Taking care of the children yourself, being home for parcel deliveries, and ditching hundreds of hours of commuting time – the recent cultural shift towards Working From Home has improved the quality of life for millions of people around the world. And yet many of us are feeling more tired than ever. Let’s explore why we’re feeling this way and what we can do about improving our sleep when working from home.
After reading you will be able to:
- Comprehend the body’s circadian rhythms
- Know how important natural light is for sleep
- Effortlessly disentangle work from home life
- Understand how working from home affects sleep
- Appreciate the importance of work/life separation
COVID-19 has changed the way we work in several different ways, mainly in that many of us now work from home as part of the ‘new normal. Working from home certainly has its benefits when it comes to protecting ourselves and others from the virus. Remote jobs also allow us to avoid the stressful commute, and with the increased flexibility, productivity often goes up, along with overall wellbeing.
Several studies suggest that productivity when working remotely is greater than in an office setting. On average, those who work from home are 47% more efficient, spending at least 10 minutes less a day being unproductive.
Despite the positives, there is a danger that working remotely can harm the quality of your sleep. Let’s take a closer look at the potential problems your sleep quality can face when working from home, and how you can help combat them.
How Does Working From Home Affect Sleep?
Doing your job from home can cause blurred lines between the working and non-working hours of the day, making it difficult to switch off. Further to this, face-to-face meetings now take place online, increasing the time spent looking at blue light screens. The light emissions from these types of electronic devices negatively impact the body’s natural sleep hormone, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Space can also be an issue when working from home. For many, this often means working in the same room that they sleep in, even having to work from their beds. If possible, this should be avoided. Not only does it negatively impact productivity, but can also be detrimental to posture.
A study published by Psychreg claims that a high percentage of people are experiencing disrupted sleeping patterns as a result of working from home:
- 84% in London have experienced sleep disruption
- 82% in Bristol & Glasgow have had difficulty with their sleeping routine
- 81% in Manchester say sleeping patterns have been disturbed
How To Improve Sleep Quality When Working From Home
1. Don’t work where you like to relax / sleep
It is hard to find a good balance between work and rest when working from home, usually, because you are working in a place you also spend your downtime. Our advice is, wherever possible, try to work in a part of the house where you wouldn’t normally spend time relaxing or sleeping. In essence, if you like to relax after work in your living room, then set up a desk area in a spare bedroom or dining room for the 9 to 5 duties.
We understand that this isn’t possible for everybody, but we can not emphasise enough the importance of setting up a working station in a separate part of the house that you rest in. At the very least try to work in a different part of a room. Good sleep is almost impossible for many without a clear separation between work and home life. Good quality sleep requires a relaxing environment.
2. Get some sunlight and fresh air
When working from home, many of us tend to stay inside all day, which can be damaging to our circadian rhythms, an important part of healthy sleeping. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles regulated by the body’s internal clock, with one of the most important rhythms being the sleep-wake cycle. Seeking out sunlight on your breaks from work, particularly earlier in the day, gives your body exposure to natural light, which helps to reinforce and promote the circadian cue.
On your breaks, try to go outside as often as possible, whether it is for a walk or just a sit down in the garden – being out in the fresh air will help you relax and wind down. It is also recommended that you work in an area where you can be exposed to natural light, such as next to a window, where you can feel the shifting sunlight throughout the day. Taking this approach helps let your body know what time of day it is, so when you’re done working you’ll know it’s time to wind down.
3. Stick to a routine
Without the need to take that morning commute to work, many may like to stay in bed for longer. You might find it difficult to pull yourself away from a comfy bed at first, but we highly recommend getting up at the time you normally would for commuting to the office. This allows you to stick to a consistent routine, which helps the body to naturally awaken before you start work, aiding in productivity when you start your day.
Make the most of this time by drinking coffee, enjoying some breakfast, or taking a morning walk before you start your job. Just as we would advise getting up at a regular time, try to stick to a consistent bedtime too to help your body regulate its natural body clock.
4. Get dressed just as you would for work
We know that it may be very tempting to simply roll out of bed and start working in your pyjamas, but taking a shower and dressing suitably for work really helps with separating the work/life confusion. Creating a clear distinction between your career time and personal life really helps with increasing productivity. What we wear plays a big role in our sleep, and taking your clothes off at the end of the shift is a great signal to start winding down before sleep.
5. Only work during the appropriate hours
There is a strong temptation to respond every time we hear that new email ping. But we shouldn’t. By making yourself available to reply to emails at any given hour not only are you eating away at your free personal time, but keeping yourself on edge. Not responding to emails out of hours is a sign of a healthy work/life balance, your mind can unwind without a need to feel alert and ready for duty.
We may think we’re being productive by working the extra hours, but the truth is that without proper down time we’re never at our best. As a result, our work efforts are usually greater for much lesser returns.
6. Remain active for a healthy lifestyle
Being sat down all day it’s easy to put on a few pounds working in an office. Now that you’re working from your house you don’t even have the short walk to the bus stop to burn calories. This means it’s more important than ever to keep yourself active. Long walks, gym sessions, or even line-dancing classes (hey, you’ll find no judgment here), whatever you can dedicate time to do, be sure your body gets plenty of movement, and plenty of water.
If you find yourself still struggling to sleep at night after following this advice, give us a call, it may be that you need a new bed or mattress that can better support your slumber needs. Persistent sleep problems should be examined by your GP – at the very least a visit can eliminate any potential medical conditions that may be preventing you from getting decent rest.
For more tips on how to relax after working from home, take some inspiration from the Danish Hygge Lifestyle.
If you’re struggling to sleep then you might find the following articles also of use:
Need Help With Your Sleep?
Whatever you do for a living, and wherever you do it, we’re here to help.
Great sleep hygiene is essential to a healthy lifestyle. We might not be able to eliminate those boring zoom meetings or provide you with the much-missed office banter, but we can certainly make you more comfortable during downtime by pairing you up with a bed that’s just right for you.
Now that you know how to take better care of your work/life balance, let us take care of your comfort.
Deciding on the best bed for your needs depends on several factors.
- What type of sleeper are you?
- Do you have a temperature you sleep best in?
- What materials are you most comfortable on?
There is no need to lose sleep over trying to choose the ideal bed and bedding for your night-time needs. Our bed experts at Land of Beds pride themselves on their specialist knowledge and ability to help you find the bed and bedding that’s best for you.
Our customer-first policy means we listen and give good, independent advice based on the needs of the individual. By pairing consumers up with ethically sourced, affordable, quality products, we provide as many people as possible with a great night’s sleep.
Need to be connected with a bed that will help you unwind after a day of working from home? Get in touch with us on 01928 242829