Sleeping on the floor is a great way to get beter sleep, reduce back pain and improve posture...at least that is what some people claim.
Did you recently move into a new house and still don't have a bed to complete your furnishings? You could have bought a new mattress, and you plan to sleep on it while waiting for your bed frame to be delivered.
Whatever your reasons there are advantages and disadvantages of sleeping on the floor with and without a mattress.
We'll outline the benefits in contrast to the harmful effects of lying on the floor for prolonged periods. So you want to think twice whether it if for you or not.
Advantages of Sleeping on the Floor
Before going over the numerous disadvantages attributed to hard surface sleeping habits, let's discuss the most considerable benefits.
Many claim that you obtain some advantages from sleeping on the floor, but there is no objective scientific evidence to prove most of these claims.
Relieves Back and Leg Pains
People who like sleeping on a hard surface can confirm that it can relieve chronic back pains.
The idea can be partially right because an extra-soft mattress cannot provide enough support for advisable sleeping positions.
If you find relief from back pain after sleeping on a hard surface, analyze your recent activities and identify the cause of your pain.
Any underlying symptoms that suggest sciatica or any other chronic problem that causes back pains should immediately be consulted with your doctor.
Encourages Good Posture
Since soft surfaces make your spine curve, it can be confirmed that sleeping on a hard surface such as the floor helps in keeping your spine straight.
Again, without scientific proof, keep your spine problems in check, and observe for symptoms of scoliosis and kyphosis.
Talk to your doctor and inquire about the safety of sleeping on semi-hard to hard surfaces.
Energizes and Rests You Well
Laying on the floor allows gravity to work and puts pressure on several contact points on the body.
The contact point pressure can be likened to having a massage of some sort that can make you feel more relaxed.
A certain amount of relaxation can make you well-rested and energized when you wake up.
Provides Comfort for Hot Sleepers and Summer Conditions
A hot sleeper is someone who tends to feel hot every time they go to sleep.
A mattress and some beddings can trap the bodily heat released by hot sleepers, causing them to wake up sweating and feeling uncomfortable occasionally.
Sleeping on the floor can provide comfort through passive cooling whenever hot flashes occur.
Convertible Floor Space
Aside from the benefits of sleeping on the floor, it allows floor space to be converted into a different use.
Typical Japanese homes have a tatami room, a convertible space that allows use as a bedroom, dining room, and living room.
The same concept can be applied to a room if you sleep on the floor.
Keep in mind that tatami is a semi-firm, soft mat that can provide cushion, unlike hardwood planks and ceramic tiles.
How to Properly Sleep on the Floor
If you insist on sleeping on a hard floor surface, consider the following steps:
Step #1: Choose the Right Space and Materials
Look for a clutter-free space, and then spread a blanket or layers of blankets over the sleeping space to reduce its hardness.
It's also best to use thin pillows. The hard surface does not allow your body to sink in, and thick or layers of pillows can give you a stiff neck.
Step #2: Find the Right Sleeping Position
Try different sleeping positions and find out which one you are comfortable with, on your back, stomach, or side.
If you are sleeping on your back then this is the ideal position for floor sleeping. It allows for a straight and aligned spine and distributes your body's weight more evenly on the floor.
To ensure that you're sleeping in the most comfortable position possible, try using an extra pillow under your knees to ease eventual pressure on your lower back. This will provide plenty of support for your back without any discomfort.
If you are sleeping on your side then it is better to be careful when it comes to floor sleeping. The main reason is that the hard and firm floor doesn't support good alignment of your spine.
That is too bad as actually about two thirds of people are side sleepers. If you still want to give it a try then sleep on something cushioned like a thick blanket or a mattress pad.
If you are sleeping on your stomach then things are really getting tricky. Even when sleeping in a bed on a regular mattress stomach sleeping creates discomfort resulting from your spine.
Usually your back and neck are turned or are somewhat under pressure. While in general it is not recommended to do floor sleeping on your stomach you could still try it with a specific stomach sleeper pillow.
Step #3: Transition Slowly
Allow some transition time between sleeping on an overly soft bed and lying on the floor.
Try short naps and short sleeping cycles before doing it for one whole night.
If you can't ease into floor-sleeping, consider using a sleep mask to induce some shuteye and deep sleep.
Disadvantages of Sleeping on the Floor
Prehistoric people lived in cave dwellings and slept on usually firm groundcovers.
But let's face it: the human body is not straight from head to heels and even curvier in front from the face to the toes.
That is why the mattress and the bed have been invented, and it even started with mats made of preserved and compacted plant material.
Since people from older times discovered the disadvantages of sleeping on hard surfaces, they have exploited better sleeping habits and equipment.
Increased Bodily Pains
The human spine is not straight. It has a natural curve that deserves to be rested on a surface that takes its shape.
With a hard surface, the spine stresses itself to maintain that natural curve, causing more back pain.
Instead of getting back pain relief, you can get more aggravated symptoms if you do not sleep on a hard surface correctly.
Additionally, you can experience joint and muscle pains after sleeping on a hard surface.
Since the human body does not form any straight lines, lying on the floor puts a lot of pressure on several contact points.
You can end up having a painful butt, a stiff neck, or a cramped arm.
Less Hygiene and Induced Allergic Reactions
The floor is one of the dirtiest environments at home since it catches all the free-floating pet hairs, dust, dirt, mold spores, and invisible allergens.
Its lower elevation also provides easy access for insects such as mites, ants, and cockroaches.
Unless you have a habit of cleaning the floor several times a day, it only encourages less hygienic living conditions.
More Exposure to Cold
Although hardwood planks offer more warmth than ceramic floor tiles, both circumstances can expose you to colder temperatures.
Sleeping on the floor can be beneficial in the summer, but it can be detrimental to your health in the winter months.
Hot air is less dense than cold air, which means the former rises within a room and pushes down the denser cold air towards the floor.
This effect called convection proves that it is warmer to sleep in an elevated position than on the floor.
Unless you let unwanted particles accumulate on your beddings, you will need to spend some time setting up your bed every night only to stow it every morning.
Having a clean bed and covering it with some sheets in the daytime takes less time than having to tidy up all the time.
Sleeping on the floor is not only time-consuming, but it also requires you to do laundry more often.
Not Suitable for Everyone
Although we can transition from sleeping in a bed to sleeping on the floor, the practice is not suitable for everyone.
Who Should Not Sleep on the Floor?
Older people or people with weaker bones and less fatty tissue can expect more considerable risks in fractures and bodily pains after sleeping on the floor.
As the bones get weaker, the effects of sleeping on a cold floor can also become more painful.
People with anemia, hypothyroidism, and type 2 diabetes are always prone to feeling colder when they try to sleep on the floor.
Pregnant women should take caution when sleeping on the floor.
It can give pain-relieving effects on their backs, but they may have difficulty standing up or sitting down.
People with joint issues and limited mobility should also avoid sleeping on the floor.
Even just the difficulty of sitting on the floor or getting back up should be enough indication that it is not the better option.
Is It OK to Sleep On Mattress On Floor?
There may be times when you would want to consider sleeping on a bed on floor vs on frame.
Doing so has pros and cons different from that of sleeping on the hard surface of the floor.
It is OK to sleep on a mattress laid on the floor because it combines the bed cushioning with the equal pressure distribution of a flat surface.
Sleeping in overly soft beds is actually more detrimental to posture, health, and circulation.
Additionally, you get enough cushioning while enjoying passive summer cooling whenever you sleep on a mattress put down on the floor.
It is not OK to keep putting your mattress on the floor unless you clean it regularly and adequately.
The mattress on the floor is more prone to collecting allergens and dust mites that can make it their new home.
Why Sleeping On the Floor is Bad: The Conclusion
There is less science proving the benefits than the disadvantages of sleeping on the floor.
If history proves something, it only says that improvements and inventions emerged due to human necessity.
A bed or a mattress combined with good sleeping habits can help maintain and improve a person's overall health.
That is why it is such a piece of ever-evolving innovative furniture.
Newer mattresses have more pain-relieving, self-cleaning, hypoallergenic properties that make them topple the unproven benefits of sleeping on the floor.
When choosing between sleeping in a bed on floor vs on frame, consider the type of bed frame you have.
Is it solid? Does it allow air to pass through the mattress, or does it let air circulate through the bed?
The latter can provide passive cooling so you won't have to transfer your mattress to the floor, but it can be disadvantageous if it makes the mattress bend too much.