How To Sleep In An Office Chair?

Edwin Parker
By Edwin Parker 13 Min Read
13 Min Read
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Hey there! Ever found yourself in a spot where lying down just isn’t an option? Maybe you don’t have a bed available or you’re in a situation where you need to catch some Z’s but a traditional sleeping setup is out of the question. Well, guess what? It’s totally possible to get a solid night’s sleep while sitting in a chair. Sure, it might sound a bit odd at first, but with a few tweaks, you can turn that chair into a surprisingly cozy snooze spot.

Here’s the deal: to make chair-sleeping work for you, you’re going to need some comfy accessories like blankets and pillows. Think of it as dressing up your chair for a sleepover. Toss a soft blanket over it for warmth and cushioning. Pillows? Absolutely! They’re not just for beds. Use one for your back and maybe another for your neck, especially if you’re planning to sleep sitting up. Oh, and here’s a neat trick: grab a scarf and drape it over the back of the chair, then loop it around your head. It’s like a DIY headrest that adds just the right amount of support.

Sleeping in a chair might take a little getting used to, but don’t worry. With these tips, you’ll be snoozing comfortably in no time. Let’s dive into how to make your chair the next best thing to a cozy bed!

Why You May Want to Sleep in Your Chair

Sometimes life throws us a curveball, and we find ourselves needing to snooze in less-than-ideal situations, like needing to sleep in a chair. This could happen for a bunch of reasons. Maybe your bed gave up on you, or you’ve just moved and are waiting for your new bed to arrive. It’s one thing to pick out a bed for your home office, but what if you need to catch some shut-eye at your regular workplace? That’s where things can get tricky.

You see, we’re naturally wired to sleep lying down, so sleeping while sitting up isn’t our first choice. But hey, sometimes it’s the only option. Chairs come in handy in situations like:

  • No Bed, No Problem: Maybe you don’t have a bed yet, or the idea of sleeping on the floor just doesn’t appeal to you.
  • Health Matters: There are also health-related reasons to consider. For instance, if you’re dealing with a cold or allergies, lying down might make breathing tough due to congestion. Or perhaps you’ve had a medical procedure, like cataract or facial surgery, that makes sleeping flat on your back a no-go.

So, while it might not be ideal, sometimes sleeping in a chair is the best workaround you’ve got.

Why Sleeping in Your Chair is so Difficult

Wondering if it’s bad to sleep sitting up? Well, it’s not necessarily bad, but it can be challenging. Our bodies send us signals to wake up or fall asleep, and these cues can get a bit mixed up when we’re not in our usual sleeping position. Sometimes, even though your brain knows you’re rested, your muscles might not be fully relaxed, which can lead to discomfort.

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The main hiccup? Not having a recliner. A regular chair doesn’t let you stretch out, leading to a sore back and neck the next morning. Ever tried dozing off at your standing desk, resting your head on the table? That’s a one-way ticket to lower back pain city because of the awkward angle.

And let’s not forget about your legs. Sitting for too long can cause numbness. Sure, office workers might grab short naps or breaks in their chairs, but it’s rare to get enough sleep to really feel refreshed and ready to go.

Let’s explore how we can tackle these challenges and make chair-sleeping a bit more doable!

Tips on How to Sleep in Your Chair Comfortably

Ever wondered how to snag a good night’s sleep in your office chair, especially the ones from your company’s employee purchase program? It’s all about the right setup for your neck, hands, legs, and spine. The key? Keeping these parts relaxed and supported while you sleep.

Neck and Back Bliss: Your neck and back need extra care. If your chair isn’t a full-blown recliner, no sweat! A neck pillow can offer crucial support for your head. And if your feet are dangling, a footrest can be a game changer, keeping your legs comfy and aiding blood circulation.

Taking Breaks: Here’s a pro tip: If you’re working from home and have access to an actual bed, use it! Even if you’re a pro at sleeping upright, nothing beats the comfort of a bed.

The Ideal Chair: What about chairs? Full-recliners are like the superheroes of office furniture. They come with extendable footrests and adjustable headrests, making them perfect for a quick snooze. If your chair isn’t quite that fancy, don’t worry. You can still make it work with some creative cushioning.

Potential Downsides of Sleeping in a Chair

Sleeping in a chair isn’t without its quirks. When we sleep, our muscles relax completely. In a lying down position, this is great because your body stays put. But in a chair, this muscle relaxation can lead to some issues:

Risk of Falling: If you’re not supported properly, like missing a backrest or a table to lean on, you might just find yourself toppling over as your muscles relax.

Awkward Angles and Soreness: Thanks to gravity, sleeping in a chair can leave you in some pretty strange positions, leading to muscle soreness.

Lighter Sleep: Expect to sleep with one eye open, metaphorically speaking. Sitting up means you might feel like you’re about to fall over every time you start to drift into deeper sleep. The result? You don’t get that restful, deep sleep your body craves.

Lying Down is Best: Let’s face it, lying down is the gold standard for sleep. While chair-sleeping won’t do major harm for short periods, it’s not the most restorative option. Commuters often take short naps in their seats, sometimes even taking off their shoes to get comfy (pro tip: wear shoes that are easy to slip off when traveling).

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Stay Active and Hydrated: Don’t forget to move around regularly, especially if you’re stuck at your desk for long stretches. This helps prevent blood clots. And keep hydrated! Drinking plenty of fluids is crucial.

In conclusion, while sleeping in a chair can be a makeshift solution, it’s important to be aware of the potential downsides and take steps to make it as comfortable as possible. Happy snoozing!

Other Considerations for Sleeping in Your Chair

Want to make your chair-sleeping experience even better? Here are some extra considerations to keep in mind:

1. Mind Your Head and Neck: If you’re a side sleeper, keeping your head elevated is key to avoiding neck strain. Use a pillow or something soft to support your head. This simple step can make a huge difference in how you feel when you wake up.

2. Choose Your Chair Wisely: Not all chairs are created equal, especially when it comes to sleeping. Standard office or dining chairs? They might be great for a meal or a meeting, but for sleeping, they’re a no-go. These chairs aren’t designed for the kind of support you need when you’re catching Z’s.

3. Recline and Relax: If you can, go for a reclining chair. These wonders come equipped with footrests and headrests, offering a more bed-like experience. It’s the closest you’ll get to lying down without actually being in a bed.

4. Add Support Where You Need It: Don’t have a recliner? No problem. You can still upgrade your chair with a few clever additions. A lumbar support pillow can do wonders for your lower back. A neck pillow is great for keeping your head and neck comfy. And if possible, add a headrest for that extra bit of support.

5. Set an Alarm: This one’s crucial. You don’t want to accidentally sleep through an important meeting or task. Set an alarm to ensure you wake up when you need to. It’s all about getting just the right amount of rest without oversleeping.

By paying attention to these details, you can turn your chair into a surprisingly comfortable spot for a quick snooze. Remember, while it’s not the ideal place for long-term sleeping, with the right setup, your chair can be a decent place to rest in a pinch. Sweet dreams!


In conclusion, while sleeping in a chair might not be the first choice for many of us, it’s a skill that can come in handy in various situations. Whether you’re waiting for a new bed, dealing with a medical condition, or simply stuck in an environment where lying down isn’t feasible, knowing how to make the most out of a chair for a good night’s sleep can be a lifesaver.

We’ve explored how to set up your chair with the right pillows and supports to prevent soreness and discomfort. We’ve also looked at the challenges and potential downsides of chair-sleeping, such as the risk of falling, lighter sleep, and muscle soreness. Remember, while sleeping in a chair is okay for short periods, it’s not a substitute for the deep, restorative sleep that lying down in a bed provides.

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The key takeaway is preparation and adaptation. By choosing the right chair, adding supportive accessories like lumbar and neck pillows, and being mindful of your body’s position, you can significantly improve your chair-sleeping experience. And, of course, don’t forget to set that alarm to avoid oversleeping!

Ultimately, while we hope you won’t have to make a habit of it, understanding how to comfortably sleep in a chair is a useful skill to have in your back pocket. So, next time you find yourself needing to catch some Z’s in a less-than-ideal sleeping spot, remember these tips and tricks to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Sweet dreams, wherever you may find them!

Frequently Asked Questions

1: Is it healthy to sleep in an office chair?

While it may provide a short-term solution, sleeping in an office chair is not ideal for your overall health. It can lead to discomfort, poor posture, and potential muscle strain. It is recommended to find a dedicated sleeping space whenever possible.

2: Are there any techniques to make sleeping in an office chair more comfortable?

Yes, there are a few techniques to enhance comfort. Adjusting the chair's position, using a neck pillow or lumbar support, and wearing comfortable clothing can make a difference. However, remember that these are temporary measures and should not replace proper sleep in a bed.

3: How can I create a suitable environment for sleeping in my office chair?

To create a better environment, try using a blanket or cushion for added comfort, use earplugs or headphones to block out noise, and dim the lights if possible. It's important to inform your colleagues and ask for their understanding during these instances.

4: Can sleeping in an office chair affect my productivity?

Yes, sleeping in an office chair can negatively impact productivity. Lack of quality sleep can lead to decreased focus, concentration, and alertness. It is advised to prioritize getting sufficient sleep outside of working hours to maintain productivity.

5: Are there any recommended office chairs for occasional napping?

Some office chairs are designed to be more comfortable for power naps. Look for chairs with adjustable recline features, adequate padding, and good lumbar support. It's essential to check with your employer's policies before using the chair for sleeping purposes.

6: How long should I nap in an office chair?

Napping for too long in an office chair can result in grogginess and an unproductive state. It is advised to limit naps to around 20-30 minutes, as this can provide a quick energy boost without interfering with your sleep schedule.
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