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Seniors Mobility Aids

Why Do I Sleep Better In A Recliner Than In A Bed? Answered!

Written by Haley Burress
Last Updated :
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Are you wondering, “Why do I sleep better in a recliner than in a bed?” Well, you’re not alone!

According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, sleep apnea – a condition potentially alleviated by proper reclining – affects nearly 30 million people in the U.S. alone [1].

Leveraging years of specialized experience as a doctor, I’ve discovered the scientific explanations behind this common query – Recliners, through their innovative ergonomic design, provide superior comfort and an array of health benefits!

So, let’s explore why, as a seasoned expert, I firmly believe that the right recliner could be the ultimate sleep solution you’ve been searching for!

Key Takeaways

  • Recliners provide personalized comfort and support, leading to improved blood circulation and reduced pressure points for restful sleep.
  • Recliners can alleviate symptoms of conditions like acid reflux and sleep apnea,
  • They can also cause health issues like joint stiffness and impaired circulation if used for extended periods.
  • It’s crucial to adjust your recliner properly and incorporate regular movement to maximize the benefits and minimize potential side effects.

Why do I sleep so well in a recliner? Find out the truth in the next section…

Why Do I Sleep Better In A Recliner Than A Bed?

According to research from the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleeping upright can drastically reduce sleep apnea symptoms and snoring [2].

Thank their unique design and ergonomics, recliners give an admirable solution to various sleep problems.

Many find recliners a more comfortable alternative to traditional beds. It’s not just about comfort here – several health advantages are associated with recliners.

power recliner which is one the best types of recliners

Alex Dimitriu, M.D., a dual-certified specialist in psychiatry and sleep medicine, suggests that beds can exacerbate specific health issues. [3].

Sleep is something we all are naturally programmed to do well.” writes Alex Dimitriu, MD. But if you sleep incorrectly as most beds seem to motivate – your health quality crumbles.

For one, recliners offer personalized comfort, adjustable to individual preferences.

Their ergonomic design enhances support for the back and neck, making them accessible for the elderly or those with mobility issues.

However, a recliner might not be the best choice during nighttime feedings for new parents due to the risk of unintentional sleep and potential injury.

How Recliners Elevate Sleep Comfort and Rest Quality

According to a study by Suwhan Baek et al., recliner chairs with rocking motions can “positively increase the duration of deep sleep stages and sleep spindle, resulting in improved sleep quality. [4]”

But comfort is just one aspect of the story. According to the National Sleep Foundation, proper sleep posture is crucial for a good night’s rest [5].

These findings suggest that using a recliner chair for sleep can contribute to a healthier condition and better quality of life [3]. And you can’t beat the ‘zero gravity’ position for that, can you?

Like you, many people have traded their traditional beds for recliners, seeking comfort and a good night’s sleep.

But what makes recliners attractive for sleep enthusiasts and those plagued by various health issues?

Much like the cozy comfort of a well-worn armchair, recliners deliver a unique blend of support and relaxation that’s turning heads in the world of sleep solutions.

It’s no wonder many find themselves drifting off in their recliners rather than trekking to their traditional beds.

Explore the question “Is it ok to sleep in a recliner?” in this concise and informative video:

The Science Behind The Perfect Sleep Chair

From spinal alignment to pressure distribution, the design and function of recliners are backed by science. Let’s delve into the research that validates using recliners for improved sleep quality…

A fascinating study by Michael Pellegrini and colleagues examined adults with stroke undergoing inpatient rehabilitation and found that sleep disturbances are “common after stroke” and may affect recovery outcomes [6].

Although the low-cost sleep monitoring devices used in the study showed poor agreement, the research highlights the importance of monitoring sleep quality in various settings, including hospitals, and the potential benefits of using recliners for sleep among individuals recovering from stroke [5].

Indeed, adjusting to your body’s unique contours provides the support you need where you need it most.

Thankfully, recliners can adjust to your body’s unique contours and ensure personalized support.

And the result? This improves blood circulation and reduces pressure points, paving the way for restful sleep.

By improving blood circulation and reducing pressure points, recliners create the ideal conditions for restful sleep.

Types of Recliners for Enhanced Sleep

Now you know about the greatness of the perfect recliner. But what’s the point without knowing exactly how to get your favorite? Stay with me so I can reveal it all…

Vive Health Lift Chair Recliner side view

Rocker Recliners

Imagine sinking into a cozy rocker recliner that gently lulls you into a deep, restful sleep.

These are perfect for expectant mothers, helping them relax comfortably, easing their back pain, and inducing sleep with the gentle rocking motion.

Zero-Gravity Recliners

The zero-gravity recliners are like magic for your weary body, removing the pressure and letting you drift off effortlessly.

These recliners distribute your weight evenly across the chair, reducing stress on your body and promoting better circulation.

Massage Recliners

Recliners equipped with massage and heating features are a lifesaver for those chilly nights or when you’re craving extra relaxation.

It’s akin to having a personal masseuse in your living room.

Wall-Hugger Recliners

If space is a constraint, wall-hugger recliners are ideal. They’re designed to take up less space while still providing the comfort of a traditional recliner.

Selecting the ideal recliner goes beyond its appearance.

Adjustability, padding, and additional features like built-in USB ports or storage pockets should be on your checklist.

A Harvard study explains, “Scientific research is revealing, for example, how sleep loss, and even poor-quality sleep, can lead to an increase in errors at the workplace. [7]”

So, why not invest in a recliner that could enhance your sleep quality, turning your nightly slumbers into an experience of rejuvenation?

Pro Tip: For superb lumbar support, use back braces – these nifty gadgets are excellent for a balanced posture when you sit in your chair – watch TV, read, or even sleep

Also, check out our other informative articles on related topics such as “most comfortable recliners for elderly,” “how long should you sleep in a recliner after shoulder surgery?” and “best sleep recliners for seniors.”

How Recliners Promote Health and Improve Sleep Quality (4 Benefits)

Regarding the health benefits of recliners, there’s more than meets the eye.

Beyond their comfort, recliners offer substantial health benefits. Here’s a closer look at these advantages:

#1 Reduces The Risk of Respiratory Problems

Sleeping in a recliner can help manage respiratory issues.

The semi-reclined position aids gravity in keeping your airways open, reducing the risk of sleep apnea and other respiratory conditions.

#2 Enhances Circulation

Recliners can significantly improve blood flow by elevating the legs and adjusting to your body’s shape.

This promotes a healthier heart and prevents conditions like deep vein thrombosis.

#3 Aids Pregnant Women

Sleeping in a reclined position can significantly alleviate back pain experienced during pregnancy, providing much-needed comfort and rest.

It’s essential, however, to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your sleep routine during pregnancy.

#4 Helps Symptom Control

Recliners can alleviate symptoms of various health issues, including acid reflux and chronic back pain, and aid recovery post-back surgery.

The health benefits of recliners might tempt you to make the switch.

The Comfort Factor Of Sleep Chairs

Beyond the health benefits, the sheer comfort factor of recliners also contributes to their growing popularity as a sleep solution.

In fact, comfort and “proper body support” are non-negotiable for good sleep, according to sleep experts from the Mayo Clinic [8].

More specifically, the plush cushioning, the ability to adjust your position easily, and the feeling of being nestled in a cozy embrace make recliners an appealing alternative to traditional beds.

Relief from Acid Reflux Symptoms with Recliners

Achieving the ‘zero gravity’ position can be challenging on a standard bed. Even with the help of multiple pillows, maintaining the correct posture can be difficult and uncomfortable.

Of course, gravity is a natural ally against acid reflux, especially when you’re in an upright position.

The recliner chair, particularly the power lift type, can help maintain this position even during sleep, alleviating symptoms.

When you’re upright, gravity can help keep stomach acid from rising into the esophagus, reducing the symptoms of acid reflux.

Surprisingly, a recliner chair, especially a power lift recliner, can elevate your upper body, potentially offering relief.

Discover the pros and cons of Lift Chairs or Power Assist Recliners in this informative video:

Does it Reduce Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Imagine a world where sleep apnea doesn’t disrupt your rest.

This could become your reality with a recliner chair – all because of proper positioning and effective support…

The semi-reclined position may prevent throat muscles from blocking the airway, promoting better sleep quality and reducing fatigue.

In addition, sleeping in a semi-reclined position could be a game-changer for those with sleep apnea.

This inclined position may prevent the throat muscles from blocking the airway, enhancing sleep quality and alleviating daily fatigue.

Does it relieve back pain?

Chronic back pain and conditions like spinal stenosis can find a friend in recliner chairs. By reducing pressure on the back and core muscles, a recliner can bring much-needed relief, especially post-back surgery.

From spinal stenosis to chronic pain, a recliner chair can relieve excess pressure on the back and core muscles.

This proves particularly beneficial when sleeping in a recliner post-back surgery.

Sleeping in a recliner after back surgery

Recovery after back surgery can be challenging, so proper support is mandatory…

Luckily, A recliner chair can ease this process by maintaining a semi-reclined position, relieving pressure on your back, and promoting healing.

In addition, such a chair can be a godsend in the recovery phase after back surgery.

More specifically, maintaining a semi-reclined position takes the pressure off your back, allowing the surgical site to heal without additional stress.

Potential Risks and Guidelines for Optimizing Recliner Sleep

Like any good thing, even the most comfortable recliner has downsides if not used wisely.

However, reclining properly can minimize these side effects and maximize your benefits.

Breathing Challenges

While a recliner can be a haven for restful sleep, it can sometimes pose some breathing difficulties.

If you spend prolonged periods in a reclined position, it could potentially exacerbate existing respiratory conditions.

Remember to monitor your breathing and adjust your position for optimal comfort and health.

Joint Stiffness

Joint stiffness can occur if you remain stationary in your recliner for extended periods. This is where the art of sleeping in a recliner truly comes into play.

Ensuring regular movement and periodic adjustments can alleviate potential stiffness and keep your joints flexible and comfortable.

Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Extended periods of inactivity in any position, including a reclining one, could increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis due to impaired circulation.

To counteract this, periodically adjust your position, flex your muscles, and keep blood flowing efficiently.

Circulation Challenges

Impaired circulation can also be a side effect of prolonged reclining. Adjusting the chair comfortably and using additional pillows for support if needed is essential.

What’s great is that regular movement can also help prevent blood congestion and promote healthier circulation.

By mastering the art of sleeping in a recliner, you can minimize these potential side effects while maximizing the many health benefits recliners offer.

So, get cozy, make those adjustments, and enjoy a restful, reclined sleep.

Mastering the Art of Sleeping in a Recliner

If you’ve decided to embrace recliner sleep, here’s how to make the most of it:

  • Proper Positioning: Ensure your recliner is adjusted to support your body’s natural alignment. Your head should be slightly elevated, and your knees should be level with your heart.
  • Supportive Accessories: Choose pillows that support your neck and back. Memory foam pillows can adapt to your body’s contours, providing additional comfort and support.
  • Regular Movement: Make sure to move around periodically. Shifting your position occasionally can help prevent stiffness and circulation problems.

For more perks to recliners, let’s look at frequently asked questions…

FAQs

1. Can sleeping in a recliner cause health issues?

Yes, long-term use of recliners for sleeping can lead to certain health issues, such as joint stiffness, breathing problems, and potentially deep vein thrombosis due to impaired circulation.

2. Is sleeping in a recliner good for back pain?

Yes, a recliner can relieve back pain by reducing pressure on the back and core muscles. It can be especially beneficial for those recovering from back surgery.

3. Are recliners safe for pregnant women to sleep in?

Sleeping in a recliner can alleviate back pain and improve blood circulation during pregnancy.
However, consulting with a healthcare professional before significantly changing your sleep routine is crucial.

Conclusion

If you’re still wondering why one might sleep better in a recliner than in a bed, let’s recap the key points:

While deciding to switch from a traditional bed to a recliner is personal, understanding the potential benefits and precautions can help make an informed choice.

Whether it’s relief from health conditions or the simple lure of unmatched comfort, the recliner could be your answer to a good night’s sleep.

a woman relaxing on a recliner

Resources

1. Academy of Sleep. Hidden Health Crisis Costing America Billions Underdiagnosing and Undertreating Obstructive Sleep Apnea Draining Healthcare System [Internet]. 2014. Available from: https://aasm.org/resources/pdf/sleep-apnea-economic-crisis.pdf

2. Obstructive sleep apnea Information | Mount Sinai – New York [Internet]. Mount Sinai Health System. [cited 2023 May 9]. Available from: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/report/obstructive-sleep-apnea

3. Dimitriu, MD A. Guest blogger Dr. Alex Dimitriu discusses sleep, CBTi and following your grandmother’s advice [Internet]. European Sleep Works. 2014 [cited 2023 May 9]. Available from: https://sleepworks.com/2014/02/05/guest-blogger-dr-alex-dimitriu-discusses-sleep-cbti-and-following-your-grandmothers-advice/

4. Baek S, Yu H, Roh J, Lee J, Sohn I, Kim S, et al. Effect of a Recliner Chair with Rocking Motions on Sleep Efficiency. Sensors [Internet]. 2021;21:8214. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/21/24/8214/htm

5. Technology and Sleep [Internet]. National Sleep Foundation. 2020. Available from: https://www.thensf.org/technology-and-sleep/

6. Pellegrini M, Lannin NA, Mychasiuk R, Graco M, Kramer SF, Giummarra MJ. Measuring Sleep Quality in the Hospital Environment with Wearable and Non-Wearable Devices in Adults with Stroke Undergoing Inpatient Rehabilitation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 May 10];20:3984. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10001748

7. Sleep, Performance, and Public Safety | Healthy Sleep [Internet]. healthysleep.med.harvard.edu. 2007. Available from: https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-performance-and-public-safety

8. Howland J. Mayo Clinic Minute: What is the best sleeping position? [Internet]. Mayo Clinic News Network. 2022. Available from: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-what-is-the-best-sleeping-position/

About Author

Haley Burress
Haley has been working with seniors and their caregivers for more than 17 years. She has held local and national leadership roles in a variety of senior services and senior care agencies. Today, she is a sought after writer specializing in topics for older adults, their family members, and professional caregivers. When she isn't at her computer sipping coffee, you can find her hiking with her husband, son, and dog or trying a new cookie recipe in the kitchen. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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