Sleeping on the floor has traditionally been associated with better posture, body awareness and blood circulation. And for some, this practice can have cultural connotations. However, as better beds and mattresses become available to keep pace with changing lifestyle requirements, the sleep habits of many people have changed. However, many people continue to believe that sleeping on the floor has health benefits.
Some older people believe that sleeping on the floor works towards relieving pain. However, experts opine that it may take a toll on spinal health. Dr Chandrashekar Chikkamuniyappa, CEO and orthopedic surgeon, DHEE hospitals, Bengaluru, explains, “Sleeping on the floor occasionally can be beneficial to relieve back stress in those habituated to it. However, for unaccustomed people between the ages of 40 and 50, it may not be comfortable. Instead of coping with your existing pains, you may develop new ones.”
Are there benefits to sleeping on the floor?
Naresh Babu (38), a businessman from Bengaluru, told Happiest Health, “There are times when I need to work for over 16 hours at a stretch. I often have back pain when I return home. So I put a thin mat on the floor and sleep on it without a pillow. I have found this beneficial, but I do not sleep on the floor regularly.”
Dr Chikkamuniyappa shares, “You might have come across many people who sleep on the floor and you might be surprised to know how comfortable they are. If someone has been sleeping on the floor for a long time, they can continue doing it. Their body has adjusted to the position already. However, it is not advisable for those suffering from severe back or neck pain as it tends to escalate.” Moreover, he says that while information highlighting the benefits of sleeping on the floor might be available, no evidence is available regarding the same.
Sleeping on the floor may not be ideal for children and elderly people
Experts say that individuals with no prior medical conditions can try sleeping on the floor. However, children and older people, who have fragile skin and are sensitive to changing temperatures, should avoid it. For instance, the health of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects more than just the joints) can deteriorate if they sleep on the floor.
What does science say about sleeping on the floor?
Dr Sarath Kumar, bone and joint expert, Fortis Malar, Chennai, says sleeping on the floor is quite controversial — about 70 to 80 percent of orthopedic surgeons might not support the idea of sleeping on the floor. He continues, “Besides individual preferences, people tend to believe prevalent myths claiming that those who lie down on the floor will enjoy better health.”
However, factoring in lifestyle and economic conditions, Dr Kumar shares, “People who work in construction sites, for example, might feel comfortable lying down on the floor rather than on a bed. So, in certain cases, sleeping on the floor can help improve posture and relieve back pain”.
- Sleeping on the floor is not a new practice. Experts, however, opine that it might not be beneficial — rather, it may take a toll on your spine health.
- At times, sleeping on the floor may help in relieving back strain, but only for those who are accustomed to it.
- Sleeping on the floor is not ideal for children and older people. However, experts suggest that other individuals with no prior medical conditions can sleep on the floor if they choose.