Sleeping in a Chair: Can One Benefit from It?

Learn what the health risks of sleeping in a chair are and if there are any benefits whatsoever.
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Last updatedLast updated: July 01, 2022
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Sleeping in a chair can help with neck pain, back pain, sleep apnea, and even acid reflux! Recliners and other chairs with comfort features are an excellent choice for sleeping in with all these benefits.

But how about the downsides? Some sleepers complain of feeling exhausted after sleeping in a chair. You wake up in the morning, and it feels like you have not rested. The reality is that not every chair is suitable for sleeping, and there are a couple of things to consider before lounging on that chair to pass the night on.

This article will explore the benefits and downsides of sleeping in a chair so that you can see if it’s worth a try. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of sleeping in a chair and the types of chairs you should choose.

How Often Can You Sleep in a Chair?

The answer depends on the chair you’re planning to sleep on. So, if it’s a recliner chair, the answer to the question is yes, you can sleep in a recliner every night. This is not an armless or plastic chair but a comfortable leather or well-padded fabric chair.

You should also be aware of things that can help you sleep well and prevent health problems. These include the position of your backrest and how it is positioned.

When you sleep in a recliner at night, make sure you are on your back. Also, make sure the backrest is fully reclined. You should also avoid sitting with your legs elevated. It puts extra pressure on the spine.

Potential Dangers of Sleeping in a Chair

Although sleeping in a chair can offer many advantages, it also has disadvantages.

You May Experience Body Pain

When you suddenly start sleeping on your back, you may experience shoulder pain because if you have been sleeping on a bed where pillows support you, sleeping on a recliner will be pretty different. If you don’t choose the right chair, you may even wake up during the night due to discomfort and pain. In addition, your muscles may feel tired as they’ve been held down for long.

No Freedom of Switching Positions

If you like to sleep on one side and then switch to the other, there’ll be a certain tension when you suddenly start sleeping in a chair instead of a bed. Sleeping in a chair is not ideal for stomach sleepers, side sleepers, or combination sleepers. Some people like the freedom to move around in bed. Then, they change their sleeping position throughout the night. A chair restricts your ability to move around and limits the range of positions you can use.

Restless Sleep

Sleeping in a Chair: Can One Benefit from It?Not having the correct position when sleeping in a recliner can lead to what is known as restless sleep. It’s when you don’t sleep enough and wake up tired. In addition, a recliner can cause muscle soreness. Our advice is that you find an excellent padded massage recliner if you want to relax, watch TV, and sleep comfortably.

Blood Clot Risks

Blood clots are a major health risk when sleeping in a chair. Blood clots may occur if you are in a semi-reclined or awkward position. This is medically called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or embolism. Recliners can compress your body and keep you up at night, leading to blood clots. In addition, swelling and knee problems can be caused by letting your legs dangle from a chair all night.

Who Could Benefit from Sleeping in a Chair or Recliner?

Having seen the dangers of sleeping in a recliner chair, note that the downsides mentioned above are caused by improper chairs, sleep positions, and the non-use of the proper sleeping accessories suitable for chair sleeping. But if done right, you’d be dealing with the benefits and not get exposed to the dangers.

Does It Help People with Sleep Apnea?

Sleeping in a Chair: Can One Benefit from It?Does sleeping in a chair help sleep apnea? It can reduce sleep apnea by sleeping upright or more comfortable position where you have a straighter back. Sleep apnea refers to a sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing stops and starts again, resulting in loud snoring. This can reduce the quality and quantity of sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea can also occur when the throat muscles are relaxed during sleep and block the airway. In addition, due to increased pressure in the chest cavity, sleep apnea can lead to more acid reflux.

Medical research has shown that raising your head by just 7.5 degrees could significantly reduce acid reflux and sleep apnea symptoms.

Is It Good for People Suffering from Back Pain?

There are many reasons you might develop back pain. However, a big contributor to this is how you sleep.

If the mattress you sleep in doesn’t provide the needed support for the spine and cannot stop you from bending all night, it will affect you the next day.

A mattress is usually too soft and may not provide the needed level of back support. However, a recliner chair is a lot firmer and more supportive, so you’ll have greater alignment.

So, yes, a recliner chair can help manage chronic pain and provide relief. For example, if you have had trouble sleeping on your back because of discomfort from sciatica, neck pain, arthritis, or lower back or hip pain, a recliner will be better.

The video below shows how to sleep in a recliner if you suffer from back pain or sciatica.

Does It Help People with Heartburn or Acid Reflux?

Sleeping in a Chair: Can One Benefit from It?Heartburn is caused by acid reflux from the stomach. It is common in people with acid reflux problems or other medical conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Since gravity cannot push stomach contents up through the esophagus, lying down can cause this problem. However, if your back is slightly arched, you can avoid acid reflux and reduce nighttime heartburn. Research shows that people with heartburn can sleep better at night if they adjust their position uprightly.

Is It Good for Pregnant Women?

Pregnancy is beautiful, but it can also be one of the most challenging times in a woman’s life. Good sleep is essential for pregnant women. But these women are subject to many hormonal changes that can lead to health and sleep problems. In addition, many pregnant women complain of frequent back pain. But a healthy and comfortable sleeping position can greatly relieve these back pains.

Because their baby’s weight presses down their inferior vena cava, they may experience back and spinal problems. This can cause back pain and blood pressure dysregulation for the mother.

Although most doctors recommend sleeping on the left side during pregnancy, resting in a well-padded recliner is also great, it can help reduce pregnancy-related problems.

How to Sleep in a Chair Without Negative Effects on Your Health

Sleeping in a Chair: Can One Benefit from It?Choose a comfortable recliner chair and the blanket you will sleep with. It is also essential to use a footrest and a cushion to add to your comfort. Place your blanket, chair, stool, and pillow in a room without noise to disturb sleep.

Light aromatherapy candles and take a warm bath. The aromatherapy smell will help you relax as you get ready to sleep in the chair with a blanket. Put on comfortable pajamas when you are done taking a bath.

Blow out the candles and turn the temperature in the room that you will sleep in to 65 degrees Fahrenheit or at a temperature that suits you. A cool, well-ventilated place allows you to sleep comfortably.

Turn on the radio to play a CD of soothing soft sounds. This helps to relax the mind and body to sleep comfortably. Alternatively, you can insert your earplugs to eliminate any noise that may disturb the sleep in the chair.

Turn off the lights and electronics, such as television and computer, to prepare your body for rest, and draw the curtains so it is dark in the room. Shining lights can interrupt sleep, and when it’s dark, your biological clock triggers a hormone called melatonin in your body, which makes you feel sleepy.

Sit on the chair, and prop your feet up on the footstool. Put your pillow behind your head, and put on an eye mask. Grab your blanket and pull it up to your shoulders to get relaxed and ready to fall asleep with your arms at your sides.

Take slow deep breaths and imagine a quiet, relaxing place, such as the beach, to relax your body and sleep.

Types of Chairs That Are Safe to Sleep In

Sleeping in a Chair: Can One Benefit from It?Choosing the best recliners for sleeping is simple when you understand what you are looking for. For example, you may choose a recliner chair with armrests so you don’t fall.

A wingback chair is also perfect for people with back problems, such as our seniors, as it helps the wide lumbar and lumbar support with its standard height. In addition, its uniqueness helps relieve the pain a person feels on their shoulders and lower hip. From an upholstery point of view, this chair has a nice sturdy frame that can support and be flexible with its stability.

A wingback reclining chair is also excellent for different home settings. You can place it in a living room, bedroom, living room, and cinema room. When you buy this type of chair, you will feel comfortable doing different activities on it.

Sleeping Positions to Maintain

Sleeping in a Chair: Can One Benefit from It?Experts recommend sleeping in a recliner position on your back. This is where your spine is almost flat against your back, and your legs are extended. Before going to bed, make sure your chair is fully reclined.

Choose a model that stays in place and provides adequate neck support. If you don’t have one handy, use a sweatshirt or rolled-up towel. When choosing a pillow, keep two fundamental elements in mind: it must provide both comfort and support.

Roll up a towel and place it under an armrest for support. This can also help you avoid having a sleeping arm.

Support the neck, back, and head as you sleep on the side. You may also try to sit higher to relieve pressure in your lower limbs.

Elevate your feet on an ottoman or stool while you sleep. This can reduce swelling in your ankles and legs, which can cause restless legs syndrome.

Final Thoughts

With a comfy blanket and pillow, you can kick back, relax, fall asleep in a chair, and have a good night’s sleep.

It is best to sleep in an oversized comfortable recliner chair. However, uncomfortable, restless sleep is now a thing of the past, even on chairs. Thanks to modern technology, ergonomic chairs, and recliners allow you to sleep well in a chair.

Your mental and physical health is directly affected by the quality of your sleep. So, it’s advisable to invest in a quality recliner chair. As we have seen, sleeping in a chair can benefit people with acid reflux, back pain, and sleep apnea.

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