Can You Sleep in A Recliner?

can you sleep in a recliner

Can you sleep in a recliner? When asking if a person can sleep in a recliner, the answer is an easy YES! I am sure most of us have fallen asleep in a recliner at least once in our lives.

So, you can obviously sleep in a recliner, but the real questions are: Should you sleep in a recliner? Is it safe? Is it comfortable? Are there any hidden dangers?

Recliner Chair for Adults Massage Reclining Chair for Living Room, Adjustable Modern Recliners Chair, Home Theater Seating Single Sofa Recliner with PU Leather Padded Seat Backrest(Grey)
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Recliner Chair for Adults Massage Reclining Chair for Living Room, Adjustable Modern Recliners Chair, Home Theater Seating Single Sofa Recliner with PU Leather Padded Seat Backrest(Grey)
  • 【Comfortable Material & Massage Mode】The recliner is made with high-quality breathable fabric, skin-friendly, and easily cleaned, thick padding provides better comfort; 2 point massage of the...
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People generally sleep on a horizontal base like a bed or a floor, as it has been the custom for thousands of years. Sleeping habits are also influenced by cultural variations. Some people may prefer to sleep in a recliner while for others, it may be their only option.

The body needs recuperation and a good night’s sleep is one of the ways to give your body (and your brain) that opportunity to recharge. It is also the time for your mind and spirit to shut down. A solid eight hours per night is still recommended by various experts.

Before deciding to sleep in a recliner, a person should gather information to know if it is safe and if there are any risks associated with sleeping upright. You may even wonder if there are different benefits to different sleeping positions.

A person suffering from back pain, sleep apnea, snoring, stiffness or reflux, may find some valuable information and answers while reading this article. Many of your questions may be answered and some of your concerns may be put to rest.

When you are done reading, you may have the peace of mind to continue sleeping in your recliner or make a change for your personal health and benefit. You may be ready to start shopping for your recliner.

Can You Sleep in a Recliner?​

Is it a good idea to sleep in a recliner?  What happens to us when we sleep and what is sleep all about?  Let’s delve into some of these topics.

When we lie down to sleep, our heart rates slow down and it is also the time for our spines to decompress after a long day of standing, sitting and walking. Gravity adds to the pulls at our organs and blood vessels.  The body reacts differently between a horizontal and a reclined sleeping position.

Will you experience a restful night while you sleep in a recliner?  You may be surprised to know that it is very good to sleep on your back.  When your spine is aligned, it is protected, thus helping to relieve hip and knee pain. When sleeping in a recliner, sleeping on your back is the most obvious position, thus forcing you to make a permanent switch to this beneficial sleeping position.

Added benefits to sleeping on your back include avoiding creases, wrinkles and irritated facial skin, keeping us looking younger.  It can also relieve sinus buildup and reduce tension headaches.

COLAMY Reclining Office Chair with Footrest, Big Tall Bonded Leather Adjustable Tilt Angle Height Lumbar Support High-Back Home Desk Task Executive Chair
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COLAMY Reclining Office Chair with Footrest, Big Tall Bonded Leather Adjustable Tilt Angle Height Lumbar Support High-Back Home Desk Task Executive Chair
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Most of us look for comfort when we sit and when we sleep.  It is easy to fall asleep in a recliner and not wake up at all through the night.  Some unfortunate people crave the opportunity for an uninterrupted night of sleep. If you are one of those people falling asleep after reading or watching tv, you may benefit from sleeping in a recliner. 

The culprit keeping the rest of the people awake with his or her snoring may be asked politely to move to the recliner for an opportunity for the other occupants to catch some sleep.

Recliners take up less space than beds and are therefore ideal for smaller spaces.  They can also be multi-functional.  This may be one of the reasons a person chooses to sleep in a recliner instead of a conventional bed.  If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, you can easily move the recliner in front of the fire when it is cold.

Do your homework before you choose a recliner.  They are not all the same.  You may consider comfort or style as the most important features.  Price and durability may also play a role. Your body type, weight and age will have to be taken into account so you will do well to carefully consider your options before you buy one.  

You do not want to end up after 2 or 3 nights of sleep, regretting your purchase. You may ask about lumbar support as it allows the spine to rest in its natural alignment with a slight curve when sitting.  It also keeps the muscles from getting tired or working too hard.

Dangers of Sleeping in a Recliner Chair

It may sound over-dramatic to say it can be dangerous to sleep in a recliner, but for some people with certain medical conditions, it truly is a risk.

Breathing Problems

People suffering from breathing problems should carefully consider sleeping in a recliner.  A hunched upper back while sleeping, can block the flow of air to the lungs and it may also cause blood congestion in the lungs.  

The reduced amount of oxygen in your body can cause shortness of breath, headaches, confusion and restlessness. Consult your doctor before making it a habit, would be a wise choice.  

Joint Stiffness

The sleeping position in a recliner is often with knees and hips bent throughout the night.  It may cause joint stiffness in especially the hips, calves and hamstrings.  

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Benchmaster Newport Taupe Swivel Faux Leather Recliner Chair with Ottoman Footrest Modern Armchair Ergonomic Manual Reclining Adjustable Upholstered for Bedroom Living Room Reading Home Relax
  • Chair is 40" high x 30" wide. Adjust from 28 1/2" deep to maximum 42" deep. Armrest height is 20 1/2" from the floor. Back is 21 1/4" high overall. Weighs 48.7 lbs.
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With tight muscles, you can fall over more easily and your general posture may also be affected negatively.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

There is a serious medical condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  When a blood clot is formed in one of your deep veins, it can be potentially life-threatening.  

Although it can also form elsewhere, the most common place for this to occur is in your legs.  While sleeping in a recliner, your legs are bent and without movement for hours each night.  

Avoid sleeping in a recliner if you are prone to blood clots and be sure to wear compression socks to benefit your body.

Impair Blood Circulation

Sitting or sleeping with knees bent, may block the flow of the artery behind the knee (called the popliteal artery). This may impair blood circulation, leading to fluid accumulation in certain areas of the body, making you feel tired and stiff.

Back Pain

Although sleeping in a recline can result in a continuous night of sleep, it may be exactly the reason why you may end up getting up with back pain, because of a lack of movement through the night.

Some people compare sleeping in a recliner to the discomfort of sleeping in an aeroplane:  a situation to be avoided if possible. Sleeping in confined spaces may make you irritable and short-tempered.

Benefits of Sleeping in a Recliner​

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Amazon Brand – Ravenna Home Albert Power-Lift Assist Recliner Chair, 34.3"W, Dark Brown
  • 34.3"W x 38.6"D x 40.6"H; seat height: 19.7"H; seat depth: 22"D
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You may be surprised to learn that it can even be beneficial for some people to sleep in a reclined position instead of lying down. Let’s have a quick look at the circumstances where this principle applies:

Acid Reflux

For people suffering from acid reflux, a reclining position may be a good idea. There is a muscle at the end of the oesophagus or food pipe that needs to shut when digesting food. When it does not work properly, you may experience heartburn. For some people, heartburn is a slight discomfort and for others, it is chronic pain.

Heartburn usually occurs at night when you lie down and gravity stops pushing your food down. Sleeping in a more upright position may significantly ease heartburn and may result in a much better night of sleep.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There is a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. When the muscles of the throat become relaxed, they can block the airways. Persons suffering from this condition start snoring and wake up several times during the night, resulting in being tired the next day. Consecutive nights of sleep deprivation have a detrimental influence on general performance and functioning.

Associated with sleep apnea, is a condition called GERD where the increased pressure on the chest cavity also causes acid reflux.

Sleeping with your head in an elevated position helps to manage the symptoms of sleep apnea, so a recliner may be a good option. The head is elevated between 30 and 60 degrees in a recliner.

Breathing Problems

For people suffering from breathing problems, sleeping in a bed can cause their airways to be blocked and result in them gasping for breath or feeling lightheaded. Sleeping in a recliner might offer a great alternative.

Back Pain

Suffering from back pain often makes comfortable sleep almost impossible. Getting in and out of a recliner becomes a better option as it is much easier than getting in and out of bed. It is suggested to add a pillow behind the lower back for extra support.

After undergoing back surgery, many people prefer to sit and sleep in a recliner, making sure that their back has adequate support and that they avoid a curved spine position during recovery.


During pregnancy, a good night’s sleep often becomes a challenge. Pregnant women may suffer from GERD, obstructive sleep apnea and also back pain. Especially during the latter parts of pregnancy, a recliner may provide one of the best options for a good night’s sleep.

Best Practices for Sleeping in a Recliner

Thomas Payne RV Euro Recliner with Footrest , Vinyl - Millbrae
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Thomas Payne RV Euro Recliner with Footrest , Vinyl - Millbrae
  • MULTIPLE STYLE OPTIONS — Choose between three, all-new PolyHyde vinyl upholstery colors: Millbrae, Altoona, and Grummond — or Norlina, our woven-fabric solution, which is great for RV owners...
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If you are one of those people who love to sleep in a recliner, you will do well to take a few precautions to make sure it is a night of uninterrupted sleep.

  • The lower back may need extra support which a pillow may provide.
  • Head support is also important.  The headrest may be too hard and can be softened by an additional pillow.
  • Temperature control is important. Cover leather with a sheet when it is hot to prevent sweating. When it is cold, ensure that you have sufficient blankets available.
  • Leg support can be achieved by wearing compression socks or additional support also provided by a pillow.
  • Sleeping on your back is the best position in a recliner. If you sleep on your sides, make sure that you alternate between the two sides.  Putting the chair in a corner may help to avoid sleeping predominantly on one side.
  • Take safety precautions if you are a restless sleeper as recliners are not as stable as beds and you may fall over. Sleeping on your sides may more easily cause a tip-over than sleeping on your back.

In Summary

So now you know almost everything important there is to know about the possibility of sleeping in recliners.  You have been enlightened about all the most important pros and cons.  

For some, it may be a safe option to sleep in a recliner and it may even hold some health benefits. For others, it would be wise to consult a doctor if you have any medical condition mentioned here and you do not feel a hundred per cent sure if it will be good for you.

When sleeping in a recliner, there are best practices to follow to ensure that your body is well-rested, that you are safe and that your whole body gets the correct support.

Settled on Getting a Recliner?

Svago ZGR Plus Zero Gravity Chair (SV395) Vibration Massage Power Recline Memory Foam Pillow Heat Therapy (Chestnut/Black)
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Svago ZGR Plus Zero Gravity Chair (SV395) Vibration Massage Power Recline Memory Foam Pillow Heat Therapy (Chestnut/Black)
  • Zero Gravity Recliner with the Look and Feel of Fine Furniture
  • Convenient Remote Control allows you to Effortlessly Adjust the Back or Footrest to an Optimal Position.
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With the information you gained today, you may see the value of having at least one recliner in your home.  The comfort it gives when watching tv or reading may be enough motivation to buy one.  You may even be convinced to buy a recliner that you can start sleeping in.  

Make sure to get the perfect recliner! Keep in mind to buy the best quality you can afford! Let your recliner become one of the best decisions you ever made. It may provide thousands of hours of comfortable sitting and/or sleeping.