Ergonomic Features That Make Sleeping in an Office Chair Possible and Comfortable
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Ergonomic Features That Make Sleeping in an Office Chair Possible and Comfortable

|Oct 24, 2018

Ergonomic Features That Make Sleeping in an Office Chair Possible and Comfortable

At one time or another, we all have found the need for sleeping in an office chair. It could be after taking some medication and it overwhelms you, and you have to take a nap.

Or you could have worked a tad too many hours and you need to take a breather. Sometimes, because of the influx of work, we find the need to spend many hours at work, at times even spending the night there.

If you sleep in the office, don’t worry. Ok, you may worry a bit because your boss will not like it, but hey, many Americans sleep in the office! In fact, a research carried out by CNBC shows that 51 percent of Americans sleep in the office.

Perhaps sleep is not the right word to use here. Maybe we should say snooze. In China, the work culture is so intense such that people sometimes sleep and bathe in the office.

Tell you what … If an adult does not get about 8 hours of sleep every night, he/she will need to snooze for a few minutes at work. In this kind of economy, which is that person that gets 8 hours of sleep every day?

Sleeping at work is just part of the nature of work. It is also the nature of human beings to sleep. You see, your body regenerates when you sleep. It also uses that opportunity to flush out the toxins. However, despite knowing the importance of sleep, we never have enough time to sleep. Life is busy!

take a nap

When you have been working too long in the office, you will need to stop for some time and take a nap. Do not worry that your boss will find you. That is why he has a couch in his office, so he can stretch out, close his eyes and nap when he feels overwhelmed.

Sometimes, you just need a nap of 15 minutes and you will be ready to go hack the job again. But we do not all have the privilege of having a couch in our offices. We also do not have corner offices. Therefore, we make the best of what we have, and so we end up sleeping in an office chair.

How comfortable is sleeping in an office chair?

It can be very comfortable or uncomfortable. It depends on the kind of office chair that you use. If you have an ergonomic chair, you can possibly sleep on it even when seated down. However, if it can lean back for an angle that is bigger than 90 degrees, that would be much better for you. At Autonomous, we also have a chair that enable you to take a snap in the most comfortable way, this is ErgoChair 2.

How comfortable is sleeping in an office chair?

If you have a nasty straight-backed chair, sorry, but there will be no sleeping for you. You will try though, and it will hurt you badly. The reason is that sleeping requires you to adopt a certain position and stay in it for some minutes. If your chair does not support you, you could wake up with a nasty back or neck.

If you have an ergonomic chair, you can sleep in it for some minutes without worrying about hurting your back. When you lean back and close your eyes, you will know that your spine is supported in its natural alignment. This is only possible when you have the right ergonomic office chair.

If it has a headrest, then you will even sleep much better. With your spine natural curve supported from the base (the buttocks) to the end (neck), you will be refreshed and rejuvenated by the time you arise.

Thankfully, this feat is not too hard to achieve if you have the right office chair. When buying a modern ergonomic office chair, consider the fact that you will sleep in the chair several times. That way, you can choose a chair that can lean back to allow you to sleep.

If you would like to work overtime even in your home office and you know that if you crawl to bed you will not wake up, sleep in an office chair. However, this does not mean that you have to damage your lower back, middle back, shoulders or neck just so you can grab a few minutes of sleep. With an office ergonomic chair, you will be safe.

What features in an ergonomic office chair can help you sleep?

An ergonomic office chair has many features. All of them work together to make you as comfortable as possible. If you have a chair with a very nice backrest and it has poor armrests, or it does not even have them, it will not support your body well when you sleep. Thus, the chair that you buy must be holistically ergonomic, in every aspect possible.

When you lean back in your chair, you do not want to flip over, legs in the air. People have broken their necks this way. You could also earn yourself a bumped back. Thus, a good ergonomic chair can take your weight when you lean sideways and backwards without a problem.

In detail, here are some of the ergonomic features that your office chair must have:

Comfortable Headrest

ergonomicsThe headrest is one of the most important features in an office chair that you can sleep in. You do not want to sleep and snore, you just want to switch off for a few minutes so that you can recharge your batteries and get back to work. You just want to lean your head on the headrest a little, and grab a snooze.

A good headrest does not only offer comfort to the head alone, but to the neck as well. Thus, it should be attached to the chair with no gap to spare between the chair and the headrest. Ok, there may be a small gap. This should be to the minimum, not more than an inch.

If you should attempt to catch a snooze on an office chair that has no headrest, your neck could be at risk of hanging over the top chair edge. That would be a nasty experience and you do not want that to happen.

Thankfully, many office chairs come with a headrest as a standard feature. If it does not have one, you should be direful how you catch a nap in it.

Just like the backrest, the headrest should also be breathable for the comfort of your neck. You do not want to wake up with the neck baked red and sweating. Thankfully, the same breathable material used on the backrest is used on the headrest.

Good armrests

The posture of a person who is catching a snooze in the office chair is one with head thrown back a bit. The back presses against the backrest, arms rested on the armrests but crossed on the abdomen. That is the picture of a person at peace with himself and the world. This posture can be hard to achieve if the armrests are not good.

Good chair armrests should allow your arms to form an angle of 90 degrees at the elbow when you are sitting down. If the arms slope down forming an angle that is bigger than 90 degrees, well, those armrests need to be adjusted. The same applies when the arms form an angle that is smaller than 90 degrees when you are seated.

Adjustable armrests are the best choice for you here so that you can adjust their height depending on your needs. If you are taller, you can adjust their height to match yours and vice versa. Some office chairs have fixed armrests that slope downwards. Such may not be good for long hours of use. However, any armrest is better than no armrest at all.

Consider the position of the armrests keenly as they will play a big part when snoozing. They will act as handholds unless you want your arms to keep sliding when you are trying so hard to catch a closed eye.

The backrest

backrestThis is where rubber meets the road. The backrest can determine whether an office chair can be regarded as ergonomic or not. A bad backrest even for home chairs is a no-no. This is the 21st century. If the modern car seats are ergonomic, there is no excuse whatsoever why we should be using office chairs that are not ergonomic.

Even without the adjustable lumbar support, the backrest alone should be designed ergonomically to ensure that you get good reprieve for the back when you sit down. Even without the removable lumbar support, your chair should still be able to offer incredible back support.

Some ergonomic office chairs come with reclining backrests, which can be further adjusted to increase the angle of recline. When you are done snoozing, you can adjust it back to the best working posture.

To sleep comfortably, you also want to make sure the backrest is breathable. If it is summer, you know the heat can be quite sweltering. You do not want your back to bake in the heat. Thus, a breathable backrest, probably made with mesh will allow good airflow to keep the air flowing.

Such a chair is also very comfortable even when working because your back will not get swampy and wet. Breathability is a very important factor, even for chairs that do not have a meshed backrest. Manufacturers use breathable fabrics for upholstery.

Lumbar support

One of the most important features in an office chair is lumbar support. This is good for people who suffer from lower back pain and those that do not. Thus, when you have a chair with good lumbar support, it can help you prevent lower back pain or if you already have back pain, lumbar support will help you alleviate it.

You can get an office chair with good lumbar support. It should be adjustable so that you can move it up or down to offer relief to your back where you need it most.

When you want to work longer hours to finish an important assignment, you will be exerting too much pressure on your lower back. However, the long sitting hours do not have to take their toll on your lower back if your chair has lumbar support.

While many chairs have an ergonomic backrest, adjustable lumbar support makes such a chair many times better. When you lean back and relax to grab a few minutes of sleep in the office, you want something pushing slightly against your lower back. This helps the spine to maintain its natural curve.

The height of your chair

This is another very important factor for sleeping in an office chair. The height has to be just right, and there are no two ways about this. To accompany the height, the chair must also have a good balance.

The height of your chair

When you sleep, you can lean a bit to the side. The last thing you want is to go toppling down onto the floor. If the chair has poor balance, it can topple on the side, front or back.

It should be easy to adjust the chair’s height. Actually, the best ergonomic office chair should have as many adjustable features as possible. With one-touch pneumatic controls, it should be easy to press a knob and adjust the height without needing to stand up.

To know the perfect chair height for you, just “listen” to your feet when sitting down. If the feet soles are flat on the floor, if you cannot feel the edge of the seat pressing against your back, then you are sitting at the best height.

When you want to relax and sleep a bit, you can lower the height of the seat a bit so that you can stretch your feet in front of you. You should do this while maintaining the best posture possible.


You have now seen that sleeping in an office chair is possible. However, other factors can also influence how well you sleep on the chair. For example, no matter how ergonomic and comfortable the chair is, if there is poor lighting, if there is a lot of noise in the office, it can be hard to snooze. Thus, for you to enjoy those minutes of sleep in the office, all the other factors are important. Remember though that the chair is the most important of all factors that enhance how well you sleep in the office. When you have to work through the night on that urgent assignment, you know you will eventually have to sleep a bit to stay fresh and capable.

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