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Freaking Hard Korean Beds

May 25, 2015

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Finally! We get to talk about these beds! Oh, how long I’ve wanted to share them with you all. Now I can tell stories!

As you know, we live in Korea. We have our own apartment here. Our apartment, however, didn’t come with any furniture, so we had to buy our own. This was before Ikea came to Korea, so we had to go to the furniture shops in Seoul, and – sweet Jebus – they’re ridiculously overpriced. Some people may defend the exorbitant prices of the furniture by saying that they’re made with quality materials rather than compressed sawdust, but – quality or not – I’m not ready to spend tens of thousands of dollars on furniture. And on a bed frame? Thousands of dollars for a bed frame? Nahhhhhh. I’ll go $500, tops. I’m not that fancy. I’d rather spend more money on a good mattress. But the bed frames we saw in Korea were all in the thousands, and they were all like the ones we’re showing here.

I just don’t get it. Sleeping on the floor is alright at times, I guess. But spending so much money on a bed frame, when it’s just another floor?! Why?! Just sleep on the floor! It feels the same! Or maybe you want it elevated because it’s easier to get into, if you have back problems. But I didn’t know that people liked sleeping on hard surfaces like this so much. I can’t do it myself, personally. I sleep on my sides. And because I’m so big, when I sleep on my sides the difference between my shoulders and waist is consequential, and so I need something fluffy that I can melt into. If I sleep on my side on a hard surface, all of my weight is borne by my shoulders and hips, and I wake up sore as hell. Or, even just trying to sleep on my back on a hard surface is possible, but I wake up a broken man. When we went to Jeju for our latest road trip we had to stop in Mokpo for the night, and the bed we were given was almost as hard as the bed we’re displaying here. I…did not fare well the next day.

This video we filmed while we were in Busan, as part of our road trip. Many road trip videos to come! For last year’s road trip, we filmed 250GB of footage. This year, we filmed 500GB. SO MANY GEE BEES! Lots of videos coming soon. And now we’re back at the studio, and should get to filming more stuff regularly again. Woot woot!

And, no, we’re not sharing this item on Gmarket. You all might be interested in buying a face mask or a hula hoop, but I doubt you’d buy a multi-thousand dollar bed frame. Right? But, for real, what are beds like where you’re from? Maybe it’s not just Korea that does hard beds like this? I just assumed that all beds are desired to be soft and squishy. Please let me know if your country does things otherwise :D

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Freaking Hard Korean Beds

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  1. Hi guys~ So im from new york so people usually sleep on the usual kind of bed however i have seen those kinds of beds here in America!! Im really close with a korean family and all of them have at least one of these kinds of beds in their living room or somewhere in their house although they have normal beds in their bedrooms. At first i was like wth is that but i managed to fall asleep on one in the winter and theyve grown on me ever since. ^^

    4 years ago
  2. We moved last year and in doing so we needed to get rid of our old bed. We slept on the floor for a few weeks and then got a futon. I had better sleep on the floor than the futon, for some reason, but the futon is firm enough that I was able to adjust.

    4 years ago
  3. OH. GOOD. GOSH.

    This is bringing back horrible memories. When I was Taiwan visiting my relatives, I slept at my uncle’s place (in the guest room) with a bed that was maybe not as hard as the one that was showing that there was a bamboo mat that I slept. And because it’s so sweltering hot in Taiwan, there were no blankets…just a plilow. I can’t tell you how little (if any) sleep I got because it was so weird, it felt I was sleeping in hay but like the haystacks that are shaped into rectangular shapes. It was so horrid…

    4 years ago
  4. LOL My parents have a similar bed!
    I think you are supposed to put something on it. Not a mattress, but a little bit thick bed spread for sure. Traditionally Korean people didn’t sleep on the floor directly. They used kind of bedding sets. If you’ve watched any kind of historic drama, you know what I’m talking about. ;)
    That bed is kind of replica of traditional Korean floor-which was layers of fine mud-like soil and than the surface layer. It is believed to have health benefits from the combination of soil part and heat which I don’t remember exactly…
    Anyway, hard bed is better for your back!

    4 years ago
  5. I guess you could buy a matress and put in on top, but the question is, is it worth the money..do you really save money in the long run. Is it cheaper than sleeping on the ondol floor, serious questions that need to be answered somehow.. Yeah but how do people have sex on these beds? It’s like some serious bdsm bed or something…O.o Yikes. lol.

    4 years ago
  6. nothing wrong with this bed. nothing stopping you from buying a mattress and putting it on top. and its heated!!!!

    4 years ago
    • I’m not sure if that would be safe. You’d have to really run the heat up to get it thru the mattress and I suspect that there might be a risk of fire if the heaters got too hot. You wouldn’t even know you had a problem until you awoke in a smoky conflagration … if you awoke at all given the possibility of toxic fumes.

      4 years ago
  7. Usi

    We use a spring core sofa since our sleeping room is too small for a real bed frame. I prefer a harder bed over a softer one. At the moment we are on holiday in Spain and the hotel bed is so soft that I can’t wait to get back. My bf loves the fluffy bed. It is like sleeping on a cloud for him. The best bed I ever slept was in a hotel in Switzerland. I wanted to take that with me. It was hard and the cover had some massage fabric. At first I thought I never could sleep on it. But it was pure heaven and really restfull.

    4 years ago
  8. There are a lot of perceived health benefits, although I’m not exactly sure how true they are. And they probably don’t apply to anyone with joint problems or side sleepers. The material, often jade, is supposed to have some kind of positive effect. Kind of like how there are different benefits from going into different sauna rooms (salt, clay, etc.). And I read an old New York times article where the writer spoke to people shopping for such beds in flushing, and they said they slept more soundly on it as well. Go figure?

    4 years ago
  9. JC

    I nearly knocked myself out flopping onto my bed my first night in China at a hotel. The “mattress” was a plywood box with a sheet over it. My apartment advertised an actual mattress, which turned out to be an inch and a half foam topping on the wooden box. Yes, comfy softness will never be taken for granted again.

    So can you find a decent soft mattress in Korea without robbing a bank?

    4 years ago
  10. I LOVE my Select Comfort bed. You guys got separate heaters on yours. These have separate pressure controls on both sides. My wife likes hers at such a low setting that it seems like she is on a partially filled feather mattress. My side is about as hard as if you took 5 inches of pillowtop and laid it on that THING you guys have in the video.

    4 years ago
  11. We are living in Japan right now and we have yet to buy a mattress. We sleep on a futon on the floor and to be honest it is more comfortable than the mattress we slept on the first weeks while at a friends house. I’m originally from Germany and I think there the predominant mattress type are the foam mattresses (which are really nice because you can choose your “hardness” factor and have different zones to level you out) but here in japan nearly all the mattresses are with coils. My back hurt like hell.
    When we visit my parents in law in china we sleep on a bed exactly like this. In Winter you have a blanket and sheet over it, in the summer a bambus sheet. And while I have to admit the bambus sheet somewhat helps to ease the heat, it really hurts in the morning when you have the pattern pressed into your back…

    4 years ago
  12. I sleep on a coil mattress that is an unknown number of years old. It has been well used and isn’t as soft as my parents’ pillow top, but it’s not crazy hard. From time to time I’ll sleep on the floor, mostly when I’m at a friend’s house. Sometimes I can handle the floor, but not if it is like concrete. I also don’t like my bed crazy soft, but that might just be from sleeping in a worn out bed for years. When my parents brought home their new mattress I sat on it and did not like how deep I sunk into it. My dad tells me that my mattress needs to be replaced or I at least need a new mattress pad, but I am just so used to my bed that I don’t even notice.

    4 years ago
  13. Hard surfaces are not my friends. I am way too curvy to find a comfortable position. I love my memory foam mattress. No pressure points, and it molds perfectly to my body.

    4 years ago
  14. So this is the clean-freak in me coming out, but how do they clean/wash their beds? I have to wash my sheets all the time because the thought of unclean sheets weirds me out. Do they just Windex down the bed or something? But I feel like certain cleaners could irritate your skin, however, I have really sensitive skin so that could just be me. On the plus side, I bet this cuts down a ton on laundry!

    Also, this further convinces me that we are a bunch of softies here in the States. We like our comfort and we take our beds pretty seriously. I think that bed would be a hard sell here and I don’t really know what type of audience they would target. A lot of the older people that I know have gotten the really nice Sleep Number beds or something similar. However, we have a strange obsession with pillows. So. Many. Pillows. And people don’t even use them, in fact, people get pretty mad when you use their decorative pillow for sleeping.

    4 years ago
  15. Where are the pillows? I don’t usually sleep with pillows…there was a DAY where my shoulders started clicking, the clicking sound was more like spider legs on a wooden surface…sounds horrible…and then the pain spread to my back and neck…so now I can’t sleep with pillows because my neck and back and shoulder…would hurt…

    Dose anymore know why this happened though? I’ve been to the doctors…but really they’re not very reliable…I was first told that I had ‘over stretched’ like I wasn’t even at the ‘pulled a muscle stage’…and then I went back to the doctors a year later, like ‘HEY DOCTOR, am I still over stretched?’…Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

    4 years ago
  16. I live in China and we have huge king sized mattresses… but they’re freaking hard. Hard like people get bruised from just laying on them, hard like my butt hurts if I sit on it too long and my hip hurts if I lay on my side. My Chinese friends think my bed is so freaking soft! But they sleep on plywood. This is more about money, though. People here are much poorer than in Korea.

    4 years ago
  17. I saw this kind of bed in Super H and at first assumed a mattress went on top. Then I saw the movie Poetry, and there was a scene with an old man lying in a bed like this with a little round pillow. I figured it was just a fancier version of sleeping on the floor. Like once upon a time someone rich said, “You know, I prefer sleeping on the floor, but I’m rich and I’ve got to be fancy. So how about I get a bed frame that’s *like* sleeping on the floor without actually sleeping on the floor.” However, when Soozee said, “They’re for old people!” That made a lot of sense. An old person who has always slept on the floor, but is starting to have a hard time getting down or up from it would find this useful.

    4 years ago
  18. I mean, I liver in America but I like to transition between the floor and my bad just because I’m very tense, 3 days on the floor 1-2 on the bed and so forth, lol.

    4 years ago
  19. Dear Korea,

    Electric. Blanket.

    Love,
    A perpetually cold Ohioan.

    4 years ago
    • From what we’ve been told, these beds are preferable to electric blankets, because these beds don’t get overly hot and burn you in one spot. These beds have more even distribution of heat.

      4 years ago
  20. When I lived in China, my bed was basically a wooden platform with a very thin cushion over it. It was hard to get used to (no pun intended) but in the end I actually felt less sore after sleeping on it and sometimes I miss that bed.

    4 years ago
    • Yea, sleeping on hard surfaces reduces tension and stiffness!

      4 years ago
  21. I was hoping to see Simon break dance on the bed.

    4 years ago
  22. I usually like sleeping on a pillowy soft mattress. But I really like sleeping on the floor too, with only a blanket underneath me and a pillow. I sleep fine on the floor, I think it’s pretty comfy. For me though it’s either an extremely soft mattress or the floor. I’m from the US and mattresses range from super firm to extra soft.

    4 years ago
  23. I myself also have EDS. I also have Arthritis, Hypothyroidism… There’s no way I’m sleeping on a hard bed comfortably. I know some people can relax more on them even with some health issues, but unless I’m on my tummy on a hard service I wouldn’t be able to even stay still. So I’d rather just sleep on a nice soft comfy bed, lined in foam (Or slung over the back of a couch.). Plus I Overheat so bad (Minnesotan here)

    (P.S. Thanks Martina your advice really did help me)

    4 years ago
  24. When I went to the Philippines, we visited my Grandma who lives in the countryside and the bed I slept in was made of wood. It was basically a flat piece of plywood and the most uncomfortable place I’ve ever had to sleep in. That’s how it was for her and my mom growing up.

    4 years ago
  25. Siiiimon and Martinnnna, I am with you two, beds should be soft and fluffy. We have huge extremes in beds here… I have seen some really really firm beds but nothing that looks like that… It reminds me of people who sleep in marble coffins (I have a friend who does)… I can’t do hard beds, I wake up in agony and I always end up with migraines being worse…

    4 years ago
  26. I myself also have EDS. I also have Arthritis, Hypothyroidism… There’s no way I’m sleeping on a hard bed comfortably. I know some people can relax more on them even with some health issues, but unless I’m on my tummy on a hard service I wouldn’t be able to even stay still. So I’d rather just sleep on a nice soft comfy bed, lined in foam (Or slung over the back of a couch.) Though If I Could sleep on a hard bed I would try it.

    (P.S. Thanks Martina your advice really did help me)

    4 years ago
  27. I don’t know if all chinese people are like that (judging be comments – they are) but I feel like my husband’s family are scared of comfortable beds. No, they do have mattresses, but don’t be fooled by that! What’s the point of having a mattress if I can’t press it in even a tiny bit with all my weight? My husband decided to by a new “softer” mattress when I was away. When I came back to Hong Kong another wooden-like mattress was waiting for me. More than that, he needs to put some stiff woven thing on top because “it makes you feel cool during summer”. It doesn’t! It makes me feel miserable! Soft pillow? Let’s fill it with grainy stuff until it feels like a log! And now I have constant backpains like an old lady. (Here was a complaint about chinese doctors that I deleted not to annoy everybody) Sorry for complaining here it’s been bothering me for too long. (-_-;)

    4 years ago
  28. I don’t know if all chinese people are like that but I feel like my husband’s family are scared of comfortable beds. No, they do have mattresses, but they can’t fool me by that anymore. What’s the point of having a mattress if I can’t press it in even a tiny bit with all my weight? My husband decided to by a new “softer” mattress when I was away. When I came back to Hong Kong another wooden-like mattress was waiting for me. More than that, he needs to put some stiff woven thing on top because “it makes you feel cool during summer”. It doesn’t! It makes me feel miserable! And now I have constant backpains like an old lady. Sorry for complaining here it’s been bothering me for too long. (-_-;)

    4 years ago
  29. Can I have that bed? I think it’s probably more comfortable than my student accomondation bed of pain… (I can feel each indidual metal coil thing in it, and knocking on the mattress makes it make jiggly noices like some form of music instrument).

    When I lived in China I ended up sleeping on the floor, because my “mattress” was about 1 cm thick, and the bedframe was not comfortable. The joy of visiting my friend in Japan and sleeping on a proper futon bed (still on the floor) was great. I prefer harder beds over softer, also because if I sleep on a bed that’s too soft it makes my back really painful.

    4 years ago
  30. Each time I slept on Korean or Chinese beds I ended up with bruises all along my spine!! O.O
    It just feels wrong when the only soft thing is a tiny pillow…

    4 years ago
  31. I’m going to have to go with Leigh and that mysterious stranger on this. I am also a 70 year old man trapped in a 25 year old’s body and I sleep on the floor with the only thing between it and me being a worn 1cm thick blanket. No issues at all. Not to say that a real bed isn’t comfortable, but it doesn’t hurt at all to sleep like that.

    4 years ago
  32. I myself also have EDS. I also have Arthritis, Hypothyroidism… There’s no way I’m sleeping on a hard bed comfortably. I know some people can relax more on them even with some health issues, but unless I’m on my tummy on a hard service I wouldn’t be able to even stay still. Evidently after laying on my tummy for a few minutes my knees would protest, so I’d rather just sleep on a nice soft comfy bed (Or slung over the back of a couch. Though If I Could sleep on a hard bed I would.

    4 years ago
  33. i used to sleep on a futon until I moved in with my sister, now I had this super soft queen bed all to myself. I slept sooooo well the first week omg.

    4 years ago
  34. Here’s an interesting thing. I went to a hotel in Taiwan where there was a very hard bed Think it was barely a mattress or maybe it was barely the frame, who knows. My brother who makes it a habit to face plant into every hotel bed, faceplanted into this bed and he found out the bed was hard. Strangely enough, the hard beds were good for my dad who has had back issues before. He said it was good on his back, and helped him ease the back sores.

    I’m not sure if that’s true or not. Personally, I was more concerned about the bathroom than the bed…

    4 years ago
    • I have back issues too, and harder beds are better for me than softer. I sleep on my side/stomach and a harder mattress helps me “level” out so to speak, while a softer one means I’m more bent.

      4 years ago
      • That makes sense. I remember when my dad badly injured his back from getting up from a bad armchair we got rid of, he was basically bedridden for a few days. Lying on his soft bed didn’t help make his pain go away quickly.

        4 years ago
  35. USA here. yea, if you walked into a hotel in the US and saw this you’d be like “bro, where’s the mattress?” it’s not unusual to see mattresses on the floor here in the US, though it’s usually a temporary thing or a broke (as in lack of funds) thing. the hardest beds in the US will have at least firm padding on them. i dont see how that’s comfortable even if you have a bad back. my husband has a herniated disk and and he likes a firm bed, but something like that looks like it would hurt. i have a sleep number with a memory foam top. my side is usually pretty soft.

    4 years ago
  36. This was really interesting!

    YOU GUYS!!! why was this not included in tips for visitng Korea??? :P Now I’ll at least consider taking an inflatable mattress if I want to visit the Korean countryside.

    4 years ago
  37. I live in Ohio, US and I have always had a bedframe, box spring and mattress (with pillow top). I don’t understand the purpose of a box spring but it is what came with my bed so I think it would be more trouble to get rid of than to just keep. I ABSOLUTELY cannot sleep on anything remotely hard because in my ripe old age of (soon to be, next week) 26, I have managed to get injuries that have caused chronic problems and have a nerve issue in my left leg that goes up my back and when I sleep on hard surfaces, I can’t function. Even just sitting on the floor for too long puts me out of commission. I can’t walk, can barely move or function. While the idea of a heated bed is AMAZING (heated bed is a dream bed), I need cushion.

    4 years ago
  38. those is good if you have problems with your back. My grandfather put some board in his bed cause his bed was to bouncy. It make from metal things and it’s very funny to jump on it ;D i can’t understand how he can sleep on that thing. I tried to lie on the ground, and soon my all body was so hurt even my bed is not very soft

    4 years ago
  39. Ohemgee what is this nightmare? Whenever I go out camping I sleep on this self inflating camping mat which is maybe 2 cm and every morning I wake up with the worst backpain. I imagine that that would be the same for this bed. Maybe we’re just spoiled with our luxurious matresses.

    4 years ago
    • with hay can make good bed, but not always can get it, so i use air mattress for swimming, it is small and cheep and also can use for swimming ;D

      4 years ago
    • Spoiled, but in a good way :D

      4 years ago
  40. In China, you have a bed frame…and then you put layers of blankets on the wood, but that doesn’t really do much……every time I go on holiday back home I just sleep on the sofa…

    4 years ago
    • I love love love Chinese beds. Has the best sleep ever during my stay in China. I also love the bamboo mats that Chinese people put on beds during the summer. Such a brilliant idea!

      4 years ago
      • There are also tile like things to cool you down during the summer. I remember seeing them in the shops, there are cushions with a ’tile’ or bamboo layer…I agree ㅋㅋㅋ they seriously are lifesavers!

        4 years ago
      • The bamboo mats are lifesavers during the heath!

        4 years ago