Sleeping Sitting Up – How To + Pros & Cons

Last Updated: by Marie Seska

Sleeping sitting up may sound unconventional – and a little like a horse – but it actually more popular than you might think and offers some surprising health and sleep benefits.

There are some monks that sleep sitting up and it can help with snoring and sleep apnea but can it cause other health problems? Most people sleep flat on a bed but sleeping while sitting does have its place!

History of Sleeping Sitting Up

People have been sleeping in a sitting position since the start of time. A long time ago people were scared of suffering brain damage due to all the blood draining from the brain. In some cases people might have even thought they were dead. It may sounds like an old wives tale but people did once try to sleep sitting up all the time! Some monks even carry on the tradition

Pros and Cons of Sleeping Sitting Up

Sleeping sitting up has many benefits but it is not for everyone. There are some potential downsides that it is important to be aware of before you wake up sore!

Pros

  • Stops snoring in heavy throat snorers
  • Comfortable for pregnant women
  • Takes pressure off sensitive joints and muscles
  • Aids in nighttime digestion
  • Easier to see the TV or read a book in bed
  • Keep stomach acid from coming up the esophagus

Cons

  • Difficult to get comfortable the first week
  • Requires a something behind you to lean on
  • May disrupt sleeping with a partner

Sitting Up and Sleep Apnea

Diagnosed with sleep apnea and wondering if sleeping in a chair (or with an elevated head) can help. CPAP masks are uncomfortable – sleeping sitting up prevents the lounge from falling into the back of the threat and vibrating with every breath.

Many sleep doctors will recommend a wedge pillow for patients that can’t use a CPAP machine. It is far less invasive and you don’t have to sleep with something strapped to your face!

Is it Safe?

Staying safe is always on the top of our minds even while sleeping. Sleeping while sitting is safe but you should still watch for back and joint pain. It is not for everyone so if you can’t make get comfortable after a few weeks you might be better on your back, side or stomach.

Bad for the Heart?

Heart disease is the number 1 health problem in America – but is still position bad for your heart? Sleeping while sitting does not put you at any extra risk of a heart attack or other long term cardiac problems.

Best Pillows for Sleeping Propped Up

On the hunt for a good pillow to help you sleep sitting up? You can try stacking your normal bed pillows but it might not be enough. We recommend the DMI Ortho – it comes in 3 sizes and is perfect for behind your back!

How to sleep sitting up after Surgery

Even minor surgeries can make it hard to fall asleep at night – especially if the surgeon was working on your torso. One position that provides much needed comfort is sitting up with help from pillows or in a chair.

While Pregnant

Getting comfortable in bed while carrying a child is hard – after all your tummy is quite a bit bigger than it was a few months ago. Start sitting up in bed with the support of a wedge pillow or stack of normal pillows is a comfortable and safe position for pregnant women to sleep in. Not sure on the best position (or how to find it) then check with your doctor for a recommendation on getting comfortable!

Marie Seska

Marie Seska

Marie Seska is one of the most trusted sources on the net for sleep information. She searches the web - as well as the latest medical journals to bring her readers the latest news and information.

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