When you go to sleep at night, you most likely do so in a comfortable bed with quilts, throws and an ungodly number of pillows. But, is this the way we should be sleeping or simply a case of us all conforming to what society has projected upon us?
According to muscle mountain and proponent of the ancestral lifestyle, Liver King, we should be sleeping on the floor. Or at least, as close down to the floor as possible. In the comments of one of his recent Instagram videos, one user asked, “Can you tell us your sleeping regime and do you sleep on a mattress? Having some issues getting the 8 hours.”
Liver King responded with a list of suggestions as to how the user could improve his sleep quality, all of which relate back to the teachings of the ancestral lifestyle.
“What are you missing from this list?” he begins, “Get morning sun exposure (at the same time every day) to regulate sleep/wake cycles.”
“Finish your last meal at least 3 to 4 hours before bed. Earthing…plant your bare feet directly on the earth. Make your sleep temperature between 64 and 68 [Fahrenheit]. Use blackout blinds….room needs to be pitch black. No battery lights, no night lights, nothing!”
“Use Himalayan salt lamps at sunset instead of regular lighting. Wear UVEX safety goggles at least 2 – 3 hours before going to bed. Shut your mouth… breathe through your nose (use mouth tape if you need to train this habit). Take my sleep concoction 30 minutes before bed…400MG of magnesium threonate, 2g Redmond sea salt and 6g Glycine.”
And, finally, “Last but not least, sleep on the floor like our tribe does.”
This is chump change compared to a more recent post, however, where Liver King purges himself of the evils of modern bedding by blowing up a bed with a tank. Yes, you heard that right.
“Making your bed everyday will change your life,” he captioned the video. “If you want to truly transform your life, you can do far better, primals!”
“Destroy it! Sure… you don’t have to go all out like Liver King… I’ll do almost anything to make a good point!”
“The point is this: step out of the chemical ladened man-made cast (your bed). And find a spot on the ground… just like the biologically-robust caveman!”
“Our early ancestors triumphed because they avoided danger. So avoid hormone-disrupting chemicals and off-gassing flame retardants found in modern-day beds.”
“Take massive action… take it to the ground Liver King style and only use 100% native materials like cotton and wool. Recover, rebuild, restore!”
In a comment beneath the video, Liver King shared more information about how, exactly, he sleeps, and what he recommends.
“The Liver King tribe (wife and boys) use a thin 100% wool pad. This is to simulate the local plants that our early ancestors would have used to build their beds because it sure as hell ain’t ancestral to sleep directly on hard ass wood or tile, or even off-gassing carpet.”
“Titrate your way down from 12 inches of blankets to 10 inches of blankets over the course of a week. Then you can titrate down further from 10 inches of blankets to 8 inches over the next week, and so on until you find the perfect amount of padding for you. For Liver King and tribe, we like 2 to 4 inches.”
“Don’t forget to replace your petrochemical polyester sheets with 100% native organic cotton and wool. Trust Liver King… you can’t afford not to.”
Many of Liver King’s suggestions we’ve discussed before. The importance of regulating your circadian rhythm (your body’s 24-hour biological clock), for example, whereby you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time the following morning, is one of them.
We’ve also looked into the importance of breathing through your nose and your nose only when sleeping, with mouth taping proving to be a common method to help instil it.
As for sleeping on the floor, however, you may be thinking that’s a step too far. After all, how could you possibly give up the safe space of your bed and substitute it for some hard ground?
If you need some inspiration, check out the Instagram of the man himself giving a tour of his house, revealing his bedroom setup and showing what his unconventional bed set up looks like.
Check out Liver King’s bedroom in the video below
Although, admittedly, they’re not exactly Californian king-size four-poster beds. Instead, they are much lower to the ground than your average sanctuary of sheets.
Liver King explains, “First thing that you’ll notice is that our beds are on the floor. They’re really just built on top of some wooden boxes, just enough room to let the ventilation flow underneath, so that being in Houston, with high humidity, you don’t get any mould or nasty things like that.”
He could be implying that were he to not live in such a humid climate, he would actually place his mattress directly on the ground.
He also uses sheets and quilts (perhaps he doesn’t live a completely ancestral lifestyle), but he emphasises the importance of choosing the right fabrics and materials.
“Everything is 100% pure organic cotton. If you’re gonna wrap yourself in something when you’re sleeping, when you want to get deep sleep and where you can recover and restore, you want it to be as pure as can possibly be.”
He goes on to explain that his walls, ceiling and floor are all grounded and shielded to block out radio waves and cellphone reception.
It’s worth pointing out Liver King is a jacked dude on the internet, not a health expert. So with this in mind we got in contact with a sleep coach and Australia’s number one sleep expert, Olivia Arezzolo, to find out how good (or bad) sleeping on the floor really is for your health.
Olivia admits that there can be benefits to sleeping on the floor, particularly for those who experience any discomfort when sleeping on a mattress, “Some may find it more comfortable, especially for those with back pain – often poor posture from unsupportive mattresses can exacerbate back pain and sleeping issues.”
“However, this isn’t always the case – some may find it more uncomfortable. It is also helpful for those who overheat, as heat rises – especially in lieu of air conditioning.”
Indeed, Healthline adds weight to Olivia’s comments relating to the fact there isn’t any real scientific evidence to suggest if sleeping on the floor is actually better for you. The only evidence comes from personal accounts, with some saying sleeping on the floor has improved their sleep quality.
“There’s some merit to the idea [that sleeping on the floor provides relief from back pain]. A soft mattress doesn’t have a lot of support. It lets your body sink down, causing your spine to curve. This can lead to back pain.”
“In fact, if your mattress is too soft, Harvard Medical School recommends placing plywood under your mattress. The institution also suggests putting your mattress on the floor.”
However, it’s not to say sleeping on a firmer surface, such as the floor, really is going to provide greater benefits. Healthline goes on to cite a 2003 study published in The Lancet which “found that firmer surfaces were associated with fewer benefits.”
The study used a participant group of 313 adults with “chronic non-specific low back pain” and were assigned to sleep on either a medium-firm or firm mattress for 90 days.
“The group that slept on the medium-firm mattresses reported less back pain compared to the group that slept on firm mattresses. This included pain in bed and during the day.”
Olivia ultimately suggests you try it out for yourself and see whether your quality of sleep improves. Various factors can contribute to this, so it’s going to be a case of trial and error. For example, some people may find sleeping on the floor with pillows to be the best course of action for them, while for some others, no pillow, or at least a very flat one, may prove to be more comfortable.
“No one has your sleeping profile, so no one can tell you if it’s good for you; only you can,” Olivia relates.
As for Liver King’s other suggestions to help improve sleep, Olivia agrees strongly with the processes he puts forward.
“Mouth taping can be helpful for those with sleep apnoea – it’s been found in clinical research to reduce fatigue and snoring. However, outside of those individuals, it’s yet to be proven in scientific studies as beneficial for sleep – not to say that it doesn’t have the potential to.”
Olivia also provided us with her signature bedtime routine to help you get the best night sleep you’ve ever had.
“Block out blue light, two hours before bed: An academic paper found regular room light, from dusk to dawn suppressed melatonin by 71%. Less melatonin = you find it harder to fall and stay asleep.”
“Take lavender capsules – a clinical trial found lavender improved sleep quality by 45%, and reduced anxiety by 59%. Set a goodnight phone alarm, 60-minutes before bed: the time you are to disconnect from all tech – label the alarm ‘SLEEP BETTER.'”
“Have a shower: the drop in core body temperature as you emerge from a steamy shower into a cooler bathroom is a cue for melatonin synthesis. Have a magnesium-based sleep supplement: a clinical trial found magnesium could reduce anxiety by 31%.”
“Read: a study by the University of Sussex found reading could reduce stress by 68% – and the anti-anxiety effects eventuated in just six minutes. Finally, use an eye mask – protecting you from sleep sabotaging blue light while you sleep.”
So, if you feel your sleep could be better, perhaps try throwing out the bed frame and move your mattress closer to floor. Better still, you could even invest in a lightly-padded camping mat, helping you to get closer to the ground.