Pros and Cons of Sleeping in a Recliner Chair

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Ah yes, the unexplainable pleasant feeling of diving into your beloved recliner chair. It feels like you’re calmly floating on top of a pillowy cloud. In fact, it’s so comfy that you might sleep in the recliner sooner than later. But wait, is it OK to sleep in a recliner, especially every night?

Is it bad to sleep in a recliner every night? No, sleeping in a recliner isn’t a problem, as long as you sleep on your back with the chair fully reclined. Often, the biggest problem when sleeping in a recliner is sleeping in a seated position with both legs elevated. Not only does this put pressure on your spine, but your legs too.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of sleeping in a recliner chair. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping in a recliner can be the difference between loving your chair or not. By learning how to sleep in a recliner properly, you’ll be sure to find comfort anytime.

Is It OK to Sleep in a Recliner Every Night?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s OK to sleep in a recliner every night. According to Dr. Dave David, a surgeon and media personality of over 35 years, sleeping in a reclined position provides full-body support. A recliner can relax all muscles, from the upper back down to your legs, ultimately taking tension away from the body.

Pros and Cons of Sleeping in a Recliner

There’s a reason why you may feel refreshed and rejuvenated after sleeping in a recliner. While there are countless benefits of sleeping in a recliner, however, you should be careful not to fall victim to the most common pitfalls. With that said, here are the pros and cons of sleeping in a recliner chair.

Pros of Sleeping in a Recliner

1. Relieve Back Pain 

Assuming that you have an excellent recliner chair with proper lumbar support, sleeping in a recliner can help relieve back pain. Because your back is constantly under stress during daily activities, sleeping in a fully reclined position with both legs elevated can help take pressure from your back and decompress the spine.

2. Improve Blood Circulation

Sleeping in a recliner chair in a fully reclined position allows gravity to naturally reduce stress and inflammation. An interesting study concluded that hospital patients who recovered using recliner chairs achieved home readiness sooner and experienced greater comfort levels than patients who recovered in traditional hospital beds.

Sleeping in a fully reclined position can help better circulation, among many other benefits.

Furthermore, patients in the recliner chair group had fewer adverse symptoms such as nausea, severe pain, and delayed voiding. This means that sleeping in a recliner chair properly, in addition to relieving back pain, can also improve better blood circulation, which in turn, promotes better recovery.

3. Promote Better Breathing

Sleeping in a recliner can help open your diaphragm and allows you to breathe with more ease. By having better breathing, common sleeping problems like snoring, sleep apnea, heartburn, and acid reflux can be avoided. Keeping your stomach acid where it’s supposed to be can also help you with...

4. Boosts Better Digestion

Sleeping without breathing problems goes hand in hand with better digestion. When sleeping on your side or curling on a mattress, your body can’t digest food properly. By reclining fully on a recliner chair, you’re giving your body a chance to rest and digest everything inside your system.

If you want to maximize the benefits of sleeping in a recliner, it's a good idea to invest in the right chair, especially one that's designed to promote adequate back support. We've taken the time to research and test the best recliner chairs for your home, all reviewed to help you choose the best one. You can read it here.

Cons of Sleeping in a Recliner

1. Limited Sleeping Positions

If you are someone who likes to switch positions when sleeping, then a recliner chair is not for you. When sleeping in a recliner, you’re limited to only sleeping on your back or on your side. While this isn’t a major health issue, comfort when sleeping is something important to consider.

2. Risk of Blood Clots

When not used properly, especially when sleeping in a semi-reclined position, you can run the risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis or blood clots. This is similar to sitting in an airplane where you are required to sit in a confined space for long hours. A recliner chair may emulate this situation by constricting your body.

3. Risk of Shallow Sleep

If you don’t find the right sleeping position, sleeping in a recliner may cause shallow sleep. This is when you don’t get enough rest and wake up feeling exhausted and groggy. Not to mention, you may develop muscle soreness. If you don’t find sleeping in a recliner comfortable, it’s best to sleep on a mattress.

How Do You Sleep in a Reclined Position Properly?

After discussing the pros and cons of sleeping in a recliner, you might think to yourself: how do I sleep in a recliner to optimize better rest? Here are some important considerations if you decide to sleep on a recliner chair:

  • Sleep with the chair fully reclined - According to Verywell Health, the best sleeping position is the supine position. This occurs when a person is lying flat on his or her back. Legs are usually extended out in a neutral position.
  • Support your neck with a pillow - To achieve better comfort while sleeping, you can use an additional pillow to support your neck. If you wish to sleep on your side, you can hug the pillow to find more coziness. Oh, and don’t forget to use a blanket. 🙂
  • If you’re awake, change position - This should come naturally as you try to sleep. We often toss and turn to find the best sleeping position during our sleeping period. However, it’s worth reminding that if you lie on your side or back for too long, you might end up putting a lot of pressure on it.
  • Find your most comfortable position - Every human body is built differently. What you find comfortable might be different from others. Therefore, it’s important to find your own position, assuming you follow the above guidelines. If you prefer a semi-recline position, the optimal angle is between 110 to 130-degrees.

The most common pitfall when sleeping in a recliner is sitting with your legs elevated, but with your back straight. This is what’s known as the ‘straight leg razor’ position. What most people don’t realize is that this position causes enormous strain on your lower back, especially if you suffer from disc herniation.

As you can see in the video above, sitting with your back straight with both legs elevated comes with dangerous health risks for your spine. It’s best to avoid the ‘straight leg razor’ position at all costs. If you follow our tips and tricks to sleep in a recliner chair, you should be able to get excellent sleep at night.

Final Verdict

And there you have it, the pros and cons of sleeping in a recliner chair. As many people wonder is it OK to sleep in a recliner every night, we hope that this post answers all your questions regarding this issue. At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep, either on a mattress, or a recliner. 🙂