For most of you, the only time you sleep in a reclining posture is when we fall asleep watching television or on an aircraft. For thousands of years, the preferred sleeping posture has been on a bed, mat, or even the floor. Sleeping on our backs makes the greatest physiological sense. While certain four-legged animals, such as zebras and elephants, sleep standing up, it would be more difficult for humans to balance while asleep since humans only have two legs. But what about sleeping in a recliner? Are there any downfalls for seniors, or would they receive more benefits?
As someone ages, they may find that sleeping on their back flat is no longer comfortable. While relaxing on their recliner, they may find that they are comfortable enough to fall asleep. In certain instances, sleeping reclined may be more beneficial to your health than sleeping upright. However, in some circumstances, you may want to avoid it. In-home care can help look after the seniors when they are at home. These caregivers can help a senior get comfortable and stay comfortable during the day.
In-home care can be one of the best options for aging parents, especially when you work full-time or have your own family. It can be a good investment to hire a caregiver who can help your parents ensure their comfort while they age in place. Here are some reasons why you may want to have seniors sleep in recliners and times when you may want to tell them to avoid it.
When Seniors Should Sleep in Reclining Chairs
There may be several times when going to sleep in a recliner is more comfortable for a senior. Before telling your senior parents it’s not a good idea to sleep in a recliner, look at when it might actually be a good idea.
It May Help With Acid Reflux
The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle at the esophageal end of the esophagus that serves as a gateway between the esophagus and stomach. For the majority of individuals, this valve stays closed while they are digesting meals. If you have acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), this muscle does not fully seal, allowing stomach acid to back up into your esophagus.
Many individuals have heartburn at night because gravity stops pulling the contents of your stomach away from your esophagus when you sleep down. Sleeping in a reclined posture may help alleviate heartburn by maintaining a more upright position for your body.
Could Help Relieve Sleep Apnea
If your senior struggles with sleep apnea where their relaxed throats block their airways, sleeping in a more upright position may actually help them sleep longer and better. Elevating a senior’s head may be the best way to relieve the symptoms.
Other times it is more comfortable after surgery or helps relieve back pain. However, other times it may not be the best idea for seniors to sleep this way. This may cause blocked airways if the senior accidentally hunches over. This is a dangerous outcome and should be avoided at all costs. Or in some seniors this position may cause joint stiffness which can be very painful.