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Putting a Memory Foam Mattress On The Floor – 7 Warnings

If you’ve just moved house, have broken your bed frame, or you’re looking for a minimalist sleeping solution then you might be wondering if you can put a memory foam mattress on the floor and sleep in it.

For the most part putting your memory foam mattress on the floor and sleeping in it isn’t a good idea because you could end up with back pain, allergies, and cause significant damage to the mattress, whilst also running the risk of voiding the warranty.

But what if the manufacturer says that their memory foam mattress is suitable for floor use – or you’re left with no other choice?

Then you should read the rest of this article to find out the 7 things that you need to consider before you just put your memory foam mattress on the floor and start sleeping in it night-after-night without knowing of the potential consequences.

Ready?

7 Risks of Putting Your Memory Foam Mattress on the Floor

Mattress on the Floor in a Minimalist Bedroom.
Putting your memory foam mattress on the floor might be ‘minimalist’ but it comes with several risks. Image source: Canva.

Whatever your reason, here’s what can happen when you put your memory foam mattress on the floor.

1: Pain

The most significant danger of placing your memory foam mattress on the floor is that of experiencing both acute and chronic pain in your joints and muscles.

The main reason for this is because the floor has pretty much zero ‘give’ to it when compared to a slatted frame or even a solid wooden platform base – which inhibits how far the mattress can compress.

This lack of capacity for compression tends to make the mattress feel a lot firmer and can increase pressure points on your body leading to discomfort.

And whilst some may argue that firming up your mattress might be better for your posture when compared to sleeping on a mattress that otherwise sags to the point where it gives you backache – there’s no scientific evidence that sleeping on the floor or a hard surface is good for your back as an absolute rule [1] (source article peer reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, PhD, RN, CRNA).

Infrared heat map showing back pain.
Sleeping on a hard surface can actually cause back pain. Image source: Canva.

The truth is that final mattress comfort depends on how your body weight, body type, and dominant sleeping position interact with the firmness and structure of the mattress.

And when you take your otherwise comfortable memory foam mattress and place it on the floor, you’re almost certainly going to alter how the support and comfort layers feel and interact with your body.

This puts you at risk of experiencing muscular and joint pain due to potential changes in your posture and how your muscles and connective tissues react – with side sleepers being the most at risk due to their need for greater material compression in order to avoid shoulder and hip pain.

I feel that the issue of pain is going to be even more prevalent if your memory foam mattresses is less than 10 inches thick.

Because the thinner profile means that you’ll feel the floor more through the mattress which can negatively impact how the memory foam layers can adjust to your body shape.

The only exception here would be a memory foam mattress that’s been specifically designed and adapted for floor use by the manufacturer but even then, many of the following points below still apply.

2: Voiding the Warranty

Unless the manufacturer explicitly states that your memory foam mattress can be used on the floor, you’re at risk of voiding the warranty.

Because the fine print of many mattress warranties states that you must place your mattress on a suitable sleeping surface – of which the floor is typically not a viable option.

If in doubt, you should contact the manufacturer for further clarification.

3: Respiratory Allergies

If you’re allergic to mold then placing your memory foam mattress on the floor may make your condition worse because without any air circulating beneath the bottom of the mattress, the chance of mold and mildew growth increases.

This is especially true in the case of memory foam mattresses because the higher density foams used on the base of the mattress are not very breathable when compared to the more aerated design of innerspring and even hybrid beds.

Mold on mattress.
Mold growth can lead to allergic reactions. Image source: Canva.

And given that it’s typically cooler closer to the floor, you’ve got the ideal humid environment for triggering mold growth [2] when you factor in memory foam’s natural propensity for creating condensation on the base as a result of trapping your body heat.

Similarly, placing your mattress on the floor is more than likely going to increase the chance of you breathing in dust, pollen, and other particles that may cause an allergic reaction.

4: Altered Sleeping Temperature

If you live in a warmer environment or it’s the peak of summer, then you might enjoy the increased airflow and cooler temperature that you’ll likely experience from placing your memory foam mattress on the floor.

But chronically sleeping in air that’s too cool may cause joint pain and stiffness in some individuals – especially if you have osteoarthritis [3].

On the flip side, even though the air is cooler closer to the floor, you may actually end up feeling too warm in your memory foam mattress because memory foam is notorious for trapping heat and causing night sweats.

Furthermore, if your memory foam mattress has air channels that are designed to keep you cool then the harder surface of the floor may cause the layers to compress so much that they stop working properly.

5: Mattress Damage

Memory foam mattresses that are made entirely of foam are typically more prone to sagging and indentations when compared to spring mattresses of an equal quality.

And the chance of damage to the foam increases over the long term when you place it on the ground because the softer comfort layers are then crushed between the hard floor and your body weight – instead of compressing gently into the otherwise softer transition layers when placed on a suitable frame.

6: Impaired Mobility

If you have arthritis or any sort of mobility problems then you may find that the lower profile that comes with putting your memory foam mattress on the floor makes getting in and out of bed a lot more difficult.

7: Infestations

Being closer to the floor puts you at greater risk of having various insects and creepy-crawlies getting into your bed.

This could be a real issue if you live in a place that’s inhabited by insects that could bite you.

But even if you don’t – infestations by things like bed bugs could render the mattress unsuitable for sleeping in.

Related Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions related to sleeping on the floor in your memory foam mattress.

1: What If You Have No Choice?

If you’re faced with no choice other than to put your memory foam mattress on the floor and sleep in it, then my advice would be to limit this activity as much as possible in order to avoid the negative implications that are more likely to manifest over the long term.

Here are some other tips:

  • Sweep, vacuum, and disinfect the floor before you put your mattress on it to get rid of dust and other allergens.
  • Dry the floor thoroughly before placing your mattress on it to guard against condensation – a cotton sheet or piece of cardboard may help to soak up moisture and allows some air to get in.
  • In the morning, lift your mattress up and lean it against the wall to allow it to air out.
  • Vacuum the mattress surface after use to get rid of dust mites and other allergens.
  • Make sure that you’re not voiding your warranty.

2: Can You Put Your Memory Foam Mattress On Top of Another Mattress?

No.

I don’t recommend stacking your memory foam mattress on top of another mattress as a way of getting around the floor issue due to the reasons that I’ve listed in my article called the 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Stack Memory Foam Mattresses.

Click the link and check it out.


Sources and References

[1] HealthLine – Is Sleeping on the Floor Good or Bad for Your Health? Accessed 22/4/20.

[2] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America – Mold Allergy. Accessed 22/4/20.

[3] WebMD – Does Weather Affect Joint Pain? Accessed 22/4/20.

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