Recently, I’ve been experimenting with minimalist sleeping–which translates, in less poetic terms, to sleeping on the floor.
My reasons are half-philosophical and half-practical. Philosophically-speaking, mattresses are anti-minimalist. They’re large, heavy, and expensive; I can’t imagine packing one in a backpack. Practically-speaking, my shared apartment in Taichung can’t fit another mattress. I couldn’t use one even if I wanted to.
Many cultures throughout the world don’t use mattresses. The Japanese, for example, sleep on tatami mats. The modern mattress can actually harm your spine if it’s too soft. The harder the mattress, the better it is for your back. So I figure I should just use the hardest support of all and sleep on the floor.
The benefits of sleeping mattress-free are legion. Mattresses are extremely difficult to transport, which makes moving an enormous hassle. Professional moving teams are expensive to hire, but it’s grueling to carry a mattress by yourself.
In general, I dislike furniture, because it limits my flexibility and freedom to travel light. I don’t mind sleeping on a mattress if it’s offered, but I don’t want to have to depend on one. If I rent an unfurnished apartment of my own, I don’t want to own any furniture. I love the freedom that comes from minimalism; I can pack my bags and move in an hour. If I bought a mattress, I would lose that flexibility.
I’m also trying to reduce my pollution by reducing consumption. For all of this year, I’m trying to never buy anything new. I’d have to buy a used mattress, then, but this idea doesn’t sound appealing to Hsinya. She would be perpetually worried about sleeping on a dirty mattress.
For the last two weeks, I have been sleeping on the floor. The first week was terrible. I’ve slept on mattresses my whole life, so I didn’t expect the floor to be so uncomfortable. I had difficulty sleeping each night; I would spend an hour lying awake from back pain. Every three hours, I’d wake up feeling sore and groggy.
Maybe the problem was due to my poor posture. Because of the curvature of my spine, all my lower body weight rested entirely on my tailbone. The pain was unbearable at times, but I refused to give up. I was determined to adjust my posture and get used to sleeping on the floor. Eventually, I conceded to borrowing a thin bamboo mat to give my tailbone some cushion against the hardwood floor. In the future, I’ll try to use spare clothes for minimalist padding.
I’m gradually easing into it now. Sleeping on the floor definitely isn’t as comfortable as sleeping in a mattress, but I have now confirmed that it’s possible to sleep anywhere without paying a dime for a bulky, anti-minimalist bed. So the next time I spend the night at a friend’s place, don’t look for me on the sofa-bed; you’ll find me on the floor.
Do you think minimalist furniture is practical?