Sleeping In a Recliner – Benefits & Side Effects

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

Sleeping In a Recliner

Sleeping in a recliner is quite common and beneficial, especially for the people who suffering from back and joint pains. Unlike the regular sofa that is designed to provide back support, the recliner is doing it way better due to its built-in bed feature.

The recliner can be used as a bed or a sofa, depending on your needs. It is made up of three basic parts: armrests, backrest and seat cushion.

The armrests are attached to the backrest and they provide support for the elbows while you sit in the chair. The backrest supports your head and shoulders when you lean against it. The seat cushion is located on top of the base, and usually has padding for comfort.

Sleeping In a Recliner – 6 Benefits You Should Know

What are the pros and cons of sleeping in a recliner?

More and more people are changing their sleeping habits to take advantage of the comfort provided by a recliner. While this way of sleeping has many benefits, it also presents some challenges, especially if you’re used to the standard bed. Consider this information so that you can enjoy all that a recliner has to offer your body.

Let’s start with the benefits:

#1 – It Can Improve Blood Circulation

There are many benefits to sleeping in a recliner. These include the ability to elevate your feet and legs, which can help improve blood circulation. This can be particularly useful if you have varicose veins, edema, or other conditions that cause swelling or pain in your legs.

Sleeping in a recliner is also great after a procedure, such as after knee replacement surgery. This makes sure your legs are relaxed, and you won’t take too much effort getting in and out of the recliner, unlike from a mattress or bed.

#2 – It Can Ease Your Back Pain

Sleeping in a recliner for lower back pain is another known benefit. When you use a recliner, it is one of the best ways to relieve aches and pains in the back, specifically lower-back pain.

brown reclining chair

Sitting for long periods of time can cause your spine to bend, which can lead to muscle spasms and discomfort. A good night’s sleep will help you recover from any damage caused by sitting too long during the day.

#3 – It Can Help With Digestion

When you sleep, your body goes through a range of physiological changes. Sleeping on your back is associated with better digestion and easier elimination, while sleeping on your side or stomach isn’t as beneficial. Sleeping in a recliner allows you to rest in a position that’s perfect for digestion, but still lets you wake up easily in the morning.

#4 – It Can Ease Heartburn and Acid Reflux

It’s not uncommon for people who have heartburn and acid reflux to have trouble falling asleep, but it’s very common for them to wake up in the middle of the night with severe symptoms. If you are one of these people, try sleeping in a recliner instead of your bed.

The reason it works is because sitting upright helps keep your stomach protected from stomach acid, which can cause burning and pain if it leaks back up into your esophagus while you sleep.

Sleeping on your back also helps keep this from happening by keeping the stomach contents at bay while you sleep. You may still get some discomfort when you first start sleeping in a recliner, but over time this should subside as your body adjusts to having its natural position changed slightly during sleep time hours.

#5 – It Can Help You Breathe With More Ease

Whether you have a chronic respiratory illness or just want to be able to breathe more easily while you sleep, sleeping in a recliner can help.

If you’re suffering from a cold or the flu, your nasal passages are probably not working as well as they usually do, which means that it’s harder for you to breathe through your nose. This is especially true if you have an allergy or other condition that causes inflammation in your airways.

Sleeping in a recliner can help by allowing you to sit up straighter, which opens up your chest cavity and allows for easier breathing. The key is to make sure that the chair is positioned comfortably and safely so that it does not cause any strain on your back or neck.

During the pandemic, some people who recovered have shared that they were sleeping in a recliner while ridden with COVID, which made breathing easier.

woman stressed on her snoring husband

#6 – It Can Help With Sleep Apnea

When we sleep, our bodies relax, and our muscles should be at rest. If your body is unable to relax completely because of the way you sleep, it can cause serious problems with your breathing. When you’re lying down and unable to breathe properly, this is called sleep apnea.

Sleeping in a recliner can help with sleep apnea by allowing you to keep your upper body elevated while you’re sleeping. This allows for better airflow through the airways and prevents them from becoming blocked by soft tissue swelling during your slumber.

Sleeping In a Recliner – 6 Side Effects

Is sleeping in a recliner bad for you? Now that you have seen the benefits, let’s take a look at the dangers of sleeping in a recliner chair. When used incorrectly, sleeping in a recliner also has its side effects.

#1 – It Can Lead To Shallow Sleep

The major advantage of sleeping in a recliner is that it can help you avoid back pain, especially if you have problems with your spine. Because recliners are designed for comfort and relaxation, they allow you to fall asleep easier than most other types of chairs.

However, there are also some downsides to using a recliner as a bed. For example, some people find it difficult to get up out of the chair once they’ve fallen asleep because there isn’t much room to move around. This can lead to shallow sleep patterns and restless nights.

#2 – It Can Cause You To Lose Balance

If you’re not careful, it’s easy to fall out of a recliner, especially if you’re sleeping in it. This can be something to consider if you have trouble with balance or coordination, or if you have a history of falling down or injuring yourself due to falls.

#3 – It Can Cause Your Legs To Swell

One of the disadvantages of using a recliner is that it can cause your legs to swell. This is because the muscles in your lower body are not used as much, and fluids don’t circulate as efficiently. If you’re going to use a recliner for extended periods of time, try to get up periodically and walk around.

woman's leg

If you find that your legs are swollen after sitting for long periods, try elevating them above heart level on a pillow or cushion. You can also get off the recliner if you have time, and do some light stretching exercises.

#4 – It Can Aggravate Sore and Weak Knees

The reason for this is that most of the pressure on your knees is transferred to your lower back when you are sitting in a recliner. This means that you will have to use your lower back muscles more than usual, which could cause some fatigue.

#4 – It Can Cause Joint Stiffness

In particular, the hips may become stiff and sore after sitting in a recliner for an extended period of time. This can be particularly problematic for older people who are more prone to joint discomfort.

#5 – It Can Make You Irritable and Short-Tempered

This is because when you are sitting in a recliner, your body is in a position that encourages it to fall asleep. If you try to stay awake for long periods of time, your body will naturally become irritable as a result of being forced to remain in an uncomfortable position for so long.

Sleeping In a Recliner – Best Practices

A recliner is one of the most luxurious, comfortable, and enjoyable ways to sleep. The inventor of the modern recliner created a piece of furniture that has become a staple in nearly every home.

Using a recliner as your major sleeping surface can be very beneficial to good health and can help you develop healthy sleeping habits. Here are some tips for getting the most out of sleeping in a recliner:

fell asleep on reclining chair

Support Your Neck and Back Pain With a Pillow

What is the best pillow for sleeping in a recliner? When you’re sleeping in a recliner, it can be hard to find a pillow that works. You need something that will give you the support you need to stay comfortable and get the rest you deserve, but also won’t put too much pressure on your neck or back.

The best pillow for sleeping in a recliner is one that is firm enough to keep your head from falling forward as you sleep, but soft enough that it doesn’t hurt when you roll onto your side or back.

  • Look for pillows with high loft ratings (the higher the number, the fluffier).
  • Try using more than one pillow at once—you may find that two are better than one.
  • Consider buying a small wedge-shaped pillow instead of an ordinary one—its angle will help keep your spine straight while also supporting your neck and shoulders.

Sleep With a Fully-reclined Chair 

Sleeping with a fully reclined chair is one best practice when sleeping in a recliner. This is because it helps to alleviate the effects of gravity on the body and prevent any muscle strain or injury.

When you are sleeping in a recliner, your head should be elevated above your heart. This allows blood to flow freely throughout the body, keeping vital organs healthy and working properly. It also helps with digestion and prevents acid reflux, which can cause pain in the chest area during sleep.

Sleep on Your Back

It’s the position that keeps your airways open and frees up your breathing to allow you to sleep more peacefully. If you’re sleeping with a stuffy nose or asthma, sleeping on your back is going to be much better for you than any other position.

It’s also the position that allows you to keep your spine straight and aligned. If you have any back pain or issues with spinal alignment, then sleeping on your back will help keep everything in place so that when you wake up, there won’t be any aches or pains.

Finally, sleeping on your back makes it easier for someone else (like a loved one) to help monitor any medical conditions like sleep apnea. If they can see your chest rise and fall while they’re watching over you while you sleep, they’ll know when something is wrong and can help wake you up if necessary.

Ensure You Have a Blanket

This will help keep you warm and comfortable while you’re sleeping. If you don’t want to use a blanket, though, consider using another item like a pillow or pillowcase that has been warmed up before bedtime.

mature man sleeping on chair

Find Your Most Comfortable Position

You may need to experiment with different positions, pillows and even blankets in order to find the most comfortable spot for you.

Make sure that you have a soft pillow under your head, neck and shoulder area. This will keep your neck aligned while you sleep and reduce neck pain when you wake up. A folded blanket or towel can also be placed between your back and the chair to avoid pressure points on your lower back.

Try different positions such as lying flat on your back, side or stomach with pillows supporting you as needed. Sleeping with a blanket over yourself works well for some people but not others so try what feels right for you.

Turn off the Lights, and Get Comfy!

Don’t forget to take a mood enhancer supplement such as Serenity to encourage a very peaceful and relaxed sleep.

Is It Ok to Sleep in a Recliner Every Night?

IT DEPENDS. There are several risks associated with sleeping in a recliner every night, and so you should only do so if you feel comfortable doing so.

The first risk is that recliners can be very uncomfortable to sleep on. They don’t generally provide much support or cushioning, so they can cause back pain if you’re not careful. If you’re thinking of using a recliner as a replacement for your regular bed, then this will be an issue for you.

The second risk is that sleeping in a recliner isn’t great for your posture. If you spend all day sitting at work, then it’s probably not a good idea to spend all night sitting in your chair as well! This can lead to issues like poor circulation and general fatigue throughout the day due to poor blood flow.

Finally, there are some serious safety concerns when it comes to sleeping in a recliner—specifically related to falling out of the chair while asleep.

What Happens When You Sleep in a Recliner?

Sleeping in a recliner is one of the most comfortable ways to sleep. The backrest provides support for your head, neck, and shoulders, so you don’t have to contort your body into position.

And the seat cushions provide support for your lower back and hips. Just make sure you follow the best practices I mentioned in the other section to make the most out of your slumber.

Could Sleeping in a Recliner Cause Some Blood Clots?

Sleeping in a recliner might lead to blood clots if you’re not careful. If you’re someone who has a history of deep vein thrombosis or DVT, you may want to avoid sleeping in a recliner altogether, but if you insist on doing so, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t sleep with your legs elevated for more than six hours at a time; this can cause blood clots to form in your legs.
  • Get up periodically throughout the night and walk around. This will help keep blood flowing throughout your body and prevent clots from forming.
  • If you have any extreme pain or swelling in your legs after sleeping in a recliner, seek help immediately—this could be a sign of a clot forming.
sleeping on chair

Is Sleeping in a Recliner Better Than Sleeping in a Bed?

If you’re looking for a comfortable way to fall asleep, sleeping in a recliner is a great option. The chair can be adjusted to fit your body, allowing you to get into the most comfortable position for your head and neck.

Sleeping in a recliner can also help improve your posture, which can reduce back pain and improve your overall health.

However, some people find that sleeping in a recliner causes them to wake up with soreness or stiffness in their lower back because they aren’t able to move around as much while they sleep.

There are also other factors to consider when deciding whether or not sleeping in a recliner is right for you:

  • Your current health status. For example, if you have heart disease or high blood pressure, sleeping in an upright position may cause problems.
  • Your personal preferences, such as if you prefer being on your side while falling asleep or sitting up straight during the night.


While recliners provide comfort and support, they can also create ergonomic problems. Practicing good posture and sleeping only in comfortable positions will ensure that you get adequate sleep and rest to recharge your batteries.

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