How Working from Home Affects Your Sleep & 6 Tips to Improve It
First added 25th June 2021
By Jessica Kadel
4 min read
After the whirlwind that was 2020, a large amount of us have dabbled in remote working. The rise of the pandemic meant UK remote workers doubled from the year before, with 46% of us working from home as of April 2020 according to the Office of National Statistics.
Whether you miss the office or you love working in your dressing gown, working from home can affect your overall sleep pattern. If this is the case for you, we share how the bedroom office affects your slumber and 6 ways you can improve it.
How Does Working from Home Affect Sleep?
Some people adore working from home and rest a little easier without the stress of the morning commute. However, for the majority, it seems working from home has had a negative impact on sleep. According to Psychreg, 70% of new home workers have found their sleep disrupted, the majority of which are between 18-24 years old.
Another study by the UN International Labour Organisation found that 42% of the remote workers woke up repeatedly during the night, compared to 29% of those who opted for the office.
There are many possible reasons for this lack of sleep, including increased exposure to blue light in the bedroom, a lack of routine, and of course anxiety due to the pandemic. However, it can be improved with a few simple lifestyle changes.
How to Improve Your Sleep While Working from Home
If you’re one of the unlucky few who have been struggling with sleep while working remotely, there are several things you can do to get maximum zzz’s.
1. Set Clear Boundaries
This may be easier said than done, however, we’d recommend choosing a room for your home office that isn’t your bedroom. Bringing work into the bedroom can blur the boundaries between work and sleep. Consequently, this will increase your stress levels. Instead, dedicate a work zone away from where you snooze. Ideally, an area that’s typically quiet with lots of natural light.
2. Get Outside
When working from home you’re missing out on your typical morning commute, which means you won’t be seeing as much of the outside world. Even if you haven’t got any plans, we’d recommend getting outside as much as possible. Whether that’s a brisk walk in the morning or a coffee in the garden. Natural light helps reset your body clock and make you feel more alert.
3. Stick to a Schedule
Without your morning commute, chances are you’ve also got more time to hit the snooze button in the morning. However, it’s important to keep your body clock in sync and try to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. This can regulate your circadian rhythm, ensuring you can get better sleep come bedtime. As well as this, try and stick to the daily habits you had before working from home, for example, your morning shower, getting dressed, and having breakfast.
4. Avoid Napping
To stick to a schedule, it’s also best to avoid napping excessively during the day. Despite how tempting it may be when your desk is close to your bed. But, sleeping lots during the day will only worsen your sleep at night. To resist a siesta during the working day, we recommend staying hydrated, getting as much natural light as possible, and opting for earlier bedtimes. If you need to nap, Mayoclinic recommends opting for short, 20-minute naps in the early afternoon.
5. Take Breaks
As well as getting outside as much as possible, it’s important to schedule regular breaks from your work. When we work from home without distractions, we may miss opportunities to stretch our legs or have a natter with a colleague. Try to schedule 15-minute breaks where you take your mind off work at least every 90 minutes. According to Fast Company this can help you consolidate and retain information better. Consider taking a long shower, calling a friend, or exercising as your break.
Our final piece of advice to improve your sleep while working from home is to not overdo it on devices, especially in the evening. This is because the blue light emitted from your laptop or phone suppresses melatonin production, making it more difficult to drift off. Sleep neurologist Cathy Goldstein, M.D. recommends turning off computers, laptops or tablets, at least three hours before hitting the hay to ensure your body clock is ready for sleep.
And that concludes our tips for improving your sleep while working remotely. We hope you manage to drift off easily! For more helpful advice and sleep tips, visit our Snooze Hub.
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