Is Sleeping in a Recliner Bad for You? The Side Effects and Solutions

Dog sleeping on a recliner

We definitely know what it’s like to sink into your favorite recliner after a long day at work and doze off.

Once you get settled underneath a warm blanket, your bedroom suddenly seems too far away.

Naturally, you decide you can sleep in your recliner all night because you’re just that comfortable.

It’s important to question if sleeping in your recliner does more harm than good to your body, and how sleeping in this position can affect your overall health.

Negative Effects of Sleeping in a Recliner

In this post, we will go over the effects of sleeping in a recliner and help you understand why you should make the trip to your bed every night. Here are the side effects and solutions that come with sleeping in a recliner to consider.

Breathing Problems

Just as sleeping in an upright position can increase breathing ability, in some cases, it can create breathing problems, as well. 

A hunched upper back blocks the airflow in your lungs, which is a bigger problem for some than others.  This position can also create blood congestion in the lungs, which will reduce the amount of oxygen that your lungs can take in overtime. 

If you suffer from lung problems, sleeping in a recliner probably isn’t the best thing for you. 

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Joint Stiffness  

This negative effect is one that we’re all very familiar with. You’re sitting on the couch watching a movie, at your desk, or on a long car ride, and suddenly, your foot or leg is completely asleep. 

As uncomfortable as this is, it’s caused by prolonged pressure on a certain body part that interrupts communication between the limb and your brain. Sleeping in a recliner puts your knees and hips in a bent position throughout the night, which can lead to the sensation that occurs when your limb falls asleep and tightness in your hips, calves, and hamstrings. This can cause short-term discomfort, but it could also affect your posture over time.

Possible Loss of Balance

Sleeping in a recliner for short periods of time won't have any permanent or serious effects on your body. However, continually sleeping in a recliner for a long time can result in knee and hip contractures. This can cause your muscles to tighten over your joints and result in limited upright posture and standing. 

This could also lead to impaired movement and instability when you walk.

Shallow Sleep

There are stages of sleep that lead to a good night's rest and it's important that your body completes a full cycle. When you sleep in the small space that a recliner has to offer, it becomes difficult for your body to move into the deepest cycle of sleep, such as the REM stage.

This leads to low quality sleep that will directly affect the quality of your day. You can also wake up feeling sore from sleeping in the same cramped position for the whole night which will add an extra level of discomfort to your day. 

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Benefits of Sleeping in a Recliner

It’s important to cover the positives along with negatives when determining if sleeping in a recliner is bad for you. In this case, the benefits seem to resemble the negative effects. Like most situations in life, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Improved Circulation

Kicking your feet up at the end of the day not only feels nice but also improves your circulation. Activity that causes blood to rush to your legs and feet, like sitting at a desk for multiple hours a day or even standing, can negatively affect your overall circulation. 

Elevating your feet above heart level by doing things like sitting in a recliner allows gravity to reduce >stress and inflammation naturally. Doing so can also help recover from daily fatigue, so kicking back in your recliner actually can make your feel better after a busy day. 

Back Pain Relief

Most people suffer from back pain at some point, whether it results from a serious workout or it’s been happening every night for as long as you can remember. We don’t think about it often, but our backs balance our whole upper and lower bodies, so it only makes sense that they get a bit sore or worn out sometimes. 

In this situation, we recommend taking a literal load off and relax in a recliner. This can release pressure off your spine and give your core muscles a minute to relax. Having your legs elevated sends blood to your lower back, as well. If you’re one of those people who unfortunately suffer from regular back pain, we recommend that you use a recliner for relaxation only, not sleep. 

Conclusion: Is Sleeping in a Recliner Bad For You?

Here is the answer you did not expect:

Overall, sleeping in a recliner is bad for you. While there are a few small benefits of sleeping in a recliner, each of the benefits can be replicated by creating a proper sleep system.

A bed is always the recommended method of sleep, as it allows for a deep slumber and keeps muscles from being strained. Provided you equip your bed with the best tools such as a quality mattress that fits your needs, a customizable wool pillow for tailored support, and a naturally filled organic body pillow for proper alignment, you will be able to have all the benefits of sleeping in a recliner without having to actually sleep in one and suffer the negative consequences.

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