Cheap comfortable ways to sleep on the floor

There are many different reasons to sleep on the floor.
  • Trying to help your back (it helps for some, for some it doesn't)
  • Have limited space in your house or apartment
  • You like to travel light and often
  • Can't stretch comfortably on the couch
  • Don't have the money to buy a mattress
  • Stay cooler during the summer
  • Just want to try something different
I've slept on the floor for years at a time and it's not really that uncomfortable. Many people even prefer it. Everybody is different, but now I feel exactly the same whether I get up off of the floor or a mattress. Here are a few of the ways I've tried, with both their pros and cons.

Sleeping pad with sleeping bag.
Mostly because of convenience, my preferred way of sleeping on the floor is on a light and comfortable sleeping bag on top of a sleeping pad. It's softer than the floor, but still firm. If you sleep well on your stomach and your back, this works great, but it is harder on my shoulders when I sleep on my side. Because of this, you may have to turn a few times throughout the night, which to me is normal. I ultimately preferred this way the best because it takes only a minute to "make the bed". Fold the sleeping bag a couple of times, roll up the pad, and you're done. Here is the sleeping pad and sleeping bag I use.

I vouch for the Slumberjack, but if it's unavailable as you read this, there's plenty of other cheap sleeping bags here.

rolled sleeping padsleeping pad
sleeping bag on sleeping pad

Cots are comfortable. Their advantage is that they get you up off the ground, which is a plus if you've got a draft in the house during the winter. To me the biggest disadvantage with a cot is setting it up, taking it down, and stuffing it back into its bag every day. It only takes 5 minutes, but it gets old after a while. The cot I have is a Field and Stream. It makes a lot of noise when I shift around, but like I said, it's comfortable. My brother had the exact one too, but his started sagging in the middle and he couldn't use it anymore. I suspect it was because he would sit on it, which isn't a great idea on a stretched canvas surface. I distributed my weight evenly when I got up and down and I haven't had any problems with sagging (I used it nonstop for maybe 3 or 4 months). The only problem I had with it is that its carrying bag tore on me.

field and stream folding cotsleeping bag on cotdisassembled cot

Air Mattress.
I've tried two different air mattresses, a Coleman and some other one. Both were self-inflating, which means there is a built-in pump that you just plug into a wall outlet. Whenever it gets low on air, you just turn it on until it's firm again. They also have a release valve to let the air out. To me, air mattresses are very comfortable, just as comfortable as a bed even. A downside is what to do with it during the day if you don't have an extra room. It's not convenient deflating and inflating it every day, so an alternative is to leave it standing up against a wall, which is kind of ugly. I actually would have stuck with the air mattress but both of them were punctured by my cat! The little bugger likes to get my attention by clawing at it in the middle of the night. So if you have pets, keep that in mind. Also, just like the cot, it's probably not a good idea to sit on an air mattress, as you put undo stress on one portion, eventually popping or tearing it. When you get up and down off of it, distribute your weight evenly.

Again, I vouch for the Coleman, but there are [cheaper] alternatives here.


Joanne said...

I have been sleeping on a cot for a year or so. Just letting you know my findings are different from yours ... my cot is the same as pictured. I only sleep on it, do not sit, and it is sagging a little where I sleep. I weigh about 110lbs, so we can imagine what would happen from long term use with a heavier person. Also, it is NOT a good way to keep warmer in drafty places. Instead of the draft being only on top, as is the case with sleeping on the floor, the draft is all around you. My sleeping room probably gets to 50* to 45*f (maybe less, I don't know but the windows ice over) and I need just as many blankets UNDER me as I do over to keep the cold air away.

I found this article because I'm looking for a smart, easy way to sleep on the floor ... to cot is not doing it for me anymore. I think I'm just going to fold over a very sturdy cotton denim blanket and make (sew) a case to cover it.

Serge Rivest said...

I sleep on the floor on a rug with a duna under and a duna above, so pretty much the same as a sleeping bag but with more room.