What Causes Back Pain Does Sleeping On The Floor Help Back Pain
Back pain causes are as diverse as they are common. The most common are muscular, skeletal, and disc problems. Despite their seemingly simple nature, these conditions can be very painful. Some of the most common cause of back pain is improper posture. You should always strive to sit with your shoulders over your hips. This helps to keep your spine in the proper alignment. When you deviate from this position, you put extra pressure on your back muscles, which may lead to muscle spasms and even a spinal stenosis.
Some of the most common back pain causes are as described above: a dull ache in the back that can radiate to the buttocks or legs. Although not all cases of back pain are as serious, there are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by back issues. A doctor can determine the exact cause of your back pain by asking about your symptoms and performing a physical exam. Sometimes an x-ray will be taken to check whether your bones are aligned properly and to rule out any broken bones. Unfortunately, x-rays cant detect if your disks and nerves have been damaged.
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The Floor Can Be Cold
Have you ever noticed how dogs enjoy laying on the floor during a hot summer day? This is because hard floor surfaces are often the coolest part of a home during hot weather. If youre sleeping on the floor during the summer, you may enjoy the coolness. As winter weather rolls around, your previously cool sleeping surface may turn into a source of cold and discomfort as the cold floor surface reduces your body temperature.
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Who Should Avoid Floor Sleeping
Floor sleeping is not for everyone. There are certain groups that should not even consider sleeping on the floor at all.
- Pregnant women/people with limited mobility Floor sleeping is not conducive for those that are pregnant or those who may have knee or hip troubles. The point is simple, getting up and down from the floor can be difficult.
- Older individuals Aside from being rough on an aging body, sleeping on the floor could increase the risk for sickness .
Could Sleeping On The Floor Help Your Aching Back We Investigate
Your back is killing you. Youve tried ice, heat, massage and stretching, but nothing seems to work. And, oddly enough, its even more stiff and painful when you wake up. Should you ditch your soft bed for something a bit firmer? Believe it or not, some people swear that sleeping on the floor is the answer to their back pain. But does it really work? We checked in with the pros to find out.
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How Can I Make Sleeping On The Floor More Comfortable
Make your floor set-up more comfortable by sleeping in a clean, clutter-free room. Use a mat, sleeping blanket, or thick blanket as your sleep surface and pair it with a high-quality pillow and comforter. Place small pillows or cushions under sensitive spots like your tailbone, your shoulders, and your hips so theyre protected from the ground.
If youre a back sleeper, use a second pillow under your knees to reduce any pressure on your lumbar spine and keep your spine aligned. Stomach sleepers should place a second pillow under their hips so their spine doesnt overextend and result in lower back pain.
Floor Sleeping Could Make Allergies Worse
The presence of home allergens shouldnt take anyone by surprise. Whether it’s animal dander or dust, allergens are roaming around most homes. Allergens certainly dont make sleep any easier, as they cause itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and more.
The floor might be a hotspot for collecting allergens. The floor collects dust, dirt, grime, skin cells, mites, and more.
So, if you sleep on the floor and your home isnt immaculately clean , you could run the risk of exposing yourself to an increased level of allergens reducing sleep quality.
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Potential Risks Of Sleeping On The Floor
In order to learn more about the potential health benefitsand pitfallsfor those who decide to scrap the mattress in favor of a carpet, I spoke with chiropractor Amber Langmeier of All Chiropractic, LLC. She’s not convinced that sleeping on the floor can reduce back pain in the long run. Due to different spinal curves, lying flat on your back on the floor could lead to muscle spasms and difficulties getting up, Langmeier argues.
This is extra problematic if you sleep on your side. For individuals who are side-sleepers, it can be even more troubling to adequately support all the individual curves while lying on the floor, Langmeier cautions. Pressure points are also problematic in prolonged positions on harder surfaces.
As floor-sleeping proponents are apt to point out, people in many cultures worldwide don’t have access to feather beds or memory foam, yet they, presumably, catch plenty of zzzs while resting on flat, hard surfaces. However, Langmeier provides a compelling counterargument. Nowadays, we aren’t sleeping on dirt floors, but hardwood, carpet, or tile. This does not form to your body like dirt floors once would have. To put it simply, sleeping on the ground doesnt mean the same thing today as it meant hundreds of years ago, when people had a softer surface to land on.
Does Sleeping On The Floor Help Back Pain
There isnt scientific proof that floor-sleeping helps back pain. Yet, many people say it provides relief.
Theres some merit to the idea. A soft mattress doesnt have a lot of support. It lets your body sink down, causing your spine to curve. This can lead to back pain.
In fact, if your mattress is too soft, Harvard Medical School recommends placing plywood under your mattress. The institution also suggests putting your mattress on the floor.
But scientists havent recommended ditching the mattress altogether.
While a firmer surface may ease back pain, it also depends on factors like:
- the cause of your pain
- sleeping position
The only proven benefits are linked to medium-firm surfaces.
In a 2015 article published in the journal Sleep Health, researchers reviewed 24 articles, looking for links between mattress types and sleep. They found that medium-firm mattresses are best for improving pain during sleep.
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Could Increase Chance Of Allergies
There is naturally more dust on the floor than on the bed. Bedding down on the floor can expose you to more dust than youre used to, which could have you sneezing all night long.
This is why its essential to make sure the space you choose is clean. It should be close enough to a window that you can catch a breeze if you need to, but not so close it settles dust on your face.
If this is something youre struggling with, choose another sleeping space. If that’s not an option, get a great antihistamine!
Who Shouldnt Sleep on the Floor?
Sleeping on the floor is not for everyone. Those who should be wary of trying it include:
Floor Sleeping Is Nothing New
Contrary to popular imagination, mattresses have not always existed. For thousands of years, people had to sleep on hard ground, without the comforts of springloaded support. Mattresses are still a relatively modern invention in terms of human history.
Today, the mattress is considered commonplace in Western culture, but cultural sleeping arrangements still vary around the world. For example, it isnt out of the ordinary to still find hammocks in use in some cultures.
Flooring sleeping is still done in some Asian countries, as part of their cultural tradition. In addition to being a space saver, many believe floor sleeping is also a back saver.
So, floor sleeping is nothing new. But is it still something we should be doing?
It Can Increase Back Pain
Some floor sleepers have reported an increase in their back pain, although there is significantly less research on this topic. Most people shift from mattress to floor just because their mattress hurts their back. According to a study from Havard medical school, you can try a firm mattress, set plywood or box spring under the mattress, or sleep on a mattress on the floor to reduce back pain.
Mold And Mildew Buildup
When you floor sleep with a mattress, it doesnt get adequate airflow like it would when on a base or foundation. Your mattress traps heat and sweat, turning into a hotspot for mold and mildew. Mold and mildew, besides being unhygienic, also trigger allergies.
If your mattress has accumulated mold or mildew, it will most likely need to be thrown away and replaced, costing you large amounts of money.
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Why Do We Sleep In Beds
Sleeping on the floor is quite different to sleeping in a bed. Beds are designed specifically for comfort, while the floor is definitely not. The floor is designed to make walking an easy experience. But walking and sleeping have vastly different mechanisms!
That doesnt mean that sleeping on a hard, flat surface is a bad thing. Not at all, in fact. Consider this question: Why do you sleep in a bed?
I think most of us have never actually considered the answer to this. After plenty of soul-searching, I could really only come up with one legit response. Because thats how I was taught to sleep.
No parents take home their newborn and create a baby nest on the floor. From the start, were nestled in soft, hug-like blankets and laid down on plush, spongy mattresses. No wonder the thought of sleeping on the floor seems primitive!
How To Sleep On The Floor Like A Pro:
Wanna have a crack at sleeping on the floor and need someone to give you some best practices? I’ve compiled this list. Though not exhaustive, it’ll at least get you started:
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Should I Sleep On The Floor
At the end of the day, it really boils down to preference. The best way to conclude if floor sleeping is something that could be a benefit to you is just by testing it out.
Testing it out with a nap might be something simple to try first. But keep in mind, it can feel radically different than a traditional bed with a mattress, so one nap might not seal the deal.
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Side Sleeping: A Solid Runner
Side sleeping with your legs straight is the second-best position for avoiding back and neck pain. Its also a good position for snorers or anyone with sleep apnea because it keeps your airways open. If you can, stretch your legs out straight and tuck a pillow between your knees to keep your spine in a neutral alignment.
Another type of side sleeping with your legs bent upwards is less ideal for your back. Known as the fetal position, it may be the most popular sleep style, but it promotes an uneven distribution of weight that can cause back pain and sore joints. Try straightening your body into a relaxed position by untucking your chin and adjusting your knees. If youre pregnant, its a comfortable way to take the weight from your back.
The Floor Provides Firmer Support For The Neck And Spine
Many Eastern countries like Japan practice sleeping on the floor as part of their culture. They sleep on the floor due to various reasons. Its space-saving, adaptable to changing seasons, and for traditional reasons.
Also, sleeping on the floor delivers more benefits such as offering firmer support for the spine and neck.
Unlike soft mattresses, lying down on the floors flat foundation prevents your body from sinking while you sleep. As a result, it can keep your body steady, maintain correct spine and neck alignment, and later on, benefit you with a good posture.
This is why people who sleep on beds prop plyboards under their mattresses.
When your body dips into a soft bed, it shapes your spine into a perilous curve. Its not only the back but your limb muscles, and foot and knee joints can suffer, too, after a considerable time.
When we sleep, we need a firmer bed to settle on. But keep in mind that sleeping on solid concrete, without mats or pillows is subject to more muscle pains when you wake up.
Even the Japanese people dont sleep directly above concrete floors. Instead, they prepare a futon Japanese bedding over rice straw floors called tatami.
That said, you still need thin mattresses to cushion your bodys pressure points. If not, you might wake up with sore muscles and abhor the idea of floor-sleeping.
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Is Sleeping On The Floor Good For You
The main reason why people switch to sleeping on the floor is that they believe its a better option than a mattress. This belief is based on hundreds of reviews, blogs, and articles online.However, there is always a chance that one of those famous benefits can be a myth. Thats why we have decided to take a closer look at the issue and answer the question Is sleeping on the floor good for you?
So, the first well-known benefit of sleeping on the floor , is pain relief. Many people claim that moving their sleeping spot onto the hard floor changed their life and reduced the back pain levels to a minimum .
Now, let me warn you right away:
There is no scientific or research-based evidence that proves these statements. I personally have never met a doctor who said that its better to sleep on the floor if you have back pain. In fact, research suggests that the best sleeping surface for pain should be medium-firm , not hardwood-floor firm.
Will You Feel Colder
Like a good loaf of bread, heat rises. Ergo, the closer to the floor, the cooler it’s going to be. Now, certainly there is evidence to suggest that sleep quality improves with a cooler sleep. Especially if you “sleep hot”, you might find a better night’s sleep on the floor. But, does that mean it’s not without its ills?
In winter, you need to double-check your preferences. To sleep on the floor when it’s cold is going to make you feel colder in winter than in summer. Your body heat needs to be regulated to the right temperature. Just like with mattress firmness, we’re in Goldie Locks land, and you need to find the “just right”.
Check out our article on the best AC temperature for sleeping for a little more on that.
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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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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.