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Is It Good to Sleep on the Floor? 5 Practical Reasons Why You Should Try Minimalistic Floor Sleeping

Updated on May 20, 2018
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Jorge is a fairly extreme minimalist. Sometimes this means sleeping on the floor.

Ever thought of making a small cushion on the floor your new bed? You're not alone. Lots of people around the world sleep this way.
Ever thought of making a small cushion on the floor your new bed? You're not alone. Lots of people around the world sleep this way.

Is It Better to Sleep on the Floor?

Should you try sleeping on the floor with a futon or something similar? Why do some people sleep on the floor, anyway; are there really any benefits? Is it healthy?

First, let’s make it clear what we mean by “sleeping on the floor.” This doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping directly on the ground, though it can.

For the purposes of this article, let’s just say that floor sleeping is when you have, at most, a relatively thin cushion between you and a solid floor—no more than a few inches or centimeters to cradle your bones a bit, and definitely no coils, springs, or any other such fancy support mechanism.

Like anything else, it’s hard to give a single answer as to whether it’s “good” to sleep on the floor or not, because it really depends on the individual situation. Some people have back problems or other issues, so of course if you have a history of this, then you should talk to your doctor before trying anything new.

For most of us, though, it’s a matter of preference. There’s nothing wrong with sleeping on the floor, and in fact people in a lot of cultures do just that. A bigger question might be why people try to sleep on mattresses made of spring-loaded metal!

The health concerns are beyond the scope of this article, though. Instead, let’s talk about some of the more practical benefits of sleeping on the floor and keeping your bedtime minimalistic:

1) You Can Save a Lot of Room

One of the reasons people sleep on the floor in countries where housing tends to be smaller is simply to save room. When you sleep on the floor with a small futon or sleeping cushion, you can simply fold it up and use the space for other things during the day. After all, you’re not always asleep, so it makes no sense to take up half the room with a giant piece of furniture that you only use at night.

Remember how big your room looked before you put that two-ton king-sized bed in it? Reclaim the space by putting your bed away when you don’t need it! Of course, you don’t have to sleep on the floor to have this convenience—you can always choose a Murphy bed or some other kind of collapsible mattress—but the simplest way to make extra room is to just do away with that large mattress altogether.

Western-style beds take up a lot of room that could be put to better use during the day.
Western-style beds take up a lot of room that could be put to better use during the day.

2) You Can Save a Lot of Money

How much is a mattress these days? How about an extra-firm mattress that mimics the hardness of the floor?

You know, it’s funny, thousands of years ago, before there was fancy memory foam and pocketed coils, people got along just fine sleeping on the ground and they probably didn’t suffer from too many back problems. It would be kind of weird to think that we specifically evolved to sleep on beds that are made of a wide variety of random materials and can cost more than an entire paycheck. Even weirder, we have all these accessories like box springs and frames and headboards.

It kind of makes you wonder why mattresses and bed frames seem to be such a staple in Western countries (and, actually, most developed nations) nowadays. The way you see them advertised, it’s like they’re a basic necessity, right after food and water and clothing.

Oh yeah, it’s because they cost money. Our modern, overly-commercialized society will use any excuse to squeeze every last dollar out of you. The floor, however, is free—or cheap, at worst. Why not reclaim your freedom and forgo spending hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on something that you might not even need?

Moreover, mattresses wear out, develop dips and sags, or simply break. It’s hard to break the floor. The floor of a building can last hundreds of years without being replaced, and it will support you quite well no matter how much you roll around.

Your Current Mattress

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3) You Can Keep Your Sleeping Space Cleaner

We sleep on our mattresses all night, and chances are we drool all over them. Guess who else sleeps with us? That’s right, bugs! Little microscopic dust mites and other adorable creatures are snacking on your dead skin cells all night long. Tasty! They also leave their tiny droppings all over your bed. That’s not to mention all of the sweat and grime from your body that accumulates. It’s unlikely that a few thin bedsheets are enough to stop all of that, especially as the months and years pass. (In all honesty, this probably won’t hurt you, though, unless you have a specific allergy to dust mite poo.)

While the cushyness of your average mattress might make it comfortable at first, it also unfortunately tends to make it more absorbent. There are seemingly endless labyrinths where germs and bodily fluids can become trapped.

Things might also tend to disappear under your bed and you might not realize the mess of dust and random objects until you go looking for something specific that you lost between the crack of the mattress and the wall. If you sleep on the floor, though, there is no “under” the bed (which means fewer monsters), so you bypass that problem altogether.

A big, bulky spring or foam mattress is hard to clean thoroughly. You certainly can’t throw it in the washing machine. On the other hand, it’s not too difficult to air out or hose down a thin sleeping cushion. Since they’re less expensive, they’re also easier to replace if you pee on them or something.

Floor beds are just...simple.
Floor beds are just...simple.

4) Floor Beds Are Usually More Portable

If you elect to sleep on a futon or some other similar thin bed that is meant for the floor, you can often just take your bed with you when you travel. This means that you can have the comfort of sleeping at home everywhere you go.

In fact, there’s something to be said for getting used to sleeping on the floor in general, because then you’ll be able to sleep just about anywhere, whether you take your little bed with you or not. You may not always be able to find a king-sized foam hybrid bed with titanium coils enveloped in organic cotton...but you’ll always be able to find a floor.

On the other hand, lugging around a full-sized mattress is a huge pain. You’ve probably noticed this before if you’ve ever tried to move house.

5) It’s Simple

Finally, sleeping on the floor is simple. It’s easy to get in and out of bed—all you have to do is be able to crawl. It’s easy for people and animals of all ages, and is suitable for people with most ability levels. Once a person gets used to it, it’s also usually a very comfortable way to sleep that can keep your back well aligned, providing that you use a thin cushion to take the edge off.

If you’re into a minimalistic lifestyle, then I would say floor sleeping is definitely something that you might want to consider.

Whether YOU Think It's Good to Sleep on the Floor

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© 2018 Jorge Vamos

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