Sleeping in a Recliner Chair

Pros and Cons of Sleeping in a Recliner Chair (Updated 2023)

Published On: July 14, 2021Last Updated: December 7, 2022By Categories: Health & Wellness

We all have an irresistible urge to dive into the recliner chair. It’s so comfortable that you might even spend the whole day lying in the chair and watching your favorite movies and shows. At times, you may even consider sleeping in a recliner for all the coziness it offers.

Sleeping in a recliner chair feels like drifting on a set of soft and fluffy pillows, but ask yourself. Is sleeping in a recliner bad for you? Below we’ll explore the pros and cons of sleeping in a recliner chair to help you find the answer. We will also discuss the best napping position.

Before discussing whether is it ok to sleep in a recliner every night, it’s important to settle whether you should even consider buying a recliner chair. Sleeping in a recliner is safe, and people are using recliners for sleeping for nearly a decade. The recliner shouldn’t be problematic as long as you slumber with your back fully reclined.

People who fall asleep in the recliner in a sitting position have to bear pressure on their legs and spine, which leads to pain. You must know how to sleep in a chair. Following the proper position, slumber in a recliner can release tension from the body by relaxing the back and leg muscles.

The Best Recliner Sleeping Position

Sleeping in a Recliner Chair

As we know that a fully reclined chair is ideal for sleeping, now we will dive deep to understand the optimum slumbering position.

  1. Fully Reclined Chair: The supine position is not only ideal for sleeping, but it also comes with various health benefits. It is when you lie flat on your back, without any slopes or curves in the surface underneath, with the legs positioned straightly outward. Hence, the nicest way of sleeping in a recliner begins with a fully reclined position.
  2. Finding Your Position: Once you have a fully reclined chair, you must find the position you’re most comfortable with. Every human likes to sleep in his/her own way. So, finding your ultimate sleeping position means a comfortable and content night’s sleep.
  3. Constantly Change Position: Even after determining your coziest posture, consider changing it constantly. Lying in one position for too long can put pressure on that side and lead to adverse effects. Therefore, it is wise to switch sides every time you wake up.
  4. Use a Pillow: Sleeping without a pillow can invite pressure to your neck and leave you with pain. For that reason, always use a pillow to support your neck. Don’t hesitate to have two pillows if you feel comfortable. When sleeping on your side, the additional pillow can cushion the legs and increase the comfort level.

While sleeping in a recliner, avoid the straight leg razor position. It is when you slumber in a sitting position; both legs lifted and back straight, resembling a 90-degree angle. This sleeping stance is detrimental to your muscles and bones, and it exerts pressure on the lower back.

Therefore, to get the most out of sleeping in a recliner, follow the four points discussed above. Never sleep in the straight leg razor position. You’ll get a comfortable night’s slumber and avoid any negative effects of sleeping in a chair.

Benefits of Sleeping in a Recliner Chair

Sleeping in a recliner comes with various advantages. Those who’ve dozed in this chair before knowing the refreshed and relaxed feeling on waking up. We will now discuss some of the benefits you can enjoy when you properly sleep in a recliner chair.

Improved Breathing

Improved Breathing

Sleeping in a recliner can help expand the diaphragm, thus leads to better breathing. An improvement in breathing can combat various sleep-related problems such as acid reflux, snoring, heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, and sleep apnea.

Furthermore, proper breathing while sleeping can help keep the stomach acids in their place. It prevents the acids from disturbing your slumber and promotes comfort.

2. Better Blood Circulation

Better Blood Circulation

Sleeping in a recliner helps improving blood circulation in the body. Sitting on your desk at work or standing for a prolonged period rushes your blood to your legs. That’s the reason why diving in your recliner at the end of the day and extending your elevated feet feels so good.

Dozing in a fully reclined chair enables gravity to cure stress and inflammation naturally. As the blood circulation spreads around the body in a reclined position, it relaxes the body and combats stress. Moreover, it’s good for your back.

A study examined the recovery of hospital patients using traditional beds and recliner chairs. The results showed that the patients recovered faster in a recliner chair. Also, they indicated more comfort levels than those in traditional hospital beds. The patients in conventional beds also showed adverse symptoms, such as back pain and nausea compared to patients in reclined chairs.

Therefore sleeping in a recliner can stabilize blood circulation, cure stress and inflammation, and help recover from health conditions faster.

3. Cures Back Pain

A great advantage of sleeping in a recliner is relief from back pain. Backache is common because of your whole day’s work and constant sitting. A recliner chair is a perfect platform to give it some rest.

Fully reclined chairs with lumbar support are most efficient at relieving back pain. Sleeping in a fully reclined position with both legs lifted can lessen the pressure on your back. Furthermore, it relaxes the spine and fights off the backache.

The back muscles are constantly at work, trying to balance our upper and lower body parts throughout the day. Lifting your feet and lying flat can help reduce this pressure. Elevating your feet means you’re allowing gravity to send blood to the back muscles and helping them heal.

4. Better Digestion

Better Digestion

Improved digestion is another benefit of sleeping in a recliner. Dozing in a mattress or bed can have you curl and twist in your sleep, which makes digestion difficult. Hence, slumbering on a fully reclined chair means the digestion operations are easy while your body is resting.

Improved breathing while sleeping in a recliner also makes digestion easier. Slow and deep breathing means your body has activated the “rest and digest” mode. During this phase, the body digests anything you’ve eaten before sleeping while also healing the muscles. By fully processing the food and letting the body rest, it leads to a comfortable night’s sleep.

5. Ease During Pregnancy

Ease During Pregnancy

Sleeping in a recliner is helpful for pregnant women. During pregnancy, sleeping is a serious problem, and a recliner chair might aid in driving the issue away. Dozing in a recliner can assist you in relaxing and getting rid of problems such as nausea and lack of breath. Therefore, a recliner chair can be a wonderful companion during your pregnancy period.

6. Enhanced Nervous System

Enhanced Nervous System

Among the numerous advantages of sleeping in a recliner is an improved nervous system. As the nervous system functioning directly correlates to a relaxed mind, a recliner chair can assist in enhancing it.
Slumber in a recliner is an amazing way to rest and relax your body. Therefore, it leads to the more efficient functioning of the nervous system.

Disadvantages of Sleeping in a Recliner

Although sleeping in a recliner has its own benefits, it also comes with various drawbacks. Below are some of the common cons of sleeping in a recliner.

  1. Limited Space

    To begin with, a recliner chair offers too little space to sleep properly. It leaves the sleeper with few positions and uncomfortable sleep. If you constantly turn and try new positions in slumber, sleeping in a recliner is not for you.

    Dozing in a recliner chair means you can either lay on your back or your sides. Therefore, sleeping in a recliner could be uncomfortable if you don’t stick to a handful of positions.

  2. Light Sleep

    Sleeping in a recliner runs the risk of light sleep, also referred to as shallow sleep. With this, when you wake up, you still feel groggy and exhausted. Moreover, light sleep may cause muscle soreness.

    Shallow snoozing results from sleeping in a limited space and feeling uncomfortable. Consequently, you just stick to a handful of positions during sleep, which results in unrest even after slumbering for a long period. Therefore, if you experience light sleep, replace the recliner chair with a mattress for a more comfortable night’s slumber.

  3. Blood Clots

    Another drawback of sleeping in a recliner is the risk of developing blood clots. Also known as Deep-vein Thrombosis, blood clots are the clumps of blood that transform from a liquid into a semi-solid form. While blood clots are necessary to prevent excessive blood loss during an injury or cut, more of them is a concern.

    Slumbering in a semi-reclined chair runs the risk of forming these clots. As the recliner constricts your body, chances of blood transforming into a semi-solid state are high. Therefore, always ensure you’re not sleeping in a position that’s tightening your body and leading to blood clots.

  4. Swelling Legs

    Another negative to worry about when sleeping in a recliner is ‘swelled legs.’ Slumbering in an upright position can affect your legs the most. The reason is your muscles remain inactive for a long time, thus bar the flow of blood in your body.

    As blood only flows downward and cannot go upward, it accumulates in the vein. Consequently, it makes the legs and ankles appear swollen. Therefore, try to sleep in a fully reclined position to avoid the congregation of blood in your legs.

  5. Knee Issues

    Speaking of legs, sleeping in a recliner can also lead to knee-related problems. Sleeping for a prolonged period in a recliner can weaken your knees and cause pain.

    Getting up from the recliner puts a lot of pressure on your knees, as there’s no other way to leave the chair. Getting in and out of the recliner chair regularly may put abnormal pressure on your knees and weaken them. Therefore, the recliner’s use is not good if you care about your knees’ health.

  6. Stiff Joints

    Sleeping in a recliner means your knees and hips remain in the same position for most of the night. As a recliner chair offers limited space for sleeping, it means most of the night, you’d stick to one or two positions. It leads to stiff joints due to a lack of movement.

    In addition, slumbering in a recliner chair means your knees and hips may remain bent for too long during the night. It has a long-term detrimental effect on your posture, leading to hamstrings, calves, and tight hips. Tighter muscles also run the risk of tripping over when walking, causing more damage to your body. Therefore, avoid spending too much time in a recliner chair and do regular exercise to keep the stiffness out of your way.

  7. Strained Neck

    Another drawback of sleeping in a recliner is developing a neck strain. When we sleep, our muscles tend to loosen up, making it difficult to get back up immediately. Therefore, sleeping upright in a recliner can lead to a strained neck and drop to your sides.

    Moreover, slumber in a recliner can cause sore muscles. Always remember to sleep in a fully reclined position to avoid these problems.

  8. Joint Contractures

    In addition to stiff joints, sleeping in a recliner can also cause joint contractures. Dozing in a recliner every night means the muscles stay in a stiff position for long, leading to contractures. In the long term, it can affect your posture and mobility, attracting falls and accidents causing more damage.


Sofas are extremely comfortable, but recliner chairs take the coziness to another level. You cannot only use them for watching your favorite movies and shows comfortably, but also as a bed. While sleeping in a recliner has numerous benefits such as better breathing, improved digestion, and relief from back pain, it also anchors various drawbacks. Slumbering in a recliner chair can lead to stiff joints, strained neck, swollen legs, limited sleeping positions, and countless other sleeping in a recliner side effects. Therefore, make sure you sleep in the correct and proper posture to steer clear of these issues.

About the Author: Personal Care Truth

Personal Care Truth is your trusted source for evidence-based information on personal care and wellness. A dedicate health advocate who is passionate about empowering individuals to make informed choices when it comes to their personal care.

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