed.
Not to mention, because yoga mats are small, thin, and lightweight, I can bring it anywhere I move, without being encumbered by having to rent a big moving truck.
Try doing THAT with your queen bed.
Plus, to keep in theme with my KonMari “spark joy” minimalism, the bed no longer brought me joy.
My yoga mat does.
It Saves Money
Before tossing out my bed, I wanted to buy a nice Japanese futon to replace it.
The only obstacle for me was the $100-$400 price tag.
Right now, I’m working on paying off my credit card debt so spending a couple hundred dollars on a fancy “minimalistic” futon was not ideal.
From what I’ve noticed, a yoga mat can be anywhere from $20-$50.
That’s a little more affordable than the hundreds of dollars for a Japanese futon.
Also, when I move, because I don’t have to rent a big truck to move a big bed, I just roll up my mat and go.
This saves money.
It Saves Space
By tossing out my bed, I cleared up the floor of my ~80 square foot bedroom.
Every night, I roll out my yoga mat and put blankets and pillows on it.
And every morning, I fold up the blankets Japanese style, and store it away with the pillows.
With this freed-up space, I use the yoga mat for sit-ups, pushups, and yoga poses, and found I’m able to keep “working out” via body weight exercises without a gym membership (which I’ve canceled).
I can use the money saved to pay down debt and invest for financial independence.
Sleeping on a yoga mat came with some surprising benefits.
I Enjoy Making My “Bed”
Every morning, I actually enjoy folding up my blankets Japanese style, and storing it away with the pillows, then rolling up the mat and putting it away.
As of right now I can’t explain why this is the case but I can imagine it might have to do with the whole “spark joy” notion of KonMari.
Maybe it was because I didn’t “enjoy” my bed that I was loathe to “make my bed” every morning.
But because I “enjoy” my yoga mat, I love to tidy and put it away.
That doesn’t sound like a very good reason…
Let’s dig a little bit deeper.
I Get To See My Floor!
Another reason could be that I just love seeing my bedroom floor!
For those of us with beds, we live our whole lives with that part of the floor covered up.
That part of the floor never gets to breathe.
That stale and stuffy energy just suffocates and collects and stays there.
By getting rid of the bed and sleeping on a yoga mat, when we roll up the mat in the morning, that space gets to “breathe.”
Just as your body needs oxygen to feel fresh and alive, perhaps so does the floor.
I know it all sounds wishy-washy.
Remember, I don’t have a proper explanation as to why but I can say, after some introspection, I think yoga mats are fun to sleep on because I enjoy being able to see my floor in the morning.
There’s something aesthetically pleasing about knowing that you have this bare floor that you can do anything on.
You have all this space. This potential. This freedom and fresh energy.
Maybe that’s the reason why I like the yoga mat.
Its simplistic minimalism holds the allure of freedom and fresh energy.
I Can Go Right To Meditation
You might have seen articles about how some successful millionaires and billionaires meditate every morning to set their mind in order for the day.
I had plenty of excuses for not meditating every morning. Some included:
“I’m running late for work.”
“I need to eat breakfast and pack my lunch.”
But NO MORE EXCUSES.
One good thing about sleeping on a yoga mat is once I put away the blankets and pillows, TA DA!
There’s the yoga mat.
Ready for me to meditate on.
According to my Chinese zodiac, water monkey, my zodiac directions are north to northwest.
So I orient my yoga mat to sleep in these directions.
After tidying up in the morning, it’s ready for me to meditate in these directions.
By paring down the decisions and actions I have to make in the morning, I can focus my energy and attention on what matters.
Because I sleep on a yoga mat, it doubles as a meditation mat.
Because it’s already oriented to my zodiac direction, I don’t have to spend extra time and energy moving it.
Everything is already geared for me to meditate in the morning.
From waking up, I can go right into a meditation pose and focus on positive affirmations, introspection, deep breathing exercises, goal setting, mindfulness, and visualizing the future I want to create for myself, my family, and the world.
A Fun Observation
I found that putting the blankets and yoga mat away takes almost as long as making the bed.
Whereas it might take me 30 seconds to make my bed, I noticed putting the yoga mat, blankets, and pillows away might take 1 minute.
[Update: it now takes me less than 30 seconds to roll up and put everything away.]
It’s not that much of a time difference, considering we spend tens of minutes a day on social media or pooping.
Caveats To Sleeping On A Yoga Mat
Sleeping on a yoga mat isn’t without some learning pains.
Here are some I encountered after a month of this:
You Have To “Create” Your Bed Everyday
One caveat to sleeping on a yoga mat is that you can’t flop on it and pass out after a long day at work or a hard gym session.
I actually have to create my bed every night.
I didn’t mind doing this as much as I thought I would.
Surprisingly, it’s not annoying nor bothersome. (Your results and experiences may differ 😆)
My Hips Hurt
Physically, my hip muscles sometimes hurt in the morning because of the thin yoga mat.
Because I snore and can sometimes get sleep apnea, one remedy that google recommends is for me to sleep on my side so my tongue doesn’t fall to the back of my throat and block my airways.
But sleeping on my side leads to this occasional hip pain.
The pain isn’t with the bone, but with the hip muscles.
*Your experiences may differ, as every human is different.
But other than that, I’m out like a light most nights.
Now that I know a yoga mat is cheaper, smaller, and lighter than a Japanese futon, plus it can be rolled up and stored away, my goal is to get a thicker yoga mat.
The current one I use is .5 centimeters thick.
That’s not even a full centimeter!
No wonder my hips were feeling it 😂
I’m hoping with the thicker yoga mat, my hips will feel better but I literally have no complaints about sleeping on a yoga mat.
(Some of my readers ended up getting this thick yoga mat. It’s half an inch thick!)
I don’t know why but it makes me feel more zen and down to earth.
Maybe it’s because I’m literally on the ground?
I understand that if you live in a place with cockroaches, mice, other creepy crawlers, or just plain-old cold drafts coming in from under the door, this might not be ideal.
Transparency: I’m lucky that my bedroom doesn’t have cold drafts, nor pests. So a yoga mat works.
Sleeping on a yoga mat might not be for you.
At the end of the day, “you gotta do what works for you.”
You can get the Yoga Rat mat here.
Would you consider doing this? Why or not why not?
If you’re already doing this, how’s it going for you?
Leave a comment below!
- Japanese Futon
- Difference between an American futon and a Japanese futon
- The Yoga Mat I sleep On: 1/4 inch RatMat by Yoga Rat
- “The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins
- Wikipedia article on Marie Kondo and Spark Joy Minimalism
- Huffington Post article on how successful business people meditate
- “The Secret” by Rhona Byrne
- Sleep apnea article by The Mayo Clinic
- The thicker 1/2 inch yoga mat that some of my readers end up getting