Is Sleeping In A Recliner Bad For Your Health: Pros & Cons

Is sleeping in a recliner bad for you? If you’ve heard different points of view about spending nights or taking naps in your favorite recliner and you’re not sure whether it’s harmful to your health, you’ve come to the right spot. 

In today’s article, we’ll go over the most significant benefits you can gain from sleeping in a reclining chair and how to achieve the best sleeping position. 

We also cover the potential side effects you should know about if you practice sleeping in a recliner for a very long time. 

Benefits Of Sleeping In A Recliner

What are the biggest health benefits you can expect to gain from sleeping in a reclining chair? These chairs are a great option for people who suffer from sleep apnea, acid reflux, poor circulation, and back pain. 

Improved Circulation

One of the main potential benefits of sleeping in a reclining chair is improved blood circulation. If you spend most of your days sitting on a traditional desk chair, then the chances are you often experience swelling and pain in your legs and feet. The same thing happens if you spend long hours standing. 

When you get into a comfy recliner, you can elevate your feet above hip level, and the blood flow will go towards your heart. This means the swelling will go down, and gravity will do its magic. Sitting in this position also reduces stress and lowers inflammation. 

We’re not saying that you should spend entire days with your feet up, but doing this after work can help people with poor circulation. A recent study that evaluated the recovery speed of a group of patients offers some great proof. The ones that used a recliner during their recovery period were ready to go home before the ones that didn’t use a recliner. 

Helps Back Pain

is sleeping in a recliner bad for you

Does sleeping in a recliner help back pain? Contrary to popular opinion, most people who experience back problems and pain find it much easier and less painful to sleep in a recliner. 

However, this won’t apply to everyone. If you want to do what’s best for your body posture while sleeping in reclining chairs, ensure that you add a pillow in your lower back area for extra support. You can also look into recliners with massage functions or heat features to speed up the pain relief process. 

Another situation when recliners are helpful for back pain is after back surgery, a back injury, or a sore back after a workout. Surgeries are often complicated and make it very hard for the patients to get up from bed and go back to bed. In this case, recliners offer them the support they need because they provide various sitting positions that support your back. 

When you experience back pain, you can try sitting in your recliner with the legs up. This will relieve the pressure in the lower back, boost blood flow, and ease the pain. 

Can sleeping in a recliner cause back pain? Spending hours in your chair, regardless of whether it’s the most expensive or the most affordable recliner, one with a massaging function, an ottoman, or multiple sitting positions, can lead to back and leg pain. The human body is made for movement, so even if you decide to sleep in a recliner, ensure that you don’t spend the entire day in it. 

Sleep Apnea

If you have difficulty breathing at night, a possible solution can be sleeping in a recliner chair. There are various types of sleeping apnea, most of which lead to snoring, waking up during the night because you feel like you lack air, etc. A significant portion of people with this condition also suffer from acid reflux. 

If you avoid sleep in a reclined position between 30 and 60 degrees, the symptoms can become milder, and you’ll have a good night of sleep. So if “Can sleeping in a recliner help sleep apnea?” was a question on your mind, the answer is yes. 

Acid Reflux

If you’ve been experiencing acid reflux, one potential sleeping aid you can try is a recliner. This condition related to acid reflux also known as GERD means that stomach acid moves from your stomach and goes back through the esophagus. The sensation is quite unpleasant and becomes even stronger and more pronounced during the night.

When you’re laying down, gravity doesn’t have the power to push the acid back to the stomach, and this is when the symptoms are the worst. This is why sleeping in a reclined position can be very helpful for people suffering from acid reflux, as long as they’re not in a flat position. 


Are recliners safe for pregnant women? Before we get into detail, we have to mention that everyone’s pregnancy is different, so before you decide to sleep in a recliner, you have to talk to your doctor and get professional advice.

Pregnant ladies often struggle with acid reflux, sleep apnea, and back pain. So sleeping in a reclined position can sometimes be very helpful and ease these conditions. One thing to keep in mind is that you should opt for a side sleeping position and never sleep on your back, especially during the second and third trimesters.

This happens because the fetus grows and can pressure a blood vessel named the inferior vena cava. The potential side effects include poor circulation, lack of circulation for the fetus, high blood pressure, etc. 

Potential Side Effects Of Sleeping In A Recliner

Is sleeping in a recliner bad for your health? Although sleeping in one of these chairs is considered generally safe and even has multiple benefits, it can sometimes come with potential side effects. These side effects usually appear if you spend too much time sleeping or lounging in a recliner chair. 

Joint Stiffness

Potential Side Effects Of Sleeping In A Recliner

Joint stiffness is a potential side effect that can show up when you spend a long time relaxing or sleeping in the same position. It can occur when you’re laying down on a regular sofa or a recliner, so it’s not a drawback specifically related to recliner chairs.

When people sleep in a recliner, they usually bend their legs in the knees, and sometimes even their hips are bent. Recliners aren’t as big as a bed, so they don’t offer the same levels of comfort. When you spend multiple hours in the same bent position, your joints will become stiff, and this will result in an uncomfortable feeling when you wake up.

If you do this only occasionally there won’t be any serious side effects. However, if you spend months or years sleeping in a recliner, then joint stiffness can become a regular symptom and even affect your entire body posture. 

Airplane Syndrome

Did you know that spending hours in the same position can lead to more frequent blood clots? We already explained that your body requires movement; it wasn’t built to be in the same position for hours or days at a time.

Sleeping in a recliner or resting in these chairs for short periods is completely fine, but if you do it constantly for months, then you’re at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.

Joint Contractures

Similar to joint stiffness, joint contractures appear when you spend hours and days sleeping in the same position. As we previously explained, recliners aren’t as big as beds, so you’ll probably feel more comfortable when you bend your knees and hips if sleeping in one of these chairs.

When you’re in this position for long hours, it will eventually lead to loss of balance and constructors of your knee and hip joints. The symptoms of the condition include weak joints that prevent you from staying balanced when you’re up, leading to falls and injuries. 

It all happens due to the lack of movement. The muscles surrounding the joints become tighter, cartilages and tendons go through structural changes, and eventually, your body can’t do what your mind says it should do. 


How do you sleep comfortably in a recliner?

What’s the best way to sleep in a recliner? The first step is to cover your recliner with a sheet to prevent damage to the chair. Next, grab your pillow to support your neck and blankets to keep you warm.

One of the best positions for sleeping in a recliner is a fully reclined chair and you lying on your back. If this position doesn’t feel comfortable, find one that works best for you. Don’t hesitate to add an extra pillow in the lower back area to support your back. 


Is sleeping in a recliner bad for your back? Can sleeping in these chairs help your sleep apnea? There are so many misconceptions going around regarding recliners, but we’re always here to clear things up.

Sleeping in a recliner can improve your back pain, sleep apnea, acid reflux, and your circulation. Although these are notable benefits many people will find helpful, sleeping in a reclining chair also comes with potential side effects. The ones we have to mention include joint stiffness, losing balance, airplane syndrome, and joint contractures.