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Can You Sleep in a Massage Chair?

Aching legs, a sore back, or a racing mind are just a few of the barriers that can sidetrack a good night’s rest. It is no surprise that around 70% of Americans report having trouble sleeping at least once a month.

Given the deep relaxation you can achieve using a comfortable massage chair, it is only natural to wonder, “Can you sleep in a massage chair?” If you have that question about a chair you own or are considering purchasing, read on to learn about the potential benefits and pitfalls of dozing off in one.

Napping vs. Sleeping in a Massage Chair

One terminology issue that should be addressed up front is the difference between napping and sleeping (which we will use to mean spending all night) in a massage chair. The various physical and psychological benefits you can reap from a high-quality massage chair —reduced muscle tension, pain relief, decreased mental/emotional stress, etc.—can make it easy to nod off during a massage chair session, and for a period following it. You may find these instances to be the most pleasant, restorative sleep you have ever enjoyed.

However, using your massage chair to take the place of your bed is another matter. So, napping in a massage gets an unequivocal green light. Sleeping in one is more of a yellow light, as described below.

Are Massage Chairs Safe for Sleeping?

The first and most important question on this topic is whether there are any safety issues associated with sleeping in a massage chair. With any high-quality massage chair and generally speaking, the answer is “no.” Are a massage chair’s standard movements likely to injure you? Here again, the answer is “no.” And all the massage chairs we know of turn off automatically after a certain amount of time, meaning you don’t have to worry about getting “over-massaged.” 

So, any downsides of sleeping in a massage chair probably are not safety-related.

Are Massage Chairs Comfortable to Sleep In?

Well-made massage chairs are exceptionally comfortable when used for their designed purpose. Manufacturers go to great lengths to develop the most body-friendly shapes (and often, body-sensing capabilities) for products meant to be used for a period of minutes to, at most, an hour or so. Beyond that timeframe, it is a different matter.

If you are a stationary sleeper—meaning you tend to stay in roughly the same position all night—sleeping in a massage chair is less problematic. However, most people change positions many times between going to bed and getting up in the morning. For them, features like armrests and legrests designed to cradle the limbs can inhibit movement and disturb sleep.

There is also the fact that rollers, though stationary when the chair isn’t delivering a massage, may continue to contact the body.  This can create discomfort or muscle soreness if it goes on for too long.

So, to summarize, massage chairs are designed to deliver short-term rather than long-term (overnight) comfort, and massage chairs are a poor substitute for a good bed.

Important Considerations if You Choose To Sleep in a Massage Chair

The gentle massaging actions of a massage chair are safe for short naps. But there are other considerations to keep in mind if you choose to sleep in a massage chair for longer periods. 

You will want to choose the best incline for safe and comfortable sleep. If you have sleep apnea, chronic back pain, gastroesophageal reflux, or other conditions, you may have specific levels of reclining you need to maintain. For example, following surgery, your doctor may recommend not lying flat for a certain period of time. 

If you have concerns about a medical condition, ask your doctor if it is acceptable for you to nap or sleep in a massage chair.

Can a Massage Chair Help Me Get a Better Night’s Sleep?

For most massage chair owners, the value of their chair is not as a place to sleep but as an effective way to increase the quantity and improve the quality of the sleep they get in their beds. Regular massages can definitely support better sleep.

Stress causes a heightened state of alertness that can prevent the onset of sleep for many people or keep them from returning to sleep if they wake during the night. Massage chairs can relieve stress, reducing or eliminating that common barrier to sleep. 

A relaxing evening massage can benefit the body in other ways that promote better sleep, including:

  • Relieving minor aches and pains
  • Reducing or eliminating headaches
  • Accelerating recovery from certain injuries
  • Improving blood circulation

As our customer K.P. states, in part, in a glowing review:

“I like the relaxation program the most. It really helps me to relax after a stressful workday. I like to have a massage before going to bed because it helps me fall asleep faster.”

Sleepless nights can produce many adverse effects, from irritability and strained relationships to high blood pressure and other health problems. So, using a massage chair regularly can do much more than simply help you sleep better.

Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep

Why should you invest in a massage chair to improve your sleep? There are many reasons, including that a good night’s sleep can:

  • Support your immune system and reduce the incidence of minor illnesses
  • Help you maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce your mental and emotional stress
  • Improve your mood
  • Reduce your risk of serious health problems like heart disease and many others
  • Improve your overall wellness and enable you to get more enjoyment out of life

Choosing the Right Massage Chair for You

Massage chairs have an array of characteristics to consider when you are looking for the one that will meet your needs and provide the most enjoyable experience—from features and functions to the types of massage they can deliver. The best way to identify the right massage chair for your requirements is to talk with a Furniture For Life Comfort Consultant and then experiencing demo massages in the massage chairs on your short list. 

But if you are new to massage chairs, the information below can be helpful as you look ahead to visiting one of our showrooms.

Wall-Hugging Design

When space is an important consideration, you may want to explore buying a wall-hugging chair. These massage chairs are designed to shift forward as they recline to reduce the space needed between the back of the chair and the wall.

Reclining Capability

Most massage chairs offer a reclining option, which simply means that the portion that supports the back can recline backward. These chairs often include leg rests that simultaneously extend outward.

Zero Gravity Position

A zero gravity massage chair allows your body to recline to a specific “zero gravity” position. This is the body orientation that raises your legs slightly above the level of your heart. Chairs with this capability evenly distribute body weight to achieve ultimate relaxation.

Heated Massage

Many massage chairs include a heating function. The application of heat during massage cycles further relaxes muscles while soothing aches and pains.

Full-Body Massage

Some massage chairs focus on the neck and back. A full-body massage chair also works the legs and arms. Chairs with this capability deliver what is often considered the ultimate relaxation experience.

4D Massage Mechanism

4D massage chairs arguably offer experiences that are the closest to a session with a massage therapist. The rollers can move up and down the body parallel to the spine, proximally and distally (toward and away from the spine respectively), and deeper or shallower. But what separates a 4D massage chair from a 3D chair is the former’s speed variation capabilities. That variation applies to how slowly or quickly the massage mechanism moves and also to the rate of smaller movements such as tapping, kneading, etc.

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu comes from the Japanese word for “finger pressure.” Often associated with deep tissue massage, this massage style emphasizes the precise targeting of the body’s acupoints to provide therapy and improve wellness.

Japanese Expertise

Japan has a long tradition of massage therapy and is a world leader in innovation and product reliability. Though most massage chairs are produced in China, those that are engineered or manufactured in Japan are often considered the best and most reliable.

Enjoy Better Sleep With a Massage Chair

Whether you get a rejuvenating nap during a midday massage or prepare your body for sleeping in your bed with a relaxing evening session, a massage chair is an effective, medication-free way to increase the amount of high-quality sleep you enjoy. 

Take action today to find the massage chair that can help you achieve your health and wellness goals and that is best suited to your lifestyle. You will find plenty of valuable information on the brand pages of the Furniture For Life website and useful insights in our online Learning Center. You can also chat with us online. 

However, the best way to assess massage chairs is to use them! We look forward to seeing you at one of our stores or galleries nationwide and working with you to find the ideal massage chair for you and your family.

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