The Pros and Cons of Sleeping on the Couch: Tips for Better Rest

Last updated: September 12th, 2023

Can Sleeping on the Couch be a Good Idea?

As delightful as it can be to curl up on the couch after a long day, it is important to know if there are potential drawbacks and benefits of this type of sleeping. We will explore the ins and outs of couch sleeping and provide some tips to get the best sleep possible.

Studies have found that sofa sleeping is associated with later bedtimes and reduced sleep quality. However, the underlying causes for these connections have not been widely tested, and more research is needed. Whatever the cause of decreased sleep quality, it is important to prevent this from becoming a habit.

Risks of Sleeping on the Couch

Sleeping on the couch poses several risks, especially for infants. This is especially unsafe if the adult falls asleep while holding the infant, as the cushions can easily obstruct the baby's breathing. Additionally, the adult can roll on top of the baby in their sleep, and the hard furniture pieces surrounding the couch can pose more serious safety hazards. It is best to provide infants with their own safe space, such as a crib with a firm mattress, to sleep on.

The lack of support on the couch, besides the soft cushions, can also contribute to the development of back pain. Instead of sleeping in a neutral position, couch sleepers have their spines curved while sleeping, which puts more pressure on the delicate tissues in the back. Couch nappers can also end up with a stiff neck after a short sleep, as the head has often dropped forward due to its own weight.

Finally, the couch is often full of dust, dirt, and allergens that can cause issues for individuals with allergies. Vacuuming or steam-cleaning the sofa and surrounding areas can help to reduce the dust and dirt that accumulates there.

Benefits of Couch Sleeping

Although couch sleeping is not ideal in the long-term, there are some situations where it can be beneficial, such as with college students who share living spaces. In these cases, it is more ideal to provide a comfortable living area with reduced distractions compared to a shared bedroom, which can lead to restorative sleep. In some cases, retreating to a different room, or the couch, can be beneficial in escaping from noisy sleep partners or providing companionship.

Tips for Better Couch Sleeping

Although it is best to have access to a comfortable mattress, couch sleepers can make the most out of their situation. Adding pillows and blankets can create a more comfortable surface for the body to rest on and add support. It is also important to make sure that the cushions of the couch are not impeding breathing in any way.

To get the most out of couch sleeping, it is important to practice good sleep hygiene. One key step is to turn off any distractions and eliminate blue light exposure within two hours of sleep. Focusing on relaxation techniques and winding down can help to reduce stress and make it easier for you to fall asleep. Setting a sleep schedule and following it can also help to regulate circadian rhythms and make falling asleep easier.

The Takeaway

In some cases, sleeping on the couch can be restorative and beneficial. In the long-term, however, it is important to find a supportive mattress that suits you and your body for better sleep. It is important to practice good sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques to make sure you are getting the best sleep possible and to keep you safe in all sleeping environments.

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