How To Sleep In A Recliner After Shoulder Surgery

How To Sleep In A Recliner After Shoulder Surgery

Shoulder surgery is a common medical procedure, often necessary to address a variety of issues, from rotator cuff tears to joint replacement. However, post-operative recovery can be challenging, particularly when it comes to finding a comfortable sleeping position.

Many individuals find it difficult to sleep in a regular bed after shoulder surgery due to the pain and limited mobility in their affected shoulders.

In such cases, sleeping in a recliner can be a more comfortable and practical alternative. In this article, we will explore the reasons for choosing a recliner, how to set up your recliner for post-surgery sleep, and offer tips on improving your overall sleep quality during your recovery.

Benefits of Sleeping in a Recliner After Shoulder Surgery

  • Reduces Pressure on the Surgical Site – One of the primary advantages of sleeping in a recliner is that it helps reduce pressure on your shoulder. Traditional flat sleeping positions can cause discomfort and pain due to the weight of the body pressing against the surgical area. A recliner allows you to elevate your upper body, effectively taking the pressure off your shoulder, and promoting faster healing.
  • Minimizes Risk of Rolling Over – After shoulder surgery, sudden movements or rolling over during the night can lead to complications or discomfort. Sleeping in a recliner provides a secure and stable position that prevents you from shifting too much during the night, reducing the risk of unintentionally causing strain or injury.
  • Enhances Blood Circulation – Keeping your upper body elevated while sleeping in a recliner can improve blood circulation. Better circulation supports the healing process by ensuring an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients to the surgical site.
  • Ease of Getting In and Out – Climbing in and out of bed can be a challenge after shoulder surgery, especially when you need to use the non-operated arm for support. Recliners are more accessible, allowing you to sit down and stand up with less effort.
  • Customizable Comfort – Many recliners come with adjustable settings, allowing you to find the perfect angle for your comfort. You can experiment with different recline positions to find what suits you best during your recovery.

Also read: Are Recliners Bad For Your Neck?

Preparing Your Recliner for Post-Shoulder Surgery Sleeping

Before you can sleep in a recliner effectively, you need to prepare it for maximum comfort and support. Follow these steps to get your recliner ready:

Choose the Right Recliner

Make sure your recliner is suitable for post-surgery sleeping. It should be large enough to accommodate your body comfortably and have the ability to recline to a near-horizontal position.

Clean and Disinfect

Before using your recliner, clean and disinfect it to reduce the risk of infection. Pay close attention to the headrest and armrests, which you will be in close contact with while sleeping.

Gather Necessary Supplies

Collect all the items you’ll need within arm’s reach of your recliner, such as pillows, a water bottle, medication, and any necessary assistive devices.

Position Your Recliner

Ensure that your recliner is placed in a location where you have easy access to a bathroom and can avoid excessive movement.

Pillows and Cushions

Use pillows or cushions to create a comfortable and supportive setup. Place a small pillow under your head, and use additional pillows to support your arm and elevate your legs slightly.

Sleeping in a Recliner After Shoulder Surgery

Now that you’ve prepared your recliner, it’s time to learn how to sleep in it effectively. Follow these steps for a restful and comfortable night’s sleep:

Find Your Optimal Recline Position

Adjust the recline angle to a position that minimizes pressure on your shoulder while maintaining a comfortable posture. It’s often recommended to recline to a 45-degree angle, but you can adjust this according to your comfort.

Arm Support

Use a pillow or cushion to support your healing shoulder. This will help prevent accidental movements and provide extra comfort.

Leg Elevation

Elevating your legs slightly can improve circulation and reduce swelling. Use pillows or cushions under your legs to achieve a comfortable position.

Sleep on Your Back

Try to sleep on your back, as sleeping on your side may put additional pressure on your healing shoulder. Use pillows to keep your head and upper body elevated.

Pillows for Neck Support

Place a small pillow under your neck for proper neck support. This will help you maintain a neutral spine position.

Medication Management

Ensure you have your prescribed pain medication within reach so you can take it as needed, especially before bedtime.

Temperature Control

Maintain a comfortable room temperature and use a light blanket if needed. Avoid overheating or getting too cold, as extreme temperatures can affect your sleep quality.

Also read: How To Relieve Neck Pain From Sitting At Your Desk

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I use any recliner for post-shoulder surgery sleep?

Not all recliners are suitable for post-shoulder surgery sleep. It’s essential to choose a recliner that can recline to a near-horizontal position and offers proper support and comfort.

How long should I sleep in a recliner after shoulder surgery?

The duration you’ll need to sleep in a recliner will depend on the type of surgery and your individual recovery progress. Consult your surgeon for specific recommendations.

Can I sleep on my non-surgical side in a recliner?

While sleeping on your non-surgical side might be more comfortable, it’s generally recommended to sleep on your back to minimize strain on your healing shoulder. Consult your surgeon for personalized advice.

Are there any risks associated with sleeping in a recliner after shoulder surgery?

Sleeping in a recliner can be safe and comfortable, but it’s essential to follow your surgeon’s instructions and maintain proper posture. Prolonged recliner use can lead to discomfort and stiffness in other areas, so consult your healthcare provider for guidance.


Sleeping in a recliner after shoulder surgery can be a game-changer in your recovery process. The elevation, comfort, and support a recliner provides can significantly improve your sleep quality and overall healing.

By following the steps mentioned in this guide and consulting your surgeon for personalized advice, you can rest easy and recover effectively.

Remember, the road to full recovery may be challenging, but the right sleeping arrangement can make it more comfortable and help you get back to your daily routine as soon as possible.

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