Is It Okay to Sleep on the Couch?
Curious about whether those afternoon naps on the couch or a little post-binge-watching nodding-off are a bad idea? Well, we're here to tell you yes, it is definitely a bad idea. (We know, we know—that's a bit of a bummer.)
Sure, falling asleep on the couch has a couple of advantages: if you're after a quick nap, the inherent discomfort means you're unlikely to doze for too long, and couches can be a little more versatile than your average bed—after all, it's usually tougher 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...
Couches aren't supportive.
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 for an extended period of time. When staying on the couch seems just a bit too tempting, consider the following:
- Your mattress helps to provide your body with restorative support and healthy, neutral alignment from your head to your toes, while couches really only provide short-term comfort and are not meant for full-body support.
- Sleeping on a too-soft couch can throw your spine out of alignment. And given the everyday toll our backs already take from our lifting, bending, and sitting in office chairs, you really don't want to add extra hours of spinal strife with a couch sleeping habit.
Your couch is a germ-collector.
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?
If you're on the couch, you're getting bombarded by 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, sometimes a binge-watch goes a little past our bedtime, and even the best of us can fall into a tempting couch snooze. The best thing you can do is just try to catch yourself next time before you start nodding off, and make the walk to your comfier bed for a healthy night of sleep.