Sleeping on the floor is good for your posture

There is no better way to maintain a perfect posture, than to constantly eliminate misalignment in your spine by sleeping on a hard, flat surface. Those that like sleeping on soft surfaces will allow their spines to misalign and their spine nerves to be negatively affected, thus inviting illness in their lives.

 Katsuzō Nishi

Good posture is very important for your overall health. Posture is a position in which our body tends to hold itself while we do various activities throughout the day, such as standing, walking, sitting or sleeping. 

Good posture will allow your body to be correctly aligned and to spread its weight effectively onto muscles and bones so as to prevent too much muscle stress and overuse of your joints and ligaments. This, in turn, helps prevent your joints from wearing out, reduces stress on ligaments and protects from trauma, and keeps your body (especially back) healthy and pain-free.

Bad posture can be caused my many factors. A person can be born with back development abnormalities due to certain illnesses they’ve developed in-utero, such as rachitis, tuberculosis, radiculite, pleuritis, poliomyelitis, or back injury.

Bad posture can also be caused by such factor as obesity, which can lead to spinal changes due to excessive weight that the body has to deal with, as well as usual lack of activity in obese persons.

Wearing high heels leads to bad posture, as unnatural lift of the foot causes compensations in other parts of the body, which means misalignment and excessive stress for certain groups of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Pregnancy can also cause bad posture in women.

But more often than not we develop bad posture and abnormalities in our back due to our unnatural, sedentary lifestyle. It begins in our school years, when we start to spend most of the day sitting at a desk instead of moving around, continues throughout out working years, and doesn’t end in our older age, as by then most of us are so used to sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercises, that it’s hard to change anything.

By then we also already have all the conditions caused by such a lifestyle, which further complicates becoming more active and mobile. Constant sedentary lifestyle causes, unnatural for your spine, causes it to curve and misalign. If you are mostly inactive throughout the day, your muscles get weaker from under-use, including the muscles in your back that are supposed to support your posture during the day. 

That also contributes to your bad posture and other issues. When you have weak muscles, you can’t maintain the correct posture as you walk and sit. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

“The human body is not designed to be sedentary.”
Steven Magee

Sleeping on the floor or any other hard surface without a pillow is one of the ways to correct and maintain good posture. When you do that, your body has 7-9 hours every day when your back can fully relax and re-align itself. Your muscles will get a prolonged rest, because they don’t have to support your body when it is in its natural position on the floor (Your body will be resting on your bones as opposed to on your muscles).

When you sleep without a pillow, your neck vertebrae also have a chance to realign, and your neck muscles – to get into their natural, relaxed state. All of this will result in a much better posture throughout the night and upon waking up. You will notice that even if you continue leading a sedentary lifestyle, your back will be able to handle it better.

You will have less pain, less stiffness, and a better posture all day. You might even add a few centimetres to your height!

In addition to sleeping on the floor, you can do some other things to help improve your posture.

Swimming is great for posture

Buying a swimming pool pass can be considered a great investment in your health. Swimming is the best exercise you can do to strengthen and tone your spine muscles, which helps correct several postural problems. It can even help correct scoliosis.

When you swim, you use all of your core and back muscles, as opposed to other types of cardio exercise, like running, where you predominantly use your lower body.

Also, while swimming, your back tends to be arched backwards instead of hunched forward, as in lots of other activities (including your sedentary lifestyle.) That helps stretch, realign and strengthen your back, which are all great factors not just for your posture, but your health overall.

Go to the gym for better posture and back health

Because bad posture is often caused by imbalances in muscles strength combined with poor core strength, hitting a gym is a great way to improve it. Any exercise you do consistently will directly or indirectly have a positive effect on your posture, but some of them can lead to fastest results.

For example, performing dead lifts can really help you improve your posture by strengthening your core, lower back and leg muscles.

Planks will help you strengthen your core and arm strength, which will prevent your body from tending to slump forward as high off the floor as possible.

Dumbbell side bends will help you strengthen your oblique muscles.

Back extensions are great for posture. In this exercise, you lie down on your stomach, extend your arms straight above your head and lift your shoulders.

Read about more exercises that can help you improve your posture and overall back health here.

Minding and improving your sitting position can help you improve your posture.

Don’t sit in the same position for prolonged periods of time. If you have to sit at work, take regular breaks and walk or stretch (or both). Doctors recommend a small break at least once every hour.

Don’t cross your legs when you sit – it negatively effects your blood flow and causes your body to lose it’s good posture. Keep your back straight and adjust your chair to support your back, including lower back and core.

Try minding your posture when you stand or walk

Don’t slump or hunch down forward. Keep your back straight, your head high. Your neck shouldn’t be bent forward as you walk. One thing that helps maintain good posture while walking is to imagine a string tied to the top of your head. Imagine that it is constantly pulling you up to the ceiling. This will help you keep your back and neck straight. A good posture exercise my mom made me do as a child was to put a book on top of your head and walk with it for a few minutes – see how long you can keep it from falling :).

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.)