Whether we sit down intending to or not, we have all found ourselves using recliners for sleeping. Maybe it was an accidental nap or maybe it was by design. Regardless, seeing someone sound asleep reclined back in a chair is not uncommon. In fact, many people enjoy sleeping in recliners.
When we think of sleep, we almost automatically think of a bed. Lying down makes sense when we want to sleep. It keeps us from falling over, and it slows our heart rate. Getting horizontal is our natural inclination, even if we just curl up on the floor.
Recliners are relatively new (compared to the bed), but for some people, sleep recliners may be the better choice. Our ancestors knew of only one way to sleep. If they had had a choice, would they have chosen differently?
Are some recliners better suited to sleeping, however? Is there something that sets apart a more standard chair to those that almost encourage sleep?
While most of us only doze off in a recliner by accident, for some people, it is a conscious choice guided by health reasons. A sleep recliner may be healthier than a bed for sleeping.
4 Benefits of Sleeping in a Recliner
There are several potential benefits to sleeping in a recliner chair instead of a bed.
1 – Reduces of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a fairly common condition, involving a prickly, burning sensation in the chest that is rising up to your neck. This disorder can be very uncomfortable, especially while you trying to sleep. For this reason, many people choose to get relief by using a recliner for sleeping.
This is not as strange as it may sound. When your torso is partially upright while sleeping, as it will be in a recliner, the symptoms of acid reflux will decrease, and you will feel more comfortable.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, approximately 20 percent of the American population suffers from acid reflux. That is a large number, and the disorder can cause complications if it is not treated. The symptoms of acid reflux are a burning in the chest and a bitter taste as food is regurgitated back up from your stomach. This can happen if the esophagus is not operating well.
How can a recliner for sleeper help with acid reflux? First of all, relaxing in a recliner provides an immediate great feeling as it strategically provided needed back support.
When you position your recliner properly, your breathing improves. When your torso is elevated, gravity will do its job and to improve your digestion and reduce acid reflux. According to the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, resting on your lift side at a slight incline is the best way to deal with acid reflux. And this is a job for a recliner job. If you sleep on a bed, you can only sleep in the horizontal position. You have no other option. A recliner chair will raise your head, however slightly, creating the perfect sleeping position.
2 – Helps with Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea causes the muscles in your throat to block the airways, depriving you of desperately needed oxygen while you are sleeping. This leads to poor sleeping habits and chronic fatigue during the day. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the symptoms of sleep apnea may be alleviated considerably by sleeping with the head in an elevated position. In a 2017 study, even a 7.5 degree elevation improved the quality of sleep of persons with sleep apnea. Such a position can be readily achieved in a recliner for sleeping.
3 – Alleviates Back Pain
Back pain affects many people. The back does a lot of work, with the muscles always providing proper balance for our bodies.
This video has some obvious marketing to it, but it’s also informative if you care considering recliners for sleeping to alleviate back pain:
When there is excess pressure on our spine, a recliner for sleeping can help remove some of that pressure by allowing us to relax and sleep in the reclining position with our feet elevated. When we elevate our feet, we send needed blood to our lower back, which can subsequently become stronger.
4 – Helps Sleeping After Surgery
As we get older, the need for shoulder surgery can increase. The post-op period can be painful and make get proper sleep even more difficult. Doctors highly recommend using a recliner for sleeping for several weeks post-surgery to prevent any muscle strain from occurring. As a matter of fact, doctors do not recommend sleeping on one’s back or side following shoulder surgery. The horizontal sleeping position can easily exacerbate post-surgery problems. A recliner for sleeping is just what the doctor ordered.
This means sleeping at an incline for perhaps longer than a month. This will help heal the shoulder the fastest and it keeps the muscles from straining. It also keeps the sleeper from tossing during sleep, which can cause damage and add to the pain.
How to Pick the Best Recliners
Sleep recliners come with a variety of features. You will likely be spending considerable time in this chair, and you will want to personalize it to your advantage as much as possible.
Here are some of the features to consider before making this important purchase.
- Think about the upholstery. Leather can be smooth and soft, but it is not the best sleeping material. If you want a chair with leather upholstery, be sure to use a sheet before going to sleep. Otherwise, simply purchase a reclining chair made with fabric, which is more breathable. And you can probably match the color of the fabric to the rest of the room.
- A power reclining chair may be a better choice than a manual one. Power recliners give you much more control over the positions and angles. The manual recliners usually only have three different positions that you can make work for you. Power-driven recliners can work best for seniors with limited mobility.
- Choose the chair with the right back. Ensure you have a chair with excellent lumbar support, which usually means extra-thick padding. You should also be able to elevate your feet easily. Consider the cushion. Is it thick enough, or will you need extra pillows for support?
- Size does matter. Certain sleep recliners are meant to accommodate sitters weighing 300 lbs. or more. A petite person may be swallowed up in such a chair.
- Some sleep recliners come with incredibly luxurious extras. Want a massage, heat option, side pockets, cup holders, etc.? These great features will probably add to the cost but think of the hours you will be spending in that chair. Will a massage be worth the expense? The choice is yours, but the answer is probably yes.
Many seniors truly enjoy using their sleep recliners and may prefer it to their bed. Frequently, their health depends on not sleeping in a total horizon position, such as those suffering from sleep apnea.
Once you have been to a sleep center and are officially diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor will be able to write a prescription that will likely enable Medicare to pay for your new sleep recliner. That will provide you not only with physical relief, but relief to your wallet. Then you can sit back with a book or senior TV remote.
How to Sleep in a Recliner Chair
Once you have that comfy chair sitting wherever you intend to use it for sleeping, consider these comfort steps to more easily move into dreamland…
- Place a top sheet on the recliner, especially if it is made of leather. Tuck the sheet in to ensure it does not tangle with the food rest.
- Have a blanket and a pillow within reach in the event you need them.
- Before going to sleep in your sleep recliner, turns off the lights except one, which should be by the recliner chair.
- If needed, consider using extra pillows for your neck and knees to help achieve perfect comfort.
By following the above tips, you can turn your sleep recliner into a comfortable night’s sleep – or at least a really long nap!