Is It Better to Sleep on the Floor or on an Air Mattress?


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When you’re stuck without a regular mattress, you typically have two options: an uncomfortable air mattress, or the hard floor. Neither seems particularly appealing, but you need to choose one. 

So, is it better to sleep on the floor or on an air mattress? It’s better to sleep on the floor than on an air mattress. While the air mattress may seem more comfortable, sleeping on the floor gives you better posture and will provide you with less pain. 

To learn about the pros and cons of sleeping on each of these surfaces, read on. 

Pros of Sleeping on the Floor

It feels more natural

Even though most of us have been doing it since birth, sleeping on a cushy mattress is a relatively new trend. 

For millennia, the human species has slept comfortably on the ground. Whether it’s directly on the dirt itself or on piles of soft materials, the ground was our very first sleeping surface. There are even still undeveloped places across the world where people sleep soundly on the ground.

But, as human technology continues to grow, we’ve abandoned the ground in favor of ultra-soft and cushy mattresses. And, while this unnatural surface initially feels good, it may lead to a handful of chronic health problems.

Sleeping on an air mattress isn’t necessarily bad for you – it’s sleeping on an old mattress that causes issues. Older mattresses tend to dip in the middle and subjects your body chronically to misaligned positions.

Eventually, your body adapts to these misaligned and unhealthy positions. And, just like the harmful effects of sitting in chairs for too long, your body will start to develop unhealthy postures and curves.

Sleeping on the floor reduces back pain

If you have back problems, sleeping on the floor is the better option.

Since you don’t have a soft mattress that hugs your body, your spine will realign itself to its natural position or posture. Additionally, you’ll experience a greater body awareness level as you sleep on the floor.

However, you need to be wary about your position when sleeping on the floor. To get the best result, make sure to sleep on your back. Sleeping on your side forces your hamstrings and hip flexors to tighten over time, leading to more pain.

Also, don’t forget to put a pillow under your calves or knees, as it helps create a more natural curve on the back.

It improves your posture

Sleeping on the floor can ultimately improve your posture. It forces the head, neck, and back into proper alignment, helping you correct your posture. Plus, sleeping on the ground also eases back pain, which aids in developing a better posture.

It can treat insomnia

One of the main antagonists of a good night’s sleep is a bad sleeping surface. The whole night, you keep tossing and turning only to wake up sleep-deprived and feeling groggy the following morning. If your mattress is giving you a world of trouble, you might consider sleeping on the floor. Initially, you’ll feel a little discomfort, but it will be beneficial as soon as your body adjusts.

It provides a cooler sleeping experience

Heat expelled from your body, while you sleep, may get trapped in the mattress’s material. This, in turn, will heat up the surface of your mattress, which will make you feel hotter.

When you’re sleeping on the floor, however, there’s no material that can cause this heat. What’s more, it allows more airflow as well as prevents you from sweating the whole night. And no overheating means no sleep disturbance.

Cons of Sleeping on the Ground

Exposes you to allergens and dust

A typical bed is elevated, keeping you away from cold air and dust. If you opt to sleep on the ground, you won’t have a buffer between the ground and you, meaning you’ll likely come into contact with more allergens and dust. And, if you are allergic to such substances, sleeping on the ground may cause a few problems:

  • Runny nose
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

Creates an unsanitary sleeping environment

Aside from allergens and dust, insects can also be quite an issue when you sleep on the floor. Not only can it interrupt your sleep cycle, but it’s also uncomfortable and may lead to diseases spread by specific bugs.

Increase exposure to cold

The floor is usually cooler than the other parts of the room. It may feel nice to sleep on the floor in the hot summer months, but it can be horrible in winter.

Pros of Sleeping on an Air Mattress

Customized firmness

One of the perks of using an air mattress at home is that it lets you customize its firmness. Unlike sleeping on the floor, you may set it as soft or firm as you please. Just reduce air for a softer and plusher surface and add more for a firmer finish. This can be handy when having guests since everybody likes their sleeping surface a bit different. 

A variety of uses

An inflatable mattress, depending on the size, can be used outdoors or indoors. For instance, a low twin-size profile option can be used on camping trips or as a guest bed for an occasional visitor. Furthermore, some folks lay them across their car’s back seat on their road trips since it’s comfier than sleeping in the car seat.

No sagging

A full-size, conventional memory foam mattress will likely sag after a few years of usage. But, the air mattress is not your typical mattress. When it starts to sag, you can inflate it with more air.

Reduces back pain

An inflatable air mattress isn’t the best mattress for those who have back issues. But, thanks to its ability to adjust its firmness, an air mattress can be a godsend for folks with back issues and other types of joint and body pains. On some nights, your bed may feel too soft, so with just one press of a button, you can instantly add more air to create a firmer surface. And, when the bed seems too firm, you can quickly deflate a little bit and soften the surface with one touch.

Cons of Sleeping on an Air Mattress

Sleeping with a partner

There will be plenty of motion transfer when you’re sleeping with someone else on an air mattress. Whenever you or your partner moves, the other individual will be jolted awake. This can cause sleep disruption, especially for light sleepers.

Temperature regulation

One of the common issues when it comes to using an air mattress is that regulating the temperature of your body can be a little harder. After all, most air mattresses are made from synthetic materials like vinyl, meaning your body won’t breathe pretty well.

When you’re on an air mattress, there’s no way to disperse the heat generated by your body throughout the night. The air trapped inside will soon take on the temperature outside. And, when the temperature is high, it could make for a hot and uncomfortable night’s sleep.

Maintenance

Compared to other kinds of mattresses and sleeping on the ground, an air mattress will require a great deal of work when it comes to maintenance. With an air bed, you’ll have to make sure that it’s got enough air in it, and its holes are quickly patched up. And, even if there’s no hole, these mattresses naturally flatter over time and will require refilling.

Final Thoughts

All in all, both options can give you a good night’s sleep. On the surface, sleeping on the floor seems the better option, especially since it’s a trend today. But, it’s not for everybody. 

While there are upsides to sleeping on the ground, it may make your problems worse as well. Thankfully, there are tons of options for mattresses these days, like the air mattress.

There’s no right sleeping position or mattress for the general population because everyone has unique preferences. A tough surface is an absolute nightmare, and a mattress that’s too soft can be problematic, too. If you want a bed that allows you to control the firmness of the surface, you should go with an air mattress. 

Harris

Hello, I'm Harris. For many years, I have no problems with sleeping but as I become older, I find sometimes sleeping well can be a challenge. This website is a collection of questions I have had wondered once and seek out answer on the web or from my doctors. As I accumulate more information about sleeping I will post them here. Hope you find these articles helpful. Thank you!

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