Maybe you find yourself falling asleep on the couch more than once when watching TV a little too late, or perhaps you just prefer to sleep on the couch. Whatever the reason, let’s discuss how sleeping on the coach can affect you, and if it’s a wise choice or something you should be more careful to avoid.
Is Sleeping On The Couch Ok?
The benefits of sleeping on the couch
There are some pros to sleeping on the couch, but these are often aimed towards a specific group of individuals. Let’s take a closer look.
Offers head elevation
Certain health conditions can worsen when laying on a flat surface at night. A couch with armrests or recliners can offer a solution that allows these individuals to keep their heads elevated, limiting symptoms.
Some of these conditions include:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): common symptoms of this condition include acid reflux and heartburn, which can worsen when laying down.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Those with OSA experience obstructed airways, which can result in snoring and moments of stopped breathing. Research has shown that sleeping with the head elevated can help reduce symptom severity.
A Cold: Two cold symptoms include nasal congestion and postnasal drip, both of which worsen when laying down. Not only can these symptoms make breathing difficult, but they can also worsen a sore throat and coughing.
It’s important to note that while sleeping on a couch may offer relief for the symptoms of these conditions, similar results can be achieved using a wedge pillow or bed risers, which then allow you to remain in your bed.
For those with mobility issues, it might be easier to remain on the couch instead of attempting to get to the bedroom.
There are also reclining chairs available with a lift option, making it much easier for those with mobility issues, or those recovering from surgery, to get on and off the chair. This feature may make this option more favorable regarding ease of access.
Improved sleep environment
The best environment for sleep is one that is dark, cool, and quiet. If your bedroom does not fit this list of criteria, the couch may prove to be in a better environment for promoting quality sleep.
That being said, while sleeping on the couch once in a while might be okay, there can be some complications that arise if you commit to sleeping on the couch long-term.
The downsides of sleeping on the couch
In short, couches are not created to be slept on overnight. They might provide comfort initially, but they are not as supportive for the body as a mattress, which can cause some drawbacks. Let’s take a look at the specific qualities of couches that can impact sleep.
No matter the size of your bed, it will likely have a greater width than your couch. That smaller width may make it harder for you to adjust your sleeping position during the night, which can lead to discomfort as your body is restricted in terms of movement.
In addition, depending on the couch, you might not be able to extend your legs fully. Again, sleeping in this cramped position can lead to significant discomfort.
Lack of support
A mattress is designed to support every inch of your body, but your couch is not made the same way. It was created for short-term use, not for sleeping on overnight. Because of this, there are often many different cushions and gaps that you have to deal with, whereas a mattress is a flat and even surface. These shifting cushions and gaps can lead to soreness and stiffness when you wake in the morning.
Back and neck pain
Mattresses are crafted to support spinal alignment and reduce pain and discomfort at pressure points. Couches cannot boast these same qualities. So, sleeping on the couch regularly can worsen existing back pain or cause back pain to develop.
Sleeping on the couch is also ill-advised for stomach sleepers, as the armrests can cause the neck to twist at an unnatural and painful angle. Back sleeping also relies on proper symmetry, which couches do not promote. These sleeping conditions can cause neck and shoulder pain that you may be dealing with for many days following your night spent sleeping on the couch.
How to make the most of sleeping on the couch
Invest in a sleeper sofa
A sleeper sofa is a special type of couch that folds out, providing you more room to stretch out while sleeping, eliminating the problems that result from lack of space. Sleeper sofas often contain a thin mattress that folds out, so you are also getting some of the same support that you would expect from a mattress.
You may face many light and noise distractions when sleeping in a common area, such as the living room, which is where couches are often found. These distractions can make it harder for you to fall asleep and limit your sleep quality. To ensure that you are getting adequate sleep, you will want to block them to the best of your abilities.
One major distraction is the television, which is often located in the same areas as a couch. It may be common to watch TV to fall asleep, but like all other screens, televisions emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps you feel sleepy. If you watch TV right before going to bed or even leave it on to fall asleep, you may be unexpectedly sabotaging your sleep, making it harder for you to fall asleep. For your best rest, leave the TV off for an hour or so before going to bed.
Use the right pillows
We have spent plenty of time discussing how the couch can cause neck and back pain, and one way to combat this is by using the right pillow. Not only does a pillow help to keep your neck and spine in proper alignment, but they also help improve your comfort.
Whatever your reason for sleeping on the couch, it is best to do everything you can to ensure that you get the best possible sleep and avoid falling victim to the downsides. However, when it comes to the support of your back and neck, sleeping on a mattress is a much better option.