Traditional (hatha) yoga has very little to say about sleeping, beds and the like.
Surprising, isn’t it, since we sleep so much.
So it’s very much up to you to find out the best way to get a good night’s sleep. Remember “comfortable and steady” (yoga sutra II-42)? Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, does make recommendations for sleep and a good popular article is this. Most of this is common sense, anyway. A basic recommendation is to reserve the bedroom for sleeping and sex (e.g. no television). By extension of this principle, I would say the living room is for living and the yoga mat is for yoga practice. But this is just a personal opinion.
Sure. But it’s also common sense not to cause unnecessary discomfort to others. From my personal experience I can say, that it’s great to sleep on the mat and that is why I am looking for a permanent solution. There are not really any beneftits that I could pinpoint, I am not more refreshed or anything, and since I did not wake up on a matress, also not waking up on the mat doesn’t really count too. I have no disadvantages, I feel not sore or other leftovers from a night, like it was the case when I had slept on the floor before (camping, parties). The hard ground just feels good, I don’t really know why. Might be something spiritual. If you want to bring up Sutra 46: The harder ground is more steady and stable, it might be that, what feels so good. But again, it needs some effort first, both to get used to remain on the floor for hours and to find one of the fewer comfortable positions. There are more of these on the mattress, as it, to some degree, compensates improper body positions.
I could guess that there are some ideal positions for the body and that the body will find them on a hard ground, because all other are very uncomfortable = painful. I could imagine, comfortable positions on the floor are somehow “archetypes” of sleeping positions and that it is more healthy or less unhealthy to sleep in these on the hard ground, than when sleeping in their comprised variantions on a soft mattress. But I don’t know.
What I know is that the hard ground applies more force to the body, for less of the gravitational force is buffered. This should make for example the bones stronger, so you’d be training while you sleep: Fantastic.
Again not do I still know, how or why it could be problematic to sleep hard. Nothing feels as if it was pressed on too hard. It might get problematic if you already are sore. Sleeping on the mat with an aching shoulder should be quite unpleasant.
During sleep, one does move around. But you can chose the position in which you fall asleep. Lying on your right side opens the left nostril and this is calming. It takes some time to become sensitive to this relationship between breath and the subtle body. There is a whole yogic science behind it (swara yoga). A good introduction can be found in the “Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha” book by the Bihar school of Yoga. Harish Johari’s “Breath, Mind and Consciousness” has all the details. Lying on your back with the hands on the lower abdomen (following the breath) is calming as well. Lying on you stomach is recommended in case of back ailments. Again, there is plenty of choice and it is up to you to choose what’s best for you.
“Yogic sleep” is yoga nidra. Initially this is a relaxation exercise for the whole bodymind - all of the koshas. The koshas are the five layers (dimensions) of the subtle body. After years of practice yoga nidra can become conscious deep sleep and a way of removing samskaras at their deepest level. There are some very good CD’s on the market (e.g. Richard Miller, SwamiJ) if you want to pursue this topic.
Thanks. I will look into such subjects sometime, but at this point, it’s too advanced. So far, not even my breath is deep and easy in a regular Asana-session. But I’m getting there.
If anybody else has any information about the subject, I would still be grateful for any revelation.