Sleeping on a Hard Surface: Everything You Need to Know

smiling lady sleeping on the hard floor

Are you tired of waking up to painful muscles and joints no matter what mattress you lie down on? Well, sleeping on a hard surface such as the floor could be the solution!

Many cultures from around the world have no place for beds and mattresses in their bedrooms. Yet they report enjoying better sleep and waking up pain-free.

Isn’t it interesting that Westerners continue to wake up with backaches, joint pains, and niggling discomforts when we have access to the latest in mattress technology? 

Is Sleeping on The Floor Good For You?

Is sleeping on the floor good for you? The answer is that it can be. Sleeping on a hard surface can force proper alignment of the spine. It may take some time getting used to in the first place. But over time, you get to appreciate how much your sleep has been transformed. While the cushioning effects of mattresses and other soft surfaces such as sofas may look more comfortable at face value, they can actually be terrible for the body.

Advantages of Sleeping On The Floor

Millions of people around the world sleep on the floor every night. The Japanese are huge admirers of floor-sleeping just like many cultures in Asia and Africa. Let us take a look at some of the benefits of lying down on the floor instead of fluffy surfaces such as mattresses and sofas.

1. Sleeping on the Floor for Back Pain

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

Firstly, lying down on a hard surface allows the spine to achieve a straight neutral posture without excessive pressure on one part or another. This gives the whole back region the freedom to function optimally leading to soothing relief from those stressed muscles that cause pain frequently.

No wonder nomads, forest dwellers, and others who sleep on the floor have such straight postures and healthy backs.

2. Better Posture

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

As noted above, the firm nature of floors and other hard surfaces can promote proper alignment of the spine. Even if you’ve been struggling with a terrible posture all your life, ditching your bed for the floor can lead to significant improvements.

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

3. Space

Modern bedrooms can feature all kinds of furniture including closets, nightstands, and beds. But, more often than not, the bed stands out as the biggest piece of furniture in the room and thus, it takes up a lion’s share 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 gigantic bed?

Whether you live in a studio or a small apartment, ditching your 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 put into storage means more benefits than you ever imagined.

Once your bedroom becomes clear, space previously occupied by your bed can be turned into a home office or even a lounge to host your guests.

As such, this style of sleeping can give you the freedom to optimize the space in your home to reap the desired benefits no matter how small it may be.

4. Choose Where to Sleep

The absence of a permanent bed gives you flexibility not just in terms of space but your sleeping spot as well.

Whether you feel like sleeping in your lounge or balcony, nothing can hold you back. Even in that same bedroom, you can easily choose to lie down on one side or the other due to the enormous space available now.

Are you feeling hot on a summer night? Just move your futon or sleeping mat to the front of your window to enjoy the cool nightly breeze. You could even sleep closer to the air-conditioning to feel cooler.

Floor sleeping also trains you to become a less fuzzy sleeper. Once you get used to it, you’re able to lie down wherever you want whether at work or on a long bus trip to catch up on valuable sleep.

5. Affordable

Who says you need a $3,000 mattress designed by God Knows Who to sleep well? In addition to the benefits outlined above, sleeping on the floor can also be great for your pocket.

Many people have reported better sleep after ditching their $3,000 brand-name models for the floor. Had they known the advantages of hard surface sleeping, they could have saved themselves from shelling out such an amount on that mattress in the first place.

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

6. Cooler Sleeping

Have you tried walking barefooted on a hard floor during a hot summer night? Your feet can feel refreshingly cool which is evidence of what’s in store when you switch to floor sleeping full-time.

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

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

Disadvantages of Sleeping On The Floor

Sleeping on the floor may not be good for everyone because it has a few drawbacks. Here are a couple of disadvantages to consider before deciding to switch to floor sleeping.

1. Aggravated Medical Issues

Have you recently undergone serious surgery or been prescribed to lie down on a special mattress? Moving down to sleep on the floor may not be advisable.

Remember, the fact that your doctors have seen the medical need for a special mattress means it can be a critical piece of the recovery process.

Even if you’re dying to try floor sleeping, it is best to concentrate on getting back to full fitness before thinking about moving from the bed.

2. Complicated Pregnancies

pregnant woman holding her tummy

Are you suffering complications from your pregnancy? Sticking to your bed may be the best idea. At least until you deliver and get back to good health.

Note that it can take some time to get used to sleeping on the floor meaning the quality of your rest can suffer in the interim.

Also, getting in and out of bed from the floor during the latter stages of pregnancy can be difficult. It can take a lot of skill which may put the health of the fetus at risk.

If you’ve been sleeping on the floor for a long time then you’ll probably have no issues continuing with it while pregnant. But experts do not recommend switching to the floor in the middle of a pregnancy.

3. Chilly Nights

The ability of the floor to stay cool can both a gift and a curse. Sure, it may boost your ability to sleep in the summer but the opposite may be true during winter.

Lying down on the floor when room temperatures have tumbled to single digits is no joke. It can be chilly to the point of discomfort while increasing your chances of catching a cold.

Even the thickest blankets and comforters may not be enough to stay warm especially for those who’ve only recently switched to floor sleeping.

If you must lie down on the floor, having the right mattress can be an important piece of the puzzle because it can help you keep warm during those chilly nights.

Have you read the article we wrote on the reasons why we feel safe when sleeping under blankets? Click here to check it out.

How to Properly Sleep on The Floor

Humans are creatures of habit meaning we can get used to things when repeated over time. Once you get set in a particular way, making changes can become extremely difficult.

The reality is that after sleeping on plush mattresses for decades, ditching your bed for a cold hard surface such as the floor can be unpleasant in the beginning.

Here are a few tips to ensure your switch to the floor is as smooth as possible.

1.Mental Preparedness

While some people experience a seamless transition from beds to the floor, many of us face more difficulties. The first few nights can be uncomfortable to the point where you might be tempted to run back to your bed.

This is why building the right level of mental strength is key. Also, it is important to manage your expectations to prevent any shocks.

Note that floor sleeping is not a literal bed of roses and that the improvements to your health outweigh any physical discomforts you may suffer in the short term.

Additionally, while the feeling of mattresses can give you the impression that cushioning is the ultimate form of comfort, the reality may be different when you sleep 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 and not any physical cushioning you may enjoy.

2. The Right Sleeping Surface for The Floor

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

The right surface can come in handy during your switch from a mattress to the floor by giving you a little bit of cushioning.

3. Pillows

Should you ditch your pillows when moving to the floor? After all, our ancestors who lived in the Neanderthal era slept without the use of pillows right?

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

The truth is lying down on a pillow can protect you from neck pain. Just make sure it is not too thick, as that can place your neck in an unnatural position which could lead to severe pain anyway.

I have been relying on the 2-pack Beckham Collection Luxury Pillows from Amazon for the past 4 months for comfortable sleeping on the floor. It features super plush material which ensures I wake up pain-free in the morning. Seriously, you should try it.

The Effects of Different Sleeping Positions on the Floor

Your sleeping position is important whether you’re lying down in a luxurious bed or on the bare ground. But how does your preferred position affect sleep when you decide to ditch your bed in favor of a hard surface such as the floor?

Side Sleeping On The Floor

side sleeper on the floor

Can you sleep on the floor comfortably as a side sleeper? Yes, you can. This is one of the most popular questions on the minds of those who sleep on their sides whenever they consider moving to the floor.

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

Also, laying your head on a thin pillow can align the neck and shoulders. This eliminates unwarranted pressure and any traces of pain across the neck and shoulders.

Stomach Sleeping On The Floor

If you’re a stomach sleeper, switching to the floor can give you the time of your life during sleep. Your tense muscles and inflamed joints can receive the necessary stretching and alignment when you sleep on your tummy.

This can alleviate all sorts of pain and allow rewarding shut-eyes with proper support across the spinal region and beyond.

Back Sleeping On The Floor

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

If you have been battling back pain for ages, you could finally kiss the discomfort and muscle stiffness goodbye.

Best Platforms for Sleeping on a Hard Surface

Moving from a bed to the floor is a decision that can transform the quality of your sleep. As stated earlier, you still need some sort of sleeping surface to provide a bit of cushioning for the body.

The good news is that there are tons of options out there for you and your personal circumstances may determine which one is best. Shall we take a look at the various options available?

1. Firm Mattress Topper

A firm mattress or mattress topper can provide world-class support for the body by keeping your spine aligned with the joints and muscles. This is why firm mattresses are a solid option for sleeping on hard surfaces.

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

If you’ve been sleeping on soft mattresses all your life, it is time to switch to something firmer.

The Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual-Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper can give you a memorable sleeping experience on a hard surface. My girlfriend can guarantee it since I recommended buying it 3 months ago. The have over 11 000 five star reviews on Amazon!

2. Futon

The Japanese affinity for futons has made them so popular that many Westerners are switching 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 form with negligible thickness. On the other hand, American-style futons are typically 2-4 inches thick and provide some form of cushioning.

However, the limited thickness means 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 down on a hard surface at least in the beginning. Once you get used to them, perhaps you’ll opt for much flatter sleeping surfaces.

I have been sleeping on the FULI Japanese Traditional Futon Shikibuton High-Grade Floor Mattress from Amazon for the past 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. It is little wonder that Tatami mats originate from the Asian country.

Tatamis have been in existence for over a century and have been refined over the years to provide more comfort.

These mats are a popular flooring material in Japanese homes. They also double as sleeping surfaces for those who want an enjoyable shut-eye experience on the floor. 

Typically made from rattan or dried grass stems, Tatami sleeping mats are typically easy to fold during storage. This makes them a great option for anyone with limited bedroom space.

These mats can offer just the right level of cushioning to protect the body from making direct contact with the floor.

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

4. Massage Mat

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

This explains why massage mats have become so popular in the last few years among floor sleepers.

There are different brands and models with each one having its own properties. Some of these mats can massage stressed out joints and muscles in the body. This can help sleepers to wake up feeling free from previously felt pain areas.

Advanced models of massage mats may offer extras such as heating. During chilly winter nights, this heating can be the difference between feeling cozy and freezing to death.

The SNAILAX Memory Foam Massage Mat with Heat from Amazon can make lying down on a hard surface completely relaxing and memorable. It provides heat-based vibrations that provide 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 then you’ve probably experienced the soft and smooth feeling it gives to the body. This softness can offer a little bit of comfort to minimize the cold hard floor’s effects without offsetting its benefits.

This is what makes them a great floor sleeping mat. Yoga mats come in different shapes, sizes, and raw materials. Besides, they’re available at different prices with the simplest models starting from under $20.

I have been sleeping on the BalanceFrom GoYoga Extra Thick Yoga Mat with Straps from Amazon for the past 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 sleeping on a hard surface? Laying a few blankets on the floor can give you a taste of the benefits of sleeping on a hard surface.

Once you become used to floor sleeping, you can invest in a proper Tatami mat or Futon.

Have you seen the article we wrote on 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 a myriad of ways. This is because the flat nature of the floor can keep the spine properly aligned with the neck and other parts of the body for good posture.

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

As long as floor-sleeping is not dangerous for you due to some medical condition, go ahead and try it out. You could be in for a pleasant surprise.




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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