Can You Sleep With A Heating Pad On?

Heating pads are definitely a useful part of recovery from injuries, strenuous exercise and even just bringing some comfort. But can you sleep with a heating pad on? This is the question we’re going to answer today. 

Can You Sleep With A Heating Pad On?

In this article, we will look at why heating pads are useful, whether you should have them in bed with you and how to use them safely.

By the end, you should have all the information you need to make an informed choice about whether to switch your heating pad on for the entire night while you are asleep, or leave it for another time when you are awake. 

Let’s begin with the benefits that heating pads bring to your body. 

Why Are Heating Pads Useful? 

If you have just completed a hard workout or are recovering from a muscle injury, heating pads can be excellent tools to use at home. Especially if your body is craving sleep and you want to recover from your day.

When your muscles become tight, your blood vessels become constricted. This means that your body can’t supply the affected area with enough oxygen to help you along with your recovery. 

Heat increases blood flow to the area it is applied to as your blood vessels dilate and it becomes easier for your body to supply the muscle with what it needs. This enables more oxygen and nutrients to reach your injured or sore area and speed up recovery. 

The effects you feel from heat can be reduced pain, looser muscles or joints and faster healing. 

Heating pads definitely have their medicinal uses, but should they be in bed with you? 

Should You Sleep With A Heating Pad On? 

Can You Sleep With A Heating Pad On?

The short answer is that you should avoid falling asleep with your heating pad on. This isn’t to say that there aren’t benefits to applying heat to your tired muscles, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of your safety and health. 

The presence of a heating pad can create situations that you might need to react too while you’re asleep, so let’s take a look at some of the risks. 

Burns And Disfigurements 

As much as heat goes some way towards helping your recovery, you can get too much of a good thing. Prolonged exposure to the heat that some heating pads produce can result in burns and disfigurements. 

It is generally recommended that you avoid using heating pads for long periods of time, but you won’t be able to regulate this if you’re asleep. 

Fire Hazard 

As with any electrical appliance, there is a fire hazard involved. This is especially true of heating pads as their electrical socket is more prone to overheating than most other appliances that are designed to stay cool. 

Should a fire happen whilst your heating pad is on, you’re going to want to be awake in order to react.

Similar to suffering burns from your heating pad, being asleep will leave you vulnerable to accidents that could have been stopped early or the moment that they happen. 

Making Injuries Worse 

Just as a heating pad can be a great tool for healing injuries and muscle soreness, they can actually have the opposite effect if they are overused. This would happen after prolonged exposure to heat, which can actually increase inflammation in the muscle.

If you have a strained muscle to begin with, you don’t want to overwhelm it as your body is already working to heal it naturally.

For this reason, you should use your heating pad in small doses so that your body gets the chance to recover itself before inflammation takes hold. 

How To Use A Heating Pad Safely

If you are still thinking of sleeping with a heating pad on, there are precautions you can take to minimize some of the risks we just discussed. If sleeping with a heating pad on is part of your nightly sleep ritual, here are some things for you to consider.

Avoid Direct Contact With The Skin 

Always make sure that you have something between your skin and the heating pad. This can be an item of clothing or a towel that will give your skin a buffer from the heat.

Avoiding direct contact with your skin will provide some protection against burns and disfigurements, making sure you don’t wake up with any unwanted surprises. 

Set Timers

Most modern heating pad will come with a set of controls that will allow you to increase or decrease the temperature as well as set a timer. These are ideal and will minimize the risk of falling asleep with the heating pad still turned on.

Scheduling your heating pad to switch off automatically prevents you from having prolonged exposure to the heat. This will also go some way towards preventing burns in addition to bringing extra inflammation to your sore muscle. 

Position Your Heating Pad Safely

If you insist on taking your heating pad to bed, you can position it in a way that reduces the risk of electrical faults. I know this may sound crazy, but believe me these things still happen!

Avoid placing your heating pad directly beneath your body and rest it on top of you instead. This will reduce the chance of the electrical systems overheating as you are not trapping the heat beneath you.

You should also remove any items that could be lying around such as books or phones and make sure that they are not resting on the heating pad too. There are times when we fall asleep with with things in our bed and if you are not careful, anything exposed to prolonged heat from a heating pad can be a fire hazard.

Avoid Taking Your Heating Pad To Bed Altogether

This is the safest way to eliminate most of the risks associated with heating pads. If you can avoid sleeping with your heating pad on completely, you are awake and alert whenever it is turned on.

You are in full control of how long it is in contact with your target area and you will be able to react to any faults straight away rather than being caught up in a fire hazard during the night. 

Final Thoughts

The take-home message is that sleeping with a heating pad on throughout the entire night should generally be avoided. If you insist on having it in bed with you though, there are measures you can take to make it safer. 

However, your body is naturally trying to recover when you’re asleep, so it’s best to leave your body to do its thing without outside interference. Sleeping with a heating pad on for the entire night is not a natural temperature that your body will produce.  Therefore, it’s important to consider how long you will have the heating pad on.

We hope this article has answered your questions on whether heating pads are useful and safe for sleeping with. 

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