Couches were made for sitting and lounging, not sleeping. A half hour nap is fine but trying to get a full night’s sleep on your sofa is bad for your back and generally your whole body.
But sometimes it’s inevitable. Perhaps you had a disagreement with your partner or maybe there are guests coming over and you have to sleep on the coach for a couple of nights.
For those times when you have no other place to sleep, here are some essential tips on how to comfortably sleep on the couch.
But first, a few reasons why you shouldn’t make a habit of sleeping on the sofa.
5 reasons you should not sleep on the sofa
- It’s awful for your back. Mattresses are specifically designed to evenly distribute your body weight, contour around your pressure points and support your back. The design and materials used in sofas are not conducive for a good night’s sleep. A night on the sofa can cause some back pain, multiple nights can lead to serious back problems.
- It’s awful for your entire body. It’s not just your back that will suffer. Your neck, muscle and joints will all feel stiff and sometimes painful. This is caused by lack of support and proper pressure relief.
- It’s bad for your sleep. Your body and mind needs an optimal environment to properly rest. A couch does not provide that. That’s why, when you sleep on the couch, you often wake up feeling tired and unrested. This in turn lowers your productivity at work or school.
- It’s uncomfortable. I’m sure you already know this from experience but it’s worth emphasizing just how uncomfortable a couch can be. You are forced to sleep in an unnatural position and you cannot even turn and move around at night. Many couches also contain materials that can make you feel too warm or too cold at night.
- There are more disruptions when you sleep on a couch in the living room. This could be from other members of the family coming in and out of the room, someone watching TV or gadgets like smartphones.
How to sleep comfortably on the couch
If a bed is not available, we have some tips to help you sleep better.
If you can, find an alternative to the sofa. You can sleep on a mattress placed on the floor. An air mattress is also better than the sofa. I’ve listed a few more alternatives further below.
If the couch is your only option, focus on making it as comfortable as possible.
Make sure it’s clean. Vacuum the cushions and flip them over to sleep on the less-used side. Then line the sofa with sheets or a blanket. This is important for hygiene and comfort. It’s especially handy if the sofa is made from a slippery material like leather.
Remove the back cushions to create more space for you to turn and move.
Have enough bedding with you to ensure you are comfortable and warm. This includes a pillow and a blanket or duvet.
If you don’t have a pillow, use one of the cushions from the couch. Just make sure you first cover it with something. Even a sweatshirt will do if you can’t get anything better.
Next, minimize distractions like light and noise.
If you cannot make the room completely dark, sleep with an eye mask. If there are distracting noises nearby, a pair of sleeping headphones can help.
Not only will they block out noise, you can also play relaxing sounds to help you fall asleep faster.
Alternatives to sleeping on the couch
All these are better and more comfortable than sleeping on the couch.
- An air mattress. It’s easy to setup and you can deflate and stow it away in the morning. An ideal option if you need a long-term sleeping alternative to a bed.
- A mattress on the floor. Just beware the cold from being too close to the floor. Raise room temperature or cover yourself with warm bedding.
- A sofa bed. It can be used as a sofa during the day and transformed into a comfortable bed at night.
- A sleeping bag. Not as comfortable as a bed but a much better alternative to the couch.