Can You Work While Lying Down?

Working while lying down
Working from the Couch lying down (Source: Pexels)

Have you ever called someone lazy or inactive for simply working lying down or have been shamed yourself?

Here is something you should know. Although working while lying is frowned upon, there is nothing wrong with it.

It has been proven that working while perfectly lying down promotes a perfect body posture.

Working while lying down instead of sitting or standing reduces significant strain on the spine by naturally straightening your back and relaxing muscles. Assume face up, prone, lateral, or inclined position to make work more productive.

Working while lying down
Working while lying down (Source: Sunday Morning Herald)

However, not everyone is up for a lying work position as it requires a comfortable place to rest, tools to support a laptop or computer, and a bit of practice.

Read on to find out how to improve your body position by adopting a new lying down technique.

Can You Work While Lying Down?

When we think about lying down, we naturally assume a person is resting or sleeping, which gives an impression of inactivity.

Therefore, assuming this working position may seem ridiculous at first.

However, there is no truth to it. A recent finding has claimed that the pressure on the spine is at a minimum when lying down.

Lying down puts your body at ease
Lying down puts your body at ease (Source: Unsplash)

Besides resting, the sleep position is commonly used for yoga or Pilate, a few of the most focused activities. Hence, you can work effectively in a sleep position too.

And, it does not have to be only one lying position. Choose what works best for you; supine, lying on the stomach, or sideways.

However, do not abuse this position as it will likely induce sleep.

The sleep position is most healthy in the first 30-40 minutes. After which, your metabolism slows down to give way to sleep.

When assuming a lying position, ensure to take frequent breaks in between.

Read our blog about how to use a laptop stand ergonomically.

Lying Down vs. Sitting

Did you know sitting for a prolonged period affects bones, muscles, and metabolism, causing weight gain and injuries?

Although people assume that sitting is the natural position for work, it may put your body at significant risk, including wrong body postures.

A wrong sitting posture puts tension and stress on the neck and shoulder; prolonged sitting posture prevents regular blood circulation in the lower body.

Sitting much body to a risk
Sitting much body to a risk (Source: HealthMatters.NYP.org)

Major issues that may show up later include digestion problems, back pain, spinal dysfunction, and joint degeneration.

A Harvard Health study concluded that prolonged sitting can increase the risk of improper lung function, breathing shortness, and poor cognitive function.

On the other hand, the lying position encourages a more natural body posture to increase blood flow.

Here are a few traits to working lying down vs. sitting.

Lying downSitting
1. It promotes muscle and spine relaxation, stress relief, and a slower heartbeat.1. An upright sitting position promotes fluent breathing and improved digestion.
2. Transitioning to a lying position for 5-10 minutes after prolonged sitting posture helps with blood circulation.2. You can reach for items and access nearby sections easily while being seated.
3. A prolonged lying position may affect your health by reducing physical activities requiring frequent exercises.3. A prolonged sitting position may affect your health by reducing physical activities requiring frequent exercises.
4. Longer hours of inactivity may lead to dormancy or a tendency to doze off.4. A wrong sitting posture puts the body at risk, such as chronic back pain, stiff shoulders, neck, arched back, etc.

A 2016 study revealed that those who sat a lot and had less physical activity were at the highest risk of mortality from all causes.

Ideal Positions for Using Laptop/Computer While Lying Down

1. Facing Upwards (Supine)

Face up, or supine position is when a person lies down facing upwards, also known as a neutral position.

In fact, it puts 8x less pressure than sitting and relaxes the muscle, relieves stress, and promotes a slower heart rate for focus.

The neutral position promotes muscle and back relaxation that prevents wrong body posture.

Work in a supine position
Work in a supine position (Source: People.com)

Many workers also assume this position to beat stress by slowing heart rate and breathing.

However, working on a laptop may seem impossible in this position unless you have a desk or tools for support.

A Super Gorone Desk is an adjustable desk that supports any position, including supine.

2. Face Down (Prone)

Facedown or prone position is when your body is facing downwards.

Opposed to the supine position, many people assume this position to work, study, and even write.

The prone position promotes blood return to the right heart chamber and reduces the constriction of blood vessels on the lungs, encouraging improved blood circulation.

Working lying down
Working lying face down (Source: Pexels)

However, the prone position is lying on the face entirely but taking support of your wrist to lift your upper body.

Otherwise, lying on a raised bed, usually found at the dentist, may also help.

Grafeiophobia furniture is perfectly designed for workers who want to work facing down.

3. Sideways (Lateral)

The sideways or lateral position is usually assumed for resting, sleeping, or surgical procedures.

However, you can also use this position to work, such as writing, reading, or using a laptop.

Working on lateral side
Working on the lateral side (Source: Geoffrey Pascal’s Grafeiophobia collection)

It may also be helpful if your body does not respond well to either supine or prone positions.

Many workers assume this position to increase comfort, prevent pressure injury, and reduce deep vein thrombosis.

4. 45° Bent Incline

Lying inclined or 45° Bent is a commonly assumed position for reading or working while seated on the bed or couch.

Although much similar to a supine position, the lower body remains flat while the upper body arches forwards when inclined about 45°.

Incline bent working posture
Incline bent working posture (Source: Pexels)

You can easily access your laptop screen and keyboard when seated in this position.

However, do not forget to put soft material like a pillow or soft cushion behind to support your back comfortably.

You can assume multiple fairly obtuse positions to resist the temptation to lift your head to get a better look at the screen.

When sitting inclined, especially on the bed or cushion, introduce more pillows in strategic locations to keep your body in a more natural position.

Read our article about working comfortably from bed with a laptop.

How to Ergonomically Work Lying Down?

You should assume an ideal posture to offset the wrong body posture risks.

Here are a few things to remember.

  1. Keep your spine, including your neck, straight. Lying supine naturally achieves a straight neck posture.
  2. Do not scrunch up your shoulders, and keep your elbows beside your torso.
  3. Do not overstretch or bend your arm wide at the elbow to reach the mouse.
  4. Keep your wrists are straight to your body and avoid bending them when typing.
  5. Invest in an ergonomic workstation that facilitates working in a unique position.
  6. Take frequent breaks every two hours and work sitting or standing.
Using laptop while lying down
Using a laptop while lying down (Source: Pixabay)

Note: Setting up a fully ergonomic workstation may cost anywhere from $2,500 to $16,000.

Best Ergonomic Products for Working Lying Down in 2022

Here are a few recommendations to raise ergonomics at different positions.

ProductSpecificationImage
Thanko Super Gorone DeskAn adjustable aluminum desk switches position when lying down or inclined at 45-degrees.
Portable Laptop DeskA laptop desk with rotatable legs that move 360-degrees.

Quickly collapses and stands to assume different lying positions.
Adjustable Laptop Tray17" laptop tray for seated and lying down position.

Raise height from 9.4” to 12.6’; the angle from 0 to 36 degrees.
Full Motion Laptop DeskAdjustable laptop desk made for inclining laptop and designed to comfort your elbow when seated sideways.
INGREM Ergonomic WorkstationA zero-gravity office chair that adjusts at supine, inclined, and seated positions with customizable features.
Rotating Laptop StandAdjustable laptop stand to work sitting in any position.
Titlts 360-degrees.
NESTL Lazy PillowA lazying pillow perfect for sitting upright on bed or floor or when using a laptop

The Bottom Line

Lying a position for working may prove to be adequate to promote a healthy body posture.

It may take a while to get the hang of it as most workers are not used to working completely lying down.

If it may seem complicated, keep switching between lying and seated positions until you find a permanent work posture.

Related Article: How to work from home ergonomically without desk?

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