Can Sleeping in a Recliner Cause Blood Clots?

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Nothing beats the heavenly feeling of sliding into a recliner chair after a long day of work. The plush padding of the recliner is so comfortable that you might fall asleep in the chair. But wait, considering that 60% of non-fatal blood clots in America happen in the legs, is it dangerous to sleep in a recliner chair?

Can sleeping in a recliner cause blood clots? Sleeping in a recliner can cause blood clots (deep-vein thrombosis) in one of the limbs when the user’s arms or legs are bent and become motionless for hours. The best way to sleep in a recliner is to lay on your back in a fully reclined position.

With that said, the biggest cause of deep-vein thrombosis, or more commonly known as blood clots, tends to happen if you don't move for a long time. In this post, we are going to look further into can sleeping in a recliner cause blood clots and how to use it properly.

What Are Blood Clots?

A blood clot is a clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to a gel-like or semisolid state. According to Healthline, clotting is a necessary process that can prevent you from losing too much blood in certain instances, such as when you’re injured or cut. Blood clots is one of the concerns of sleeping in recliner chairs.

Blood clots occur when the blood turns into a semisolid state.

When a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually your legs, it’s called deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). This condition can cause leg pain or swelling but can happen without any symptoms. It usually occurs after prolonged inactivity, such as after being confined to bed for a long time.

What Are the Causes of Blood Clots?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the blood clots of deep-vein thrombosis can be caused by anything that prevents your blood from circulating or clotting normally, such as injury to a vein, after having surgery, and limited movement. Being older than 60 increases your risk of blood clots, though it can occur at any age.

Blood clots causing deep-vein thrombosis in the legs. Image sourced from Medical News Today.

What Are the Symptoms of Blood Clots?

The most common place for a blood clot to occur is in your lower leg. While deep-vein thrombosis can happen without noticeable symptoms, some telltale signs of blood clots include:

  • Pain in the legs (cramping and soreness)
  • Reddish discoloration in the legs
  • Warm sensation in the legs
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Tenderness in the calf muscles

There’s no way to know whether you have a blood clot without medical guidance. Be sure to talk with your doctor or physician if you think you have blood clots. Your doctor will be able to look at your symptoms and medical history in order to let you know what steps to take from there.

Can Sleeping in a Recliner Cause Blood Clots?

Ever wondered why your legs feel numb or weak after sitting for a long time in the airplane? The truth of the matter is, it’s not the recliner chair that may cause the blood clots, it’s the long hours spent sitting. When you sit down motionless for long hours, you run the risk of developing blood clots.

According to the CDC, blood clots can be a serious risk for some long-distance travelers, especially anyone traveling for more than four hours. Sitting in a confined space for long periods of time without activity can hinder blood circulation. The longer you are immobile, the greater the risk of developing a blood clot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's not the recliners that may cause blood clots, it's the way you sleep, especially when inactive for long hours. The same thing goes when sitting in a confined space, like in an airplane.

Sleeping in a recliner chair has its benefits, however, it’s important to understand how to sleep properly on a recliner. If you are sleeping in a seated position with your legs elevated, you run more risks of developing blood clots. You may hinder blood circulation when sitting with the legs elevated. 

The best way to go about this is to recline the chair fully and sleep on your back as you would on your mattress.​ Sleeping in a recliner shouldn't be harmful, provided you’re comfortable and can recline fully. Be sure to find the best position that doesn’t interfere with your ability to get a good night's sleep.

Bottom Line

Hopefully, this post answers the question: can sleeping in a recliner cause blood clots? At the end of the day, it’s the inactivity that harms you, not the chair. Nonetheless, if you’re looking to find comfort sleeping in a recliner, it’s best to invest in the right recliner chair for your home to prevent unwanted injuries. 🙂

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