Unintentionally falling asleep on the couch isn’t hard. Whether you nod off while watching TV, or sit down to rest your eyes for a moment and wake up two hours later, the couch feels like the most comfortable spot on earth, and whatever blanket you have on top of you is perfect.
However, when you’re officially sleeping on the couch for the night, it’s a completely different story. The same sofa that felt heavenly earlier now feels hard and lumpy, and is suddenly way too short. No matter how you position yourself, you can’t get comfortable. And that throw blanket that kept you nice and toasty before? You’re shivering underneath it now.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to make your night on the couch at least a little more cozy and bearable. Here’s what to know.
How to sleep comfortably on a couch overnight
A couch will never be a bed (unless it’s a pull-out, but that’s not what we’re talking about here), and it’s important to approach your night on the sofa with that mindset and realistic expectations—especially if you’re tall. Having said that, here are a few ways to make your night a little easier:
Take off the back cushions
Increase your sleeping surface by removing any cushions or pillows, other than the seat cushions that will function as the “mattress” part of your couch-bed for the night. Removing the back cushions makes the biggest difference, providing you with a wider space and more room to stretch out.
Use sheets to make your ‘bed’
This may seem like a pointless step, but using sheets to make up the couch like a bed really does help. It doesn’t matter what size the sheets are—they’re all going to be too big and will need to be tucked in.
The bottom sheet can help make the separate cushions feel like one surface, and keeps the cushions together, so you don’t accidentally kick one off in the middle of the night, dismantling your bed. Plus, no matter how soft the couch’s upholstery is, the sheets are likely softer.
Opt for a real pillow
Instead of resting your head on a collection of small, lumpy throw pillows, use the type of pillow you would if you were sleeping on a normal bed (if possible). And yes: Put a pillowcase on it (you’ll already have the sheet set out).
Top it off with layers of blankets
Whether the couch is in a living room, den, home office, or basement, chances are it’s not in a room that’s designed to be slept in, so the heating/cooling situation might not be ideal. You might start off the night freezing cold, and then wake up sweating, or vice versa.
Your best bet is to have a few blankets and layer them as needed, starting with the top sheet. But even if it’s especially warm and you only need the sheet to start off the night, have at least one other blanket handy, in case you get cold during the night.
Try different positions
Even if you’re usually a back, side, or stomach sleeper, you may need to try out a few different positions to settle in for a night on the couch. Ideally, the couch would be long enough to allow you to stretch out and sleep on your back. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, and you may find yourself having to curl up in the fetal position.
Make a floor bed
If you’ve tried everything and still can’t get comfortable—or are too tall to fit on the couch—you can always remove the back and seat cushions from the couch, line them up in a row on the ground, and use that as a makeshift mattress. Then, follow all the steps above (especially using sheets to make the bed).