Is Sleeping on the Couch Bad for Me?

We asked science. Science said get your ass to bed.

April 26, 2016 9:00 am

Yours truly has an eminently soporific sofa.

I can’t read for more than 10 minutes on it before the sandman arrives to dust my eyelids. Saturday naps there are obligatory. I even considered making it my nightly bed until I did a little digging.

Turns out there are quite a few reasons to drag your carcass those final few exhausting feet from living room to boudoir.

Couches are quite dirty
Couches are seldom properly cleaned. Those throw pillows? Yikes. But a grown-up cleans his sheets at least once a week, which removes mites and bacteria, not to mention the fact that the smell is more relaxing; sleeping on clean sheets is one of life’s pleasures.

Those cushions are too soft  
Your couch lacks structure. Structure keeps the spine aligned, which is, uh, sort of important considering it houses the pathway for your body’s communication system. Also, correct posture ensures better breathing and better breathing ensures better sleeping, which in turn ensures better cognition. Sleeping on the floor trumps the couch, here.

The temperature is off, which is actually not good
Beds are formed to move heat. Leather couches? Not so much. Your body rests better when it is cooler. Your bed is designed for that.

The conditions are different
Sleep is best when it’s part of a routine. Typically, the circumstances for couch sleeping also include television, which has a bright blue light that mimics sunlight. You may think you’re sleeping while the TV is on, but you’re only skimming the surface, and not going deep to achieve the real rest your body needs.

Also, sleeping on couches could mean you’re sleeping in a new place (a fight with the missus, perhaps?), and both conditions have also been scientifically proven to deny your body deep sleep, because you’re counting predators instead of sheep. So while the occasional day-nap on the couch is well-advised, do your best not to lay down your head there for the duration.

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