Sleeping on the Floor

Have you ever considered that your sleep problems may be caused by your mattress? Have you purchased a giant mattress only to find that it doesn’t seem to make any difference?

I’ve been doing some research on this topic and while a web search will yield many results, you probably won’t find a definitive answer. One thing I am certain of though: humans slept fine for thousands upon thousands of years without a space foam mattress.

So what is the benefit of sleeping on the floor instead of a mattress? Some people theorize that it aligns your posture better, allows better bloodflow and circulation, and can help alleviate and possibly correct back pain. So what’s it like, and why do I want to do it? Here’s why:

  1. I hate soft, cushy mattresses. I really do. They certainly feel fine for a while, but I just sink into the soft uneven mattress and then my back is out of alignment.
  2. Modern western mattresses are expensive. About the cheapest mattress you can find is still $250-$300. Then you also need a box spring, which is more money. Why spend that kind of money on something I don’t like?
  3. Modern bedding is toxic and filled with chemicals. OK, there are a lot of products we use every day that are toxic. But it seems like a place where our bodies rest and rejuvenate shouldn’t be one of them!

While I don’t see myself sleeping directly on the floor, I am leaning towards building a very low platform-type bed for a Japanese-style futon. I have long admired the traditional Japanese way of sleeping, using a futon mattress that can be stored during the day in a closet, then brought out when it’s time to sleep. This setup also frees up the room and allows it to be used for more than one purpose (if you have a small space, that space is precious!).

For further reading, this is an excellent article on the subject of alternatives to the western mattress: http://www.zafu.net/sleepergonomics.html. There is also terrific information on toxic bedding and why we should avoid it.

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