Why Do Monks Sleep on the Floor? – Not Just Spiritual Reasons

Why Do Monks Sleep on the Floor?

The practice of sleeping on the floor is an old one.

Sleeping on the floor naturally lead monks to wake up earlier than they otherwise would–to meditate more often or pray more fervently before God. In fact, many people have since taken this idea and applied it to their lives outside of monastery walls as well.

But what’s the real reason behind this practice?

As it turns out, while we may not know exactly why monks sleep on the floor, there are a few documented benefits that follow.

Why do monks sleep on the floor?

By sleeping on the floor, monks are reminded of their humility and that they are not above others. This is done as part of an effort to live a simple life and focus on things that are real important in life. It helps monks stay grounded and focused.

monk walking on brown stair

But also there are many benefits to sleeping on the floor, including improved posture, better circulation, and less back pain. Sleeping on the floor can help to improve your sleep quality overall.

However, there are also some potential consequences of sleeping on the floor, such as increased risk of injury and discomfort in cold weather.

Staying awake during meditation

There are a few different reasons why monks and nuns sleep on the floor. One reason is that it helps them to stay awake during meditation. Sleeping on the floor makes them a kind of light sleeper.

It is sometimes recommended that they meditate either first thing upon waking, so as to clear out that sleep-haze, or last thing before sleeping, so as to create a momentum of unattached clarity going into the sleep state.

My experience: Yoga Nidra they can create a great relaxation experience. Try to do Yoga Nidra during Brahma Muhurta time of the day and start with chanting a Brahma muhurta mantra!

Key Takeaways

Sleeping on the floor helps monks stay humble, grounded and focused
Helps them to stay awake during meditation
Improves posture and back pain
Increases blood circulation
It is a way to connect with nature

What are the benefits of sleeping on the floor?

Sleeping on the floor may be beneficial for your health and for your life. The importance of rest and sleep is well known. But what are the health benefits of sleeping on the floor?

  1. Sleeping on the floor can improve your posture by aligning your spine correctly. Sleeping on a soft mattress can cause your spine to curve out of alignment, but sleeping on the floor helps to keep it straight
  2. Sleeping on the floor increases blood circulation as gravity pulls down on your body while you sleep. This helps to reduce inflammation and promote healing throughout the body
  3. Sleeping on the floor can also help to reduce snoring and sleep apnea
  4. Reducing stress and improving mindfulness
monk in red and yellow robe standing beside red and gold chinese lantern

How can you start sleeping on the floor?

If you’re interested in trying out sleeping on the floor comfortable, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Sleep on clean surface

First, make sure that the surface you’re sleeping on is clean and comfortable. A firm mattress or yoga mat is ideal.

Use padding

You may also want to place a blanket or towel underneath you for extra padding.

Dress warmer

Be sure not to wear loose-fitting clothing so that you don’t get too cold or uncomfortable during the night.

Start slowly

Start slowly by only sleeping on the floor for one hour at a time and gradually increasing the amount of time as your body adjusts.

What to expect

When first starting to sleep on the floor, you may experience some discomfort as your body adjusts. However, this should go away after a few nights as your muscles become more used to the new position. Additionally, you may find that you sleep more soundly and deeply than before once your body gets used to sleeping on the ground.

Cons of sleeping on the floor


It can be uncomfortable: Sleeping on the floor can be hard on your body, especially if you don’t have a lot of padding between you and the ground.


It can be cold: The floor is often colder than a bed or futon, which can make it difficult to get comfortable – but it defnitely helps with falling asleep faster.


It can be lonely: If you’re used to sleeping with a partner or pet, it can be strange to suddenly find yourself alone on the floor.

For some, sleeping on the floor can be a challenge because of the discomfort it may cause. A firmer mattress, a memory foam mattress, a sleeping bag, or a futon could be better options for those who find sleeping on the floor uncomfortable.

Who Shouldn’t Sleep on the Floor?

Sleeping on the floor may not be ideal for some people:

People with unknown back pain

First, sleeping on a hard surface can put extra pressure on the spine and muscles, which can aggravate pain. Second, people with back pain often need to sleep in a specific position to minimize discomfort and keep the spine aligned. Sleeping on the floor may make it difficult to maintain this position throughout the night.

People with joint pain

Like people with back pain, those with joint pain may find that sleeping on a hard surface exacerbates their condition. Joints are supported by soft tissue and cartilage, and when they come into contact with a hard surface, this support is compromised. This can lead to increased joint pain and stiffness.

Sleeping on the floor while pregnant

Pregnant women often experience back and joint pain as their bodies adjust to the added weight of pregnancy. Sleeping on the floor may exacerbate these conditions and make it difficult for pregnant women to get comfortable.

Sleeping on the floor while pregnant however seems safe – women seem to like it, though there are no scientific evidence suggesting it. Pregnant women should using soft blankets or pillows which help to support their back to avoid any discomfort.

Lying flat on your back during pregnancy can reduce blood flow to the fetus, so it’s important for pregnant women to sleep in a position that doesn’t restrict blood flow (such as on your side).


As we age, our bodies become more fragile and susceptible to injury. Sleeping on the floor may increase the risk the risk of injuries in elderly people. Additionally, older adults often have medical conditions that can be aggravated by sleeping on a hard surface, such as arthritis or osteoporosis.

People with medical conditions

There are many medical conditions that can be aggravated by sleeping on the floor, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. If you have a medical condition, it’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your sleep routine.

People who feel cold

A lot of people feel cold even when others don’t and such people should avoid sleeping on the floor as it can give them unwanted chest infections and health issues.

Do Buddhist monks sleep on the floor?

Buddhist monks have many reasons for sleeping on the floor. One reason is that it is a way to show humility. By sleeping on the floor, monks are showing that they are not better than anyone else and that they do not need anything special.

Sleeping on the floor can be a way to connect with nature. When we sleep on the ground, we are closer to the Earth and can feel its energy. This can help us to feel more grounded and connected to our surroundings.

Sleeping on the ground is much better when we sleep outside – which is a way to improve our sleep and maintain our connection to nature.

What does the science say about sleeping on the floor?

According to a meta study published in 2015 it turned out that softer mattresses do not provide a lot of support and may lead to back pain. A firmer surface may ease back pain for some people, but if the cause of your pain is different, or if you sleep in a different position, then a softer mattress might be more beneficial. Additionally, the only proven benefits of sleeping on a medium-firm mattress are linked to improving pain during sleep.

Do monks sleep on floor?

There is some merit to the idea of sleeping on a harder matress if your mattress is too soft. Sleeping on the floor however is not a scientifically proven way to improve your back pain or posture and keep your spine in alignment. Monks sleep on the floor regularly but they also used to sleep upright just like in medieval times.

Do monks sleep in beds?

Monks can sleep in beds or on futons but the Buddha himself is said to have slept on the ground, and many monks continue this practice today as a way of keeping humble. In some monasteries, sleeping on the floor is actually required.

How much sleep does a buddhist monk get?

Buddhist monks typically sleep for not too long – for four to six hours a night. This is broken up into two or three periods, with each period lasting around two hours. The first period is usually spent meditating, while the second and third periods are spent sleeping.

There are many benefits to sleeping like a monk, including improved sleep quality, increased alertness during the day, and reduced stress levels. Sleeping like a monk can also help you to develop a deeper understanding of your own mind and body.

Why does Buddha sleep on right side?

The Buddha always slept on the floor on his right side, in the lion’s position. This is a position where you lie on your right side with your legs slightly bent and your right hand resting under your head.

There are many benefits to sleeping in the lion’s position. This position helps to improve digestion, relieve back pain, and prevent wrinkles. Sleeping in this position also helps to increase blood flow to the brain and promote better sleep.

How do monks sleep on the floor?

Monks make sure that the surface they’re sleeping on is clean and comfortable. A thin mattress or yoga mat can help to make the floor more comfortable. They avoid sleeping on concrete or hardwood floors, as these can be quite uncomfortable. Instead, they use carpeted floors or rugs.

They go to bed early. According to monk practicfe the best time to sleep is from 10pm to 4am.

To sleep in the lion’s position like the Buddha, monks simply lie on their right side. Some monks prefer to sleep on their backs or sleeping on their stomach but this is less common.

How many hours a day do monks meditate?

The average person spends about one-third of their day sleeping. That leaves 16 hours for work, play, and other activities. Monks, on the other hand, spend a large chunk of their day in prayer and meditation.

How long do monks meditate? It is still a mystery whether they meditate or sleep. For average people like us meditation does not count as sleeping.

During prayer and meditation, monks focus on their relationship with God. They also reflect on scripture and try to live according to the teachings of the Buddha.


Sleeping on the floor may not be for everyone. But for those who are interested in exploring the spiritual benefits of monk-like living, it may be worth giving it a try.

Who knows, you may just find that it’s the most comfortable way to sleep!


By lezt

Lez Taylor, Founder and CEO of Corala Blanket. She tried every sleep system and trick to conquer her insomnia for good.