When I was looking for information about futon mattresses I found websites where people were telling they sleep on the floor (without a mattress) and that they feel it’s better for the back, blood circulation and has various other positive health effects. Some people claimed that they never feel tired in the morning when sleeping on the floor. There were some debates about the pros and cons of sleeping on the floor. The disadvantages usually had to do with dust and that it can be cold to sleep on the floor. Interviews had been conducted with specialists in the area, but they didn’t seem to come to any conclusion. Some said it is individual, others were talking about the flexibility of the mattress that is giving support and enables the right position of the spine. One of the most common arguments why one should sleep on the floor was that our ancestors did it (and they didn’t experience as much back pain as we do nowadays?). Others were arguing that our ancestors were in fact sleeping on dirt floors which can be structured into comfortable forms and that is why it differs from sleeping on a hardwood floor, which was not considered good for the health.
In sum, neither did these experts nor writers seem to come to a conclusion if there are positive health effects when sleeping on the floor. Some said yes, some said no. In my opinion it’s another thing that is individual – not the same solution fits everyone. Sleeping on the floor is cheap and “the bed” can easily be moved to another room if needed. It saves space and doesn’t require a bed frame. Who loves putting together a bed frame? When you move to your new home it will probably not fit into your new house. First you try to assemble it but then notice it will not fit. Try to sell the old bed frame (if someone is still willing to pay for it, otherwise try to get rid of it elsewhere) and buy a new (expensive) one. It looks comfortable with the blankets and cushions, but is it maybe too comfortable – I don’t want to get up in the morning! There are certainly many more aspects that could be discussed, but now to the practical stuff: because many people recommended to start sleeping on the floor I decided to give it a try. I have been sleeping on a futon mattress on the floor (without a bed frame) for a few years and I thought the change will not be significant. Well, I was wrong. Here is my report:
The first night the hardwood floor felt too hard as a surface to be sleeping on. It didn’t take me much time to realize this. Lying down on a carpet wasn’t helpful either. So I decided to take a thin yoga mat and put it on the carpet. I wasn’t able to fall asleep. I remembered what I had read, people said the first few nights can be difficult when your body is trying to adjust to the new surface. After midnight I was still awake and took a blanket and put it on top of the carpet and the yoga mat. So now I was trying to sleep on a carpet plus a yoga mat plus a blanket. At some point I fell asleep. However I wasn’t able to count how many times I woke up that night. My hips were aching. I tried to put as much of the blanket as possible under my hips, but the surface was still too hard. I was very tired the next morning. I would be pretty sure there were no benefits of sleeping on the floor.
When I tried this for the second night I was already sure I will need the carpet, yoga mat and the blanket I had been using the previous night. And an extra blanket… But I wasn’t able to get any sleep. At some point I have probably managed to fall asleep but I was immediately awake again. Was I doing something wrong? My hips were aching again. This was far from the experiences of the other people “I’m never feeling tired in the morning”. What? I was exhausted. But I wasn’t going to give up.
The third night started with the same settings: carpet, yoga mat and blankets. I was trying to be positive about sleeping on the floor and thinking about the potential health benefits. But there just didn’t seem to be any benefits for me. Maybe I fell asleep at some point but woke up I don’t know how many times during the night because my body was aching.
“Change can take time”, I was trying to convince myself. And same stuff again the fourth night: carpet, yoga mat, blankets. Nothing had changed. My body was aching again, especially my hips. After midnight I gave up and moved to the sofa. I was so tired and my body was aching and aching.
Now it’s been some time since this project. I decided to give it another try. Just one more night. No sleep and an aching body again. Maybe more of this later, not now.