Can You Put a Mattress On The Floor?

Can you sleep in a mattress on the floor? It is a question that many people moving out of home for the first time have asked. Yes you can, but there are certain things to be considered.

mattress on floor

Choosing a Suitable Mattress

Obviously, you are not going to go out and buy a mattress that is suitable for sleeping on the floor, unless you are planning to stay down there. Nevertheless, there are some mattresses that are more suitable for sleeping on the floor than others.

Open Spaces and Air Movement

A mattress with more open spaces will be better as it won’t trap as much moisture. Mattresses with open spaces will allow more air to pass between the floor and the mattress, especially if you are resting your mattress on a carpet rather than a concrete floor. Note the open spaces on the  mattress on the image below.

Inner Springs and Flipping

An inner spring mattress is a good choice simply because it makes it easier for you to get up and the dynamic movement makes it more difficult for things to go stale. Nevertheless, it is advisable that you put a cotton rug or blanket under your bed, and that you flip your mattress every two days to stop moisture accumulating on the bottom.

Choose an Eco-Friendly Mattress

The very idea of laying on the floor with a mattress full of toxins is probably not ideal, and the idea that these toxins are mixing into the moisture collecting on the floor is probably less appealing. Despite the fact that very few mattresses are designed to live on the floor, an eco-friendly brand of mattress is more suitable if only for the fact it doesn’t create a pool of chemicals on the side resting on the floors.

Memory Foam is Not Built for Floor Sleeping

You probably want to steer clear of memory foam and foam as it tends to trap more moisture. Think of the mattresses with spaces and pockets of air underneath. It is going to collect water, but it will collect it far less efficiently than memory foam. Memory foam will create an almost watertight seal between the ground and your mattress. The moisture underneath will not be able to breathe or evaporate, which creates the more dangerous types of mold and fungus that typically damages human health when breathed in.

Potential Problems of Sleeping on a Mattress on the Floor

mold on mattress

You are probably not sleeping on the floor out of choice. However, you may have to sleep on the floor for weeks or months. If you are planning on staying on the floor for a long time, then there are a few potential problems you need to consider.

Heat and Moisture Trapped Under Mattress

Flipping your mattress every two days is a good way to avoid the problems that come with heat and trapped moisture, but you are dancing a very fine line between healthy and health hazard. You have to remember that as you sleep, you are losing epic amounts of fluid from your skin and your mouth/nose. This moisture gets trapped in the mattress and then moves down to pool. This moisture is heated by your body heat, which creates a lovely environment for nasty bacteria.

Mold May Start to Appear

Bacteria flourishes at night as you are sweating your heat into the mattress. During the day, the tiny amounts of standing water under your mattress, between the mattress and floor, is home to mold. The cold, the dark, and the slight amount of damp is all that is needed for mold to start forming.

Decide if You Should Avoid Carpet

Carpet is not a bad thing if you are sleeping on the floor. It acts as a nice barrier between your mattress and the hard floor, it allows more air to flow between the floor and mattress, and it is warmer than a hard concrete or wood floor. You have to remember that colder surfaces will pool water faster, giving it less time and chance to escape.

However, there is a downside to carpets, specifically with older carpets. A new carpet has less mess and dirt on it, but older carpets have ground in dirt and dust from years of use. Unless you run your carpets through the washing machine, there is going to be dirt and grime nestled deep in its fibers. When a mattress is placed on the old carpet, the dirt helps feed the bacteria and fungus so that it grows and propagates more quickly.

Exposure to Dust on The Floor

Sleeping on the floor means that you are exposed to more dust. You can vacuum up as much as you like, but most of the dust in your house ends up on the floor. If you think your shelves are dusty, it is far worse on your floor. Vacuuming every day is going to help, but the fact is that your head is closer to the ground for eight hours per night, so you are breathing more dust as a result.

Potential Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are not like fleas. They often need direct contact with your mattress in order to infect it. When your mattress is on the floor, it is easier for bed bugs to infect it. In addition, if you have a dog or cat, then the dog or cat may hop on your bed because it is low, which drags in all of their filth from the garden.

Easier Access for Insects

A spider is less likely to climb on your bed if your bed is on a bed frame. It is not an issue of preference, it is an issue of potential area. Whenever a spider goes for a wander around your floor, it has four small opportunities to climb up your bed using the legs of your bed frame. The potential area is probably around one square foot in a room that is 250 square feet.

However, if your mattress is on the floor, then the potential area is around 40 square feet out of a potential 250 square feet. The chances are higher for a spider to crawl on your bed, or a woodlouse, or an earwig, or whatever enters your room at night.

Exposure to Cold Air

After a night on the floor, you are probably aware that it is colder on the floor. This is especially true if your mattress is on something like a concrete slab/floor or hardwood floor. It is simple physics; the cold air settles lower down and hot air rises. The room reaches an equilibrium with a cold layer on the bottom, moderate air in the middle, and warm air near the ceiling. When you sleep on the floor, you are lying in the cold area.

A Lower Mattress is Harder to Access

Elderly people, or people with mobility issues, may have trouble getting in and out of bed. If you are stuck in this position, then try rolling onto your front. It is far easier trying to get up when you are laid in the push-up position than it is if you are laid on your back or on your side. Nevertheless, if you have a low bed frame, or you are sleeping on a mattress on the floor, then getting in and out of bed is more difficult.

Possible Benefits to Sleeping on a Mattress on the Floor

couple sleeping on mattress on the floor after moving house

So far, you would be forgiven for thinking this is some sort of propaganda piece against sleeping on the floor, but that is not the case. There are benefits to sleeping on the floor, and many of the downsides to sleeping on the floor can be overcome with things like vacuuming often, flipping the mattress every two days, and occasionally resting your mattress against a hot radiator. Here are a few of the benefits of sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

Potential Back Pain Relief

You are going to read a lot of different opinions on whether sleeping on the floor is better for your back. Some experts claim you should sleep on your front, your back, your side, on memory foam, on a hard surface and/or on a memory foam mattress, but the fact is that your own preference takes precedent.

Your preference takes precedence because you know your own body and you know your own pain. You have probably woken up on a regular bed and felt excruciating pain because it feels like your bottom was incorrectly positioned like you were sat in a slowly sinking pothole. You know that your elbows hurt, but your back doesn’t, when you sleep on your side. Or, maybe you are the opposite, maybe you cannot handle a hard mattress and need something soft that carefully cups the contours of your body.

What you choose is up to you, but some people are really going to benefit from sleeping on a mattress on the floor, even if it is only for a temporary amount of time.

Cool Air in a Hot Climate

This article has made a lot of points about sleeping in the cold, but what about during a heat wave or during a hot season when it is difficult to stay cool in bed. You can arrange your bedroom in several ways to make it cooler, and one of the ways is to have your mattress on the floor. You could also have your window open a crack so that the night air enters and drops to your level.

Your own body heat will also help keep the humidity higher, but it is not ideal. So, you could close your window and run a dehumidifier. You may worry that the small amount of hot air the dehumidifier pumps out will make you feel worse, but if you are sleeping below its exhaust, and if you keep it at least four feet away from your bed, then you will not notice the hot air it pumps out.

What About Obese People

As an obese person, it is not advisable that you do vigorous exercise. It is far better if you do gentle exercise throughout the day in order to keep yourself active. There are many ways to force yourself to do this, such as locking the downstairs toilet so that you have to climb the stairs whenever you need to go. Another method is to put your bed on the floor.

Even if you use labor-saving methods to get out of bed, such as by rolling over onto your front and pushing upwards, you are still going to use arm, back, stomach and leg muscles in order to get up and get down. It feels awful as you do it, but the fact is that it burns calories and is yet another way you can keep yourself active through inconvenience.

Sex on Your Mattress

If you have a heavier frame, aka you are overweight, you may have trouble engaging in coitus on a regular bed. Even a metal bed seems to strain, and part of the reason is that your bed was not designed for having relations (very few are actually). Would your bed survive if you decided to jump on it like a child who drank too much coffee? Because that is the type of pressure you put on the frame when you have sexual relations on your bed.

Making love on a mattress on the floor not only removes the risk of breaking your bed, it also allows you to go a little more wild. Plus, you also have more stability because you are grounded to a sturdier surface, and in many cases, this form of stability can improve the overall love-making experience.


Yes, you can put your mattress on the floor, just remain cognizant of the problems it may cause and the potential health risks. With that point made, there are a few good arguments for having your mattress on the floor for a short period of time.

Still, having your mattress on the floor permanently seems like an overall not-great idea. Over time, try to find a way to elevate your mattress, with a bed frame or another device, so that you are off the floor, and so that air can flow freely under your mattress.

About The Author

Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.

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