Sleeping on a Hard Surface: Everything You Need to Know

smiling lady sleeping on the hard floor

Are you tired of waking up with aching muscles and joints no matter what mattress you lay on? Well, sleeping on a hard surface like the floor could be the solution!

Many cultures from around the world don’t have room for beds and mattresses in their bedrooms. Yet, they report sleeping better and waking up without pain.

Isn’t it interesting that in the western world we still wake up with back pain, joint pain and other ailments even though we have access to the latest mattresses?

Is Sleeping on The Floor Good For You?

The answer is that it can be good. Sleeping on a hard surface can force proper spinal alignment. It may take some time to get used to it at first. But over time, you’ll appreciate how much your sleep has changed. While the cushioning effect of mattresses and other soft surfaces, such as sofas, may look more comfortable at first, they can actually be terrible for your body.

Advantages of Sleeping On The Floor

Millions of people around the world sleep on the floor every night. The Japanese are great admirers of sleeping on the floor, as are many cultures in Asia and Africa. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of lying on the floor instead of fluffy surfaces like mattresses and sofas.

1. Sleeping on the Floor for Back Pain

One of the main benefits of sleeping on the floor is relief from back pain. Many long-term patients say they experience little to no pain after switching from bed to floor. But how does sleeping on the floor help with back pain?

First, lying on a hard surface allows the spine to maintain a straight, neutral posture without undue pressure on one part or another. This gives the entire back region the freedom to function optimally, resulting in beneficial relief of those strained muscles that often cause pain.

No wonder nomads, forest dwellers and others who sleep on the floor have such a straight posture and a healthy back.

2. You can develop a Better Posture by sleeping on the floor 

Many of us develop posture problems due to our so-called luxurious mattresses that cause us to slouch. On the contrary, people from cultures that sleep on the floor tend to have better posture that makes them appear more confident.

As mentioned earlier, the firm nature of floors and other hard surfaces can encourage proper spinal alignment. Even if you’ve struggled with poor posture your entire life, switching from bed to floor can lead to significant improvements.

Remember, poor posture is one of the leading causes of chronic pain and discomfort.

3. You have more space without a bed

Modern bedrooms can contain all kinds of furniture, including wardrobes, bedside tables and beds. But in most cases, the bed is the largest piece of furniture in the room and therefore takes up most of the available space.

The good news is that sleeping on the floor eliminates the need for a bed. Can you imagine how much space you can save by ridding your bedroom of that giant bed?

Whether you live in a studio or a small apartment, doing away with the bed can come in handy when you need more space. The fact that futons, yoga mats, and tatami mats can be easily rolled up and stored away comes with more benefits than you ever imagined.

Once your bedroom is freed up, the space previously occupied by your bed can be transformed into a home office or even a lounge to host your guests.

This way of sleeping can give you the freedom to optimize the space in your home to reap the benefits you want, no matter how small it may be.

4. Choose Where to Sleep

The lack of a fixed bed gives you flexibility not only in terms of space, but also in terms of where you sleep.

Whether you want to sleep in your living room or on the balcony, nothing can stop you. Even in the same bedroom, you can now easily lie on one side or the other due to the huge amount of space.

Feeling hot on a summer night? Just place your futon or sleeping mat in front of the window to enjoy the cool night breeze. You could even sleep closer to the air conditioner to feel cooler.

Sleeping on the floor also trains you to become a less restless sleeper. Once you get used to it, you can lie down wherever you want, whether at work or on a long bus ride, to catch up on valuable sleep.

5. Affordable – You don’t need to purchase a expensive bed

Who says you need a $3,000 mattress designed by “God Knows Who” to get a good night’s sleep? In addition to the above benefits, sleeping on the floor can also be easy on your wallet.

Many people have reported sleeping better after trading in their $3,000 brand models for the floor. Had they known the benefits of sleeping on a hard surface, they could have saved themselves the trouble of purchasing such a mattress.

If you want the freedom to travel cheap without sacrificing your sleep, floor sleeping can be great for you. No wonder many backpackers have developed the art of lying on the floor wherever adventure takes them.

6. Cooler Sleeping

Have you ever tried walking barefoot on a hard floor on a hot summer night? Your feet can feel refreshingly cool, which is a testament to what’s in store when you switch to sleeping on the ground full time.

In the summer, mattresses can easily get hot from the scorching room temperature and your body heat. However, since the floor is the coolest part of the room, lying there you can enjoy the cool circulating air even on hot nights.

This can eliminate night sweats and other forms of discomfort, leading to better rest and all-around good health quality.

Disadvantages of Sleeping On The Floor

Sleeping on the floor may not be good for everyone because it has a few disadvantages. Here are a few disadvantages to consider before you decide to sleep on the floor.

1. Aggravated Medical Issues

Have you recently undergone major surgery or been prescribed to lie on a special mattress? Switching to sleeping on the floor may not be advisable.

Remember, the fact that your doctors have seen the medical need for a specialty mattress means that it may be a critical part of the recovery process.

Even if you’re eager to try sleeping on the floor, it’s best to focus on getting back to full fitness before you think about getting out of bed.

2. Complicated Pregnancies

pregnant woman holding her tummy


Are you suffering from pregnancy complications? Then staying in bed may be the best idea. At least until you have given birth and are well again.

Note that it may take some time to get used to sleeping on the floor, so the quality of your rest may suffer in the meantime.

Getting in and out of bed from the floor can also be difficult during the latter stages of pregnancy. It can require a lot of dexterity, which can put the health of the fetus at risk.

If you’ve been sleeping on the floor for a long time, you probably won’t have any problems maintaining that during pregnancy. However, experts advise against switching to the floor in the middle of pregnancy.

3. Chilly Nights in the winter without a bed

The floor’s ability to stay cool can be both a gift and a curse. Sure, it can help you sleep better in the summer, but the opposite can be true in the winter.

Laying on the floor when the room temperatures have dipped into the single digits is no fun. It can be so cold that you feel uncomfortable, while also increasing the risk of catching a cold.

Even the thickest blankets and down comforters may not be enough to stay warm, especially for those who have recently switched to the floor.

If you need to get on the floor, the right mattress can be an important piece of the puzzle because it can help you stay warm during those cold nights.

Did you read the article we wrote about why we feel safe sleeping under blankets? Click here to read it.

How do you Sleep on The Floor properly? 

Humans are creatures of habit, which means we can get used to things if they repeat over time. Once you settle into a certain way of doing things, it can become extremely difficult to make changes.

The reality is that after decades of sleeping on plush mattresses, it can be uncomfortable at first to leave your bed for a cold, hard surface like the floor.

Here are a few tips to make sure your switch to the floor goes as smoothly as possible.

1.Mental Preparedness

While some people experience a seamless transition from bed to floor, many of us have more difficulty. The first few nights can be so uncomfortable that you may be tempted to run back to your bed.

For this reason, it’s important to build the right amount of mental strength. It’s also important to manage your expectations to avoid shocks.

Keep in mind that sleeping on the floor is not a literal bed of roses, and the improvements to your health will outweigh any physical discomfort you may suffer in the short term.

Furthermore, while the feel of mattresses may make you think that cushioning is the ultimate form of comfort, the reality may be different if you are sleeping on a hard surface. Therefore, the measure of your comfort should be the quality of your sleep and how your body feels in the morning, not any physical padding you may enjoy.

2. The Right Sleeping Surface for The Floor

Sleeping on the floor has many advantages over traditional beds. But does that mean you should sleep directly on the cold concrete, tile or hardwood floor? The answer is no. It’s important to find a sleeping surface that can serve as a layer between your body and the hard floor.

The right pad can be very helpful when moving from the mattress to the floor by providing you with a bit of cushioning.

3. Pillows – Many pillows

Should you throw away your pillows when you move to the floor? After all, our ancestors who lived during the time of the Neanderthals slept without pillows, right?

Well, ditching pillows may not be necessary, even if you’re moving to the floor. Sure, sleeping with a bunch of pillows might not be the way to go if you’re moving to the floor. But a thin pillow can help elevate your neck a bit and align it properly with the rest of your body.

The truth is, lying on a pillow can protect you from neck pain. Just make sure it’s not too thick, because that can put your neck in an unnatural position that can lead to severe pain anyway.

I’ve been relying on the 2-pack Beckham Collection Luxury Pillows from Amazon for the past 4 months to sleep comfortably on the floor. It has a super plush material that ensures I wake up pain free in the morning. Seriously, you should try it out.

The Effects of Different Sleeping Positions on the Floor

Your sleeping position is important, whether you’re in a luxurious bed or on the bare floor. But how does your preferred position affect sleep if you decide to abandon your bed in favor of a hard surface like the floor?

Side Sleeping On The Floor

side sleeper on the floor

Can you sleep comfortably on the floor as a side sleeper? Yes, you can. That’s one of the most popular questions side sleepers ask when considering a move to the floor.

Lying on a hard surface can be uncomfortable due to excess pressure on the hips and shoulders. However, placing a knee pillow between your legs can provide the right angle to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Placing your head on a thin pillow can also help align your neck and shoulders. This eliminates unwarranted pressure and any traces of pain in the neck and shoulders.

Stomach Sleeping On The Floor

If you are a stomach sleeper, switching to the floor can give you the time of your life while sleeping. Your tight muscles and inflamed joints can get the stretch and alignment they need when you sleep on your stomach.

This can alleviate all kinds of aches and pains and allow for rewarding, closed eyes with proper support throughout the spine and beyond.

Back Sleeping On The Floor

The floor is every back sleeper’s dream come true. This is because the back provides your spine with the ultimate support in a neutral position.

If you’ve been struggling with back pain for ages, you can finally say goodbye to discomfort and muscle tension.

Best Platforms for Sleeping on a Hard Surface

Switching from bed to floor is a decision that can change the quality of your sleep. As mentioned earlier, you still need some sort of sleeping surface to cushion your body a bit.

The good news is that there are a variety of options and your personal circumstances will determine which is best. Let’s take a look at the different options available?

1. Firm Mattress Topper

A firm mattress or mattress topper can provide top-notch support for your body by keeping your spine aligned with your joints and muscles. For this reason, firm mattresses are a solid option for sleeping on hard surfaces.

They can also improve the curvature of your spine and correct your posture. Just be sure to choose a model that isn’t too thick to ensure an authentic floor sleeping experience.

If you’ve slept on soft mattresses all your life, it’s time to switch to something firmer.

The Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual-Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper can give you an unforgettable sleeping experience on a hard surface. My friend can guarantee it since I recommended her to buy 3 months ago. They have over 11,000 five-star reviews on Amazon!

2. Use a Futon to sleep on the floor

The Japanese fondness for futons has made them so popular that many Westerners are switching over and loving them too. Futons come in two main types: Traditional Japanese style and American style models.

Japanese style futons come in a mat-like shape with negligible thickness. On the other hand, American style futons are typically 2-4 inches thick and offer some form of cushioning.

However, the limited thickness means that you can still feel the flatness of the floor on your spine and other joints.

Futons can be a great way to get used to lying on a hard surface, at least at first. Once you get used to it, you may opt for a much flatter sleeping surface.

I have been sleeping on the FULI Japanese Traditional Futon Shikibuton High-Grade Floor Mattress from Amazon for 6 months. It has transformed the quality of my sleep and my friends who ordered it through my recommendations can’t stop raving about it.

3. Tatami Mats

The Japanese have mastered the art of sleeping on hard surfaces. So it’s no wonder that tatami mats originated from the Asian country.

Tatamis have been around for over a century and have been refined over the years to offer more comfort.

These mats are a popular floor covering in Japanese homes. They also serve as a sleeping surface for those who want to have a comfortable sleeping experience on the floor.

Typically made from rattan or dried blades of grass, tatami sleeping mats fold up easily for storage. This makes them a great option for those with limited bedroom space.

These mats can provide just the right amount of cushioning to protect the body from direct contact with the floor.

I found the IKEHIKO Japanese Tatami Mattress on Amazon – it is the best rated model with hundreds of 5-star reviews from consumers.

4. Massage Mat

While lying directly on a hard surface can be extreme for many people, the thinnest mattresses work better with your spinal region.

This explains why massage mats have become so popular with floor sleepers in recent years.

There are several brands and models, each with their own features. Some of these mats can massage stressed joints and muscles in the body. This can help sleepers feel free from previously felt areas of pain.

More advanced models of massage mats can offer extras like a heater. On cold winter nights, this heater can make the difference between feeling comfortable and freezing to death.

The SNAILAX Memory Foam Massage Mat with Heat from Amazon can make lying on a hard surface completely relaxing and memorable. It provides heat-based vibrations that offer relief from various forms of muscle stiffness and pain.

5. Yoga Mats

woman lying down on a yoga mat

If you’ve ever done yoga, you’ve probably experienced the soft and smooth feeling it gives the body. This softness can provide a little comfort to minimize the effects of the cold, hard ground without compromising its benefits.

This is what makes it a great floor sleeping mat. Yoga mats come in different shapes, sizes, and raw materials. They also come in a variety of prices, with the most basic models starting at under $20.

I’ve been sleeping on the BalanceFrom GoYoga Extra Thick Yoga Mat with Straps from Amazon for 6 months. It comes with extra thickness that makes sleeping comfortable and carries straps for easy packing into storage in the morning.

6. Blankets 

Want to ditch your bed in favor of a hard surface? Putting a few blankets on the floor can give you a taste of the benefits of sleeping on a hard surface.

Once you get used to sleeping on the floor, you can invest in a proper tatami mat or futon.

Did you see the article we wrote about the best Weighted Blanket Reviews? Click here to see the number one -rated weighted blanket online today.


Sleeping on the floor can be beneficial to your health in many ways. This is because the flat nature of the floor properly aligns the spine with the neck and other parts of the body to ensure good posture.

This also provides relief for long term back pain and other forms of discomfort.

As long as sleeping on the floor is not dangerous for you due to a medical problem, you should give it a try. It could be a pleasant surprise for you.

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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