From my childhood until my early twenties, I was an easy and deep sleeper. I would be very hard to wake up. Historically, I have slept in lots of places: beds, smoking lounges at parties, night trains, airports, cars, with my head against the wall in Dutch class in high school. Lately I have been looking for a way to do more at home with the little space that I have.
I realized my sleeping arrangement is something that can be improved: Only using my bed for sleeping seems inefficient for the space that a bed takes up in an 8m2 room. Enter: a no-frills sleeping setup.
Two weeks ago, I switched to sleeping on mats with a sleeping bag on top of them. I use my regular blanket and two pillows. The idea came up when I thought of sleeping at my dad’s apartment shortly after he and my mother were divorced. My brother and me would sleep in the living room sometimes, on a two-person inflatable air bed. My dad would sleep on a mat on the floor – he said it relieved his back pain.
This was a pretty no-nonsense approach, except that our bed would need to be inflated. This took energy and time, and most importantly, I didn’t sleep like a rose since I often felt like I was ‘sinking’, due to the air distribution. My current approach, after my dad, takes a lot less time and space, and I sleep a lot better.
How to Sleep on the Floor
In the evening, I take out three of my economically stored (read: stored in a roll) plastic mats. I place them on the floor. I fold a sleeping bag so that my body will fit on it and lay it on the mats. Then, my two pillows go on the mat. I finish with my regular blanket, under which I sleep.
I close my thick curtains and make sure no light enters my room. The glass above my door is blinded so that light from the hallway does not disturb me. I undress (no PJs) to get accustomed to the temperature and hop in.
Benefits of Sleeping on the Floor
The title in this article suggests I will tell you how to get comfortable with sleeping like this. Here are some effects which come with sleeping on the floor:
- Sleeping on the floor forces me to spend time tidying my room, which I was not a star at. Now I do it daily, before I set up my setup.
- It’s easier not to play with myself when sleeping like this, which is a huge win. The softness of my bed sometimes would act like a trigger.
- I am more engaged with how I sleep. Instead of just hopping in and hopping out I have to do some preparation, and direct time and energy to how I rest.
- I’ve become more aware of my posture. Laying on a hard surface for a while makes me catch myself when I’m slouching.
- I wake up less in the middle of the night? When sleeping on a bed I seem to wake up at 2, 4 and 5AM but when sleeping on the floor I only wake up at 3 sometimes.
- My day starts more structured. I have this activity that I have to do (rolling up the mats, putting the cushions away and folding the rest) before I can make use of my room. I see the use of this habit spilling over into other habits.
- I can imagine the benefits for travelling – when you are able to adapt to what’s not easy you have an easier time putting up with what is thrown at you. Last October I had to sleep on a wooden bench in an open hut when hiking through Germany. Didn’t go very well, but I wasn’t accustomed to sleeping on hard surfaces at the time. Also, it was raining there.
- Now my bed is used for naps and recreational reading. I can imagine just having a good chair and no bed already.
I’m sleeping on the floor now. Feels better.