Saturday, June 6, 2015

You Shall Know the Truth

... and the truth shall make you odd.

That Flannery O'Connor was a smart one, wasn't she? I am thinking of and perhaps regretting a bit a certain line in this post. I was starting to get rid of chairs, and I flippantly asked, "What's next?" I don't know if I even want to tell you where I am right now in this, because it is odd. I'm holding tight to another quote.

"We have to be willing to do today what others won't, so that we will be able to do tomorrow what others can't." Thank you, Jerry Rice.

I still use chairs, in case you were wondering, but I do sit on the floor more than I used to. I am trying to stretch more to offset some of my bad habits, while I also work on eliminating the bad habits that I can. It takes time. Since I've started down this particular line of inquiry, I have started to see better use of my postural muscles in the low back. Less tightness in the hamstrings. Less pain in my hip and Achilles. I have arches?!?!?! I have also seen some great results in the parts that I am using with my patients (biggest surprise being increased balance).

All of this to say, so far these experiments have been leading to some very interesting results, so the experimentation has continued. The latest? Last night was the second night that I slept on the floor. Yep. You read that right. I'm not directly on the floor, I have about a 3" foam pad, but trust me when I tell you it's no mattress!

Cons to this new venture: it feels weird. No one I know sleeps on the floor, so I feel like quite the oddball. Also, it's certainly less comfortable than a mattress.

Pros: It causes me to get up and down from the floor more (hey, I don't have kids that I'm picking up after like some of you!) I can't just fall into bed, I have to use actual muscle control (trust me, the way we often let gravity take us in for a soft landing on chairs and beds is a big problem over time). So far, both mornings I have woken up  feeling less stiff in the hip flexors. I think it's because since I can't sink into the floor like I do the mattress, the muscles actually have to let go rather than letting the mattress hold them in a shortened position. (My tight hip flexors are a definite problem area for me.)

I have slept well, and the only thing that's been a little achy in the morning is my mid back and ribs. I don't have a problem with this, as these are areas that should be mobile but that are overly stiff in my case (and in the case of a lot of people). Breathing when against a firm surface (the floor) pushes back against the stiffness in those joints and makes them move a little. Breathing against a mattress allows the mattress to give and the joints to stay stiff. It's essentially doing gentle joint mobilization all night long. I anticipate that this soreness won't last long, but I'll let you know.

I can also tell you that about a decade ago, I decided that I was too old to sleep on the floor because it hurt. Now I will amend that to say that it hurt because I was too stiff to sleep on the floor. I am a decade older and sleeping on the floor doesn't hurt now. I have not been able to lie on my stomach on the bed for a long time; if I did, I would wake up with a stiff neck. I fell asleep on my stomach for about 20 minutes the other day and woke up feeling great! Those things are not all a result of sleeping on the floor, but they are a part of it.

It's been an interesting thought process in all of this as well. Being too comfortable on the mattress; it certainly feels better initially, but at what cost overall? Pressing into the discomfort at an appropriate level allows us to make gains. Staying within what is most comfortable gradually moves us into greater restrictions over time. This is true in movement and in life.

Okay, this is not the most well put together post, but tell it to me straight. On a scale of "one" to "off my rocker" how bad is this? Is there any hope for me? (I'm joking. Mostly.)


  1. You are such a trooper! I am so impressed by your willingness to try things out in the name of research!

    I myself am about to do the Whole 30 elimination diet and a few people that know about it think I am nuts.

    I don't think you're nuts. I think you are amazing.

  2. So cool! I slept on my floor for years as a younger teen. I doubt I could convince my husband that it would be a good idea to do it again but I like how you think.

  3. Kinda made me laugh that you said "off your rocker" when you are off your bed.

    You have been on my mind a lot lately. Since I hurt my knee last year, sitting on the floor just wasn't an option. Especially after surgery. I used to sit on the floor all the time to fold laundry and play games with the kids, so getting back to it was a driving force in therapy. I was thrilled to bits when I could sit cross-legged again, 8 months after the injury. Now, I'm sitting on the floor as I used to, but I'm also out weeding the garden daily. The whole time I'm out there, switching positions and balancing between plants, I'm thinking about how good this is for me. And it works. I don't have nearly the back pain or aches and pains I had while injured.

    I'm still not giving up my bed, though. :)

  4. I feel like the princess and the pea ... the softer and cushier, the better I like it. (Should I tell you I have a foam topper on my bed as I think my mattress is too firm?)
    I'm so impressed that you are feeling better sleeping on the floor (with the pad)!! I love your mindset and willingness to experiment!!