If you’ve ever woken up with a sore back after a nap on the couch you probably know that your sleep needs are much better met by a nice mattress and pillow. While falling asleep on the couch when sick or watching the game isn’t a big deal; there are in fact several reasons why you should avoid sleeping on anything other than a bed (preferably yours). Below we outline the top 5 reasons why you should avoid the couch come nighttime:
- Alignment- As we’ve mentioned before, the alignment of your entire body while sleeping is crucial for your legs, back, and neck. Keeping your spine straight with this rest of your extremities is the most important part of sleeping and can prevent sore muscles all throughout your body. So why is the couch bad for this? Couches are much softer than mattresses with a lot less support (coils/memory foam) as they are designed to keep your butt and legs comfortable sitting for long periods. This lack of support causes you to sink in after extended stay; you may hear some people call this the crater effect. Funny as it sounds, it is a serious issue. The longer you sleep in this ‘crater’ the more part of your body slips in, causing serious neck and back problems the next morning.
- Cooling- This is one of the most important aspects of sleep. No matter the time of year, your personal preference, or the amount of blankets you use; cooling is crucial to sleep for everyone. When your body is not cooled properly, you sweat, or even get chills. If you’re reading this you’ve most likely figured out what the perfect temperature level is when you sleep based on your specific mattress, sheets, pillows, and blankets/comforters. When people sleep on the couch, for whatever reason there may be, they may find their sleeping temperature greatly disturbed. This is because mattresses and other sleep products like pillows and sheets have cooling technology that allows your body to breathe while you sleep and reach a balanced temperature. Couches do not possess this technology, and sleeping on one can lead to sore muscles, sweating, and even insomnia. If you absolutely must sleep on the couch, make sure you adjust for the temperature difference by using a different blanket or even adjusting the ambient temperature around you.
- Pillows- One of the most common mistakes when sleeping on the couch is using throw/decorative pillows to support your head. These pillows, while they may look nice; are not at all designed to support your head and keep your neck aligned with your spine. The average human head weighs 11lbs! If you’ve ever woken up with a terrible kink in your neck then you know the trouble of improper neck alignment all too well. Be sure that if you must sleep somewhere other than in bed, you have a proper pillow that supports your head, and gives a greater level of comfort over your couches accent pillows.
- Size- We can’t argue that couches are great for fitting two or three people watching television, reading, or playing video games. That’s what couches are designed for, people sitting. When you lay on a couch, the size of the cushions, arm rests, back cushions, and your body seem to begin fighting for precious space. Many couches have large back pillows, cushions that sit at different heights due to wear or recliners in the outer cushions. Laying on a couch, especially one that you don’t properly fit on can cause an abundance of issues. Not only will your body be not properly supported, but your sleep position may be different than normal. This can cause acid reflux, sinus problems, and pins and needles in your arms or legs. It is also important that you should avoid sleeping in a reclined position, while napping on your recliner or reclined sofa can be great an hour after lunch, sleeping in it overnight is very unnatural. Sleeping in a recliner prevents many people from entering REM sleep and also causes severe neck pain, as it is difficult to support your head in that position.
- Environment- We’ve also talked about this one in the past, but it is a crucial aspect of sleep for a lot of people. Most couches are not located in the same room as your bed, which means to sleep on the couch you’re moving out into another room and drastically altering your sleep environment. As discussed in reason two, the temperature may differ, you may be disturbed by lights and sounds that you’re not accustom to, and if someone gets up in the morning before you, they will most likely wake you up with them. In addition, the TV is usually near the couch, and you will want to avoid leaving it on while you sleep, even on mute the moving images and blue light will greatly impede your success at entering REM sleep.
No matter your reason for sleeping on the couch, we urge you to find another way. Perhaps you can use a guest room if you have one or if your couch is a pull out, use that. If your mattress is the issue for any reason, we would be delighted to help you learn all about mattresses, pillows, sheets, and all aspects of sleep in order to help you pick out something that gets you the sleep you deserve at a price you can afford. Stop in or call anytime to speak with one of our factory trained sleep experts, and remember not to sleep on the couch.