Sleeping on the floor sounds pretty caveman, right? Even The Flintstones had beds. Rock beds, but beds nonetheless. A new trend seems to show that sleeping on the floor has several health benefits.
Trends like “earthing” and “grounding” are becoming more popular. People want to connect to the energy of the planet by walking barefoot and sleeping on the floor. Others claim that sleeping on the floor can cure several physical ailments and even certain sleep disturbances.
Feeling a little like Fred or Wilma Flintstone? Let’s look into this whole sleeping on the floor thing and see if it’s actually good for you.
Why Do People Want to Sleep on the Floor
Sending your expensive and comfortable mattress to the curb on garbage day may not be something you willingly want to do. You’ve invested time, energy, and money on finding your perfect mattress, linens, and pillows. Why on earth would you want to sleep on the hard floor?
Many people are claiming that sleeping on the floor is the way to cure many aches and pains and even certain sleep issues. Some floor-sleeping fans are convinced that ditching the mattress is excellent if you’re experiencing back pain.
Some fans of the Paleo diet are also advocating the benefits of sleeping on the floor. Paleo is basically going back to eating how humans used to eat thousands of years ago. There weren’t any processed foods, refined sugars, or dairy products. Humans ate whole foods that were available and unprocessed. These people claim that switching our sleeping habits to how we used to sleep thousands of years ago can also have benefits on our health and general well-being.
What Professionals are Saying About Sleeping on the Floor
There’s a mixed bag of concerns and recommendations from professionals when it comes to sleeping on the floor. We can find as many claiming that it is good for you as there are stating that it isn’t a wise decision.
The most common reason they recommend sleeping on a hard surface is to relieve back pain. Sleeping on the floor can maintain a neutral position for the spine in order for it to heal. Often our mattresses are soft and accommodate our body’s curves. This may seem like the most comfortable thing for your back, but not necessarily if you have recurring back pain.
Most professionals say that while sleeping on the floor may provide relief for your back pain it may actually induce other pains in your joints and cause muscle deterioration.
A study was conducted on non-western civilizations who don’t sleep on mattresses and the conclusion of the research seems to show that they tend to suffer less from musculoskeletal problems.
Conflicting, right? Let’s take a look at the benefits and the risks of sleeping on the floor.
Benefits of Sleeping on the Floor
The floor-sleeping fans claim health and sleep benefits associated with ditching your mattress and hitting the floor for the night.
Some of these include:
- Provide a neutral back position.
- Relief of back and neck pain.
- Better posture.
- Improved circulation.
- Help with scoliosis.
- More energy.
- Deeper sleep.
- Grounding with the planet.
- Provide more space in the bedroom.
- Can sleep anywhere.
- No snoozing in the morning.
Risks of Sleeping on the Floor
While sleeping on the floor can be a positive experience for some, it may actually cause health issues in others.
Sleeping on the floor is not recommended if you have any of these issues or concerns:
- Have joint pain.
- Are overweight.
- Are a cold sleeper (you are always cold when you sleep).
- Are elderly.
- Have difficulty getting up from a resting position.
- Concerned about intimacy.
- Concerned about dirt and critters.
- If you are a side sleeper.
- Have sleep apnea.
Ready to Ditch Your Bed?
Some people have tried and documented their experiences of sleeping on the floor. This guy gave it a try after speaking with a woman who specializes in biomechanics and movement. He was himself experiencing painful muscle knots and decided to give it a go. Though he stuck with the experiment for a week, he was glad to seek the comfort of his bed (and his wife) after the week was over not convinced that floor sleeping was for him.
This other guy became an adept after trying it to relieve the back pain he was temporarily experiencing. He noted a few drawbacks such as critters and difficulty falling asleep at first, but overall his positive takeaway was greater than the small inconveniences.
Tips and Tricks for Sleeping on the Floor
Here are a few suggestions for successfully sleeping on the floor if you are ready to give it a try yourself.
Hitting the cold hard floor for a full night the first time may not be a good idea. You will probably have difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, and eventually get discouraged about the whole thing.
- Try setting your alarm a few hours before you normally get up and go to the floor for the few hours remaining. You should be sleepy enough to get back to sleep. Try this a few nights and add more floor sleep hours every night until you can ease into a full night of sleeping on the floor.
You don’t need to sleep directly on the floor.
- Japanese Tatami mats, futons, or yoga mats can be used to soften the surface a little and protect you from the cold of the floor.
- You can also use layers of blankets or sleeping bags to cushion the floor a little. Pile them on for the first night and remove them one by one gradually as the nights go on until you no longer have any cushioning at all.
- Many adepts recommend not to use pillows, but you should consider using a small pillow if sleeping on the floor provokes neck soreness or stiffness. Your comfort is primordial and this experiment shouldn’t cause you discomfort or pain.
So, Is Sleeping on the Floor Good for You?
It depends on who you talk to, really.
Sleeping on the floor is obviously not meant for everyone. We have become accustomed to the comfy beds that we love to sink into at night, and have difficulty getting out of in the morning. One perk of sleeping on the floor is that you don’t feel like snoozing 9 times when the alarm goes off in the morning. Floor sleepers mention that they spring up and get ready for the day easily. That’s a pretty good incentive if you are a compulsive snoozer.
Sleeping on the floor does seem to alleviate back pain for some people. This means that a firmer surface will help keep your spine and back in a neutral position and ease the pain. Maybe it’s time to look at the firmness of your mattress If you are experiencing back pain and haven’t had an injury or specific reason for it. Your mattress may be the cause. If sleeping on the floor is not appealing to you, look into getting a firmer mattress to alleviate your back pain symptoms.
One of the common issues with the floor-sleeping adepts is the problems it can provoke with their partners. If the partner is not on board with the idea, it may cause some conflict and eventual lack of intimacy.
Some enjoy the space it creates in their bedroom. Imagine if you didn’t have your huge mattress occupying most of the space in your bedroom? It would definitely look different. You could decorate it differently and maybe even use it for some other purpose like a home office.
If you are curious about it and don’t have any health issues or concerns you can give it a try. Going full-on for a full night the first time is probably not a good idea though. Try our helpful tips to ease you into it. Who knows, you may become an adept.
For some of us, the comfort of our cushy mattresses and soft pillows is something we are simply not willing to give up.