Is Sleeping on A Mattress on The Floor Bad For You? Pros And Cons

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As you settle onto your cozy, comfortable bed tonight and prepare for a good night’s rest, think about how dreadful sleeping while riding on a horse would be. Years ago, though, some ancient tribes used to do just that.

Thanks to some technological advancements, we’ve vastly improved the way that we sleep, and the more that we research and discover, the better our sleep can get!

Nowadays, people sleep differently across the globe. In eastern parts of the world, some people place the mattress directly on the floor, while others sleep on a mat, bedroll, or nothing at all.

In this article, we'll weigh the benefits and disadvantages of having your mattress on the floor.

PROS

  • The main pros for ditching your raised bed and sleeping on the ground are improved overall blood circulation and less neck and back pain. These are similar benefits reported by people who don't sleep with a pillow. People who sleep on a mattress directly on the floor also have a significantly lower risk of scoliosis, a medical condition where the spine has an unnatural curve. Some people who started sleeping on the ground also reported joint pain relief. Keep in mind, there is not a large amount of research done on the benefits of floor sleeping, so be sure to talk about this with your doctor, especially if you have significant pain.

  • Some researchers believe that sleeping on the floor allows your spine to be in the most neutral position because, without any additional cushioning, the body can adapt and distribute pressure all around the mattress surface area. This can help minimize back and neck pain.
    Illustration of a Woman Sleeping on Her Side on a Soft Mattress


  • Being near the floor gives you access to cooler air that can feel good and do wonders for your sleep. An increase in body temperature accounts for a lot of restless sleeping and waking in the middle of the night. Cooler air will prevent you from sweating during the night, and it will also benefit your respiratory system and improve your overall blood flow.

  • It will induce a sense of change, which can be a powerful motivational tool and do wonders for your career and personal life. You can read some firsthand experiences here and here to find out from other people how the change to sleeping on the floor affected them in a positive way.

CONS

  • The most apparent disadvantage of sleeping on the ground would be exposure to dust that accumulates on the ground. Regular cleaning is a must to prevent respiratory problems and allergic reactions. Inhaling dust and other dirt particles can leave a permanent mark on your health. This can be avoided by raising your mattress a little above the floor surface, although we still suggest that you clean your floor as frequently as you can.

  • When there is no adequate airflow, given that the mattress is placed directly on the floor, excessive heat and sweat can cause the mattress to trap all that heat and liquid and form a layer of mold inside of it. Mold can cause serious allergic reactions—not to mention the bad odor that will render your mattress useless and ready to be thrown away.

  • Another gross issue can be bed bugs settling in and making your mattress their new home. This problem can even get worse since they can multiply and spread inside the mattress very fast. Raising the bed slightly above the floor can prevent this as long as none of the bedding hangs or touches the floor. You could also use mattress encasements to protect your bed if you are not home for an extended period of time.Illustration of a Mattress Encasement

  • While it can be pleasant to sleep on the floor in warmer climates, doing the same when it is cold or near freezing outside can pose a serious health risk. Breathing in extremely cold air may cause harm to your lungs, and it could constrict your blood flow, possibly causing hypothermia. However, a good heating system can combat these things.

  • People who only sleep on their side will not be able to adapt to this way of sleeping. The increased pressure from the floor will cause severe discomfort in the hips and shoulders and make a good night’s rest impossible. Sleeping on the mattress on the floor works best for people who sleep on their back and stomach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does mattress type matter?

memory foam latex innerspring and hybrid mattress

When it comes to choosing a foundation for your bed—or forgoing one—the materials matter. While some beds will have no trouble supporting you on a slatted base, others like memory foam and some innerspring models will require a solid foundation to last.

When you decide to put your bed on the ground, keep in mind this could mean poor air circulation through the materials, reduced cooling, and less pressure relief, so it may not be the right choice for every type of sleeper.

Will it void my mattress warranty?

In some cases, floor sleeping will void your warranty. Many companies outline what kind of base is required in order to maintain it; just be sure to read over the guidelines before tossing your bed frame to the curb.

Conclusion

To conclude our comparison we will point out that, as with all new experiences, having your bed on the ground will take some time to get used to. You may find it uncomfortable at first, but with reports of improved health and quality of sleep, this could be a positive adjustment for you. The upside is you can always go back if you change your mind, which means there is no harm in trying this “new way to sleep.” We recommend you try it out and see if it will benefit you.

Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.

Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

Sleep Advisor