Types of Sleeper Chairs

Are you having trouble getting a good night’s sleep in your bed? Has that fact led you on a search for a chair that can pull double duty as a sleeping platform? If so, then you’re going to love this article.

Below, we’ll outline the most popular types of sleeper chairs on the market today, and as you’ll see, you’ve got a lot to choose from; probably more than you first realized!

Let’s take a closer look at the various sleep chairs available.

Recliners & Lift Chairs

La-Z-Boy Niagara Recliner in Zero Gravity Position
La-Z-Boy Niagara Recliner

This is what most people think of when they visualize a chair built for both sitting and sleeping. It’s a staple of the American living room, and you can find sleeping recliner chairs in all shapes and sizes.

If you’re buying a recliner chair to sleep in, we strongly recommend getting one with fabric upholstery rather than leather because fabric is more breathable. We also recommend getting a power recliner with an infinite number of recline angles on offer, as opposed to a manual three-position recliner.

Finally, if you suffer from a mobility issue that makes transferring into or out of your chair a daunting proposition, upgrade to a sleeping recliner lift chair instead of getting a conventional recliner.

If you follow that advice, and focus on a sleep chair recliner with an advanced comfort system (i.e. – one that uses memory foam or a comfort coil system similar to what you find on many high-quality mattresses), you’ll go a long way toward guaranteeing that the chair you pick will help you get a good night’s sleep!

“Convertible Chair”

Convertible Chair in Folded Position
Gray Convertible Chair, Unfolded

You’ve probably heard of a futon, right? The sofa that quickly converts into a bed?

Well, “Convertible Chairs” are to the chair world what futons are to the sofa world. These are chairs that fold out into passingly good beds.

Granted, there are some limitations here. Futons have the advantage of being significantly wider than convertible chairs, but they certainly have their uses. If you’re short on space and in desperate need of a comfortable sleeper chair, this will certainly get the job done.

Note that most of these chairs are padded with conventional block foam, which is kind of the lowest common denominator where padding is concerned. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either, though it doesn’t offer much in the way of support. Still, it’s a good chair to sleep in and better than sleeping on the floor!

Chaise Lounge

Velvet gray variant of the Casa Andrea Milano Chaise Lounge Indoor Chair

The Chaise Lounge has a long and interesting history that dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Greeks co-opted the design, and later, the Romans took the Greek design and modified it further, using it for the accubatio (the act of reclining during mealtime). Ancient frescos are filled with examples of lounging chairs that bear unmistakable similarities to our modern chaise lounge.

In general, even a low-end chaise lounge will provide a better sleeping experience than a high-end convertible chair, since the cushioning offered by the lounge is almost always going to be something more than conventional block foam. 

Still, you get what you pay for, and if you get an incredibly inexpensive lounge and compare it with the best convertible chair you can find, you could probably set the conditions so the convertible chair could win the “contest.”

Note that the basic chaise lounge design is also present in beach and poolside loungers. Same concept, just with less padding, and while it is possible to take a short nap in a poolside lounge chair, sleeping in them for any length of time is not recommended (again, the lack of padding).

Contour Lounge Chair

These chairs aren’t exactly chaise lounges (although they’re sometimes lumped in with them), and they’re not exactly recliners either. They occupy a curious middle ground, just unique enough that most people don’t really know how to classify them.

We’ve simply opted to acknowledge them as their own unique type of chair and wanted to give a quick shout out to them here. They have the advantage of being unique-looking, compelling pieces of furniture. If aesthetics is important to you, and you’re looking for an interesting chair to sleep in, then a contour lounge chair belongs on your short list of options to consider.

Massage Chair

Massage chairs tend to be a good deal more expensive than all the other options we’ve talked about so far, but then, they can do things that no other chair on this list can even dream of doing!

Many massage chairs offer Zero-G seating positions, which are ideal for napping, and most of the massage routines these chairs can perform have a 30-minute to one-hour timer, after which time, they shut off automatically. That’s just enough time to kick your shoes off, get comfy and let the massage heads in the chair work their magic while you drift off to sleep.

Granted, if you buy a massage chair with leg massage ports, you’re probably not going to want to sleep every night in a chair like this because you won’t really be able to move much in your sleep, but as an occasional treat, these are hard to beat as sleepers!

Final Thoughts on the Different Types of Sleeper Chairs

There are a lot more styles and types of sleeper chairs on the market than you may have realized. Everyone’s tastes and preferences are different and some of the specific models of each type of chair may be beyond your budget, so finding the best chair to sleep in for you is going to take some time, effort and research.

It will be well worth the time and effort spent though, because once you find your perfect sleeping chair, it’s almost destined to become your new favorite piece of furniture.

Don’t spend so much as one more night tossing and turning or unable to sleep. The perfect sleeper chair for you is out there, just waiting to be discovered, and as you can see, it may take a very different form than you originally imagined.


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