Are mattresses the end all and be all for sleep, or are there mattress alternatives for sleeping? Whether it's the cost of a new mattress or the hassle of moving one into your space, you may have reasons for seeking a substitute option. We've checked with experts to find out what some of the best alternatives are to traditional mattresses.
Here is a list of mattress alternatives that we've found:
- Sheepskin rug
- Feather bed
- Air mattress
- Camping mat
- The floor
Let's take a look at each of these individually and see if they might work for your needs. We'll also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping without a mattress and a pillow and if you can use a mattress topper as a mattress. So please, keep reading for more information about mattress alternatives.
Eight Mattress Alternatives
Maybe you've thought of some of these, or maybe you haven't. But these eight ideas give you options beyond a standard mattress or mattress and box spring situation. So let's take a look at each one.
Futons are a great alternative to a mattress. They're thinner and firmer than a traditional mattress and can be great for your spine and alignment. They also are flexible because many futon frames can be folded up to serve double-duty as a sofa when not in use as a bed. Futon covers are available in tons of colors and styles so you can find the right style for your space, no problem.
Serta makes this really attractive convertible futon sofa. It's reasonably priced and perfect for a small space.
When positioned correctly, a hammock puts your body into a natural sleeping position with your head slightly elevated above the rest of your body. The gentle swaying motion can also put you to sleep super quickly. Hammocks are incredible space savers as they take up no floor space if hung or fold up to nothing. You just have to make sure you have the appropriate place to put it up.
A portable folding hammock like this puts you in a natural sleeping position, flat rather than curved. Pair it with a good sleeping bag and you're in business.
If you don't want any sort of bed, but don't want to sleep directly on the floor, why not consider a true sheepskin rug? The plush wool is both cooling and warming depending upon the season. The deep pile will provide a bit of cushion for your joints and bones yet still give you the firmness of the floor for your spine.
This 8-pelt rug is a full 6' x 7' which is plenty of space for sleeping. The pile is over 2 inches for a bit of cushion.
Most often sold as mattress toppers these days, a feather bed is a great alternative to a mattress. Filled with down and feathers, this mattress alternative provides softness, transportability, and cushion for your bones. Most of them are in the 2-4 inch thickness zone. Just be sure you don't have allergies to feathers (though there are hypoallergenic versions available).
Air mattresses are great because they can be used on traditional bedframes with slats, but can be rolled up and stored away. They can be easily carried up to a walk-up apartment or packed in a car when switching homes. They're also great to have around if you don't have a guest room but have guests visit. Just pull them out and blow them up. You can even make them up with regular sheets like a normal mattress.
This queen-sized air mattress even has its own built-in pump.
Camping mats are made to provide a bit of comfort for your back when you're out backpacking. So why not bring that comfort into your home if you want a mattress alternative? Pair them with a great sleeping bag and you're set for sleeping. Many even include a pillow-type baffle built into the construction.
No mattress? Why not sleep on the floor? Some people actively choose this option as they think it's the best choice for their spine, alignment, and sleep quality.
If you have trouble getting up and down from the mattress or floor for health reasons, a reclining chair might be practical for you. By having the ability to lay it back for sleep, but then prop it up to help you get in and out of your "bed," you have the best of both worlds.
This manual convertible recliner chair folds all the way out to a mattress when needed.
Is It Better To Sleep Without A Mattress?
There are definitely those who profess to the healthiest night's sleep coming from sleeping on the floor. Claims made for this style of sleeping including the reduction of back pain, better alignment for your spine, and better quality of sleep. You can't jump to sleeping on the floor right away, and you may need a soft transition to get there.
Also, choosing to ditch your mattress for a night or two probably won't make that big a difference. Like other lifestyle changes, the benefits come cumulatively after an extended period of time. But if you can make this change, you'll both save yourself money (mattresses are expensive!) and maybe even a doctor's bill or two. But do your research to make sure this style of sleeping works for you and whatever physical needs and issues you may have.
Can You Use A Mattress Topper Without A Mattress?
Mattress toppers come in many different styles, varieties, and materials as do beds. If you're using a box spring on a bed frame and want to do away with the mattress, then pretty much any mattress topper will work. It can be flat or have elasticized edges like a fitted sheet and still work with your box spring. However, if your bed has slats and no box spring then a mattress topper isn't going to work. It will just spill down through the cracks and be super uncomfortable.
If you want to transition to floor sleeping, then look for a mattress topper like an egg crate or memory foam that lies flat. Even a feather bed mattress topper could work for transitioning to floor sleeping. And yes, you can sleep with a mattress topper laid out on a hard surface other than a mattress. Just make sure it's right for your comfort and health.
Is Sleeping Without A Pillow Better For You?
Sleeping without a pillow is probably better than sleeping with the wrong pillow. The goal of your pillow is to align your head in a neutral position. It shouldn't be pushed too far up from the spine or falling too far behind it. Stomach sleepers probably get the most benefit from sleeping without a pillow because this position and pillows cause lower back pain.
What is a great pillow for sleeping? A thin pillow that can keep your head in a neutral position is a great choice. There are also lots of memory foam pillows made with indentations to cradle the head and keep it comfortable.
Ergonomic pillows are made for all sorts of sleepers. This one is made of memory foam and works for side or back sleepers.
A Good Night's Sleep
Ultimately, whether you choose to sleep on a mattress or a mattress alternative, the most important thing is sleep. You want your sleep solution to be comfortable for your body and cause you no long-term discomfort. Try things out if you can and aim for sweet dreams.
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