Is sleeping on the floor good for your back?
One of the reasons so many of us have chronic back pain is that our bodies spend so much time in various unnatural positions, such as sitting at the desk all day long. Sleeping on a soft mattress is another example of that. A soft bed or mattress cannot properly support your back and allow it to naturally realign.
On the contrary, when you sleep on a soft mattress, you tend to sink in. Your hips and shoulders sink in deeper than the rest of you, causing unnatural curves in your body. Then your body has to support those unnatural curves for hours and hours while you sleep. No wonder you have stiff muscles and pinched nerves and arteries when you wake up.
When you sleep on the floor or any other hard, flat surface, your body is able to naturally spread its weight, which then becomes supported by your bones (as opposed to being supported by your muscles, trying to hold it in an unnatural position.)
If you have ever slept or even just stretched in the floor or any other hard surface, you know that feeling of tight contact of your bones with the surface. Your body was designed to be supported by your bones, not your muscles or joints.
The stress that our body experiences during the day of sedentary work is high enough. Then we top it off with eight more hours of stress while trying to cope with unnatural positions during sleep. This is why sleeping on the floor is crucial for the health of your back. You just want to take that stress away. While many people that have back pain believe that they need a softer mattress, it is actually the exact opposite! They need harder surface to sleep on.
Sleeping on the floor is good for a lot of systems in your body, but it is especially good for the health of your back. Lots of people notice that their back pain reduces drastically (if not disappears altogether) once they ditch their mattress and bed and transition to sleeping on the floor. Here is what happens when you allow your back a luxury of resting on a hard surface.
Your back will straighten and realign
When you are sleeping on a soft surface, your back will curve. This is unnatural, and causes increased stress on your back, muscles, tendons and ligaments. On a hard surface, there is no curvature. Your back straightens, relaxes and realigns. This will result in better posture and absence of pain upon waking up.
Sleeping on the floor may help with scoliosis
Sleeping on the floor can slow the progression of scoliosis, or completely cure it. Scoliosis is a condition where a person’s back is curved sideways in an S shape. Scoliosis can cause pain in back, shoulders, and neck and buttock pain nearest bottom of the back. Sleeping on the floor, where the back has a chance to fully realign and relax, can noticeably lessen the pain and slow down the progression of the disease.
Sleeping on the floor may reduce sciatic nerve pain
A lot of people suffering from sciatic nerve pain see great improvement once they start sleeping on the floor. Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, which begins in lower back and extends through the buttocks to send nerve endings into the limbs. Sciatic nerve pain is usually caused by herniated lumbar discs, where a disc is in direct contact with the nerve. Sleeping on the floor provides better support for your back and prevents misaligned discs which can prevent sciatic nerve pain partially or completely.
Sleeping on the floor can prevent pinched nerves and arteries
Sleeping on a hard surface prevents pinched nerves in your back. It also frees your arteries from unnecessary pressure which improves blood flow. As a result, your back will feel less tense, more rested, and definitely more pain-free in the morning.
Sleeping on the floor can prevent bone density loss
A Japanese writer Katsuzō Nishi, an author of the book Nishi Health System, was a great proponent for sleeping on the floor, stating that it’s one of the necessary conditions for the good health of the body overall and your back in particular. He thought that, apart from other benefits, sleeping on the floor provides a constant, natural pressure to your bones, which prevents loss of bone density that happens to so many people as they age. Strong bones are an important part of your skeletal system, especially your back.
From personal experience, I know that sleeping on the floor (along with moderate stretching and exercising) was the best lifestyle change I adopted for the health of my back. I used to have slight lower back pain every time I would wake up. (Stiff hips, burning sensation in lower back, etc).
I also used to have significant neck pain. Since I started sleeping on the floor, I have not felt lower back pain even once, and my neck, although it still flares up if I do a wrong exercise, never bothers me upon waking. I would highly, highly recommend sleeping on the floor or any hard surface to anyone with any type of back pain or discomfort, especially if you also have a sedentary lifestyle.
Sometimes it takes a lot to begin feeling better, especially when such a complex system as your back is affected. You might also greatly benefit from exercising, stretching and changing your lifestyle to spend less time sitting. But one thing that is going to have a major impact on your back health and that requires almost no effort at all on your side is to try sleeping on the floor or hard surface. See for yourself if it works for you.
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.)