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Recliner Chair – 10 Things You Don’t Know About Sleeping in One But Should

By: Decorated Life Team |

Ever wondered if sleeping in a recliner chair is good for you? Reclining in front of your favorite television series, glued for long hours, with popcorn and treats close by, keeps you on the couch, not off it. Falling asleep in front of the television, instead of going to bed, is often what happens next.

We all know that quality sleep is vital for a healthy life. Its the time your mind, body and spirit shut down to regenerate.

recliner chair

Source: Pinterest

But most people are sleep deprived and find themselves using their recliners for sleeping at the end of a long busy day. But is this a good thing? Recliners are so comfortable, it seems like the perfect solution.  

Top 10 Side Effects of Sleeping in a Recliner

Here are 10 negative side effects of sleeping in a recliner you probably didn’t know but should. Does that mean you should never sleep in a recliner?

Of course not, if you have any of these medical conditions, sleeping in a recliner might be the best thing for you. If you have a heart condition, sleep apnea, acid reflux, back pain and sciatica or postoperative care then sleeping in a recliner is similar to being in a hospital bed. But if you are healthy and want to remain that way, keep reading to see what falling asleep in your recliner might be doing to you.

1.     Back and Leg Pain

recliner chair leg pain

Confined to a recliner chair for long periods is a little like air travel. Your body is designed to move, and it might feel like you are relaxing but your body is craving to get blood and circulation to the muscles. More than one or two hours of sitting in the same position, no matter how well your recliner chair is made, how expensive it is, or much you love it, will give you back and leg pain. 

2.     Losing Balance

Sue Noethen, LPTA, from Concept Rehab, recommends sleeping in your bed. She says, ‘Continual sleeping a recliner can result in knee and hip contractures.

losing balance

That is the tightening of the muscles over the joint which can limit upright posture and standing.’ This leads to limited movement, loss of balance and becoming unstable when you stand and walk.

3.     Poor Blood Circulation

poor circulation means its time to move

No body movement means reduced blood circulation. That leads to so many complications like PAD, a circulatory condition. It causes narrowing of the blood vessels and arteries, limiting blood to the heart, making you feel tired and stiff. 

Tennis Ball Tricks for Relieving Pain

Source: The Healthy Science Journal

4.     Shallow Sleep

Sleeping in a small confined space often leads to shallow sleep. You never move into the deepest sleep cycle your body and mind really need to regenerate. Without quality rest, you wake up feeling tired and sore, with  muscles cramped and tight after being in the same position most of the night. 

5.     Irritability and Other Negative Behaviors

Its no surprise that limited blood circulation, sleeping in a tight space and shallow sleep can lead to feeling irritable and short-tempered.

Nectar Adjustable Frame

Sleeping in a recliner chair on a regular basis and you are short changing yourself in so many ways. If you find yourself falling to sleep in your recliner regularly and waking up in the middle of the night, try this, place a timer next to you and go to bed when the timer goes off. That might mean one or two hours asleep in your recliner, instead of six or eight. 

6.     Swelling of the Legs

Its nice to sit in a recliner with your feet up after a long day. But sitting for extended periods of time causes your legs to swell. When you muscles are inactive for too long, the blood can’t circulate properly around your body. And when the blood can’t go back upwards, it accumulates in the veins and causes them to swell. The result is swollen legs and ankles. 


Source: Pinterest

The tiny veins surrounding the legs will get weak. When your legs are swollen, the skin surrounding your ankle will become discolored. 

7.     Bad Knees

Knee Pain Exercise

Source: Very Well Fit

When you sit in a recliner, the center of gravity is near the middle of the recliner. This is not an easy position to stand up from. Your knees need some force and effort to get the chair in a normal sitting position. This can aggravate sore and weak knees, making it difficult to get out of the recliner.

8.     Recliner Chair and Airplane Syndrome

airplane syndrom

When you sit or sleep in a tight reclining position for too long, you can cause Airplane Syndrome. Thrombotic clotting develops in your legs, and this become dangerous enough to kill you. Don’t ignore the signs, get up and stretch every hour and try not to fall asleep in your recliner. 

9.     Hip and Knee Contractures

Sleeping in a recliner chair for long periods of time has been known to cause hip and knee contractures. The muscles tighten over the joints and restrict your posture and mobility. It can lead to a bad fall and even injuries.

How to Stretch and Strengthen the Psoas | Yoga International

10. Acute Back Pain

The design of your recliner chair is important. If your recliner chair doesn’t provide lower back support, you may be damaging your back. Recliners that leave a hollow space between the seat and your lower back have no support.

back pain

To remedy this, place a rolled towel or cushion in this space to avoid lower back pain. 

Take time to research which recliner option might be the best for you. Sleep is so important some companies give you an opportunity to trial your bed.