Most of the time, when you think of sleeping, you think of lying down on a bed raised up from the floor. However, plenty of people out there actually prefer sleeping on the floor. While some of them just have their mattress on the floor, others don’t even bother with a mattress at all.
Our ancestors slept on the floor, so we’re not that far off from being able to do the same. There are many cultures around the world where people still sleep on the floor and are perfectly fine with it. Sleeping on the floor is actually not that unusual in the grand scheme of things.
Doing so has its own benefits and disadvantages, and some people may find it more comfortable while others don’t. Let’s look more into what good that sleeping on the floor can provide.
Why Do People Want to Sleep on the Floor?
You wouldn’t want to just throw your mattress away since you invested money, time, and energy to get it, along with linens and pillows to go with it. It seems dumb to just throw it all away and start sleeping on the hard floor.
Then again, many people claim floor-sleeping as a solution to aches and pains, as well as various sleeping problems. Fanatics of the practice swear by it as a way to relieve chronic back pain, which seems counterintuitive since the mattress is naturally more comfortable than the cold, hard floor.
Many of those floor-sleeping fans are also proponents of things like the Paleo diet and lifestyle, which harkens back to prehistoric times when humans didn’t have the creature comforts of modern living and only have the barest of bare essentials to survive with.
They’re convinced that the way humans used to live was way better than the luxuries we now have thanks to industrialization and globalization. Whether you believe it or not, there may be something to it. In any case, sleeping on the floor is something you can try without throwing out your mattress right away.
What Experts Say About Sleeping on the Floor
Expert opinion is mixed regarding floor-sleeping. Some have concerns about it, while others recommend it. That does mean the jury is still out regarding how good sleeping on the floor can be good for your health.
The most cited reason for recommending floor-sleeping—or sleeping on a hard surface—is for relieving back pain. It can help maintain a neutral position for the spine, which lets it heal during sleep. Mattresses are soft, so they sink into the curves of your body, which may feel comfortable, but may not help with chronic back pain.
There’s a study conducted on non-western cultures where sleeping on mattresses isn’t common. It concluded that people in these cultures tend to suffer much less from musculoskeletal problems that may be common among people who sleep on mattresses.
Benefits and Risks of Sleeping on the Floor
Fans of sleeping on the floor tout many health benefits from the practice, including relief of neck and back pain, better posture, improved circulation, better sleep quality, no grogginess during the day, and so on.
However, it’s certainly not for everyone. For people who are either overweight, elderly, or tend to get cold when they sleep, floor-sleeping may not be ideal. For them, it may actually exacerbate joint pain. It’s also not good for partners looking to get intimate, as well as people who are concerned about insects and dirt.
It’s also not the best for sleeping on your side or if you have sleep apnea. For those particular conditions, having a mattress with supportive pillows may be better.
Another good thing about sleeping on the floor is that when you wake up, you’re less likely to have the urge to go back to sleep. This is one big advantage that fans of floor-sleeping really swear by.
Tips for Sleeping on the Floor
The first big challenges to sleeping on the floor is the hardness and coldness of the hard floor. You may want to ease your way in by first sleeping on a harder mattress before starting to try sleeping on the floor.
While still sleeping on a mattress, you can set an alarm a few hours before you usually wake up, then transition to sleeping on the floor. You should still be plenty sleepy enough to go right back to sleep. Do this for a few nights and see if you can slowly add more floor-sleeping hours to it. This practice should help you get used to it.
Also, you can choose to not sleep directly on the floor, especially if you’re concerned about dirt and insects. You can use Japanese tatami mats, yoga mats, futons, or so on to soften it a bit for you. These also allow you to have blankets on, in case you’re feeling too cold. You can also just use a sleeping bag.