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6 Health Reasons To Avoid Sleeping On Couch

It can be very difficult to sleep on a couch as they are not designed for that.

Often to grab a little nap in the afternoon, or while reading a book, or watching television we tend to lie down on the couch. Couches are designed to sit in an upright- not as a place to sleep.

Sleeping on the sofa has been linked with numerous health problems such as digestive and physical pains.

6 Health Reasons To Avoid Sleeping On Couch

6 Health Reasons To Avoid Sleeping On Couch

Sleeping On The Couch Can Lead To Back And Neck Pain

  • According to several studies sleeping posture is a predictor of stiffness, back pain and neck pain(1)
  • Waking up at night due to pain in the neck or a pinched nerve can be due to the wrong sleeping posture. Sleeping with spine and neck support is the safest way to sleep and sleeping on the couch does not support this posture.
  • A habit of sleeping on the couch can cause long term damage to the lumbar spine and the neck.

Sleeping On The Couch May Lead To Leg Pain

  • If while lying on the couch, it seems shorter than your length, your legs might awkwardly stick over the edge of the couch while sleeping.
  • Legs dangling for a long time can lead to numbness and tingling in the lower limbs.

Poor Sleep Quality

  • As there would not be much space to change sides, sleeping on the couch would end up in poor sleep quality. This could wake you from sleep. There can also be a fall due to a lack of space.
  • Also, if you fall asleep in shared space chances of sleep being interrupted due to someone else’s movement would increase.
  • Sleep can also get disturbed due to the light and sound of the television.

Digestive Complaints

  • Most of the time people after having meals return to the couch and when in an easy position fall asleep. This can bring about gastrointestinal complaints.
  • People who often sleep immediately after having meals complain of burning, acidity, and difficulty in digesting food.

Couches Can Be An Unhygienic Place To Sleep On

  • Bed sheets are washed often and this does not apply for the couches. They carry germs such as spilled snacks, kid’s germs, and pet danders.
    According to a study, a couch can be twelve times dirtier than the toilet(2)
  • Sleeping on the couch exposes you to a range of bacteria, viruses, and allergens. This can impact health as well as sleep.

A Couch Cannot Keep The Body Cool

  • Mattresses are designed to absorb the body heat and keep you cool and couches are designed for style.
  • The non-breathable fabrics that may be durable for longevity, but might give sweaty sleep instead of sweet dreams.
  • A poll done in 2012 had 86% of respondents who said that comfortable sheets and beddings was a key to good night sleep(3)
  • Dozing off occasionally on a couch is not a problem but if it happens every day, it might pose health risks. However, if you have to sleep on a couch due to some reasons, here are a few tips that can help prevent the above-mentioned health risks.
  • Cover the couch with a breathable cotton sheet while sleeping
  • Do not fill the couch with pillows to sleep on. You can use a firm pillow to support the neck while sleeping.
  • Position yourself properly. Stretch yourself fully so that the back is flat while sleeping.
  • Turn off the television and the lights that can affect your sleep. Be away from the screen for at least an hour before sleep.
  • Do not exercise or eat a big meal 3 hours before sleep time.
  • Sleep at the same time every night.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 19, 2021

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