Pros And Cons Of Sleeping In A Recliner (In Details)

by Andrew Smith| Last Updated: March 29, 2022

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Pros And Cons Of Sleeping In A Recliner

One of the seating positions your recliner offers you is the sleeping position. And because it’s a great source of comfort and relaxation, the temptation of spending nights in it is a reality. 

But then, is it safe to sleep in your recliner chair? What are the pros and cons of sleeping in a recliner?

Sleeping on a recliner is safe and has many benefits to the overall health of your body. However, you need to do so in a sleeping position. If you sleep in the sitting posture, you might experience back pains resulting from the pressure on your spine. The lack of movement may be health hazardous too.

By the end of this article, you’ll be well-positioned to decide whether or not to spend nights in your recliner.

Is It Safe To Sleep In A Recliner?

Yes, it’s safe to sleep in a recliner. It has varying degrees of reclining and offers you total body and lumbar support. It relaxes all your muscles, taking away tension from your body. Even so, you need to lie in a sleeping position to prevent health complications in the long run.

Since recliners are comfy and relaxing, you may doze off in a reading or TV recline position. While that may not affect your health initially, don’t make it a habit or do it overnight, especially with your legs elevated. Why? All the pressure settles on your spine and legs, causing back pains.

Conclusively, sleeping on a recliner has benefits and drawbacks, and you need to weigh them before deciding. 

Pros And Cons Of Sleeping On A Recliner 

Sleeping in your recliner is refreshing and re-energizing. Nonetheless, there are a few pitfalls you don’t want to find yourself. Let’s look at the “two sides of a coin” of sleeping in a recliner.

Pros Of Sleeping In A Recliner

The various benefits you may reap from sleeping in a recliner include:

  • Back Pain Alleviation
  • Enhances Proper Breathing 
  • Boosts Blood Circulation
  • Activates Better Digestion
  • Better Sleep During Pregnancy
  • Post-Surgery Comfort
  • Improve Nervous System
  • Mobility And Space

If you’re wondering how you can acquire all the above benefits by sleeping on a recliner, here is an explanation.

1. Back Pain Alleviation

An excellent recliner for sleeping has proper lumbar support making it ideal for relieving back pains. Your daily chores expose your back to continuous stress. Hence, you need a fully reclined position with elevated legs for pressure relief on your spine, reducing the risk of back distress.

Moreover, the reclined position allows your core muscles to relax, healing and rejuvenating them. Unlike the sitting posture, which still stresses your muscles, a reclined sleeping position is therapeutic. 

2. Enhances Proper Breathing 

When you sleep in a recliner, your breathing system is well-positioned to function with ease. Your diaphragm opens enough to prevent snoring, heartburn, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and acid reflux.

The recliner’s sitting position keeps the stomach acid down, and together with easy breathing, you can have a fantastic night in your seat.

3. Boosts Blood Circulation

A fully reclined position improves your blood circulation. How? By allowing gravity to minimize inflammation and stress naturally.

Drawing from a study conducted on hospital patients, those on a recliner chair recovered faster than patients on the usual hospital bed. Why? The recliner experience created a home-like atmosphere and offered them maximum comfort.

Moreover, the reclined chair patients had minimal cases of delayed voiding, severe pain, and nausea. In a nutshell, sleeping in a recliner improves the patients’ circulatory system leading to a quick recovery.

4. Activates The Digestion System

Your bed’s sleeping posture may expose you to the risk of improper digestion. On the other hand, a fully reclined posture of the recliner can improve your digestion.

How?

It puts your body in a comfortable position allowing easy digestion. Also, the reclined position of the recliner chair boosts your respiratory system, which in turn enhances proper digestion.

Furthermore, the rest and the digest state of your body gives you quality sleep. 

5. Better Sleep During Pregnancy 

Sleep disruption is common among pregnant women. They’re at a high risk of experiencing sleep apnea, GERD, and back pain.

For that reason, doctors recommend a side-sleeping posture in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. That helps avoid even more severe conditions like high blood pressure and veins complications. The sleeping position also keeps the liver off the pressure.

If sleeping on your side isn’t working for you, going the recliner way is best.

6. Post-Surgery Comfort

Consider sleeping on a recliner for some days after surgery. It’s less strenuous as compared to your bed. A recliner for sleeping prevents muscle strain and escalation of post-surgery problems by restricting movements when you sleep. However, you should ensure that your recliner provides sufficient back support to avoid stressing your back. 

7. Improve Nervous System

A fully reclined position has a positive effect on your nervous system. Your nerves are constantly working to facilitate the proper functioning of your body. For that reason, they need a break, and your recliner provides just that! A relaxed nervous system offers you a sober mind too.

8. Mobility And Space 

The mobility of a recliner is higher and occupies less space than the bed’s. That allows you to move your chair to the desired position, for example, near the fireplace in your house. The bed option restricts you to a single place!

Cons Of Sleeping In A Recliner

Sleeping on a recliner has some downsides too. Let’s have a look at the major ones.

  • Blood Clots Development
  • Limited Sleeping Positions
  • Breathing Complications
  • Circulation impairment
  • Shallow Sleep Experience

Find an explanation of each of the above drawbacks hereunder.

1. Blood Clots Development

A semi-reclined position exposes you to the danger of developing a severe blood clot in your vein, known as deep vein thrombosis.

DTV is life-threatening and occurs due to bending your legs and being in a dormant state for an extended period. The bending state of your knees can also lead to joint stiffness.  However, you can consider wearing compression socks to minimize its occurrence. 

2. Limited Sleeping Positions

Changing sleeping positions at night is common to many. Sleeping in a recliner isn’t a good idea if you’re one of them. Why? The chair gives you only two sleeping positions, including the back and side postures. As a result, a recliner denies you the comfort you get from tossing and turning on your bed, which is crucial for proper sleeping.

3. Breathing Complications

A semi-reclined position keeps the upper side of your back raised. That can prevent a free flow of air in your lungs. The position can also lead to lung blood congestion, reducing the amount of air your lungs can hold.

I’d recommend you seek advice from your doctor if you have a pre-existing breathing condition before using a recline for an extended sleeping session. 

4. Circulation Impairment

Although a recliner improves blood circulation, that can only happen in a fully reclined position. If you sleep in a sitting position with your knees bent, you may tamper with the functioning of lower body blood vessels. Consequently, your blood flow is restrained. 

5. Shallow Sleep Experience

Comfort is essential to have adequate sleep. Hence, if you aren’t okay with any of the sleeping positions of your recliner, go for the bed option right away!

If you persist in sleeping on the recliner chair, you may fail to get adequate rest. As a result, you wake up feeling sleepy and exhausted.

How Can I Reap Maximum Benefits When Sleeping In A Recliner?

You can reap maximum benefits when sleeping in a recliner by considering the following tips.

  • Use a pillow to prevent back and neck pain. That allows you to enjoy the chair’s comfort. The pillow maintains your sleeping position because the recliner won’t allow tossing and turning. 
  • Move your recliner back and forth to prevent head drooping. The exercise adjusts your head to get accustomed to the feeling of being in a recliner. It reduces the chances of experiencing back pains.
  • Change your sleeping position regularly from the back to the side. Sleeping in one position for too long may exert destructive pressure on your back or side.
  • Cover your recliner with a sheet. It’s advisable to cover your recliner with a sheet, especially a leather-made one. Tuck it properly, so it doesn’t interfere with the footrest’s functioning.
  • Sleep in a fully reclined position. This position allows your body to lie flat with your feet stretched out. It’s the best for sleeping among all the reclining postures.
  • Have a stretching exercise regularly. By stretching your knees, back, and hips, you prevent the soreness and tightness of these body parts.
  • Sleep in a well-ventilated room and have a blanket nearby. Because temperature lowers a little bit once you sleep, having something to keep you warm would be a good idea.
  • Maintain all the routines of sleeping on a bed. Turn off all the lights except the one by your recliner’s side and mute any loud electronics around. That way, you can have a bed-like experience or even better.
  • Stick to your most comfortable position. Find out the position that gives you enough relaxation. Our bodies are structured differently, and hence you should identify your favorite sleeping position.
  • Choose the best recliner. If you intend to spend some nights on your recliner from the word go, select the best recliner for sleeping. This chair gives you the relaxing sleep time you desire with no or minimal health hazards.

What Should I Consider When Buying The Best Recliner For Sleeping?

You should consider several factors when buying the best recliner chair for sleeping. Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of those vitals hereunder. Read on.

  • Cost
  • Ease Of Recline
  • Extra Features Present
  • Comfortability
  • The Upholstery
  • Lumbar Support Status
  • Recliner Size

Keep reading to understand how each of the above factors helps you choose the best chair.

1. Cost

The price of a product is vital in making the buying decision. Go for a recliner that your pocket can afford. While the excellent features of a recliner add to its price, you don’t have to buy one with all of them to enjoy your sleep.

For instance, you can substitute the heat option with blankets. You can also buy a manual recliner instead of a power recliner and take time to learn how to operate it. Lastly, you have physical exercise as an alternative to the massage function. 

2. Ease Of Recline

Pick a recliner that you can recline to your desired position easily. In this case, a power recliner is ideal. Unlike manual recliners, motorized recliners give control over positions and angels. And you don’t have to stand to operate. Moreover, you can easily adjust it to a sitting position and come out after a night’s sleep. 

You may also have your manual recliners for sleeping but take time to be able to adjust the correct positions initially.

3. Extra Features Present

Extra features such as massage function, heat option, cup holder, and side pocket add to the comfort of a recliner. (Check this list of best recliners with cup holder & USB port) Think of your recliner during a cold season and no fireplace available. That’s where the heating feature comes in. The massage option is also essential in offering a therapeutic exercise before you doze off.  

4. Comfortability

The main reason why you’ll go shopping for a recliner is comfort. Because you have a variety of recliners to choose from, examine several until you find the one that provides the comfort you desire. That can guarantee you restful nights on your recliner.

5. The Upholstery

Purchase a fabric-covered recliner for sleeping because it’s more breathable. Additionally, it’s easy to match its color with your room decor. If you wish to have a leather one, cover it with a sheet when sleeping. 

6. Lumbar Support Status

Consider a recliner with an excellent back (extra-thick padding). The chair should also allow you to elevate your feet and have a thick cushion not to require an extra pillow. 

7. Recliner Size

Each recliner accommodates a specific weight. Therefore, it’s necessary to buy one that can handle your weight. For instance, you can’t buy a 300lbs recliner if you’re a heavyweight.

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FAQ

What Position Is Best For Sleeping?

The best position for sleeping is on the back or side. Either of the two positions is more beneficial than sleeping on your stomach as it keeps your spine balanced and supported. That way, your muscles can relax and recover due to pressure relief on your spine. Also, keep your legs straight when sleeping to allow proper circulation. 

Is It Bad To Sleep In A Recliner Every Night?

Yes, sleeping in a recliner every night is bad. An extended period of sleeping in a recliner can lead to permanent hip and knee shortening and stiffness. As a result, you develop limited upright posture and standing. However, sleeping in a recliner once in a while or for short periods may not be harmful. 

Can You Sleep In A Power Recliner?

Yes, you can sleep in a power recliner. Like any other recliner, sleeping in a power recliner is safe and comfortable. However, you need to employ all the best practices for sleeping in a recliner to minimize potential risks. People with health challenges like back pains, GERD, and sleep apnea find the motorized recliner an ideal choice.

Where Should Your Head Be On A Recliner?

Your head should be on the headrest of your recliner. Position your neck naturally while the headrest touches the back of your head. If your recliner’s back is too short, use a head cushion to raise your head. Of importance too, is the lumbar support. Ensure it isn’t too soft or too firm.

Why Does Sleeping In A Recliner Give Me A Headache?

Sleeping in a recliner gives you a headache because of the sudden posture change. When lying down, your muscles are relaxed as your body requires no support. Once you get up, your muscles quickly tighten as they work hard to support the neck and spine. The transition may result in a severe headache.

Further Reading:

Is It Bad to Sleep in A Recliner Chair?
5 Benefits: Why Do I Sleep Better in A Recliner Than in a Bed
5 Most Comfortable Recliner to Sleep In
10 Best Recliner For Elderly To Sleep In

Winding Up

There you’re, fully informed of the pro and cons of sleeping in a recliner. Furthermore, you’ve learned how to enjoy the various benefits of this bed-alternative option and choose the best recliner for sleeping.

With that in mind, you can decide whether or not to spend a night or two in your recliner. After all, a change is as good as a rest!

If you’ve mobility problems or experiencing sleep difficulties, giving a recliner a trial is a brilliant idea. It offers comfort and healing to your body.