For most of us, the idea of sleeping on the floor is a strange one. It’s not something that many people do unless they have no option. But did the first cavemen sleep on the hard ground or a bed? They didn’t have mattresses, so we have to ask the question, “Is sleeping on the floor good for you?”
It is an interesting dilemma – clearly, Mother Nature never intended us to sleep on beds. If we lived as our distant ancestors would have, we would be sleeping on the floor or in a tree. In some parts of the world, there are some who do this by choice.
But are there any benefits to doing so? It would seem so.
5 Benefits of Sleeping on the Ground
It Is Better For Your Body
This is not something that I wanted to hear either. I love my memory foam as much as the next person. But the evidence is clear. In more primitive cultures where people do sleep on the ground, they have stronger skeletal structures and musculature.
The firmness of the ground forces them to sleep in a more natural posture, moving while sleeping as we naturally should. Our bodies are not meant to be entirely stationary for too long. You shouldn’t be lying down long enough to develop pressure points.
Ground-sleeping is better for your body because you move more naturally when you sleep. Your body becomes stronger because there is no external support to fall back on. You also get to line up your spine, etc. in a more natural manner.
It Reduces Stiffness
Again, this is because the body is moving more and is in a more natural sleeping position during sleep. It sounds crazy to say that you will start to feel less stiff when you rest on a completely flat surface, but when you think about it, it makes sense.
Your neck isn’t crunched into an unnatural position because of the number of pillows you are using. Your body isn’t hunched over because of misalignment.
I am not saying that it won’t be uncomfortable at first. It will be natural to be stiff and sore because you are completely changing things up. You’ll be using your muscles in a whole new way, just like you would if you went to the gym for the first time.
And, just like at the gym, once you start getting used to it, you begin to feel great again.
Your Posture Improves
Because you are now resting in a more natural position, your body can align itself correctly again. As a result, your posture will improve automatically. Without you doing any special posture exercises or retraining yourself at all.
Your Circulation Improves
Better alignment means the circulatory systems in the body are less obstructed and more easily able to work as they should. It becomes easier for your heart to pump the blood around and your skin and muscles get the right amount of nutrients and oxygen.
Your lymphatic system can work better as well and so toxins are sped out of your system faster and more efficiently.
It Is More Natural
Some people ask, “How do I sleep on the floor?” The funny thing is there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Our early ancestors “just did it”, and so can you.
One huge benefit is that it is a more natural way of sleeping. I know that if you get down on the ground, it may not feel too comfortable but that is where we were designed to rest. It’s more natural than sleeping like most of us do today.
Sure, a primitive man might have gathered up leaves or grasses to make themselves more comfortable, but they wouldn’t have piled these up to the height of modern beds. They would also have been more temporary in nature, being replaced more often as they wore out.
So, it might not be so much that the padding itself is terrible, but more a problem with the dips and curves that develop on the surface of it as we keep using it. It is the same principle as that old sofa that dips in all the right places. It’s not the healthiest thing to sit on because it is not offering the correct support, but it is really comfy.
So, essentially, the issue is not so much that there should be nothing between us and the ground, it is more of an issue that we must choose the right level of support.
Are There Any Downsides?
If you have read this far, I’ll give you credit for having a pretty open mind. Most people don’t even want to think about the idea and, to be fair, I didn’t really consider it for a long time either. There are some negatives as well as positives, after all.
- The floor is hard. This is the biggest stumbling block. It is not going to feel good for the first night, or even the first few nights. You might not even sleep all that well to start off with. It takes some perseverance to push through that initial discomfort. What you could do is build up to it. Work towards it in stages. Get rid of your base and put the mattress down first. Get used to that and then consider sleeping without anything.
- It is colder down there. When you are raised up off the floor, you have a level of protection against the cold. When you are right up against it, that cold is going to seep right in. You’ll need to put some kind of blanket down to prevent you getting too cold.
- You are closer to nature. That’s both good and bad. At ground level, you are bound to have more insects like ants crawling all over you at night.
- You are closer to pet level. Depending on how well behaved your pets are (Mine are not, by the way), you could end up being woken by your dog’s joyfully jumping all over you. It’s a minor annoyance to be sure, but it could be a real issue if they get up a lot earlier than you do.
- Your floor needs to be spotless. Most of us associate the floor with dirt. So if you have people with muddy boots walking around in your bedroom, be prepared to do a lot more cleaning. That said, it is something that we can get over in time.
Are you ready to take the plunge yet? Or maybe still sitting on the fence? Giving up that sweet, warm coziness is not something that is a popular option. I have to admit; it wasn’t something high on my to-do list.
So what’s the alternative, then? I would say take baby sets. Like we mentioned earlier, it isn’t necessarily the padding that is problematic, but more the fact that it wears. So, start off slowly. Get a nice supportive mattress and put it on the ground.
That’s as good as the real thing and keeps you warmer, cleaner and a healthier too.
- Instinctive sleeping and resting postures – www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119282/
- The effects of the tree-to-ground sleep transition in the evolution of cognition in early Homo – https://www.uccs.edu/Documents/fcoolidg/Before%20Farming%202006%20Dream%20paper.pdf
- Observations on sleeping position and essential hypertension. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9247903