3 Negative Health Effects of Sleeping on the Couch

September 1, 2015 All posts Reverie Reverie

Sleeping on the couch can have some benefits. If you're after a quick nap, the inherent discomfort means you're unlikely to doze for too long, and couches are a little more versatile than your average bed—after all, unless you have a good adjustable bed foundation, it's tough to read in bed without putting your neck in an uncomfortable position.

But there are several reasons not to make a habit of dozing off on your favorite sectional…

1. Couches are too darn soft.

While it might be a little easier on the neck to read on the couch, it's certainly not easier on the neck if you want to sleep there. When staying on the couch seems just a bit too tempting, consider the following:

  • Mattresses are about providing your body with restorative support and healthy, neutral alignment from your head to your toes, while couches are about short-term comfort.
  • Sleeping on too-soft couch can throw your spine out of alignment. And given you're likely already doing a good job of that with your daily habits of sitting, slouching, and stiffness, youreally don't want to add extra hours of spinal strife with a couch sleeping habit.

2. Your couch is dirty.

Did you scrub the couch after having buddies over? Do you have a pet that spends a lot of time there? And if you lie on your couch regularly, are you putting your face where your feet have rested?

You get the point. In fact, a 2013 study found that there are more germs on the average family sofa than there are on the average toilet seat. Mashing your face into those cushions for a semi-satisfying snooze doesn't seem so appealing now, does it?

3. You're in a room full of blue light.

Between your TV, the cable box, and our omnipresent cellphone, napping in there is all but shining a flashlight in your eyes.

Okay, that's a little hyperbolic, but surrounding yourself with electronics is not setting yourself up for good sleep: the sources of artificial light in the average home quadrupled over the past 50 years, while sleep deficiency increased alongside, and studies actually show that the longer you spend around screens, the harder it may be to fall asleep.

In short, sleeping in rooms that aren't entirely dark can profoundly mess with your internal clock.

But hey, after a few too many hours of Netflix, the best of us have found ourselves sleeping on the couch for hours at a time. Next time that happens, just alleviate the spinal tension with some simple yoga moves and remember to make the trek to the bedroom before beginning the next episode.