Everyone has slept on a lounge at one time in their lives, whether it be staying at a friend’s house or trouble at home, a lounge is seen as a temporary bed, one to be used when no other sleeping surface is available. For many, sleeping on the lounge is a risky maneuver, with the specter of neck and back pain lurking just out of sight.
Happily, I haven’t suffered any neck or back pain on my current lounge, I am particularly guilty of dozing off on my Avellino fabric modular lounge after a long day’s work, as often as once a week, which got me thinking; is sleeping on the couch really that bad?
We need sleep.
The benefits of sleep are well known, and we are always being told to get more quality sleep. The average human adult needs around 7-8 hours of sleep to function optimally, so surely, getting some extra sleep in the lounge room should be beneficial, right?
The key term we should be looking at is “quality” sleep. Our bodies need to be in a relaxed, neutral position. To get quality sleep, we need to be cool and comfortable. Have you ever slept a restless 14 hours and still feel like you haven’t slept a minute? Its probably because you missed out on quality sleep. Adding a few hours of sleep into your day by dozing on the couch might not be bad, but it won’t be the quality sleep you need.
The wrong shape.
A lounge is perfect for well, lounging on, but it simply isn’t the right shape for a human body to sleep on. Unless you have a huge lounge or you’re a small person, most adults aren’t suited to sleeping on a lounge. Lounges are designed to support different postures and disperse weight differently to a mattress. A mattress supports your whole body weight evenly, giving you a stable and hopefully firm base to rest on.
A mattress also has space for you to stretch out on, giving your muscles a chance to flex and rebuild during the night. Sleeping on a lounge can cause a strain on your muscles, especially your back, neck, and shoulders. Anyone who has woken up from sleeping on a friend’s couch stiff and sore will know all too well the hidden dangers of sleeping on a couch.
Too hot, too cold.
A big difference between a mattress and a lounge is in the materials used. Most lounges are a timber frame, with the super plush lounges getting some sort of spring-based support system. A mattress is almost exclusively a bed of springs with layers of supportive foam. Lounges are upholstered in a heavier fabric to keep them fresh and durable, but for sleeping purposes, they are not ideal.
Most lounge fabric is designed to stand up to the rigors of daily loungeroom life, not for a sweaty human to sleep on for extended periods. The notion that an average adult sweats a liter per night has been well circulated but bares no truth. In reality, we only sweat out at maximum a few hundred milliliters, still not an insignificant amount, and still not something you want to seep into your lounge.
Is it really bad?
Ok, so the occasional nap on the lounge isn’t a big deal in the long run. For most people, a twenty-minute nap will recharge and refresh them, even if they slept on a train seat. If you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, its ill-advised to try and catch it up on the lounge. If you aren’t getting a good nights sleep on your mattress, its time to buy a new one that fits your body and sleeping habits.
What If you were forced to sleep on a couch every night? In this uncomfortable scenario, things would start to turn nasty fairly quickly. How nasty is nasty? Oh, let us count the ways that no sleep can affect us.
Weight gain and diabetes
Leptin is a hormone that affects how hungry you are. When you are sleep deprived, your body produces less leptin, and you find it harder to keep hunger at bay. Increased appetite means an increased chance of diabetes as your sleep-deprived body craves sugar
Your brain starts to lose its zing
We need sleep not only to repair tissues and fibers in our bodies but to replenish chemicals in our brains. In a sleep-deprived brain, chemicals that are usually helping your brain function start to run out, making it harder to concentrate and remember things.
Problems In the bedroom
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are already having a problem in the bedroom, but lack of sleep can cause other problems. Libido is affected by hormones that are replenished by a good night’s sleep. A study in the UK showed testosterone levels drop after just one week of poor sleep. Ouch.
Bad for your heart.
The less sleep you get, the more likely you are to have heart problems. Numerous studies show a direct correlation between certain heart problems and getting less than five hours of sleep each night. When we constantly become sleep-deprived, coronary heart disease and stroke rear their ugly heads
I know, I know, sleeping on the lounge isn’t going to kill you. Death as a direct result of sleep deprivation is rare, but it can happen. The stresses on your body and brain from lack of sleep can be fatal.
Despite my doom and gloom, having a little sleep on the lounge can be a lovely thing, especially in the comfort of your own lounge room. Sometimes, drifting off in front of the TV or sleeping at the inlaws can’t be avoided and a night sleeping on the lounge is inevitable. Is it really that bad? In the short term, no, as long as you return to sleeping in your bed, just don’t go making a habit like me!