It is easier to do things when you are comfortable. Sitting up in bed can often be uncomfortable, especially if you have a bad back and want to watch TV or work from the bed. From an uncomfortable headboard to the cold, hard wall, it can be exhausting.
Here are the steps you should take to sit up more comfortably in bed:
- Select the right pillows
- Arrange your pillows to allow you to sit up
- Support your head
- Relieve pressure sores
This article focuses on expounding further on the steps above and how they can help you sit up in bed. Read on to learn how to make sitting up in your bed more comfortable.
1. Select the Right Pillows
The type of pillows you choose will be pivotal to your experience sitting up in bed. This is because they’ll be your primary support. As a result, you’ll have a hard time if they’re uncomfortable.
If you want to sit up for extended periods on your bed, you can arrange your existing pillows to be more comfortable or purchase a good sit-up pillow.
When shopping for sit-up pillows, it’s better to shop in a physical store instead of ordering them online. Being physically present allows you to touch them and feel the softest ones. However, if you want to shop online, ensure you check on the other customers’ reviews to ascertain that you’re getting the right kind of pillow.
Choosing a Sit-Up Pillow
Sit-up pillows are a bit different from regular pillows in that they are focused on supporting your whole back, not just your head. However, the thousands of brands of sit-up pillows almost look identical. As a result, there are a few features you need to consider to choose the appropriate one:
- Size. Most sit-up pillows are similar in shape, triangular, with an armrest on each side. This gives you lower and upper back support. You should therefore find one that is tall as your entire back. The pillow’s top should reach your shoulders, just below your neck. A short sit-up pillow will just support your lower back and become uncomfortable after some time.
- Armrests. Many sit-up pillows have short armrests that can’t go past your elbow. If you have long arms, the armrests might not even reach your elbow, forcing you to keep your arms elevated when you’re reading. To avoid this, find a sit-up pillow with long armrests that reach your wrists. This extra support will keep your arms comfortable while you sit up on the bed.
- Materials. A good sit-up pillow is stuffed with shredded memory foam, often encased within its separate cover. The memory foam should also be CertiPUR-certified. You can confirm this on the pillow’s label. Otherwise, you might be breathing toxic gasses from the foam.
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Preparing a Sit-Up Pillow
Most of the time, if you order a sit-up pillow online, it isn’t ready for immediate use on delivery. The manufacturers compress, roll and vacuum seal it before shipping. When it arrives, you need to relieve it from the plastic, spread it out flat and let it expand for a day or two.
Although the pillow will have expanded overnight, 24 to 48 hours is enough time for the off-gassing to dissipate. Memory foam is synonymous with off-gassing (its pungent chemical odor), but it eventually vanishes.
2. Arrange Your Pillows to Allow You to Sit Up
The next important step is to arrange your pillows to be comfortable when you sit up. Of course, this step is less important when you have a good sit-up pillow. However, a pillow arrangement will be essential if you have standard pillows.
Here are the key places to properly position your pillows:
Place Two Pillows at Your Back
A single pillow is not enough to support your back for a long time. Using one will result in discomfort, back pain, and harm to the spinal line at the extreme. Having two pillows ensures that you’re not straining your spine and supports your entire back.
Also, depending on the density of your pillows, you might need to stack two for better cushioning. This means that if you have thin pillows, you need four of them to sit up comfortably on your bed.
See also: How to Flatten a Fluffy Pillow
Place a Pillow Between Your Legs
A good posture is important when you’re sitting or lying down. To achieve this, you need to know that you have three principle bends in your spine: upper, center, and lower. According to researchers, the best way to keep up with these bends is by placing a pillow between your legs.
One significant benefit of doing this is that it relieves the pressure off your lower back, eliminating some back complications from bad sitting postures.
In addition, avoid sitting up in bed with your legs crossed. This can stretch your hip muscles and contribute to back pains.
3. Support Your Head
Another important, commonly ignored step is supporting your head. Sitting in one position for a long time without supporting your head can result in a migraine. This is because it stretches your neck muscles when you move it to read, work, watch tv, or do any other activity.
To avoid this, place a pillow behind your head. If you’ve stacked a layer of two thin pillows on your back, you’ll also need to use two pillows on your head for consistency. Else you will still be straining your neck. This step is also important if you have a sit-up pillow that doesn’t support your neck.
4. Relieve Pressure Sores
Pressure sores occur when you sit in one position for a long time. This is primarily due to the lack of blood flow to the affected areas in your body. They can be sore and uncomfortable but are preventable.
Changing your posture at regular intervals is one of the best ways to prevent pressure sores. You can also buy weight calming sleeping cushions available in care shops for this purpose.
Is It Bad to Sit Up in Bed?
Well, it depends on who you ask. On the one hand, most chiropractors and physical therapists will tell you that sitting up in bed is one of the worst postures.
On the other hand, however, most people who work from home will tell you that it’s hard to resist the alluring thoughts of spending the day snuggled up to a cozy pillow.
So, the question still stands, is it bad to sit up in bed?
It can be bad to sit up in bed for extended periods because a bed doesn’t offer the same support as a hard surface like an office chair. As a result, it feels comfortable at the time but harms your body in the long run.
However, sometimes sitting up in bed is inevitable. For example, if you’re working from home and have young kids running around, your bedroom is probably the best work environment available.
Sleeping while sitting up or with the back elevated is recommended for some acid reflux patients. Sitting up in bed is also the only option some patients who can’t leave their beds have.
The best way to sit up in bed in these different circumstances is also different. For example, if you’re working while sitting in bed, you need a setup and posture that keeps you comfortable while alert enough to stay focused. On the other hand, if you’re sitting up after back surgery, the setup needs to be as soft and comfortable as possible.
How to Work While Sitting Up on Your Bed
Despite the freedom and convenience that comes with it, working from home can have its fair share of problems. One of the major ones includes getting a good workspace, especially if you live in a small apartment. While not everyone might have a home office, most of us have beds, and they are quickly becoming work desks.
Whether you’re doing it out of necessity or fun, there are a few things you need to do to work comfortably while sitting up in bed.
Firm Up Your Mattress
As we saw earlier in this article, softer mattresses offer less support than firmer ones. When you’re working, you need as much support as possible. As a result, you should swap out your pillow top for something more solid.
If this is not an option for you, you can place the pillow on a solid surface like plywood. It’s pretty uncomfortable but ultimately effective. When you create a more rigid, flatter surface, you make more support for your back, giving you more feedback.
Adjust Your Sitting Position
Although sitting leaned up against plush throw pillows may be comfortable, it’s not the best for you in the long run. Instead, employ some of the sitting postures we covered earlier, e.g., placing a pillow between your legs or under your knees and supporting your head.
Even in an office setting, it’s never a good idea to sit in one position for hours on end. If you’re working from your bed, it’s essential to get up and move around every hour or so. You should also walk around the block, or at least the house, once a day.
Additionally, some experts recommend spending around 20 minutes a day lying flat on the floor with a book to support your head. This allows your spine to reset and counter some of the adverse effects of a bad posture.
You can also take a break and sit on a coffee table or a stool, basically any seat that doesn’t have a backrest.
Get a Bed Desk
The worst position to sit in bed is in a C shape, rounded over a laptop. It is strenuous on your back, neck, and practically any muscle that helps your posture.
To avoid this, try purchasing a bed desk, which will bring your laptop to an eye level and help you sit upright.
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How to Sleep While Sitting Up on the Bed
If you’re sitting up on the bed for medical reasons, it means that you probably need to sleep in the same position. While it is an uncomfortable sleeping position for most people, some just find it impossible. So here are a few steps you can take to make sleeping while sitting up in bed easier.
- Make the sleeping site comfortable. If you have a sit-up pillow, sleeping-up will be comfortable. If not, arrange your pillows as described earlier in the article to ensure that your back gets enough support. However, you don’t need to place a pillow between your legs. It will only make you uncomfortable. Make sure you have soft and clean bedding, as uncomfortable bedding can also contribute to insomnia.
- Use a blanket. Being covered up sends a signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. Therefore, use a blanket to cover your body. If it’s not cold, use a light blanket or even a sheet. The most important area to cover up is your feet. The warmth will soothe you to sleep before you know it.
- Reenact your sleeping routine. Do whatever activities you do before sleeping. Whether it’s reading, listening to music, or watching a movie, reenacting your sleeping routine will let your body know that it’s time to sleep. For example, some people find that taking warm drinks (just stay away from caffeinated ones) helps them sleep, while others fall asleep after breathing or meditation exercises.
- Support your head. Keep your head supported to avoid straining your neck while sleeping. If you have more pillows, you can use two to rest your head. This keeps you comfortable even when your head slips to one side.
- Shift as needed. Changing positions while sleeping helps reduce soreness and encourages healthier sleep. So, move as much as you would if lying flat on the bed. If you wake up while you’re about to sleep, stretch your legs a little and change your position.
To sit up comfortably in bed, you need to prepare adequately. Choose the right pillows, arrange them to help you sit comfortably, and support your head. You also need to sit in the right posture to reduce the negative effects sitting up in bed has on your spine.
If you can get a good sit-up pillow, it will help you sit up comfortably without being buried in a pillow fortress. However, if you can’t get one, use enough pillows to keep you comfortable and your spine safe.