Sleeping on the Floor: Bad or Good?

Find out how sleeping on the floor can help you ditch your mattress and actually give you more refreshing mornings and reduced back pain.

You get up from your cushioned office chair to sit on your soft, cushioned couch and then you get up from your couch to lie down on your fluffy bed which has a soft mattress. You have filed your homes and workplaces with comfortable soft surfaces but have you observed that you still do not feel completely refreshed and you also sometimes experience a backache when you get up from your favorite couch or wake up in your bed every morning?

This is because we believe that soft surfaces are the most comfortable ones. However, research and studies have proven that extremely soft surfaces can cause more harm to your back and posture than good. This brings us to our next question.

Where to sleep if not on our beds? We have the answer for you; sleep on the floor!

People have been sleeping on the floor since ancient times. Grandparents advise sleeping on the floor when you complain of back pains and recently, most doctors have started believing that sleeping on the floor is far more beneficial than sleeping on a soft, plush surface.

So, how is sleeping on the floor good for you?

We have explained how sleeping on the floor affects the three aspects mentioned below:

  • Back

The alignment of the spinal cord and the muscles in your back is extremely important. If your back is aligned properly you will not experience the mild stiffness and soreness you experience every morning. This is because the hard floor firmly holds your back straight and in proper position and your body stretches out. The stretching causes your muscles to relax and reduces the stiffness you experience in your back every day.

  • Pain

Most doctors recommend the centuries-old traditional method to sleep on the floor to help cure backaches. This has been a very successful way to treat back pains as the hard surface helps your hips and shoulders stay in proper alignment with your back. Moreover, soft, body-hugging mattresses tend to sag.

This sagging causes misalignment of the spinal cord. Sleeping on the floor helps prevent these problems. All the people who have switched from a soft mattress to the floor have experienced reduced backaches. Some people have even claimed that their back pains vanished after they started sleeping on the floor regularly!

  • Posture

Soft mattresses misalign the backbone. This causes bad posture. Back pains may also cause people to slouch and this may develop a hunchback. Sagging mattresses are another cause of bad posture as they cannot provide proper support to the back muscles. Sleeping on the floor reduces back pains, provides more support, properly aligns your hips and shoulders, does not make you feel sore and this is why it helps in improving your posture. It makes you stand up taller, straighter and makes you feel more refreshed and rejuvenated.

Having trouble with back pain? Check out our The Best Mattress for Back Pain and The Best Mattress for Lower Back Pain reviews to read more.

How to sleep on the floor?

Nowadays most people are not used to sleeping on the floor. It may be difficult to switch from a fluffy, body-hugging mattress to the hard floor initially. But once you are used to it you can reap all the benefits of sleeping on the floor.

To sleep comfortably once should use the right surface. It is not necessary to sleep on the bare floor, you can use some thin surfaces to make it a bit softer (we have discussed these in the latter part of the article).

The position you sleep in is also extremely important as it can aid in the correction of joints and relieve pressure on them. A physiotherapist Michael Tetley researched and studied multiple sleeping positions and has listed the benefits of each one:

– Sleeping on the side: he discovered that sleeping on one's side with arms under the head can provide great support for the neck.

– Sleeping on your stomach: Michael Tetley deduced that sleeping on the stomach with your face resting on your arms straightens your neck, back, and shoulders and aligns your back as it is parallel to the ground. This helps correct bad posture, relieve tension in the back muscles and reduce backaches.

– Sleeping on your back: This is probably the most common sleeping position and the research revealed that this greatly helps in easing back pain. It keeps your spine supported, does not let your muscles bend unnaturally and reduces the pressure on your joints.

There are numerous other positions to sleep in but we have only listed the three most beneficial and common ones.

To use a pillow or not to use a pillow?

Best Anti Snoring MouthpiecesPeople say that one must not use a pillow when sleeping on the floor. This is a fairly wrong statement. Some people need to keep their head slightly elevated. A thin pillow can work very well to support your head and neck while sleeping on the floor. However, do not use a very high or a bunch of fluffy cushions as it will defeat the purpose and it might misalign your back.

Click The Best Pillow Review and find out more about it.

Which is the right surface to sleep on?

As we discussed above, sleeping on the right surface is key to having a comfortable night's sleep. It is not necessary to sleep directly on the floor and in fact, we do not prefer it because the floor may have dust, germs or dirt that might activate allergies. Therefore, we are providing you with options you can choose from instead of sleeping directly on the ground.

  • Futons

This is an option for people who find it very difficult to lie down on the hard, flat ground. It is a few inches thick and provides some elevation off the ground. Futons have a hard base and a softer top layer so they help maintain the hard support that the floor provides. Futons are a good option for people transitioning from sleeping on the bed to the floor.

  • Tatami Mats

The Japanese have a habit of sleeping on the floor. It has been a part of their culture for thousands of years. They sleep on the floor to save space and to prevent back problems. To this end, they use tatami mats to sleep on. They are made of woven grass and rice straw. They provide a very thin yet comfortable and natural surface to sleep on. Some people find this very thin so they use a thin futon to help elevate it a bit.

  • Yoga Mats

These are the mats yogis use to practice yoga on. They are only half to one inch thick, are slightly soft and can act like tatami mats. They are available in a variety of price ranges so choose wisely.

  • Massage Mats

If you suffer from fatigue and back pain, a massage mat can be a good option for you. These mats have tiny vibrators in them that massage your back. It provides the same amount of cushioning as a yoga mat but is slightly more expensive. It also comes with heating abilities this can help against the cold floor.

Benefits of sleeping on the floor

  • Sleeping on the floor works wonders in keeping your body aligned. Mattresses tend to sag and over time our bodies get used to the misalignment. This causes bad postures and unflattering curves.
  • It also reduces the stiffness you experience every time you wake up in the morning from your soft, body-hugging This is because the mattress provides minimal support to your spine.
  • While sleeping on the floor you do not get too comfortable and wake up early and fresh.
  • It does not make you lazy and you get a peaceful sleep in just the right amount.
  • Sleeping on the floor also saves the cost of buying a mattress (those are expensive these days!) and also saves space in your room.
  • Your floor mat can be rolled up or used in multiple different ways throughout the day.
  • And finally, it helps you get accustomed to sleeping anywhere and everywhere!

Drawbacks of sleeping on the floor

  • For people who suffer from chronic back pain, some doctors advise against sleeping on the floor.
  • A hard surface can cause increased pressure on the tailbone, heels and shoulder blades.
  • Sleeping on the floor for long periods can cause muscle degradation.
  • Getting up from the floor is very difficult for people having knee joint problems.
  • The floor may also prove to be a bit too cold for some people.


The tradition of sleeping on the floor has been there since the time of our ancestors. It is dwindling but researchers have again discovered the benefits it brings with it in comparison to the soft, fluffy mattresses we are now used to.

Getting used to sleeping on the floor requires some time and effort. You should slowly ease into it by sleeping for a few hours on an elevated, softer surface first and then gradually increasing the time and reducing the thickness of the surface. However, you should always be careful and consult a doctor before making the switch.

Each body has its own different needs and your doctor knows what will be suitable for your back; a mattress or the floor. If sleeping on the floor is good for your back, continue it. Leave the bed and your deformed mattress behind and embrace a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Oh and do not forget to share this information with your friends and family so they too can benefit from this information and sleep painlessly.

Sweet dreams!