Lifestyle Blog

Should I sleep with my legs elevated?

Sleeping with your legs lifted or elevated has many benefits. You may choose to sleep in this position to ease an existing issue or prevent future problems with your body. However, it’s essential to use this position correctly to avoid unnecessary damage.  

Like with anything related to your health, it’s always good to talk to your doctor about any lifestyle changes you want to make. And sleep positions are no exception. 

What are the benefits of sleeping with your legs elevated? 

Sleeping with your legs elevated can reduce swelling.  

Having your legs raised above the rest of your body can reduce swelling in your feet and legs (known as oedema). It can also soothe any muscle tensions by removing pressure. If you’re on your feet a lot during the day, it’s a good way to relieve tension while you’re sleeping.  

Raising your legs while you sleep can improve circulation. 

With your legs lifted, your blood flows towards your organs, which improves overall circulation throughout your body.  

This has several benefits, including the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is caused by a blood clot in the veins of the lower parts of your body – it can even be fatal if the clot reaches your lungs or heart. 

Sleeping with your legs lifted relieves back pain. 

If you suffer from chronic back pain or issues with your sciatic nerve, sleeping on your back with your legs raised can help to relieve pain and take the pressure away from your lower back.  

A person sleeping on an adjustable bed with their legs elevated

FAQs about sleeping with your legs raised. 

How do I effectively elevate my legs in bed? 

Whatever you use to raise your legs, you want to make sure your legs are elevated above your heart and that you are comfortable.  

Here are some ways you can do this:  

Use pillows to sleep with your legs raised. 

If you’re experimenting with raising your legs while you sleep, use spare cushions, or invest in a wedge pillow.  

This option is great for those who don’t move much in the night, but if you do move around, they can shift and become uncomfortable and unsupportive.  

Use a folded blanket to raise your legs in bed. 

You could also use a folded blanket to raise your legs. This option is more stable than stacking pillows, but it may not give you the elevation you need to see any benefits.  

Invest in an adjustable bed to elevate your legs.  

An adjustable bed is the most effective way to elevate your legs as they are designed to support you in this position and won’t require a balancing act during the night, like with pillows and cushions.  

An electric adjustable bed usually comes with a handset (and some even have a mobile app) that you can control and customise your perfect sleep position. If you sleep with a partner, you can also get dual adjustable beds that allow you both to have control over your own sides.  

An undressed dual adjustable bed with one side adjusted so the user's legs are elevated

Where does the fluid go when you elevate your legs? 

Gravity works with you and the fluid drains from the highest part of your body (your legs) to the lower part of your body (your upper body). This is good for improving circulation and digestion.  

I sleep on my side. Can I sleep with my legs elevated? 

Sleeping on your side isn’t an ideal position for raising your legs. If you elevate your legs on your side, it could affect your spine and cause discomfort.  

One way to still reap the benefits of leg elevation is to do it during other times of the day when you’re sitting down – for example in front of the TV, reading or working.  

What are the risks of sleeping with your legs elevated? 

As with any sleep position, there are some risks if your body is not positioned correctly or due to other health factors.  

Firstly, for some people, sleeping on your back is not a natural position, and it can take a while to get used to. Trying out this position could mean you are uncomfortable and reduce the quality of your sleep for a period. 

Meanwhile, if you wish to change positions during the night, it may be challenging to do this if you have pillows lifting your legs. Of course, this issue would not affect you too much if you had an electric adjustable bed that you can easily reposition.  

Again, it’s always best to speak with your doctor if you’re concerned, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. If not done correctly, sleeping with your legs elevated could cause further issues later down the line.

Want to invest in your best nights' sleep? Take a look at our range of smart adjustable beds.


Find out how Opera could help you with your bed needs.

Contact us, or speak to our experts advisors on 0333 222 8584


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