Having Occasional Back Pain – Sleeping On The Floor: Crazy or Comfy?

I got a question the other day through our contact form, and thought that I’d share it and the answer with you:

“I have occasional back pain, and have found that it’s more comfortable for me to sleep on the floor when having an episode.  Some people say that this is great for you, and others say that it’s bad.  What is your opinion?”  –Charlene

Great question.  While my knee-jerk reaction as a mattress store representative is to say that sleeping on the floor is bad and that you need a mattress, I thought that I’d do a bit of research.  Amazingly enough, there are a TON of articles and blogs about how great sleeping on the floor is.  I found a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests that for those people without serious back issues and only occasional pain, that sleeping on the floor helped with aches and pains.  Many people sleep on the floor using only a folded up blanket, or a yoga mat as cushioning.  Here are some benefits that were listed:

  • It forces you to sleep on your back, and you don’t toss and turn really at all.  I’m assuming that this is because of the pressure points while sleeping on the side would be unbearable.
  • It’s a space saver!
  • There were reports of back pain going away, and of feeling exceptionally refreshed in the morning.
  • The Japanese sleep on very firm floor pads, and see how smart and productive they are!

imagesAnd here are the cons that were listed:

  • The floor is one of the dirtiest places in your home.  Think bugs, spiders, etc.
  • You’re probably going to sleep alone, since your partner (or potential partner) will probably not want to be down there with you.
  • It’s cold.

Finally, here are my concerns:

  • As we get older, it gets harder and harder to get up off the floor, especially in the morning when your joints might be a little stiff.
  • I don’t think that I could survive not ever sleeping on my side.
  • The purpose of modern mattresses is to support the natural position of the spine.  The spine is curved; it goes in at your lower back.  If you sleep on your back, on a very firm, flat surface, the weight of your organs actually pushes that natural curve towards the floor.  End result: your naturally concaved back is forced into an unnatural straight position for eight hours, while your body is supposed to be healing and rejuvenating itself.

Overall, I believe to each his own.  If you’re comfortable on the floor, then so be it.  However, I do believe that we were meant to sleep on something padded, since cavemen were known to pad their sleeping area with pelts, grasses, or whatever they could get their hands on.  I think that the problem that some people are finding is that their mattress is not the correct support, and the change in support moving to the floor is refreshing.  My recommendation?  Sleep on the floor if you want, but eventually, you’ll have to get a good bed, like the rest of us.

Lower Back Pain Symptoms – America spends approximately $50 billion a year on low back pain.


This entry was posted in Back Pain, Mattresses, Memory Foam, Miscellaneous by Alyssa Linvill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Alyssa Linvill

Alyssa has been in the mattress industry since 2001, and is very interested in how sleep and comfort affect our quality of life. She has done extensive research regarding the way that mattresses and sleep position both aggravate and alleviate common medical conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and sleep apnea. Currently, Alyssa is helping seniors in Central Florida get a better night's sleep at Dr Snooze, where more attention is paid to the clinical and scientific side of mattress selection. She also writes the blog for Dr Snooze, and has put out many different articles and writings about medical conditions and sleep, as well as reviews on products and ways of making sleeping and mattresses healthier.

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