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Does Sleeping On A Hard Floor Help Back Pain

It May Increase Back Pain

Dr Stu Mcgill: Does Sleeping on the Floor Improve Back Pain?

While some people with back pain find it beneficial to sleep on the floor, others may find it increases their back pain. Without adequate cushioning around pressure points like your hips and shoulders, sleeping on the floor can cause stiffness and discomfort.

Studies of adults with lower back pain have found that among various mattress types, medium firm mattresses provided more relief over a 90-day period both during the day and while lying in bed than firm mattresses did.

How Sleeping On The Floor Can Be Healthy

Written byMohan GarikiparithiPublished onMarch 6, 2017

It may sound strange, but sleeping on the floor may actually improve your health and alleviate back pain. The hard surface of the floor can provide your spine with a level of support it cant get from a soft mattress, but to reap the benefits, it must be done right.

Continue reading to learn about the potential health benefits that come with sleeping on the floor as well as how to do it properly, and tips for adjusting your sleep posture to relieve lower back pain.

Articles On Back Pain

Back pain can make getting through the day hard, but it can make getting a good nightâs sleep even harder. It can be tough to find a comfortable position so you can doze off. And you might not even be able to get in and out of bed without pain.

But good sleep is essential to your health, and an important part of your overall well-being. Studies have found that Americans who ranked their quality of life very good or excellent slept an average of 18 to 23 minutes longer than those who considered their health and quality of life poorer. But studies have shown that not getting enough sleep may actually make you more sensitive to pain.

If youâre having trouble getting enough shut-eye because of back pain, try these tips that can make sleeping a little easier.

Read Also: What Organ Is In Your Lower Left Back

How To Sleep With Lower Back Pain

The lower back features an interwoven series of structures. It includes the five vertebrae of the lumbar spine, each of which is bolstered by shock-absorbing discs and held in place by ligaments. Surrounding muscles offer support and are connected to the spine by tendons. Nerves run through the spinal column to deliver signals throughout the body.

The lower back supports most of the bodys weight and is integral to all kinds of movements. Whether standing, sitting, walking, or lying down, the lower back plays a role in mobility and comfort.

Given the complexity of the lower back and how much we depend on it, it comes as no surprise that it is a leading hotspot for pain. Eight out of 10 people have back pain at some point during their life, and lower back pain is one of the top reasons why people see a doctor.

Back pain can range from mild to severe, and it may be short-lived or long-lasting. When serious, it can be debilitating and interfere with nearly all aspects of daily life, including sleep.

Pain and sleep have a complex relationship. Pain can disrupt sleep, and poor sleep can make it more likely that a person will experience pain. In addition, a sleeping position or mattress that doesnt support the lumbar spine can induce or exacerbate lower back pain.

Most Popular: Casper Sleep Hybrid Mattress Queen 12

How sleeping on the floor can be healthy

As the bed-in-a-box brand that started the craze, its no wonder Casper remains the most popular option. To create this hybrid, the mattress geniuses added springs to its signature foam design for even more support. Yep, it still comes in a convenient box and works with all the other Casper products .

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It May Improve Your Posture

Poor posture can be another contributor to back pain and lead to other problems like reduced flexibility, spinal misalignment, and increased risk of injury. Good posture supports the natural curvature of your spine. Sleeping on the floor can make it easier for you to keep your spine straight during sleep, since you dont have to worry about sinking too deeply into a mattress. However, you may need to use pillows to decrease pressure on your spine, such as placing a thin pillow beneath your lower back.

The Role Of Your Mattress

We spend one-third of each day in bed, meaning your mattress and how you sleep is just as important as focusing on posture in the daytime hours. Since sleep is a time for healing and renewal, it may arguably be even more important.

So, what is the best mattress for back pain?

Its an important, often-asked question. But, there is no single right answer. When it comes to picking a bed, there are no hard and fast rules that will apply for every person, every time. Essentially, the best mattress is the one that you feel gives you good, refreshing sleep with minimal pain and stiffness.

While we all have different preferences and needs that are important to consider, research and studies can shed some insight on different mattress traits and how they may interact with back pain.

The Two Basics of Beds

At their most basic, beds do two things: provide support and comfort.

Support comes from the core of the mattress, typically a sturdy foam layer or innersprings depending on the type of bed. A supportive mattress will have enough firmness to keep your spine aligned, meaning your heavier areas like hips and shoulders wont sink too far into the bed. On the other hand, it shouldnt be so firm that it forces hips and shoulders up at an awkward angle either.

Now, comfort is pretty easy to identify, but how do you know if a mattress is providing adequate support? Essentially, your spine should maintain an even, natural posture , with whichever sleep position you prefer.

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What Professionals Are Saying About Sleeping On The Floor

Theres a mixed bag of concerns and recommendations from professionals when it comes to sleeping on the floor. We can find as many claiming that it is good for you as there are stating that it isnt a wise decision.

The most common reason they recommend sleeping on a hard surface is to relieve back pain. Sleeping on the floor can maintain a neutral position for the spine in order for it to heal. Often our mattresses are soft and accommodate our bodys curves. This may seem like the most comfortable thing for your back, but not necessarily if you have recurring back pain.

Most professionals say that while sleeping on the floor may provide relief for your back pain it may actually induce other pains in your joints and cause muscle deterioration.

A study was conducted on non-western civilizations who dont sleep on mattresses and the conclusion of the research seems to show that they tend to suffer less from musculoskeletal problems.

Conflicting, right? Lets take a look at the benefits and the risks of sleeping on the floor.

What Can I Do

Floor Sleeping: More Supportive than Mattress for Back Pain (Decompression Technique) – Dr Mandell

Do you deal with lower back pain? Youre not alone.

The Global Burden of Disease study named lower back pain the leading cause of disability across the globe.

Whats even more interesting is that most back pain isnt caused by serious medical conditions, like cancer or arthritis. Instead, its often brought on by stress or strain from bad posture, awkward sleeping positions, and other lifestyle habits.

Here are the best sleeping positions to try if you have lower back pain, as well as some other things you can do to get a better nights rest.

If lying flat on your back feels uncomfortable, try shifting over to your side:

  • Allow your right or left shoulder to make contact with the mattress, along with the rest of that side of your body.
  • Place a pillow between your knees.
  • If theres a gap between your waist and the mattress, consider using a small pillow there for added support.
  • Whether you use one pillow or opt for two, you should resist the urge to always sleep on the same side. Doing so many cause issues like muscle imbalance and even scoliosis.

    How does this position help? Sleeping on your side alone wont make you feel better. Its using the pillow between your knees thats the trick. The pillow will keep your hips, pelvis, and spine in better alignment.

    If you have a herniated disc, you may want to try sleeping on your side curled in a fetal position:

  • Lay on your back and then roll over gently onto your side.
  • Lay flat on your back.
  • Read Also: Why Does My Lower Right Back Hurt

    Choose Sleep Positions That Support Pain Relief

    How you sleep plays an important role in managing back pain, as certain positions place more strain on the back than others. Generally, back sleeping and supported side sleeping are regarded as most ergonomic, while stomach sleeping tends to be most associated with pain. Whichever position you prefer, here are tips for staying comfortable.

    Side Sleepers

    Side sleeping is the most common position, especially among women. While it can place some strain on the body, ensuring your hips and shoulders are supported can make it comfortable.

    Ideally, side sleepers should bend both knees in slightly and place a small pillow between their legs to prevent hips from twisting and placing stress on the back. If your legs are too straight, this can exaggerate the curve of your lower back, but if your legs are drawn in too tightly, your back may round and both can cause pain. Getting the best mattress for side sleepers is also important to consider for comfort and support.

    Your neck pillow should be the right height to keep your neck and spine straight and even, generally higher than pillows needed for back sleepers. Your chin shouldnt be drawn in to your chest or leaned too far back. Think natural standing position.

    Conditions that may see more relief from proper side sleeping include osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and foraminal herniated disc, as the position can reduce pressure on spinal joints.

    Back Sleepers

    Stomach Sleepers

    Who Shouldnt Sleep On The Floor

    While some people love floor sleeping, its not recommended for every person to forgo a mattress and start sleeping on the ground.

    • Individuals with limited mobility: Getting down onto the ground and climbing up after sleeping is difficult for individuals with low mobility.
    • Individuals with preexisting conditions: Sleeping on the ground is painful and causes achy joints, especially if the person struggles with skeletal or muscular conditions such as arthritis, scoliosis, or osteoporosis.
    • Cold sleepers: Sleeping on the floor is cold as it is, but sleepers with anemia, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism are prone to being cold. Even with warm blankets, floor sleeping leaves cold sleepers at an increased risk of sickness.
    • Elderly people: With age, the immune system gets weaker, mobility decreases, and individuals at risk of developing different health conditions. Ground sleeping is hard on older adults as getting onto the floor is challenging and theyre more likely to get cold and sick compared to younger people.
    • Side sleepers: Firm surfaces, such as the hard floor, arent recommended for side sleepers because it results in poor spinal alignment, achiness, and pressure build-up on the hips and shoulders.

    Also Check: Why Do I Have Lower Back Pain All The Time

    Find The Right Position

    Certain sleeping positions can help ease your back pain, so find one that is most comfortable for you. Try sleeping with a pillow between or underneath your legs for extra support.

    If you sleep on your side, put the pillow between your knees and draw them up slightly toward your chest. If you like to sleep on your back, try the pillow under your knees, or roll up a small towel and place it under the small of your back.

    Avoid sleeping on your stomach because it puts a lot of strain on your back. If itâs the only position you can fall asleep in, put a pillow under your stomach to take some of the pressure off your back. Or, to break the habit, wear a sleep shirt with a pocket in front and put a tennis ball in it.

    Sleeping On The Ground Is Best For Wellness

    Sleeping on the Floor Benefits, Side Effects, as Treatment ...

    Posted byArslan Hassan on Jan 29, 2021 4:36:00 AM

    Have you ever thought why our ancestors never complained about spinal pain? It’s not just their diet. They also practice a different lifestyle. Our four fathers always slept on the floor. Sleeping on the bed was never a tradition. That is why our grandparents use to have a perfect body.

    Last month, when I started complaining about spinal pain, my partner advised me to sleep on the floor. Our family embraced this change after researching its benefits. The first night was tough, but it got easier with time, and now we are all sleeping well on the floor!

    Let me share how sleeping on the ground can make you healthy. Keep reading!

    Also Check: What Type Of Bed Is Best For Lower Back Pain

    When Should You See A Doctor About Lower Back Pain

    Back pain is common and often recedes quickly, but its important to talk with a doctor if:

    • The pain began with a specific injury
    • Pain continues or worsens for more than a few days
    • Pain is debilitating
    • Pain radiates to the legs or other parts of the body
    • You experience weakness or numbness in your lower body
    • There are signs of infection like redness, warmth, swelling, or fever
    • You have a personal history of cancer
    • You have other unexplained health changes like weight loss or urinary problems

    A doctor can review your symptoms and determine the appropriate next steps for testing, diagnosis, and treatment.

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    Sleeping On The Floor: Is It Bad For You

    By Geoff McKinnenCertified Sleep Coach

    While sleeping on a mattress is the most preferred sleep environment, there is an increasing number of people who choose to sleep on the floor for its potential health benefits,

    While sleeping on a mattress is the most preferred sleep environment, there is an increasing number of people who choose to sleep on the floor for its potential health benefits, namely minimized back pain and enhanced blood circulation.

    There are two types of floor sleeping: directly on the floor or on a mattress. Floor sleeping on a mattress is more cushiony, supportive, and warm, while floor sleeping directly on the ground is firmer and less comfortable, but more affordable. Despite the advantages of floor sleeping, you might prefer using a firm mattress and a solid foundation over the floor.

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    Sleeping On The Floor While Pregnant Or With A Baby

    Its generally considered safe to sleep on the floor while pregnant. Many pregnant people feel most comfortable when they sleep on the floor.

    Do whatever feels good for you. But remember, youll have to get down on the floor and stand back up. If this feels uncomfortable, you may want to avoid floor-sleeping.

    Its also safe for babies to sleep on the floor, especially true if you want to co-sleep, which is discouraged in beds.

    Co-sleeping in a bed increases the risk of:

    • suffocation
    • falls

    Soft surfaces, like pillows and blankets, also heighten the risk because they can block the babys airways.

    But in cultures where floor-sleeping is common, co-sleeping is associated with lower rates of SIDS. In such cultures, people sleep on firm mats on the floor. Soft items arent used. The baby may also sleep on a separate mat.

    Before floor-sleeping with your baby, talk to their pediatrician first.

    If youre interested in sleeping on the floor, follow this step-by-step guide to get started:

  • Find a space on the floor thats free of clutter.
  • Place a blanket, mat, or sleeping bag on the floor. You can use multiple layers.
  • Add a thin pillow. Its not recommended to stack pillows, which can strain your neck.
  • Lie down on the floor. Try lying on your back, on your side, and stomach. Experiment with different positions to see what feels best.
  • Can Your Mattress Cause Lower Back Pain

    Sleeping on Floor is Better than Mattress (Back Pain, Sciatica, Pinched Nerve) – Dr Mandell

    Because it is a principal means of supporting the body during sleep, a mattress can play an important role in preventing or reducing lower back pain.

    Proper spinal alignment demands a mattress that is in good condition and doesnt sag excessively. Research supports using a medium-firm mattress to combat lower back pain, although the most appropriate firmness can vary based on a persons weight, body shape, sleeping position, and individual comfort preferences.

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    What About Putting My Mattress On The Floor

    Theres an idea. Harvard Medical School says that plopping your mattress down on the hardwood is actually a smart way to see if you could benefit from buying a firmer mattress before making the investment. Remove your mattress from the bedframe and place it directly on the floor, then sleep on it for a week to see if you notice any difference in your back. You could also place a plywood board underneath your mattress to see if your back improves by reducing the movement from the box springs.

    But if youre thinking of buying a new mattress, dont assume you can get an impression of how it will feel on your back by lying on a few at the store for five minutes. A more reliable test is to observe how you feel after sleeping on different types of mattresses while away from homefor example, at a hotel or a friend or relative’s house, says HMS.


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