Sofa beds are notoriously uncomfortable to sit on. The metal bed frame tends to make them much firmer than normal sofas. But that firmness actually makes them better suited to good posture. We’re used to splaying out on sofas, but it’s actually just as important to sit correctly on a sofa as anywhere else.
Good posture is really about sitting how our bodies were designed to. It might feel strange at first, but the real trick to making your sofa bed more comfortable is learning to sit properly.
Correct your posture
We’re used to treating sofas like a crash mat, which is what sofa beds are peculiarly unsuited to, but sinking into the sofa can lead to just as many long-term health problems as slouching in front of a computer.
- Don’t slouch
As much as sofas lend themselves to slouching, it actually puts more strain on your back and can cause anything from headaches to long-term back problems.
- Don’t sit cross-legged
It may feel natural to sit cross-legged, but doing so puts extra pressure on your lower back which can cause hip and lower back issues.
- Avoid ‘text-neck’
Less of a problem for TV watching, more for reading or yes, texting – refrain from hunching over, it makes your head heavier and puts more strain on your neck. Prop up your book or phone up-right on a cushion or dedicated book stand to keep your head level.
- Don’t put your feet up too long
Putting your feet up is fine, but it is a flexed position, so change your position every now and again to avoid putting extra strain on your neck and back.
- Remember to get up
Get up and walk around every 30-40 minutes.
It may feel unnatural at first, but once you get used to it good posture will actually be more comfortable.
Correct your sofa
You probably have a hundred different adjustments on your chair at work, and you’ve probably had a workplace assessment to make sure they’re all set up correctly. Your sofa is no different, and many sofas – particularly cheap ones, and especially sofa beds – could do with a few tweaks.
Source: MS Trust
- Rotate your cushions
Just like mattresses, sofa cushions will wear out quicker if you sit on the same spot. Regularly flip them to maintain support for longer. Sofa-beds will actually stay firmer for longer thanks to the metal frame underneath, but it’s still worth doing.
- Increase seat height
Sofas are often too low, encouraging a slouched posture. Use extra cushions or high density foam to raise the height so your knees are the same height as your hips when you sit.
- Decrease seat depth
Another common problem is too much seat depth. This can be corrected with extra (firm) cushions or pillows to stop you sitting in a ‘C’ shape.
- Raise arm-rests
If the arm rests are too low, or there aren’t any, use cushions to support your arms instead.
If you’re buying a new sofa, try and get one that you can return if it doesn’t feel right, different sofas suit different bodies.
Making the bed better
Sofa beds are usually the worst of both worlds. They’re uncomfortable sofas because of the bed, and uncomfortable beds because they have to be a sofa as well. You may not sleep on it, but you can make your guests more comfortable with a few simple tricks.
- Flip the mattress regularly
It’s true for your actual bed. It’s true for your sofa cushions. It’s just as true for your paper-thin sofa bed mattress. Flip it to retain support.
- Use decent quality bedding
There’s a lot to be said for a good duvet and nice sheets, they make more difference than you might think.
- Buy a mattress protector
Sofa bed mattresses have to be thinner than normal mattresses to fit in the frame, mattress toppers add extra bulk and support.
- Fill the gaps
Use the sofa cushions to fill the gaps between the frame and the sofa to cover any jagged edges and prevent arms getting stuck.
Learn how to sit properly, adjust the sofa to help you do it and you might find that sofa bed isn’t so uncomfortable after all. And if all else fails, put a throw over it to get some extra softness.