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Benefits and Short-Comings of Floor Sleeping
by BetterSleep
8 min read
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Many people look forward to getting into a comfortable bed after a long day. You might put a lot of effort into creating the perfect sleep environment—a firm mattress or soft mattress, bedding that is soft to the touch and easy on the skin, the right amount of pillows for your comfort, and more.

Floor sleeping is not a new practice. People have been practicing it for thousands of years. In several cultures worldwide, sleeping in a bed may not be the top choice. Many people prefer sleeping on the floor. Sleeping on the floor can come with different benefits, but for some individuals, the outcome may not always be the best.

First, let’s talk about floor sleeping, its benefits and disadvantages, and people who should avoid sleeping on the floor.

Why do People Sleep on the Floor?

How you sleep is a personalized choice based on comfort. Many people believe that there are significant benefits to sleeping on the floor. It is important to note that these benefits are based on anecdotal evidence and have not yet been backed up by scientific studies. Although, people who practice sleeping on the floor have seen the benefits from their personal experiences.

The reasons people choose to sleep on the floor may vary depending on the culture:

Japanese Culture

People have practiced sleeping on the floor for years in Japan. The Japanese believe that sleeping on the floor can help relax the muscles. Floor sleeping is also seen as a great option for natural spinal alignment and aligning the hips and shoulders.

Some Japanese people may sleep directly on the hard floor. Many others sleep on a very thin bed or use a mat instead of the thick and soft surface that many people are used to. This mat is referred to as a tatami mat. The tatami mat is made from straw and woven with soft, rush grass.

The tatami mat is also considered a staple in Japanese culture. You may find them in bedrooms, tea rooms, restaurants, and martial arts. These mats are known for their calming scent and comfortable texture.

Korean Culture

Like in Japan, sleeping on the floor has been practiced in parts of Korea for hundreds of years. As time goes on and more modernized ways of living continue to be introduced, floor sleeping may not be as preeminent as it was before. While the practice may not be as popular, some Korean households still haven’t changed their sleeping habit.

Sleeping on the floor became common when ondol floor heating was introduced to the Koreans. When HVAC systems were not a thing, households had to find ways to keep warm and remain cool. Ondol floor heating was a process that used the smoke from fireplaces to warm up the whole house from under the floor.

From this point, Koreans found themselves doing many things close to the floor. Keeping warm was the main priority, and sleeping on the floor was the best way to reap those benefits. Other things Koreans did on the floor included eating, lounging, reading, and studying.

Asian Culture

Even in cultures where floor sleeping is not widely practiced, the choices are similar to sleeping on the floor. In the Asian culture, they prefer using thinner, firm beds than the regular-sized mattresses that you may be used to.

They believe using a firm; thin mattress prevents you from sinking into the bed. Sinking into the bed is common and can cause aches and pains in the mornings. This mattress is believed to support the back, spine, and neck better.

Benefits of Floor Sleeping

As mentioned earlier, floor sleeping has been practiced for hundreds of years. Even today, some people still prefer to sleep on the floor for a quick nap or a full evening’s rest. Here are some benefits of floor sleeping that could be of good use:

Cooler Temperatures

Hot sleepers may find it difficult to sleep on different fabrics. Some people may not understand the amount of breathability their fabrics offer. A thick blanket may not be the best choice, but some people continue to have an increased body temperature while sleeping. Other things like the choice of pillow and mattress design will all determine how hot or cold you are while sleeping.

The floor is known to be colder than being up higher in a bed. There are many reasons the floor is colder, and it depends on things like the foundation of your home, the placement of the HVAC system, and the temperature outside.

Heat also rises and escapes through the ceiling. This is why people who sleep on floors find themselves to be cooler.

Improves Blood Circulation

Your weight is evenly distributed when you’re laying on a flat surface like a floor. There is no chance for areas like your hips, shoulders, and spine to have excessive weight added. If pressure is placed on these spots, it could lead to poor circulation. Sleeping on the floor helps avoid this problem.

The even distribution of weight helps blood flow evenly throughout the body. Good blood circulation is important for a strong immune system, heart and lung health, and muscle recovery.

Back Relief

People believe that a harder surface is good for the back. Whether it’s a bed or the floor, hard surfaces may help give people with back problems a sense of relief. Sleeping on the floor is not a permanent solution to back problems, but the temporary relief it provides is something to highlight.

About 75% of orthopedic surgeons also agree that floor sleeping could be of good use. Even if you use a mattress on the floor instead of sleeping directly on it, using a thinner mattress can help relieve that pressure.

Improved Posture

Some people choose to sleep on hard surfaces because it can improve posture. Because the spine, neck, and head are aligned, it helps correct poor posture. This, of course, has to be practiced consistently to see results. One evening of sleeping on the floor cannot correct years of bad posture.


You can expect to pay anywhere from $750-$1500. Even after some years, these mattresses will be worn out, and you’ll need to replace them again. Some people prefer floor sleeping because it eliminates the hassle of finding the perfect mattress. Whether you need a firm or soft mattress, springs or foam, even the size can be overwhelming. Sleeping on the floor can make the process easier.

The cost also gets higher when you include adding a bed frame. Floor sleeping can be cost-effective because it eliminates the need for this.

Cons of Sleeping on the Floor

While there may be anecdotal evidence that floor sleeping carries many benefits, there may be cons depending on the individual. Sleeping on the floor is something that should be done with attention. Here are some things that sleeping on the floor can do that negatively affects you:

May Worsen Back Pain.

Everyone’s body is different. The pain you experience in your lower back may not stem from the same thing that causes lower back pain in someone else. When sleeping on any surface, it’s important to know the cause of pain and your pressure points. If your hips need more support, adding additional pillows or cushions there can help.

When you don’t add cushioning to the necessary areas of your body, this can worsen the pain that you are experiencing. You may realize more stiffness when you wake up instead of your muscles and joints feeling refreshed.

May Be Uncomfortable.

If you’re used to sleeping on a surface that sinks in and adjusts to the shape of your body, floor sleeping may be uncomfortable. Side sleepers may find sleeping on the floor uncomfortable because their shoulders and hips may need more cushion or extra support. If they don’t have the necessary support, this could create more shoulder tension.

Sleeping on the floor is most comfortable for people who are back sleepers. Soft surfaces may be the best option for you if you aren’t normally a person who can sleep on your back.

Allergic Reactions

Hardwood floors may collect dust easily, but it’s nothing that can’t be mopped up within a few minutes. On the other hand, carpeted floors make it easy for things like dust, dust mites, mold, pet hair, bacteria from spills, allergens, and more to live. Allergy symptoms may include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rashes

If you are a floor sleeper and realize any of these symptoms or other illnesses have become prominent, it may be linked to your sleep environment.

Bed Bugs

Sleeping on the floor using a mattress increases your chances of getting bed bugs. If you walk around the house in shoes, you can track things like dirt and bugs. If the mattress isn’t elevated, that increases the chances for these bugs to end up in your mattress. Bed bugs also go against many mattress warranties. Be sure to consider all of these options when sleeping on the floor.

When Should You Not Sleep on the Floor?

While the benefits may be tempting, there are some times that you should avoid sleeping on the floor:

Restricted Movement

If you have an injury or disability that makes it hard for you to get up and down from the ground, sleeping on the floor may not be the best option. Your limited mobility can cause you to hurt yourself further if no one is around to help you on and off the floor.

If you’re looking for a solution to alignment or back pain, try using a firmer mattress before sleeping on the ground.

Older People

The older you get, the easier it is for your immune system to be compromised. Heat rises, so the floor will be cooler than sleeping in a bed. Older adults should avoid sleeping on the floor if they are prone to health conditions like pneumonia or common colds that last long.

How to Properly Sleep on the Floor

Finding the best way to sleep comfortably on the floor does not have to be a difficult task. Simply put, it’s all about preparing the proper sleep environment that is adjusted to your comfort level.

Here’s how you can start floor sleeping:


If you’re used to sleeping on a bed or soft surface, going straight to sleeping directly on the floor will be a tough change. There’s no need to rush the process. You can start by using a thinner floor mattress of memory foam.

It’s also advisable to start floor sleeping with short naps and work your way up to sleeping on the floor for an extended period.

Clear the Area.

Decluttering the area is the first thing you should do before settling into your new sleep environment. This will help avoid injuries, like mistakenly laying on a harmful object.

You may also use this time to sweep and clean your sleeping spot. This should be done regularly. Keeping a clean floor guarantees a clean mattress and helps avoid bed bugs.

Put Something Under You.

You do not have to sleep skin to the floor. Putting something under you like a mat, memory foam, or a sleeping bag. This helps provide some form of cushion. Not everyone will need a cushion, so study your body and its wants before any additions.

Use Thin Pillows.

Being too elevated can create an imbalance and possibly bring more discomfort; this prevents the natural alignment of your neck and shoulders. Using flat or thin pillows that are not stacked can help create the proper level of comfort

Sleep on Your Back.

Even in bed, back sleepers tend to have more benefits. People who are stomach sleepers may have aches and pains in the morning when they wake up. Their sleep quality is also reduced because sleeping on the stomach can sometimes cause breathing problems while sleeping.

Side sleepers may experience the same problems and pain in their hips. Sleeping on your back is the best sleeping position because everything is aligned. Although, t e best sleeping position should be chosen based on your experience. Pay close attention o how you feel when you wake up the following day.

If you believe your sleeping position is causing discomfort, try a different position or adjust to your current position.

Clean and Air Your Mattress Out.

If you sleep with a thin mattress on the floor, be sure to clean the mattress. This removes dust and other environmental factors that can cause allergic reactions. Airing out your mattress will also help prevent mold from growing.

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