It’s a simple question – really. Most people, when they think of a bed, think of the entire bundle, including the mattress itself, the box-spring, and finally the frame. But are all of those components really necessary? Can you place the mattress directly on the ground and sleep this way, and more importantly – is it safe?
A simple question deserves a simple answer, so yes, in most circumstances, you’re perfectly free to put your mattress on the floor if you so choose, and in most circumstances, it’s perfectly safe.
Some cultures are even accustomed to sleeping directly on the ground, so placing a mattress there isn’t really a huge issue – but there are a few concerns to keep in mind if you’re thinking of doing away with your box-spring and frame.
Choosing a Floor Mattress
As you probably realize, mattresses can come in many different shapes and sizes, materials and makes. Waterbeds, memory foam mattresses, traditional mattresses – and everything in between – all of these react differently to being placed on the floor.
Some have foam, others have springs. Then you have mattresses filled with water, as well as air mattresses and rolling mattresses. More recently, Purple rolled out their innovate polymer-based mattress that’s manufactured with a grid-like interior.
No matter what kind of mattress you own, you can cut it open and expect a wide variety of stuff on the inside, although we don’t recommend doing this with any mattress, especially not waterbeds.
Breathing Room for Your Mattress
No matter the type of mattress, they all need to breathe – some more than others. When you place a mattress on the floor, you’re cutting off a large part of its airflow. Your body heat will become trapped in the mattress itself, and this combined with moisture can lead to all sorts of issues, specifically mold and damage. This is doubly true in humid environments.
What more – bugs and other creepy crawlies. When your bed is elevated off the ground with a frame and box-spring, you’re giving yourself a nice buffer between you and whatever might be crawling about on the ground.
If you place your mattress on the floor, you’re removing this nice buffer, allowing anything on your ground to find its way onto your bed and into your mattress.
Since warm air rises, the area closest to the ground is typically also the coolest. This is a great benefit during the summer, especially if you’re struggling to stay cool, but during the winter, the frigid temperatures of your floor can bleed into your mattress keeping you cold throughout the night.
Mattress on the Floor Ideas & Steps
If you do choose to place your mattress on the ground, there are a few highly recommended steps to undertake. First, if the area is hardwood or linoleum, make sure you thoroughly clean the area beneath where you want to place the mattress, preferably with bleach.
You want to make sure that any lingering bacteria or dormant mold can’t find its way onto your mattress. Carpets must also be cleaned thoroughly and allowed to dry.
Foam mattresses – and Purple’s own grid-based variety – make for the best types to place on the floor. They breathe the most and have the most space within for air to move around. Of course, the floor still cuts off airflow, so if possible, try to elevate the mattress with a barrier of some kind, and if that’s not possible, then a buffer can be great – maybe foam or even cardboard.
This will not only allow for a bit more airflow, it will also help to insulate the mattress against the cold weather, so when the floor is freezing, the mattress won’t necessarily be.
Sleeping on a Floor Mattress
If there are all this prep work and potential downfalls of placing your mattress on the floor, then why ever consider doing it? For the benefits, of course.
First off – it’s just cheaper. If you only have so much room in your budget for a new bed, then cutting the box-spring and frame out of the equation is a great way to either save money, or funnel more money into a quality mattress, and good mattresses can be quite expensive.
Considering that you spend (a recommended) 8 hours a day in your bed, then your mattress is certainly not something that you want to skimp on.
While it can be a downside that your floor mattress is colder during the winter, the same is also true during the summer. As we mentioned earlier, hot air rises, so the closer you are to the ground, the cooler you will be, something to consider – especially – if you often wake up sweating. Anyone who suffers from this knows how difficult it can be to get back to sleep once you’ve woken up sweating.
Medical Benefits to Sleeping without Box-Spring
The floor is much harder than any box-spring, and by laying your mattress on the floor, you can benefit from the extra support. Your body will, on its own, try to revert to its natural shape while you sleep, so without the extra softness of a box-spring causing you to sink down even further, your body will have an easier time finding that “sweet spot,” as long as your mattress is already of decent quality, to begin with.
Do take note, however, that this extra support can be problematic for those who sleep on their side. It’s fine and quite beneficial to back sleepers, but if you’re someone who prefers to sleep on your side, then you may find that the idea of placing your mattress on the ground might only serve to cause you discomfort.
Those with scoliosis or back pain, however, might find some comfort by placing their mattress on the floor.
It’s the Mattress Quality That Matters the Most
If you’re thinking that by placing the used mattress you picked up off the side of the road on the floor, you’ll be solving all of your sleep issues, then you will likely be sorely mistaken.
For the best sleep, you’re going to want to the best possible mattress supporting you through the night. Otherwise, there aren’t any mattress on the floor ideas that are going to do you much good. Higher quality mattresses are made of better and more supportive materials.
A poor-quality mattress will leave you waking up with a crick in your neck and half tired, while a quality one will ensure that you wake up feeling completely rested and refreshed. Placing your mattress on the floor is simply a way to further customize your sleep situation.
There are a ton of high-quality mattresses out there. For instance, we recently had the chance to review Purple’s line of premium mattresses. They’re a great example of a solid mattress to place on the floor. Their grid-based design allows plenty of breathing room, so whilst moisture may still be a concern, you’ll be able to take comfort in the fact that it won’t be an enormous concern. They’re also proven to offer some of the best support possible.
Ultimately, though, any quality mattress may be even better when you place it on the floor – Purple or otherwise. Just remember to keep some of what we discussed above in mind.