Sleeping on the Floor

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While we are skeptical about the need or benefit of expensive mattresses, the opposite – sleeping on the floor – is not necessarily good for most people. If it works for you and you are comfortable and can get the duration and quality of sleep you need, great. Sleep away on the floor. But it is an overreaction and unnecessary for most people.

Some people prefer the floor because of back and shoulder problems. If these problems are bad and persistent a doctor or therapist should probably be consulted. You need to be careful that sleeping on the floor doesn’t actually exacerbate the problem. While it may feel good to be lying on the floor when you first get down there, remember that you will likely move around during the night. Later in the night your body may feel better on a mattress.

Monks are known to sleep on the floor as a sign to themselves of their asceticism. And floor-sleeping is used as a type of penance. Pope John Paul II reportedly slept on the floor as an old man as part of his spiritual regimen. Advocates of the Paleo-lifestyle movement – born of the idea that the cavemen lifestyle is healthier in some ways – sometime advocate sleeping on the floor. But we have seen no evidence – pro or con – for this style. As with the claims of the mattress companies that expensive mattresses enhance your sleep, we have not seen any scientific evidence to support this claim.

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