Why do Koreans sometimes sleep on the floor? I mean they just put a mattress on the floor and that's it. But sometimes, they sleep in a regular bed. Why is that?
What's "regular" to you may not be "regular" everywhere in the world.
Until recently--that is, until approximately 30 years ago--the "regular" way to sleep in Korea was to sleep on the floor. Koreans would usually have a very large wardrobe, in which they kept their bedding. The bedding would be comprised of a thick blanket/mattress (about as thick as a thin futon,) which was placed on the floor. One would sleep on that blanket (called 요 [yo],) with a lighter blanket on top for warmth. Every morning, Koreans would wake up, fold the two blankets and put them into the wardrobe; every night, they would take them out again and make the bed.
Modernity and convenience eventually phased out this habit. The Korean is actually old enough to remember the time when few Koreans slept on a bed. He himself never slept on a bed until he was in the third grade, i.e. 1991, when the Korean Mother decided to sign onto the ongoing fad--and the Korean Family was somewhat ahead of the curve. (It took him nearly two weeks before he did not fall out of the bed every night.) Hotels used to give the guests an option to choose between a "bed" room, or a "floor" room. Yet like everything in Korea, lifestyle habits change very fast. It appears that sleeping on a bed became the mainstream in Korea by mid- to late 1990s. Today, most Koreans sleep on a bed, although sleeping on the floor is not difficult to find in Korea today.
Interestingly, some Koreans found a way to compromise the prevailing trend and the bodily habits. Especially among older Koreans, a "rock bed" has proven popular--literally, a bed that has a sheet of rock instead of a mattress, like this:
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