Sleeping With Legs Elevated: Is It Beneficial?

Getting the right amount of sleep is essential for maintaining your overall health and uplifting your daily mood.

With so many things to do, though, sometimes it is just not possible to get the right amount of slumber and shuteye.

To supplement your almost inadequate resting intervals, you should also pay a little more attention to the quality of your sleep.

Have you ever tried sleeping with legs elevated after a long, tiring day at work?

Your sleeping position can go strides in magnifying the incredible benefits you get from resting and sleeping.

Sleeping With Legs Elevated

The Subconscious Habits

After a whole day of walking, standing, and sitting, you go home and feel the effects of gravity, stress, and tension on your lower extremities.

Your feet can feel hurt and look swollen, and your legs seem to stiffen while your body starts to get into a relaxed state.

Without consciously doing so, we get into a sigh of relief after taking off our shoes and elevating our legs.

We humans have a knack for resting our feet and legs in a raised position.

In this instance, we feel even more relaxed and tend to doze off until someone reminds us that we haven’t had dinner yet.

By the time we get to bed, we often look for more pillows to stack and elevate feet while sleeping.

Sleeping With Legs Elevated: Drawbacks

Although sleeping with your feet elevated could have some drawbacks, it can have more benefits than you might actually know.

Before getting into its positive consequences, let’s get into the undesirable effects first.

The negative consequences of sleeping with legs elevated can be negligible for many people, but some first-timers can feel some uneasiness.

So let's answer the question: Is It Bad to Keep Your Legs Elevated?

Minimal to Zero Bed Mobility

Reduced mobility and comfort when sleeping with legs elevated; woman in bed sleeping but being uncomfortable in her sleeping position

Some people tend to turn and move around while sleeping.

Sleeping with your feet elevated means you are using something to support them in a raised position.

You may have a bed that folds and bends to raise your feet, or you have plenty of pillows to put under them.

Either way, having your feet in a raised position could entail minimal or no movement at all.

To help you condition yourself with a relatively new sleeping position, try using a sleep mask with earmuffs.

Partial Discomfort and Irritation

If you have never tried to elevate your feet while sleeping, it may be very uncomfortable at first, and acclimating to the habit may take some time.

Some people who do it for the first time wake up with a certain amount of numbness in their legs and feet.

You also increase contact and pressure points to hold your legs in an incline relative to your back position.

If you are not used to having these contact and pressure points during your sleep, you can find it somewhat irritating.

For those suffering from the so called restless legs syndrom the limited mobility will add to the discomfort of having your legs elevated.

Side Sleeping

As mentioned above your mobility is somewhat restricted when sleeping with your legs elevated.

If you are a side sleeper elvating your legs will not be feasible - at least not in a comfortable way and you won't have any of its benefits.

But even if you are rotating from back to side overnight having your legs elvated might not be an option for you.

A wedge pillow, to be put between your knees, might be the only somewhat feasible way to have at least one leg elevated during night when side sleeping.

Sleeping With Legs Elevated: Benefits

The benefits of elevating legs outnumber its disadvantages.

The following list describes all the good things you can get from sleeping with your feet and legs in a raised position.

Better Blood Circulation

To improve blood circulation, you must stay hydrated, limit alcohol consumption, and eliminate smoking.

You can also take supplements such as ginkgo Biloba, green tea, and beetroot to improve blood flow.

In addition to these habits, you should also try to elevate feet while sleeping.

This habit springs from an ancient beneficial yoga trick called the uttanpadasana pose.

The pose lets you lay your back flat on the floor while putting your legs up a wall.

It draws blood from your lower body back into your organs and towards your heart.

Blood returning to the heart re-oxygenates and becomes more beneficial for the whole body.

Similarly, elevating your legs while laying down re-circulates the blood in your lower extremities for re-oxygenation.

Less Heart Muscle Strain

The heart pumps freshly oxygenated blood out while it pulls in blood from all over the body for re-oxygenation and re-circulation.

When you raise your legs and feet, you reduce heart muscle strains by letting gravity do all the work.

Reduction of Lower Body Inflammation

After a long day of staying on your feet, gravity brings down your bodily fluids, and with it, pressure builds up around your legs, ankles, and toes.

The pressure causes swelling and pain, and a fix includes an intake of anti-inflammatory foods and drugs.

Alternatively, a quick fix could be as simple as reversing the effects of gravity.

To relieve swelling on your legs and feet, put them up to divert the pressure out.

Chronic Back Pain Relief

Sleep with legs elevated back pain

If you experience chronic back and hip pain, irritation or injury to the sciatic nerve might be the cause.

Raising your legs while reading a book, watching TV, or sleeping wouldn’t permanently solve sciatica, but it can relieve the pain.

Reduction of Peripheral Edema

Edema happens when a part of the body becomes swollen because of fluid buildup in the tissues surrounding the area.

If edema occurs in the arms and legs, it is called peripheral edema.

Edema due to poor circulation can be a symptom of larger vascular, kidney, or liver diseases.

Sleeping with elevated legs cannot cure such diseases, but it can reduce or remove the swelling.

Although edema can be a simple effect of working on your feet all day, consult with your doctor for possible countering and prevention of life-threatening diseases.

Deterrence of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Sleeping with legs elevated

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when blood clots deep within the tissues of your hands, arms, feet, and legs.

DVT signs include discolored skin, a feeling of warmth, and cramping and sore pains in the affected area.

A prevalent cause of DVT is when the limbs are left stationary for extended periods.

To prevent DVT, you have to improve blood circulation, and one way is by elevating your arms and legs.

Prevention of Varicose Vein Emergence

Varicose veins are not so much of a threat to a person’s long-term health conditions unless they are affected by DVT.

The problem with these spider veins is that they can be very unappealing.

Leg elevation can help prevent and manage varicose leg veins.

Posture Maintenance

When you sleep with your legs elevated, you are passively correcting the alignment of your spine.

If you think you are having problems with your spine, it is still best to consult with a chiropractor.

But a free method for repositioning your spine is by lying flat on your back and raising your legs.

By lying or sitting with your legs raised, you are actively maintaining good posture and reducing the pressure on your lower back.

Repeatedly sleeping with your legs raised promotes better spine alignment compared to sleeping on your side.

Better Sleep

Sleeping with legs elevated better sleep

All of the good things you can get from sleeping with your legs raised consequently lead to sleeping more comfortably.

If you have an adjustable or inclinable bed, by all means, use it to sleep with your legs raised.

You can work around the adjustments to get the most comfortable raised-leg sleeping positions.

To get better sleep and successfully keep your legs elevated with a simple bed, rearrange your bedroom furniture for possible leg elevation configurations.

Then again, you can add more pillows, and the effect would be just the same.

Tips on How to Sleep Comfortably With Elevated Legs

The good news is that you don't need any expensive gadget to get your legs up. You can use pillows, blankets or even clothes from around the house for that extra elevation.

One of the easisest ways is by putting your legs on books so they're raised just enough without being uncomfortable against skin during sleeping hours.

But if any of the above won't work for you, there are multiple products available on the market today.

Adjustable Beds

As we saw above the benefits of elevating your legs during sleep are many, but using a stack of pillows won't work for everyone.

Some people may shift and adjust throughout their sleep cycle without realizing they’ve kicked out the pillows from underneath their legs negating any positive effects this practice could have on you.

There is no need to worry as an adjustable bed might be the perfect solution for you.

This type of furniture allows you to raise your legs to different heights. Which then again will help to ajdust it exactly to a setting perfect for your body.

You can choose between the base being adjustable but there also adjustable mattresses on the market. Many include other features besides raising your legs such as a pillow tilt (for raising your upper body), remote control or even massage functions.

Wege Pillow


The best solution for raising your legs high enough so they’re above the heart is a wedge pillow. A regular old flat one in many cases won't cut it.

The best wedge pillow will help to raise your legs above heart level while still providing support for poor posture while sleeping, mainly in your lower back.

It might require to test out a few of these wedge pillows to find the one that is ideal for you.

Other than size you can choose between memory foam, contour and colling material versions.

How Long Should You Elevate Your Legs?

 How long to sleep with legs elevated; woman in bed raising her legs

If you want to maximize the benefits of elevating your legs while sleeping, keep them raised as long as you possibly can.

If discomfort does not allow it, try to keep your legs up for at least 15 minutes before you fall into a deep sleep.

Have some time to do this in 15-minute intervals at least three times a day.

Is It Good to Sleep With Legs Elevated: The Conclusion

The many benefits of elevating legs counter its very minimal disadvantages.

If you still feel tired after sleeping adequately, try elevating your lower extremities the next time you sleep.

You can notice the difference and effectiveness after a few nights of sleeping in this position.

Raise your legs at night while you sleep to help with a problem you already have, or use the practice to avoid any future health problems.

The decision to raise your legs is purely up to you.

Is it bad? Mildly. Is it beneficial? Significantly.

Still, before you consider the practice of sleeping with your legs raised, consult with your doctor about any underlying problems that you might already have.