Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor – Reasons and Benefit!

Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor

Have you ever wondered why do Koreans sleep on the floor? When I first came to Korea, I stayed in Airbnb with a Korean family. 

I realized that they often sit and even sleep on the floor on a thin mattress. I was even more surprised when I also sleep in the same manner.

If you’re like me, you might wonder why they sleep on the floor. That’s when I first asked my girlfriend and surfed the net to find the answer.

After surfing the net and researching, I discovered that it has been part of their culture for hundreds of years. Let’s take a look at this unique Korean culture.

Table of Contents

Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor - Background

Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor

The historical origins of sleeping on the floor in Korea had traced back hundreds of years ago, when everyone slept on the floor, from the emperor to the common people.

Since Korea has four seasons, they created the ‘Ondol‘ heating method to ensure the house is warm for a whole day, even during cold winter nights.

In terms of hygiene, we all know Korea is one of the cleanest countries in the world. In addition, Korean people put health as their highest priority, so they regularly clean the house and leave shoes at the doorway. 

Do note that they usually sit directly on the floor, but in terms of sleep, some of them use soft and fluffy mats they call ‘Yo’ mattresses. It is a light, airy bed that is comfortable.

Ondol – The Korean traditional heating system

south korea countryside

Credit to wikipedia

The ondol heating system was created by creating a scenario where it literally utilizes stones to trap the heat from the smoke of a fireplace under the houses to heat the whole home, from the floor upwards.

Koreans create traditional fireplaces and underfloor heating channels that direct the hot smoke to flow all over the house before going to the chimneys.

Benefits of sleeping on the floor

Sleeping on the floor offers various health benefits you won’t get by sleeping on a king-size bed. Here I listed some of them below.

1. Cool Temperatures

Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor

If you’re obese, fat, or have hot blood, you might need to use an air conditioner as you sleep on your queen-size bed, or it might be a struggle to sleep.

On the other hand, sleeping on the floor offers cooler temperatures which help us to sleep better than sleeping in bed with a pillow, without an air conditioner.

2. Improved Posture and Alleviate Back Pain

Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor

Credit to medium

Sleeping on a firm straight surface helps improve our posture, especially in aligning the spine and promoting proper spinal alignment, which can alleviate back and neck pain.

Some people believe that even if you are not sleeping directly on the floor but using a thin mattress, it still helps relieve your back pain.

3. Improves Blood Circulation

Sleeping on the floor can improve blood circulation because our weight will be evenly distributed all over our body as we rest in this natural position.

These positions help reduce excessive weight pressure on a specific part of the body. It helps us breathe better, reduce snoring problems and promote muscle recovery.

Disadvantages of sleeping on the floor

While there are benefits to sleeping on the floor, it’s actually not for everyone. There are some disadvantages of sleeping on the floor, based on individuals. Here are some of the drawbacks I found including.

1. Insect and Bugs

Sleeping on the floor directly or using a thin mattress makes you more vulnerable to insects and bugs. Of course, depends on your environment; someplace is prone to red ants, mice, and bed bugs.

2. Cause Allergy

Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor

Suppose you’re using carpeted floors in most of your house. In that case, you can easily breathe in those dust, bacteria, or other stuff that can easily cause allergic reactions like sneezing, coughing, hard to breathe, runny nose, watery eyes, and others.

3. Uncomfortable

Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor

It will be a struggle if you usually sleep in a bed and suddenly turn to sleep on the floor directly.

Especially if you are a side sleeper, sleeping on the floor will cause pain in your shoulders and hips. Unless you are an average back sleeper, think again before trying to sleep on the floor.

How To Sleep On The Floor Like Koreans?

Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor

Credit to booking

If you plan to travel South Korea, you can just stay in a hanok houses where they offers ondol room. However, in case you want to try it at home, here are my tips and suggestion for you.

  • If this is your first time, it is better to first use Korean Yo Bed; it is a thin mattress that will help you to be more comfortable.
  • Sleep on your back, and you can place a pillow on the body part where you feel the pain.
  • Ensure your environment is clean from dust and bugs; you can use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of it.
  • Try to take a nap on the floor before trying to sleep regularly on the floor.
  • If you have a back problem, it is better to consult your doctor before sleeping on the floor to prevent injuries.

Sum Up

Sleeping on the floor is one unique Korean culture with various health benefits and is worth trying. However, depending on everyone’s health condition, this might not be for everybody.

I personally love to sleep on the floor in Korea just because I want to be immersed in local culture and traditions. However, I still prefer to sleep in bed when I travel to another country.

Overall, whether or not you choose to sleep on the floor, the most important thing is your comfort and quality of sleep. 

It doesn’t matter if you sleep on the floor, in bed, or on others, as long as you sleep well and have a fantastic night. Just find out what works best for you and do it.

Alright, these are all I can share about why Koreans sleep on the floor; I hope it answers your question and feels free to share it on your socials!

Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor
Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor

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