All of us already know the benefits of sleep. It is one way to fully rest our mind and body and prepare us for the activity the following day. Here’s a question: how well do you sleep at night on your mattress? We are all hypnotized with the idea of having a soft and very cushiony mattress is one way to have a good night sleep. But if we look at back in time, our ancestors and even the early men living on earth never really slept on a soft cushion. But rather they slept on the floor or any hard surface.
Homo sapiens were the first known men to live on earth. They lived in caves or huge trees or wherever they can find something to keep themselves away from the heat of the sun, rain, and snow. They were really smart to develop different kinds of tools in order for them to survive. And hunting tools are the things that they really need in order to hunt for their food. They never really thought of making something for them to sleep on. They often sleep on the floor or on the ground where they are at. As long as they have shelter above them they are then safe.
And as time goes by, a lot of things have already changed. The development of knowledge and technology made a lot of people develop and enhance the way humans should live. And so as the way we should sleep. Nowadays we sleep on a mattress because it is what we think is right. But did you know that there are a lot of benefits if you sleep on the floor like our ancestors used to sleep? According to mindbodygreen.com, people who live in less civilized areas have fewer musculoskeletal issues. This is because they don’t really have mattresses in their homes. They often sleep on a wooden bed or sometimes they still sleep on the floor.
It may sound weird but sleeping on the floor is much better than sleeping on a mattress. And here are the reasons why:
- It feels more natural – Our bodies are designed in different ways. But ever since the beginning of time our ancestors already slept on the floor without any musculoskeletal condition. And according to mindbodygreen.com, mattresses tend to sag and deform. The middle part is the usual part of the mattress that deforms. And as we constantly lay on it the alignment of our bodies are no longer straight or well aligned. But if you sleep on the floor, the natural alignment of our bodies will adapt on the floor surface.
- Good for our anatomical structure (a happy Spine) – Our spine is one of the most important parts of our skeletal system. Because it is responsible for sending and receiving signals to and from our brain. There are a lot of nerves that pass through our spine in order to transport different signals from our brain to the different parts of our body. Misalignment of our spine will cause a lot of pain on our body. But sleeping on the floor aligns everything back in place. It will then help improve blood flow on the body and the entire skeletal structure as well.
- It reduces stiffness on the body – Sleeping on a mattress cushions your entire body and allow you to stay on one side comfortably for a long period of time. And this cause muscle stiffness. Sleeping on the floor allows your body to move freely and it helps hydrate and loosens fascia between your muscles; according to Tom Myers an integrative therapist, the director of Anatomy Trains and Equinox Health Advisory Board Member. He also said that sleeping on the floor is also like getting a massage and foam rolling. It allows the thin sheath of tissues surrounding the muscles to be stretched out and breathe.
- Reduces back pain – The neutral position of our spine is hard to achieve when we are sleeping on our beds. Since a mattress is soft our spine tends to be out of form and shape and being pushed out from its natural alignment. And this can cause a lot of pain on our backs. Most especially on the lower back. But if we switch to sleeping on a firmer or a harder surface, it will allow our spine to go back to its natural position. A well-aligned spine can give a lot of health benefits to our entire health. Not just for our back, but it will also help improve our breathing, posture and even our blood circulation.
- Improves posture – A well-aligned spine can help us improve our entire posture. We always want to look good every day. And a good posture can be one of your accessories to look good and feel good about yourself. Achieving that good posture is simply by sleeping on the floor. It may be uncomfortable at first, but a few days later your body will be able to adjust and you will then feel comfortable sleeping on the floor.
- Prevents your body from overheating – We always wanted to have a cool sleeping environment. This allows us to catch some sleep because our bodies are warm and we want to have something cool to relax on. But sleeping on a mattress traps most of our body heat and it makes our sleep uncomfortable. Sleeping on the floor is a different thing because there are no materials that can trap the heat from your body. But it will allow your body to be in its natural temperature and allowing the floor to cool your body down.
- Possible treatment for insomnia – There are a lot of reasons why people experience insomnia. And one of the reasons is the quality of their mattress. Some mattresses sag after a long time. The firmness is not as comfortable as it used to be. There are lumps on different areas of your mattress that can be the reason why it is harder for you to fall asleep. You will be tossing and turning from one side to another to a point you are not able to sleep. Sleeping on a floor can be new to when it comes to treating insomnia. But a lot of people say that it worked. The firm surface of the floor allows your body to calm down and feel relaxed. A constant and a firm surface to sleep are solutions to have a good night sleep.
If you are now convinced in sleeping on the floor, might as well know the transition from sleeping on a mattress to sleep on the floor. There are a lot of people who are having a hard transitioning because they are not doing it right. During the first two to three nights of sleeping on the floor may feel weird. But eventually your mind and body will be able to adjust to it and you will then feel comfortable sleeping on the floor. Also, there are some things that you need to do before fully sleeping on the floor. This is to make your floor-sleeping experience comfortable. And it will also make you feel better than ever. There is nothing wrong in trying as long as you will be able to follow some steps before you finally indulge in sleeping on the floor.
Here are the steps you can do to have a smooth transition and be able to sleep on the floor comfortably:
- Try sleeping on a different side – If you constantly sleep on your right side, try sleeping on the left side. Or better yet change places with your partner. This may feel weird but it is one of the processes that you will undergo before sleeping on the floor. This is for your body to adapt to a new position and as well as your mattress.
- Sleeping in a different room – If you are used to traveling and sleeping in different hotels, sleeping in a different room may be a piece of cake for you. But for some, it may be a huge challenge. The feeling of sleeping in a different room is like cross-training. You get to go to a different station and finish an entire set of workout before you can proceed to the next. But as you repeat all the stations your body will then be able to get used to it. And so with sleeping in a new room.
- Moving the mattress on the floor – Moving the mattress on the floor is easy, but waking up without a bed frame may be a little bit weird. It will allow you to get used to waking up and getting out of the bed without a frame.
- Reducing the cushion – If you want to have a full experience in sleeping on the floor all you have to do is reduce the cushioning. Try using a Japanese rolling futon, layers of comforters, a yoga mat and a sleeping bag. These are the things that you can have to still semi-cushion your body while you are sleeping on the floor. During the first few days, you will feel your body transition itself from sleeping on a mattress to sleeping on the floor. There are slight pains but they will eventually go away as soon as your muscle, joints, and bones are able to adapt to the new surface.
It is understandable that it is so weird to sleep on the floor. Most especially it is the place where most dust and sand gather. Before moving to your floor when sleeping there are a lot of things that you also need to do:
- Keep any kind of foot ware away from the sleeping place – Our shoes, slippers, and sandals bring a lot of dust and sand in our house. This is the reason why most Asians keep their shoes outside their houses. It is to maintain the cleanliness of their floors. You can do this too in your own room if you plan to transition yourself and become a floor sleeper. Keeping your footwear outside can help keep your room clean and sleeping area away from dust.
- Sweep the floor – Sweeping the floor is the first stage when it comes to keeping the room clean. Most especially that not you are going to sleep on the floor. This is to keep the dust away from your sleeping area and to prevent you from catching colds or dust allergy. There are a lot of people who are having a hard time sleeping on the floor because of the dust particles. But sweeping the floor before setting up your new sleeping area will help prevent you from any allergic reactions from dust.
- Mop – Another thing that you should do is to mop the floor (for tiled or wooden floors). This is to permanently remove those tiny dust particles that are left from sweeping. This is also to make sure that there are no specks of dust that are left behind that can cause allergies. Don’t forget to use a certain product to make your floor shine and free from dust. Like a liquid soap diluted with water and even a floor polisher to keep your floor clean and presentable. There are more mopping products that can also disinfect bacteria. This to be extra sure that your floor is clean and safe for you to sleep on.
- Vacuum – There are areas in your room where a broom can’t reach. Like for example tight corners, in between walls, and even under heavy pieces of furniture. This is why we should always have a vacuum cleaner ready in our homes. If there are other pieces of furniture in your room where you plan to sleep on the floor, use a vacuum cleaner to fully clean it. This is to suck out all hidden specks of dust under the furniture and be able to keep the entire dust-free. Furniture is a dust-target because it is like a sponge that absorbs all clouds of dust and hides in the tight corners of the furniture. And the easiest way to remove them is to have them vacuumed.
- Arrange the things in the room – Sleeping on the floor is also like living in a minimalist way. Keep your room tidy and well-arranged so that there will be nothing will be falling on you when you are on the floor sleeping.
You will notice that there are a lot of things that will change on your body once you’ve got used to sleeping on the floor:
– Better body posture – A flat surface will make your body well aligned. You will then be able to stand upright and keep a good posture. A good posture will also help improve self-esteem and self-confidence. You will also then feel good about yourself.
– Less muscle pain – Since your body is properly aligned you will no longer feel any muscle aches and pains. This is one thing that sleeping on the floor can give you and you won’t get this from sleeping on a bed. Have you noticed that if you constantly lie on your bed you will feel a little bit foggy? This is because your body is not properly aligned. And in order to correct that, have a firmer mattress or sleep on the floor.
– Positive and a happy mood – The ground has the ability to give you positive energy, just like when you are going to hug a tree. It has this certain aura that makes you feel happy and positive about yourself. It is what nature can do and make use of its magic in order for us to feel better.
– Allows you to get up and start your day – Beds are too comfortable. This is the reason why we snooze the alarm that we set so that we will still be able to roll under the sheets of our bed. But if you sleep on the floor, you will be forced to get up. Not because the floor is uncomfortable, it is because it has a natural way of telling you to start your day and do something good.
Changing our sleeping area may feel strange at first. But think of it this way, you are simply out camping and you need a comfortable floor to sleep on. Sleeping on the floor is just like when you are camping. Just feel excited and prepare your body to be versatile. There are a lot of benefits that you can get from it. If you are wondering how campers survive out in the wilderness it is basically allowing their bodies to adapt the way our bodies should respond to nature. And part of our natural relaxation process is to lay flat on the floor. As if we are getting energy from the ground.
Dr. Edwin Echavez. Dr. Echavez is a chiropractor who specializes in body problems when it comes to sleeping position. He is also one of the writers for thesleepjudge.com and hosted a lot of seminars about the proper position in sleeping. He also helped different elderly patients who are suffering from back pains due to the quality of mattress that they have.