Sleeping in a Recliner: Is It Bad for You?

Have you ever fallen asleep on your recliner while watching TV and later wondered if it is okay to sleep in a recliner? Did you feel that you slept better in a recliner? Or perhaps you prefer sleeping on your bed more because you are so used to it? Many people enjoy sleeping in a recliner because the slightly reclined position is beneficial for several reasons. If you have ever wondered whether sleeping in a recliner is considered safe and what its benefits and side effects are, you are at the right place!

Sleeping is crucial for the human body because it is a time when your body heals properly. Your brain recharges when you are asleep, and your body’s cells are replaced. If you are not getting sufficient sleep, it can lead to a few problems, including heart issues, kidney diseases, high blood pressure, and poor brain function and performance.

Lying down horizontally on your bed is probably the ideal sleeping position for you because it relaxes your heart rate and destresses your spine. However, in many situations, sleeping in a recliner might be better for your body and brain than sleeping horizontally on your bed.

Does sleeping in a recliner benefit my body?

There is no definite answer to this question in the form of a yes or no because sleeping in a recliner is beneficial in many ways that are specific to the situation you are in.

Benefits of sleeping in a recliner

The following are some of the famous benefits of sleeping in a recliner chair that make people invest in a recliner so they can enjoy these benefits to the max.

Fighting acid reflux

Acid reflux occurs when your stomach’s contents are pushed to your esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn, nausea, and migraine, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. People who suffer from GERD condition or acid reflux experience these symptoms at night when trying to sleep. The muscle between your esophagus and stomach is known as the lower esophageal muscle, which normally remains shut for most people. However, for people suffering from acid reflux or GERD, this muscle does not completely shut, which causes the acid to move back into the esophagus.

Here is where the recliner comes in to save the day! Doctors recommend that patients who suffer from acid reflux or GERD sleep in a slightly reclined position to keep the stomach’s contents from flowing into the esophagus. The reclined position does this with the help of gravity, as the contents remain in the stomach. Sleeping in a recliner will reduce acid reflux symptoms by a large margin and help you get a peaceful night’s sleep.

Helping with sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition among many people. It happens when the muscles in your throat relax during your sleep and block the airways to the lungs. Blocking the airways can result in loud snoring and abruptly waking up during the night, causing you to be tired during the day.

Sleeping with your head slightly elevated has proven to fight sleep apnea symptoms without impacting the quality of your sleep. About 30 to 60 degrees of elevation is ideal for improving sleep apnea symptoms, and sleeping in a recliner is the best way to achieve this head elevation.


Getting sufficient sleep during pregnancy is important for women. Pregnant women may suffer from different symptoms that could cause disturbance during their sleep. Some of these conditions are GERD, sleep apnea, and extreme back pain.

In fact, women are recommended to avoid sleeping on their back during certain trimesters because the baby’s weight can compress the inferior vena cava, which is responsible for returning blood to your heart. If the inferior vena cava gets compressed, it can lead to poor blood circulation and high blood pressure both in the mother and the fetus.

Women in these trimesters are encouraged to sleep on their side, but sleeping in a recliner can be a great alternative if sleeping on your side is uncomfortable for you.

Relaxation Room Staff Sgt. Misty Horton, dietary therapist, from the 21st Aerospace Medicine Dental Squadron at the HAWC, demonstrates the massage chair in the Relaxation Room at Peterson Air Force Base Health and Wellness Center. The HAWC is participating in the Feb 23 Family HEARTS/Key Family Member Program during the “Free Spa Event.” (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Derrick M. Gildner)

Post-surgery care

After certain surgeries, patients are given some motion restrictions which they need to follow. For example, after shoulder surgery, patients are not allowed to sleep on their back since their operated area can not stand the pressure. Post-operation patients are recommended to sleep in a slightly reclined position to avoid putting pressure on the operated area.

After a hip replacement surgery, patients have trouble getting out of a chair without putting pressure on their hip bone. For such patients, recliner lift chairs are designed to help lift them off the recliner seat with ease.

Side effects of sleeping in a recliner

Although there are many benefits of sleeping in a recliner chair, some users may experience side effects after prolonged use without taking any breaks. Sitting in any position for too long is not good for you; the same concept applies to recliner chairs as well.

Stiff joints

If you sleep in a recliner every day for too long, your joints may feel stiff after you wake up. Your hip and knees are bent throughout your sleep on the recliner and can cause tight hips, calf muscles, and poor posture.

Poor blood circulation

Prolonged use of the recliner can cause compression of the blood vessels, leading to poor blood circulation in your body. It might be better to not keep your legs in the same position for too long and switch between folding and straightening them throughout your sleep.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Can I sleep in a power recliner?

Yes! Sleeping in a power recliner is no different from sleeping in a manual one, except that power recliners come with additional features that you might enjoy more.

  1. Should I buy a recliner before or after my surgery?

You should buy and figure out the working of your recliner before going into surgery since you will be restricted from moving a lot post-operation.


Everything has its pros and cons, and the same applies to sleeping in a recliner as well. Sleeping in a recliner can benefit many users depending on their situation; however, it is important to understand that overuse of any object can have side effects. As long as you know sleeping in a recliner is better for your situation, you should go for it!

Last updated: 8/10/2022

About Karen Miller

Hello! I'm Karen Miller, an interior designer from Chicago with a passion for creating beautiful and functional spaces. After leading designer at Chicago Interior LLC in 2010-2020, I started to share my expertise on home comfort. I'm excited to help you transform your home into a place of comfort and joy. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

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