More often than not, when people imagine their ideal bed, it’s one that’s extremely soft and comfortable, like a memory foam mattress with feather pillows.
However, while this is certainly luxurious, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Could trading your mattress for the ground serve as a better bed?
Sleeping on the Floor – What Science Says
According to Katy Bowman, M.S., when it comes to optimal health benefits and a better sleep, the best way to crash out is with a small mat on the floor.
As she puts it, “By sleeping without a mattress, you strengthen tiny muscles that build over time.”
She also explains that the aches and pains one feels after waking up are due to lying still for extended periods of time.
Meanwhile, when one sleeps on the floor, they turn and shift, finding different points that gradually become more comfortable.
This shifting results in fewer aches when morning comes, and therefore a more restful sleep.
Sleeping on the Floor: How It’s Done
Making the transition from sleeping on a comfy mattress to a mat on the floor is not as simple as it sounds. It needs to be done in increments, bit by bit, so that you gradually adjust to the new sleeping style.
First, it is advised to sleep on a different part of your mattress than normal; simple, right?
Do you sleep on the left? Shift over to the right. Do you normally have your head at the front of the bed? Move over to the back. Anything to change the way you’re sleeping.
After you’re comfortable with sleeping in a new position, it’s time for step two. Get a different mattress, and in this case, you will sleep in an alternate room.
Swap rooms with your kids, roommate, or get an air mattress to try out in the living room. This change in texture as well as location will help by placing you in an unfamiliar situation and forcing you to adjust.
Once you’re able to sleep in the new location, it’s time for the difficult part: lose the padding. Usually people have an eggshell pad on top of their mattress. Removing that will further assist in the transition.
At first it will seem uncomfortable, but after the initial night, you will hardly notice a difference.
Once you are used to sleeping without pads, do away with the mattress entirely. You may want to use the eggshell padding at first, but the idea is to transition to as few layers as possible, night by night, until you are finally sleeping flush with the ground.
Removing the final layer of padding will be the hardest point. You’ll be tempted to use your sleeping bag at first, but ignore those thoughts and push forward.
Once you’ve achieved this, you’ll have reached success – sleeping cushion-free!
Here’s a video showing a ‘floor bed’ set up.
What Do You Have to Lose?
Sleeping on the floor offers low-level but consistent exercise by forcing your muscles to continue work even as you sleep. This can help not necessarily with weight loss, but to boost your health in general.
Since humans weren’t originally intended to sleep on feather mattress, our bodies operate best when they’re forced to be active – even in small ways.
Waking up more refreshed can boost your ability to heal, your immune system, your concentration, mood, and of course help with mental deficiencies.
Find yourself moody and nursing a headache most days? Exploring methods to enhance your sleep could be the solution to your problem – and sleeping on the floor has been proven as a great trick.
Additionally, who isn’t happy about saving money? Once you’ve learned how to feel comfy on the floor, you’ll never need to own a mattress again.
However, sleeping without a cushion is not for everybody.
While some do feel improvements, others end up feeling sorer than before, depending on their weight, if they have previous injuries, their current fitness level, and some unknowable preferences – aka, sometimes it’s just “not your thing.”
It is important to try this for more than a few days, as fitness does play a part. While Bowman insists that you will feel better after sleeping like this, your muscles will ache as though you were doing cardio at first.
Those who enjoy exercising will likely enjoy this change, while those who do not may be against the method. After you’ve had a few tries, you can decide if your body is adjusting – or if this was a bad idea.
Another problem is with regards to the amount of time it takes to adjust. While Bowman says it can be done in a week, others say it would have to take longer.
All in all, with its list of pros and their great influence on your life – what can it hurt?
Try sleeping in a different position tonight!