Recent Blog Articles

Staying Healthy

Is it dangerous to sleep sitting up?

February 01, 2019

Ask the doctors

w0219c16207258514252
 Image: © BraunS/Getty Images

Q. After I had cataract surgery and facial surgery, I loved sleeping in my recliner for days on end. Does sleeping while sitting up put my brain and vital organs at risk since the blood supply has to travel uphill?

A. Sleeping sitting up in a recliner shouldn't be harmful. It could, in some cases, raise your risk of deep-vein thrombosis, a blood clot in a limb that can occur if your arms or legs are bent and you are motionless for hours. This sometimes occurs in people who sit still for long periods of time in an airplane seat. But provided you are comfortable and can recline back slightly, there should be few risks to sleeping upright, assuming it doesn't interfere with your ability to get a good night's sleep.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.