About the Rich History of “Floor Sleeping”
When you imagine sleeping on the floor, there might be many different images that come to mind. For one, mattresses can be quite expensive. Most mattresses today cost between $200 and $1500, so sleeping on the floor might bring thoughts of saving money into your mind. You might also imagine Buddhist monks when you think of this practice. Sleeping on the floor is actually the ninth precept of Buddhism. The precepts are commitments to abstain from killing living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxication. With the ninth precept, Buddhists refrain from lying in a high or luxurious sleeping place. Monks take that a step further and aim to sleep upright to reduce the need for sleep.
We cannot recommend sleeping upright, as this could raise your risk of deep-vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot in a limb that can occur if the arms or legs are bent and motionless for multiple hours, according to Harvard Health Publishing. However, sleeping on the floor can make it easier for you to keep your spine straight throughout the night because you will not have to worry about sinking too deeply into the mattress, according to Sleep Foundation. If you choose this unconventional sleeping method, they recommend using pillows to take away some of the pressure from your spine, which can be accomplished by placing a thin pillow beneath the lower back.
Drawbacks of Sleeping on the Floor
The Sleep Foundation, which was launched in 1990 to educate the public about the connection between sleep habits and overall health, points out some major drawbacks of sleeping on the floor when it comes to your overall health. Although sleeping on the floor can help you keep your spine straight, it also has the following downsides:
- Potential increase in back pain
This potential consequence varies from person to person. Some people with back pain might find it helpful to sleep on the floor, while others might find that it makes their back pain worse. If they do not have adequate cushioning around pressure points like their hips and shoulders, sleeping on the floor can contribute to stiffness and pain.
- Too cold for comfort
Although sleeping in the cold can be comfortable for some people, for others, it can definitely inhibit sleep, especially in the winter. By nature, heat rises, so sleeping on the floor might be too cold for some people.
- Increase in allergen exposure
Unfortunately, you might not be the only one who calls your bedroom home. Your bedroom can also house a variety of allergens, like dust mites, dust, and mold. All of these can disrupt your sleep quality, and when you sleep on the floor, you might expose yourself to even more allergens and lose sleep.
How to Keep Your Spine Neutral While Sleeping
If you have been combatting the urge to sleep on the floor, your spine is likely craving a neutral position. This is an ideal state to sleep in because it matches the natural contour of the spine. A neutral position also minimizes certain pressure points along the spine that do not need to be under stress.
While it can be quite a challenge to do so, the best way to sleep if you want to keep a neutral spine is to sleep on your back. When you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees and a little roll underneath the small of your neck. The pillows will help you maintain the natural curves of your spine.
Sleeping on your back is ideal, but we understand it is not possible for everyone. If you are a side sleeper and need to sleep in this position, bend your knees and place a pillow between them while you do so. It will also help to make sure the pillow extends from your knees to your ankles so your knees and ankles stay in line. This will help you maintain as neutral of a spine as possible while sleeping on your side.
If you are dealing with spinal pain, you could benefit from our spinal rehabilitation program at ProFysio Physical Therapy. With spinal rehabilitation treatment, our goal will be to alleviate pain and restore body functions, which is why we provide advanced, individualized treatment and care to patients. Whether finding the best sleeping position or simply combatting back pain is your issue, we will work directly with you to help you reach your rehabilitation goals and navigate your life pain-free.
For more tips on spinal health or to learn more about our spinal rehabilitation program, call ProFysio Physical Therapy at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online.