Snooze University

7 Disadvantages of Sleeping on The Floor Without a Mattress

by Dale Cudmore | Updated: Feb 01, 2023

Sleeping on the floor can be good for you, but it’s not right for everyone.

I’ve outlined the 7 major disadvantages of sleeping on the floor in this short post.

The first few are serious disadvantages that could have a detrimental effect on health, while the rest are more about general well-being and happiness.

Sleeping on the Floor Typically Causes Pain That Could Develop Into Serious Issues

If you go from a normal mattress to sleeping on the floor with minimal padding, it’s going to be uncomfortable at first.

It takes a week or two for most people to adjust.

In this time, it’s common to experience pain, soreness, and bruising on protruding bones including your hips, elbows, and even ankles.

Sleeping on the floor is generally good for back problems in the long term, but can exacerbate pain in the short term.

Sleeping on the Floor Could Lead to Insomnia

The main reason why this minor discomfort is actually dangerous is that it could lead to long-term health problems.

The pain and discomfort from sleeping on the floor can lead to short term sleep deprivation.

There’s evidence showing that sleep deprivation can cause anxiety and other side effects as well.

That anxiety can then in turn worsen sleep, which then makes anxiety even worse - it’s a negative cycle.

While it’s the worst case scenario, this could develop into insomnia, which can cause many serious health issues.

A Greater Exposure to Dirt and Allergens

While all surfaces collect floating debris, the floor is naturally dirtier because of, you know...gravity.

This includes:

  • Allergens
  • Mold spores
  • Dirt
  • Dust
  • Pet hair
  • Mites

Air circulation is also poorer on the floor in most situations.

Essentially, sleeping on the floor exposes you to poorer air quality while you sleep, which is a significant portion of the day.

If you don’t have asthma or any known respiratory conditions, it’s likely not the biggest deal, but it’s still not a good thing.

As a final note, I speak from experience when I say waking up on the floor next to a large insect is not fun.

Bedding is More Likely to Shift

Most people who suddenly decide to sleep on the floor put down all their standard bedding and sleep as usual.

Without the edges of a mattress, sheets and blankets are going to crumple up.

This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it does impact sleep quality. There’s a reason it’s so nice and easy to sleep in freshly washed sheets that have been put onto a mattress tightly.

If you look at places like Japan where people often sleep on the floor to save space, they use proper tatami mats that will retain their shape (and the shape of bedding throughout the night.

Sleeping on the Floor is Colder

Not only is the floor itself colder than a mattress due to the respective materials of each, but cold air sinks to the ground as well.

This can be a good thing, as many people sleep better when it’s cold.

However, when it gets too cold, the temperature makes sleep worse, and that’s the danger here.

It’s nice to sleep on the floor in the summer, but can be problematic in the winter unless you have a heated floor (1).

It Can Be Hard to Get Up and Down to Your Bed

Most people can plop down onto a mattress no problem and roll up to their feet.

Sleeping on the floor involves lying down more carefully and awkwardly, while also having to essentially do a squat to stand up.

This isn’t a problem for healthy people, but people who are elderly or injured can have difficulties with this, especially if they often get up at night to go to the bathroom.

Even if Not Painful, Sleeping on the Floor is Not Comfy

I’ve slept on the floor for long periods of my life. And while it’s not bad after a while, it is just not comfortable, even when you stack up extra blankets.

Most people have enough stress in their life. Sleeping is supposed to be a relaxing and recharging thing, not someone that adds more discomfort.

I remember getting sick and sleeping on a cold and hard floor, and quite frankly it sucked enough the feeling even several years later.

Bedding on the Floor is More Likely to Get Dirty

As mentioned before, all the free-floating debris is going to collect on bedding that’s lying on the ground.

Plus you have any dirt that gets kicked up from walking around during the day. And if you have a pet, you’ll likely see even more dirt or litter in your bed.

That means extra laundry - yay.

Alternatively, you fold up your bedding every day like many in Japan do to free up space and keep it from getting dirty. That’s probably the best option, but not everyone is willing to put in that extra effort.

Medical Disclaimer: The information on is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.

About the authorDale is the founder of Snooze University and a sleep researcher. I overcame my sleep issues and now I'd like to help you do the same by summarizing the latest sleep studies for you.