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Sleeping on a Couch Good or Bad

Fact Checked
Up to date
Update: May 19, 2023
5 min read

Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
Illustration Of Sleeping On Couch

Falling asleep on the couch is something all of us can relate to. Whether during a binge-watching session or after a tiring day at work when we couldn’t make our way to the bedroom, sleeping on the couch is a common habit of most of us. But is it OK to sleep on a couch? Or is it something that we should avoid for the sake of our health? We’ll analyze the topic in detail as you scroll down.

Should you Sleep on the Couch?

We all know the mattress is the safest option for a good night’s sleep. Yet, sleeping on the couch occasionally won’t harm your health altogether. Occasionally is an important word here because sleeping on the couch regularly can adversely affect your health.

As we’ve mentioned before, there could be multiple reasons why you choose to sleep on the couch. Sometimes, it can be the sudden arrival of a guest you’re accommodating in the bedroom or the comfortable temperature of your living room. So, it’s OK to only sleep on the couch in such situations.

Benefits of Sleeping on the Couch

Though sleeping on the couch daily isn’t a good practice, below are some benefits. If you’re suffering from any health condition mentioned below, laying on a couch may help you control the symptoms.

Easier to Elevate Head

If your couch has armrests, it can help you to keep your head elevated during sleep. Raising your head while sleeping will benefit you in multiple ways by preventing specific health issues, which are explained below.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a common digestive issue that irritates our food pipe lining with bile or acid. Heartburn and acid reflux is the main symptom of this disease. This health condition may get worse if you lie down without a pillow. Hence, keeping your head elevated by 10 inches on your couch’s armrest may help you feel and sleep better with GERD.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a health condition when your throat’s muscles relax during sleep, obstructing the airway and leading to choking. Recent research shows that sleeping with the head elevated has helped people suffering from OSA. Snoring is another condition that may be reduced when you sleep on the couch occasionally.

Orthostatic Hypotension

It’s a health condition that reduces our blood pressure when standing and increases it when lying down. Hence, if you’re suffering from Orthostatic Hypotension, your doctor might suggest you sleep with the head slightly elevated, which is possible on a couch.

A Cold or Cough

Postnasal drip is a common condition that may arise during a typical cold and cough. It occurs when you lie down, and the mucus runs down your throat. It can make your condition worse, leading to increased cough and congestion. In such situations, sleeping on the couch with your head elevated may provide you with comfort and better sleep.

It Might Help if You Have Insomnia

Insomnia is a condition that leads to staying awake at night for the inability to sleep. If you have insomnia, you can try sleeping on the couch for a few days. It might help you to get better sleep by changing the sleep environment.

Potentially Improved Sleep Environment

As mentioned above, sleeping on the couch can bring an alternative to the atmosphere of your bedroom. Whether you’re suffering from a lack of sleep or not, it can reduce boredom and provide you with a deeper sleep than usual.

Drawbacks of Sleeping on the Couch

There are downsides to sleeping on the couch as well. Here are some symptoms that may arise if you sleep on the couch daily. You must shift to your bed immediately if you notice any such conditions.

May Cause Back and Neck Pain

It’s one of the most common hazards of sleeping on the couch. If you start sleeping on the couch regularly, you may wake up with a lot of pain in your back and neck. In the future, it can change your spinal alignment and lead to spondylitis. Hence, it’s better to change your mattress rather than shift from your bed to your couch for better sleep.

It May Cause Leg Pain

If your couch has limited space, your legs might stick over its edge during sleep. Leg elevation during sleep occasionally can result in better blood circulation. But the same posture may also lead to pain in the limbs and numbness of your legs.

Not Safe for Infants

Sleeping on the couch with an infant isn’t at all a good idea. Babies should sleep in their cot till they are 1-2 years old. While you shouldn’t share your bed with them, the sofa or couch can also be dangerous for them to sleep on. That’s because couches usually have soft surfaces, leading to suffocation. Plus, there are chances of falling, which is even worse.

May Lead to Poor Sleep Quality

If you live in an apartment with other family members, there can be disturbances while sleeping on the couch in your living room. It can lead to uneasiness and poor sleep quality. In addition, the movements of others and disturbing noises may interrupt your sleep and cause frequent wake-ups.

Limited Space

Dozing off on the couch is sometimes a compulsion for some of us. That’s because of the limited space in our modern apartments. Still, you must look for other options, such as transformable furniture. A foldable bed like a sofa is always a better option for sleep than a couch.

How to Get Better Sleep on the Couch

Sofa vs couch is a widespread debate when choosing an alternative sleeping surface. If you’re wondering which one would be better and how to get better sleep on the couch, here are some useful tips to try.

Creating a Firm Surface

Usually, couches offer ultra soft surfaces, which are apt for sitting or resting. If you want to relax and watch a movie, there’s no better option than your couch. But to ensure better sleep, you need to work on preparing the surface. The cushions of your couch aren’t designed with springs inside, which can lead to a sore back. Hence, you can place a blanket or duvet on the couch before sleeping. That’ll protect your bone and muscle health to a great extent.

Making it Wider

A huge problem of sleeping on the couch is the chance of slipping off repeatedly as you roll over. You must make your couch a little wider to save yourself from such incidents. The best way to do it is by removing the back cushions. That’ll make your couch wider and help you to get uninterrupted sleep.

Add a Sheet

For some of us, sleeping on the ultra-soft surface of a couch can be uncomfortable. However, you can compare the surface with a mattress and know the difference. If you’re having the same issue, adding a sheet to your couch can be the ultimate solution. It’ll make the surface like your bed and let you sleep happily.

Steal the Blankets

During cold winter nights, a blanket is something you’ll never forget by your side. If you’re sleeping over at a friend’s place on the couch, don’t forget to steal a blanket. Throw blankets and pillows isn’t sufficient as they’ll wake you up from the cold.


Sleeping on a couch occasionally isn’t harmful, but in case you want to make it a daily routine, make sure you follow the above tips. By now, you already know that sleeping on the couch has its pros and cons. Following the above tips will help you with all the benefits and eliminate the risk of adverse effects.


Why do I always sleep on the couch?

You may end up sleeping on the couch after relaxing or enjoying a movie. It’s not a good habit if you do it regularly.

What happens if you lay on the couch all day?

Laying on the couch all day can increase the chances of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart problems. Hence, you need to include a little activity in your routine.

Is it better to sleep on the couch or the floor?

Sleeping on the couch is better than sleeping directly on the floor. But, if you’re placing a mattress on the floor, it’s better than the couch.

What’s the healthiest way to sleep?

The healthiest way to sleep is sleeping on the back or side. These postures are better than sleeping on your stomach.


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Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
Bachelor's in English Literature and Health Sciences Previously wrote blog articles for various Doctors for their websites Familiarity with various content management systems and SEO best practices

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