Sleeping on a mattress on the floor is fundamentally the modern version of lying down on a straw palliasse on the ground. At one time, this was how most people slept until raised beds were invented. Apart from any other benefit, raising a bed above floor level helped people to avoid being invaded by rats, mice, snakes and creep-crawlies. It still does!
Apart from that, are there any other reasons to avoid sleeping on a mattress on the floor? Does sleeping on the floor affect our health in any way? Some people always sleep on the floor, with or without a mattress, particularly nomadic peoples who cannot carry a full bed with them while they travel. In addition to that, it is common practice in many Asian countries.
Damage to Health With the Wrong Mattress
It is a fact that you can damage your health by sleeping on the wrong type of bedding. In days gone by, a straw-filled palliasse was a luxury. Not now! So what are the issues, and are there any benefits for those of us that generally sleep on a mattress on a raised base – whether a base of solid or slatted wood or a box spring.
Let’s face it: there is little difference between sleeping on a mattress on the floor and on a raised wooden base. The only genuine difference is that you sleep higher up on a bed, and it is easier to get onto and off a bed than a floor. Do you want to sleep like your ancestors did? Here are some pros and cons related to this method of low-level sleeping.
Benefits of Sleeping on a Mattress on the Floor
The most obvious benefit is cost. By sleeping on the floor you avoid the cost of a bed. If you have a limited budget when buying a new bed and mattress, you can spend your entire budget on the mattress. You are then likely to be able to purchase a better mattress offering the kind of support that you need.
2. Medical Reasons
There are medical reasons for and against sleeping on the floor. Since this is the ‘Pro’ section we shall discuss the benefits, and then the negatives later. We will finally bring it all together to establish whether sleeping on a mattress on the floor is good or bad for you.
Many people sleep on a mattress on the floor because they believe it will promote better blood circulation. This is a genuine benefit, and sleeping on the ground also help reduce neck and back pain. A lot depends on your mattress of course. A mattress that offers good support will tend to benefit you more if you simply lay it on the floor.
Many who sleep on a mattress lying on the floor report an improvement in back pain, particularly those suffering from scoliosis. This is a condition where people have an unnatural curve to their spine. Many reports an improvement in their condition, including less pain, when they switch from a regular bed to laying their mattress on the floor.
When you are sleeping, your body takes on its natural shape. The natural curve of your spine is essential in providing support for your entire body. If you are sleeping on a mattress without the soft support of a box spring beneath it, your body can retain this natural curvature while you sleep.
3. Staying Cool When Sleeping
Many people wake up during the night sweating and feeling hot (temperature-wise). If you are lying sweating in bed, then it’s difficult to get back to sleep again. This is an issue some people have with memory foam mattresses, although that particular problem is not always connected to the general temperature of your bedroom.
Hot air rises because it is less dense than cooler air and therefore lighter. That’s why hot air balloons rise. It is a powerful property that enables balloonists to be carried high into the sky using nothing more than hot air. The higher your sleeping position in your bedroom, the hotter the air will be. By sleeping on a mattress on the floor you will be able to keep cool and get a restful sleep. It’s nothing to do with magic – just simple science.
4. A Change is as Good as a Rest
A change is as good as a rest they say! It can be very exciting when you first sleep on the floor – a change from the normal. Change helps people in many ways: it can help them do better at work or improve their lives in many other ways. Check this Reddit post regarding sleeping on the floor. Who knows what benefits you can enjoy by sleeping on a mattress on the floor! It seems like great fun!
Negative Aspects of Sleeping on a Mattress on the Floor
While the above benefits may be sufficient to persuade you put your mattress on the floor, there are some negative aspects of doing this. Sure, we have been focusing on the positives, but what about the negatives? It is always important to be aware of the negative aspects of any changes you are considering in your lifestyle. Here are some of the negative factors involves in sleeping on a mattress on the floor that you should be aware of:
1. Exposure to Dust and Dust Mites
When you sleep close to the ground, you are exposed to household dust. The majority of this will be skin cells: mostly human, but also the skin cells of any pets you have – particularly cats and dogs. Skin cells are always associated with dust mites: those tiny members of the spider family that feed on these skin cells.
Not only should you clean your floor frequently (vacuum cleaning and occasional mopping), but you should also clean your mattress to reduce the population of these highly allergenic creatures! If you decide to sleep on the floor, then regular floor and mattress cleaning is essential. You could raise your mattress above the floor surface to avoid this, but that’s defeating the object of sleeping on the floor!
2. Dampness Leading to Mold
If your mattress is lying on the floor with no ventilation beneath it, the floor can become damp. When you breathe, your breath contains moisture from your lungs. That’s why you see condensation when you breathe on a mirror. The moisture condenses on the cold, smooth surface of the mirror. Over an 8-hour period, the average person will emit around 200 – 250 ml moisture as they sleep. This is from breathing and perspiration.
This moisture builds up during the night as you breathe, and it can condense on the floor and be absorbed by the material of your mattress. This is an ideal environment for the growth of mold spores – or even bacteria.
If it is cold outside, you will see condensation on your windows. This is largely due to the moisture you emit when breathing, and also to the evaporation of sweat – particularly if your bedroom is too warm. It may be natural, but it’s still a health hazard. Particularly in winter, when you heat up your home and promote the growth of molds and bacteria – both under and in your mattress where there is very little air circulation.
3. Bed Bug and Creepy Crawly Issues
Bed bugs can travel, and if you have been sleeping in a hotel or anywhere else where there may have been bed bug infestations, you might bring them home. They will be attracted to signals you send such as sweat and body heat. If your mattress is lying on the floor, then they will easily get into your mattress and make it their home – with you as their dinner!
There are many other creepy crawlies, such as spiders, beetles and others that roam about your home at night – and often also in daylight. If your mattress is raised off the floor then there is considerably less chance of such creatures sharing your mattress with you.
Read more: How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs from a Mattress »
4. Side Sleepers
Back sleepers usually find it very comfortable sleeping on a mattress on the floor. They get the support they need from the solidity of the floor. A box spring support might allow the mattress to sag and create an unnatural curve in their spine.
However, side sleepers may suffer due to the extra support of the floor. The hard mattress support surface will lead to increased pressure on their hips and shoulders. This can lead to discomfort during the night and disturbed sleep. They are also likely to suffer pain in their hips and shoulders in the morning, and perhaps even in their neck. Stomach or belly sleepers may also suffer from too hard a sleeping surface.
Is Sleeping on a Mattress on the Floor Bad For You: Conclusion
Sleeping on a mattress on the floor will generally not harm you unless you tend to sleep mainly on your side. Even then, you can overcome the discomfort of the hard mattress support by purchasing a memory foam mattress, or one with softer support. A hard mattress is not recommended for sleeping on the floor.
In conclusion, if you feel that you need a harder support for your mattress than a regular bed can give you, then sleeping on the floor can benefit you. Many who sleep this way report a good quality of sleep and less pain in their joints and pressure points. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor is not good for everybody and not bad for everybody, but it can work for some. Let’s face it, if it doesn’t work for you then simply go back to a regular bed.
Continue Reading: Is It Better To Sleep Without a Pillow: Sleeping Without a Pillow Pros and Cons »