One extra tip about sleeping on the floor

Hello fellow floor sleepers and aspiring floor sleepers! If you’ve read a few previous blog posts about sleeping on the floor, you now know why it’s good for you and what benefits you can expect after ditching the mattress (and the bed!)

Today I wanted to write a small note on something I think I have never mentioned in my previous posts and something that can be important. This came up in my own sleeping journey and later on, coincidentally, I heard from my mom who reported a similar nuance with sleeping on the floor that I thought was pretty important for me to communicate to whoever may be reading my blog.

But first, a little story.

I have been trying to create a nice arrangement for my partner and I to sleep together (we happen to like it) while still sleeping on a hard surface. He has realised I am not giving my floor sleeping up and he hasn’t been trying to get me to sleep on the bed or any other soft surfaces for quite a while. Moreover, he has slept on the floor with me more times than I can count, and seems to have adapted quite well. (Except he still needs a somewhat softer surface and usually requires a couple extra blankets as padding).

I was a little tired of both of us sleeping on the floor, as it just didn’t feel like the best solution. I remembered what my mom had told me about her own experience of sleeping on a hard surface back when she was a student. She used a door that was left after renovations, which she put on the bed in her room (many, many years ago.)

We didn’t have a spare door we could use. But my partner said he could make a wooden “platform” for us to put on the bed and that way we could ditch the mattress.

My homemade hard surface bed

What can I say, I am the luckiest woman ever and I have the most understanding, open-minded and easy-going partner anyone could ever dream of. He also cooks and makes great coffee and has a great sense of humour which I love. I was so excited about this new wooden “platform” idea. We were going to “sleep on the floor” while actually sleeping on a raised bed. Yay!

With all the other home renovation projects, it took about a year until we finally went to Home Depot and got two wide wooden planks. It took my partner another few weeks to cut those into the shapes we needed and mount them on the bed. We sold our mattress later that week. Bye bye mattress.

Hello new “hard” bed!

And hard it was. We put a couple blankets on top of the wooden planks, and then some sheets etc – the usual stuff. It was heaven – for the first couple months or so. The wide planks provided plenty of space for the both of us, and provided us with perfect hard surface while we still slept on a raised “bed” – instead of sleeping on the floor. It was a little too hard for my partner, so he put more layers of blankets on his side of the bed. All in all, I was very excited about this new setup, and my partner also grew to like it.

However, about 2-3 months in, I started feeling a little sore in my lower back. It wasn’t a deep soreness like you have when you sleep in a twisted position buried in your mattress. Instead, it was more of a surface soreness, as if the surface of my bones was hurting. I didn’t realise where it was coming from at first, until I slept a night on the soft carpeted floor instead of our bed, because it was too cold for me in the bedroom. (As it often happens, my guy likes it cold, and I like it warm.) So, after sleeping in the spare bedroom on a carpeted floor, I woke up and did not have any soreness in my body. The next night I slept in our bed, and the soreness was back.

I thought: could it be the bed? Could it be that, even with several layers of blankets, the hard wooden bed is still a little too hard for me, while the carpeted floor provided just enough padding?

At around the same time, my mom told me she was having some issues sleeping on the hardwood floor and needed a bit of padding – I think she ended up using therm-a-rest.

Hers and mine experiences combined gave me a clue. And this is what I wanted to communicate to other floor sleepers who may, unlike me, have hardwood floors in their homes. If you do – you may experience some more soreness than necessary, like I did while sleeping in our “wooden” bed. I do not think it’s healthy or in any way good for you. The straight surface is very, very good, but if it’s too hard and your bones actually hurt – I would advise adding some padding. You can add a tatami mat or a thick yoga mat or several layers of thick blankets – whatever works for you. But don’t keep hurting your body.

Now, something to point out here is that, if you are just starting out in sleeping on the floor, you may also experience soreness, even if you sleep on the carpet. (+whatever layers you set up). That is a different type of soreness, not the one I am talking about. That “adaptation” soreness is natural and should last up to a few weeks / a month max. That is just your body re-aligning yourself and learning to sleep the way it was naturally supposed to sleep.

So if you are just starting out – again, please do avoid sleeping on “wooden” surfaces and if you don’t have carpet in your house, do use a tatami mat or a yoga mat or any other type of mat under the rest of your setup (which may or may not include a couple folded blankets + sheets etc).

If you are using a mat and or carpet and other padding but are still experiencing pain at these initial stages – please just wait it out. It will get better with time, and then it will get REALLY GOOD!

With our bed, we ended up using a few more layers of blankets and a thick sleeping bag which made it better, although I still prefer my sleeping place on the carpet in the spare bedroom. (Mostly because I can make the room really warm for the night.) But that’s a whole different story.

Note: I am not a doctor and do not have professional knowledge of medicine/health of various systems of the body. This article is based on online research combined with personal experience of myself and other people. I do not provide medical advice or any type of guarantee. I also care about your health safety. If you know of a reason that prohibits you from sleeping on the floor, please do not do it. If your doctor told you not to sleep on hard surfaces, please do not do it. (Unless you do your own research and understand the risks for your potential condition.)