Benefits and Drawbacks of Sleeping in a Chair

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Last updatedLast updated: April 11, 2021
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Everyone has days where they don’t feel like doing anything but binge their favorite show all day long. Sitting in front of the TV for a long period of time can be uncomfortable, but it is worse when you pass out on a chair or a couch in front of the TV and wake up with a stiff neck. If you are sleeping in a chair, it’s better to do it the right way and in the right chair! Most people covet those big comfy recliners, and for good reasons.

The quality of sleep directly affects your physical and mental health. Falling asleep on a chair is not considered healthy by any means as it results in an uncomfortable and restless sleep. However, thanks to technology, we now have ergonomic chairs and recliners that allow you to sleep in a chair properly. Continue reading to learn about the potential benefits of sleeping in a chair, as well as what kinds of chairs are best to sleep in.

Can I Sleep in a Chair Every Night?

Benefits and Drawbacks of Sleeping in a Chair

Asking whether one can sleep in a chair or not every night sounds like an odd question, but an important one to ask. Lying down horizontally has been the common sleeping position for centuries, so much so that it never occurred to anyone that a reclined sleeping position can also be an option.

According to experts, resting is important because it helps your muscles relax and your heart rate slow down, resulting in stress reduction, mental clarity, and rejuvenation of cells.

However, lying down has its own contribution to resting, such as muscle relaxation. According to expert Dr. Dave David, sleeping in a reclined position is the best way to release body tension as it provides full-body support.

To answer the question, yes, it is safe for you to sleep in a chair every night, given that it is a comfortable recliner and not an armless plastic or wooden chair.

It is also important to be careful about certain aspects that will help you achieve restful sleep and avoid health problems. These things include your own sleeping positions and the angle of the backrest.

Make sure that when you sleep in a recliner chair at night, you are sleeping on your back and that the backrest of the chair is fully reclined. Another thing to be careful about is not to sleep in a sitting position with both legs elevated because it places extra pressure on your spine.

Potential Benefits of Sleeping in a Chair instead of Bed

Sleeping in a reclined position keeps your back upright and your airways open, resulting in an overall better posture, breathing, and rest. Sleeping in a recliner chair has several benefits for all different kinds of medical conditions, ailments, and overall health. It helps improve blood circulation, boosts digestion, and promotes better breathing.

Alleviate Heartburn and Other Symptoms of Acid Reflux

Heartburn is a common condition that many people suffer from. It is a burning sensation that results from stomach acid reflux back into your esophagus. People with acid reflux issues or medical conditions, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), experience frequent heartburns, especially at nighttime.

This is because lying down prevents gravity from directing stomach contents away from the esophagus. However, sleeping in a position where your back is partially vertical provides a more upright position that prevents acid reflux, thereby reducing nighttime heartburn. Studies reveal that sleeping at an elevated angle helps 65% of people with heartburn achieve a night of more restful sleep.

Reduce Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Benefits and Drawbacks of Sleeping in a Chair

Does sleeping in a chair help sleep apnea?

Elevated or reclined sleeping positions do help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where the breathing of a person stops and repeatedly starts, resulting in loud snores. This considerably reduces the quality and restfulness of one’s sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common kind, whereby the muscles in a person’s throat become relaxed during sleep and repeatedly block the airways. Sleep apnea enables symptoms of GERD because the added pressure on one’s chest cavity results in greater acid reflux.

A medical study in 2017 revealed that only 7.5 degrees of head elevation considerably reduced symptoms of sleep apnea and the resultant acid reflux. This goes to prove that sleeping in a chair can help with certain medical conditions, resulting in a more rested and comfortable night’s sleep.

Benefits for Pregnant Women

As beautiful as it may be, pregnancy is also one of the most difficult times in a woman’s life, especially when it comes to finding a comfortable sleeping position at night.

It’s important to have a good night’s sleep; however, this is even more important for a pregnant woman. They have to go through several hormonal changes, and this places them at a higher risk of health and sleep-related issues. Several pregnant women complain about frequent backaches. These backaches can be considerably relieved by a healthy and adequate sleeping position.

Spinal and back-related issues may arise from sleeping on your back in your second or third trimester because the baby’s weight compresses your inferior vena cava. This doesn’t only result in back discomfort but causes deregulations in the blood pressure of the mother.

Even though most medical professionals recommend sleeping on your side during pregnancy, sleeping in a comfortable recliner chair can reduce sleep-related pregnancy issues.

Relieving Backaches and Post-Surgery Discomfort

Elderly and others with back pain can have difficulty getting out of bed, and recliner chairs are an excellent alternative. There are certain recliner chairs that are excellent for sleeping and combating issues like back discomfort.

As you grow older, your health deteriorates, and your body becomes weaker. You can buy some excellent recliners for the elderly that allow greater comfort and added health benefits. If you are looking for a high-quality recliner that is suitable for the elderly, you may want to consider the Mcombo Electric Power Lift Recliner Chair Sofa that comes with massage and heating features as well.

You may face similar back problems after surgeries, such as a C-section. It is suggested that curving your spine forward or sitting in awkward positions without back support after surgery can have long-term implications. You will find that sleeping in a reclining chair can be far more comfortable than sleeping in a bed post-surgery. This is because sitting in a reclined position exerts less pressure and stress on your back. 

Negative Effects of Sleeping in a Chair

While sleeping in a chair has its fair share of benefits, there are some drawbacks to it as well.

Sleeping Positions

We all know someone who constantly tosses and turns in bed at night. Some people just enjoy having room for movement in bed and switch sleeping positions constantly. Sleeping in a chair limits your sleeping positions and doesn’t allow you to spread every which way you desire.

For those who move around a lot during sleep, then it is not recommended for them to sleep in recliner chairs. They won’t have the space to move around freely, which will negatively affect their sleep quality.

Shallow Sleep

Like we discussed above, not finding the desired position while sleeping in a recliner can result in a restless sleep. This is called a shallow sleep, whereby one fails to get a well-rested sleep and wakes up exhausted. An uncomfortable recliner can also result in muscle soreness, so it is really a question of finding the best recliner chair for sleeping. If you want to buy a comfortable recliner that you can kick back and watch TV in, but also sleep comfortably in, you can get the Dorel Living Padded Dual Massage Recliner, which is a durable option with excellent massage features.

Risk of Blood Clots and Other Issues

A major health hazard caused by sleeping in a chair is blood clots. This happens when you sleep in a semi-reclined position that is not adequate for sleeping. You are at risk of developing blood clots, medically known as deep-vein thrombosis. A recliner chair constricts your body in a confined position for long hours at night, which can cause potential blood clots. Leaving your legs hanging from a chair all night can also cause swelling and knee problems.

How to Improve Your Comfort while Sleeping in a Chair

There are some things you can consider that will help you avoid the potential dangers of sleeping in a chair and help you improve your overall comfort.

  • Adjust the Recline of the Backrest

Experts suggest that the most healthy sleeping position is supine, where you lay flat on your back, with your legs extended. Therefore, make sure to fully recline your chair before sleeping in it.

  • Provide Proper Neck Support

Benefits and Drawbacks of Sleeping in a Chair

This is an important factor that a lot of people forget. Pillows are generally associated with beds, so not sleeping in a bed makes people think they don’t require a pillow to support their neck. You can get some of the best and highest quality headrest pillows for recliners to get adequate neck support.

Final Thoughts

Sleeping in a chair is an unconventional but not an alien concept. You can attain several health benefits by simply sleeping in a chair. The only catch is to survey the market and find the best recliner chairs for sleeping. It is also a good idea to buy the required accessories that improve your sleeping in a chair experience. However, buying a new chair is considerably cheaper than buying a new bed and a mattress!

It will also save you the space that you would otherwise use for a convertible sofa bed. For those living in studio apartments, space-saving is a tricky thing. However, it is easy if you simply buy a recliner chair that you can use as a couch and a mattress!

We hope you found this guide useful, and we wish you good luck in finding the perfect chair for you to sleep in.

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