Last night I slept on the floor for the first time, and it was an interesting experience.
I didn’t sleep directly on the floor, but I used an extra comforter we had and doubled it over to provide some cushioning, along with my pillow. I tried laying on my side at first, but that wasn’t very comfortable. Laying on my back was OK. Laying face-down was not possible, as it hindered my breathing to almost nothing.
So for most of the night, I slept on my back. The comforter didn’t provide any cushioning, just a slight buffer from the hardness of the wood floor. It’s spring, so the floor wasn’t too cold. I’m sure that I moved around during the night, but I don’t remember waking up during the night.
I did wake up at 6 am when the sun came up. My first thought was about how uncomfortable I felt for the few moments I was laying down while still awake. It wasn’t painful at all, but it certainly is not the “comfort” of a traditional mattress. I could feel the tension most in my lower back (because of the lack of support) and my shoulder blades.
One thing I noticed immediately was that I did not have any breathing problems. Normally, I wake up and cough with a little congestion almost every day. Today? None. I think my body aligned itself by sleeping on the firmer surface, which allowed me to breath naturally during the night. This is a benefit definitely worth the initial discomfort of the floor.
Learning to sleep without the traditional Western mattress also has an added benefit: not having to rely on finding a bed wherever I go. If you read other people’s stories around the web of why they sleep on the floor, this is a common stated benefit. I’ve never been particular about sleeping in beds wherever I go, but I would have a hard time with couches, car seats and other non-traditional sleeping places. So once I get used to it, I can sleep anywhere.
It’s going to take some time to adjust, because sleeping on a firm surface goes against the way most of us have been sleeping our entire lives. My goal is to make a simple platform made of wood, with 2” slats to provide ventilation, and use a Japanese-style futon or similar mattress. I’ve already priced it, and the whole setup will cost less than $80 for the platform, and around $250-$350 for an organic, natural-fiber filled futon; that is incredibly cheaper than a new mattress, bed & box-spring.
What would you do? Can you see yourself ditching a traditional mattress for the floor?