We’ve all slept on the couch sometimes. Dozing off on your couch while watching television or reading your book once in a while will do you no harm. But it certainly can affect your health if you make it a habit. A couch is designed for sitting; it is not designed to support your back or neck when you sleep on it through the night. Here are some of the negative consequences of sleeping on the couch in long term.
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1. Wrong sleeping position
A couch is a lot shorter and narrower than a bed. You have to get into a foetal position to lie on a couch. Staying in this position through the night can cause stiffness in your back and neck. While it may be more tempting to doze off on your couch than waking up to your bedroom, you may end up getting up even more tired than when you slept off.
2. Wrong material
The material that the couch is made up of may be good for sitting but is not suitable for sleeping. You may end up feeling too cold or hot while sleeping on the couch as different materials conduct heat differently. Clean and comfortable sheets are important for good quality sleep. A couch and a couch just cannot match up to a bed.
3. Back pain
Many couches are softer than mattresses. You are not able to align for spine properly when you sleep on a couch. Some other couches are made up of dense polyurethane foam.
These couches are very stiff and do not provide adequate support to your body while sleeping. All these factors can lead to chronic lower back pain. Your neck and shoulders can also get affected due to inadequate support.
4. Exposure to germs
According to a 2013 study, the number of bacteria strains found on couches can exceed the number of bacteria found on toilet seats. When we eat snacks, some crumbs may fall on the couch. Children also love to play on the couch.
Often we also allow our pets to sit on the couch with us. Bacterial colonies thrive in food, dust and dirt that they find in the couch.
Sleeping on the couch can cause bacterial infections. People with asthma and allergies should avoid sleeping on their couches as the dust and dirt can cause an adverse reaction.
5. Lights will keep you up
We all know how vital darkness is for deep sleep. Often, our living rooms have the brightest illumination in the house. They also have lots of blinking screens and gadgets. Blackout curtains are also not the most favourite choice for the living room. Sleeping in the living room with all these lights will affect your sleep and cause sleep deprivation.
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6. Disruptive distractions
Sleeping on the living room couch means that you are more likely to get distracted by electronics like television and laptops. You are more likely to binge watch your favourite television show if you sleep on your couch. You may also find yourself getting disturbed by other people when you sleep in the living room.
Follow these tips before sleeping on the couch
Sometimes it becomes difficult to avoid sleeping on a couch, especially if you are visiting someone. Here are some tips to make your sleep as comfortable as possible.
1. Strengthen your back muscles
Practice Yoga, Pilates or any other muscle building exercise to strengthen your back muscles. Stronger muscles mean better back support and you are less likely to have back pain.
2. Do stretches in the morning
You must do a few stretching exercise as soon as you get up in the morning. This will help loosen up your muscles and will lower the chances of you having a stiff back.
3. Rearrange cushions
Rearrange the cushions of the couch to get as much surface to sleep on as possible. The more space you create, the better will be your quality of sleep. Add some bed sheets to the cushions to make your sleep more pleasant.
4. Regulate temperature
Regulate the temperature of the room to make it as comfortable as you can. You will get better sleep if your room is not warm and stuffy.
If the light in the living room is disturbing your sleep, wear an eye mask. It will help you sleep better.
While you can occasionally nap on your couch or even spend a night on it, it is not a good idea to make it a regular habit. A couch is designed for sitting not for supporting your body when you sleep on it. Not only can sleep on your couch cause back and neck pain, but it can also play up your allergies. So, sleep on the bed for a better night’s rest and healthier life.