Why I Sleep on the Floor
I have a bedroom confession to make.
In my condo I have a queen size bed fully equipped with a mattress, box spring, and oak frame. It’s the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in.
And sometimes I don’t use it.
No, it’s not because I’m too lazy to wash the sheets, or because I fall asleep on the living room couch, or because I find my way into someone else’s bed after a night at the bar. It’s because I occasionally sleep on the floor.
You heard me right: at least one night per week I purposefully get my beauty rest on the ground next to my bed. I’m talking full-on, back-against-the-carpet snoozing.
Why would I, a grown man with a fully-furnished apartment and spacious bed, choose to sleep on the floor from time to time?
To remind myself to be grateful.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, more than 500,000 Americans are homeless on any given night. That means that, by simply having a roof over my head, I’m already living more comfortably than half a million of my fellow countrymen—many of whom are homeless due to factors beyond their control.
Perhaps if Hurricane Matthew had washed away my home I would be one of them? Perhaps if I’d joined the military instead of going to college I’d have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder instead of a degree and would count myself among the fifty thousand veterans living on the streets?
Indeed, sleeping on the ground reminds me of all that I have—and all I could’ve lost had the cards fallen a slightly different way.
To prevent myself from desiring more.
For the majority of my life I had a bad habit of never being content with my existence. No matter how good things might’ve been, I consistently believed having that one extra thing would make my life that much better. That never-ending search for betterment caused me to needlessly abandon advantageous situations many times.
One thing I’ve learned during my first thirty years is that life is never truly perfect. Even if I somehow become a beloved millionaire, I’ll still identify aspects of my life that could be just a little bit better.
Sleeping on the floor, in a lot of ways, keeps me content because it forces me to step back from the seemingly near-perfect and embrace the definitely imperfect.
To show solidarity with victims of childhood neglect.
Every year Child Protective Services agencies in the United States receive millions of referrals for abused or neglected children. The stories are horrifying: children beaten with household items; teenagers locked in closets; infants left home alone for hours so their parents can go to the bar.
Tonight, thousands of American children will sleep on the floor because their parents or guardians are unable or unwilling to provide them with proper living conditions. Sleeping on the floor is my humble way of showing those children that if they’re wrongfully deemed unworthy of a bed, then I’m not worthy of one either.
For all these reasons, I will continue sleeping on the floor every few days. You might consider my practice a bizarre one—a detrimental one, even. For me, however, sleeping on the floor keeps me grounded (no pun intended) by revitalizing my empathy and reminding me what is truly important in life.
I invite you all to join me! Did I mention it’s good for your back?