How Do I Use My Laptop in Bed?
By Aaron Parson
Whether you're looking to get a little extra work done in the evening or to relax with a movie, bringing your laptop to bed seems like it would provide comfort and convenience. In practice, using a laptop in bed often leads to a stiff neck or sore back, and it can cause overheating that damages the computer. To keep yourself and your machine safe, switch to a position that puts little strain on your body and keeps the blankets away from the computer's fans.
According to a study by Dave Malouf, then a professor of Interaction Design at the Savannah College of Art & Design, the most comfortable position to use a laptop is to lie on your back, knees raised, and place the computer on your thighs. This position reduces the distance you have to bend your neck and leaves your wrists in a more natural position. To keep your body situated correctly, place your pillows vertically behind your head and shoulders, against the headboard or wall.
Placing your laptop over your sheets and blankets keeps its heat from burning your legs, but it also insulates the computer, potentially damaging its components. Worse yet, most laptops have an intake fan on the underside of the chassis, which a blanket or pillow can completely block. If your laptop doesn't get too hot to touch, place it directly on your legs. If you can't comfortably leave the computer touching you, buy a laptop stand to keep the machine on a hard, flat surface. You don't necessarily need a fancy product with built-in fans -- even a thin wooden board improves air circulation.
Aaron Parson has been writing about electronics, software and games since 2006, contributing to several technology websites and working with NewsHour Productions. Parson holds a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.