Should you be Sleeping on the Floor

Should you be Sleeping on the Floor

Should you be Sleeping on the Floor

Sometimes you come home so tired that even the floor starts looking like a good place to sleep. Well, as it turns out, it might be.

Between the price of bedding skyrocketing in recent years and the move towards minimalism, it’s no wonder some people have chosen to forgo beds entirely and sleep on the floor.

Let’s take a look at the potential benefits and drawbacks of resting on the hardwood.

Why Do Some People Sleep on the Floor?

In many cultures, sleeping on the floor is normal. The raised bed most of us use is a feature of Western and European households. Other cultures have mattresses they place directly on the floor, fabric or straw mats, or not beds at all.

Sleeping on the floor is typical in many places. Aside from culture, there are several reasons someone may choose to change their sleeping arrangement to the floor.

While there’s no scientific evidence, many people find that lying on the floor to sleep has many benefits, including pain reduction, improved sleep, and increased comfort.

Various studies have found that a medium hard surface is best for sleeping. People tend to sleep better, experience less pain and soreness, and feel better if they don’t lie on something too soft.


Let’s take a look at some of the benefits people who sleep on the floor swear by.

Back Pain Relief

Many people choose to sleep on the floor to relieve back pain. Different factors can affect how helpful this strategy may be. Medium to firm surfaces do provide more support than soft ones and can help to reduce stiff and sore backs.

The underlying reason for pain and other ailments can change how effective this treatment is, but for many people, it’s an improvement.

The hard floor forces your body to stay more rigid throughout sleep, whereas a soft mattress depresses and warps under your weight leading to an oddly bent spine.

If you try sleeping on the floor to reduce back pain, you may want to consider getting some thin pillows. When sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your lower back, behind the knees, and under your neck to prevent strain. Should you sleep on your side, place a pillow under your knees, between your neck and shoulder, and under your waist if you feel you need it.

Better Sleep Conditions

As you probably know, since cold air sinks, it’s cooler at ground level. Additionally, surfaces like wood, tile, and laminate are often cool to the touch. The lower temperature can improve the sleep of people who often find themselves too hot at night.

Being against the ground saps your body heat quicker, so be careful if you have any condition or are older.

One of the reasons Europe and the West have raised beds is to combat the cold. Sleeping on the floor is more common in hotter climates.

Better Posture

Some people find that their sleep posture improves when they sleep on the floor. As stated before, hard surfaces prevent your body from sinking in and curving at odd angles.

In fact, some individuals find that their entire sleeping position changes when they move to the floor. Side sleepers become back sleepers, stomach sleepers become side sleepers, and vice versa.

For those who have spent their lives on softer mattresses, changing to the floor can be jarring, but you might find that your new position offers better sleep.


Sleeping on the floor can have some drawbacks, too. Here are a few issues some people might experience.

Increased Pain

Conversely, some individuals find that the harder surface leads to an increase in pain. Especially if you’re a side sleeper, you may find that the floor is too hard for your hips or shoulders. A thin, foam mattress can help with this issue, but sleeping on the floor isn’t feasible for some.

Too Cold

Older people especially may find that sleeping on the floor saps too much heat and leaves them frigid. Young children may also get too cold on the floor. If you have different levels in your house and want to try sleeping on the floor, start on the top level where it’s warmer.

Exacerbated Mobility Issues

While this one probably goes without saying, for those who already have existing mobility issues, sleeping on the floor might make moving around harder. Getting down on the floor and then back up can be extremely difficult for some people.

Even trying to use the washroom during the night may prove too difficult.


Another problem with sleeping on the floor is it can increase the frequency of allergic reactions. All the allergens that usually rest at your feet and hide in the corners of the room are suddenly at face level.

Dust, mould, and pet fur can blow into your sleeping space during the night and cause difficulty breathing, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose. Even if you do a thorough clean of the room you’ll be sleeping in, it may be too hard to maintain the level of cleanliness you need to sleep on the floor.

Directly on the Floor vs. Bed on the Floor vs. Raised Bed

Before you throw out your bed, start by just moving your mattress to the ground. Spend a couple of nights on the floor, add pillows, and go without blankets. You need to experiment because chances are, you won’t get a better night’s sleep if you immediately move to a hardwood floor without any bedding.

A thin foam mattress, like a Japanese futon, is ideal for testing a few weeks on the floor. Depending on the way you sleep, you may find that you need more or less padding to get comfortable.

Talk to a somnologist before committing to the floor, especially if you have existing medical conditions or complications.

Final Thoughts

While sleeping on the floor isn’t for everyone and the science behind it is limited, there’s enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that it may be a way to improve the quality of sleep for some.

Whether you choose to use a thin mattress or forgo all bedding entirely, you may see improvements to back pain, comfort, and sleep quality by moving to the floor.

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