For many of us, working remotely – whether from home or any other location outside of an office – has become second nature in the previous few years. Using a remote workforce has grown in popularity since 2020. Only in the United States has the percentage of full-time employees working from home rose from 6% to over 33%. As a bonus, remote work allows workers to avoid the drudgery of commuting, as well as a stated improvement in productivity and enjoyment.
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Despite these benefits, employees who work remotely may be subjected to undue pressure to be available, responsive, and online at all times. Over time, the technology we use to keep in touch, as well as our urge to be always connected, might have a negative impact on our sleep. With hybrid and remote working becoming more common, we must learn to better manage our online and offline time so that we don’t miss out on a good night’s rest.
Why Can Remote Work Affect Sleep
Hard to Get Away From Work
Traveling to and from work allows you to leave your work behind when you get at your destination. When you’re working from home, it might be difficult to maintain a clear boundary between your personal and business lives.
Working in your bedroom can cause sleep issues. You may think it’s cozy to sit up in bed and type away on your laptop, but that can actually keep your mind from thinking about sleep when it’s time to get some shut-eye.
Too Much Freedom
A large number of remote workers are able to set their own hours. To avoid working till the wee hours of the night, avoid starting your day late or becoming sidetracked. The generation of melatonin, a hormone that aids in sleep, is reduced by exposure to blue light in the evening.
Your circadian rhythm, which governs your sleep-wake cycle, can be disrupted by changing your job schedule. It will be difficult for your body to tell when it should go to sleep and wake up if you work from 7 a.m. one day and 2 p.m. the following.
Even if you work from home, you may still experience stress from your job.
There are always deadlines and expectations to achieve, even if you don’t have to deal with the stress of the daily commute.
It’s not uncommon for people who work from home to experience particular strains, such as the inability to meet deadlines when working on group projects while separated by vast distances. In addition, freelancers who do their work from home may worry about how they will find their next gig. Researchers in 2019 discovered a 47 percent rise in the likelihood of sleep disorders in people who reported job instability.
If you work from home, chances are you don’t see as many of your coworkers as you used to. In your case, social isolation and loneliness are not the same. According to a scientific article, the two are:
- Isolation is defined as a lack of engagement with others.
- When you feel lonely, it’s because there’s a gulf between how much you’d like to socialize and how much you actually do.
Overwhelming loneliness has been shown to increase stress and the risk of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and dementia among other health problems. Another possible symptom of loneliness is sleep deprivation, according to research.
What about if you’re relying on social media as a replacement for face-to-face social interactions? The quality of your sleep can be harmed by spending too much time on social media.
Use social media in moderation, but don’t go overboard. According to a study published in 2018, people should set aside 30 minutes a day for exercise.
Pain from Poor Posture
If you don’t have the optimal workplace setup at home, you’re more likely to suffer from back, shoulder, and neck pain. Chronic pain is frequently associated with insomnia. Pain might make it difficult to sleep at night if you don’t take action to lessen or prevent it.
Remote work and its effect on sleep
- Working from home disrupted many people’s daily habits, requiring lengthy adjustment periods and in some cases affecting their sleep patterns.
- Taking away a stressful commute and waking up early can help your body naturally wake up in a light sleep period. While this may help some people sleep longer, it may also cause others to become more inclined to stay up late, sleep in, and otherwise ignore their regular sleep schedules.
- Working from home makes it more difficult for us to go from “work mode” to “sleep mode” since our workspaces and sleeping spaces become more intertwined.
- Working from home while caring for a child means that parents have less time for sleep because they may choose to work longer hours in an effort to complete projects.
- In a work-from-home environment, you may not be able to unwind and relax, which can affect your sleep. Anxieties about the news, money and the epidemic add to this stress.
- As formerly in-person meetings were shifted online, employees’ overall screen time increased as a result of remote work. The blue light from these screens can have an effect on sleepover time, especially if you work late into the night.
How to improve sleep when working from home
Set boundaries and clear working hours: Working remotely blurs the barrier between business and home life, so it’s up to you to decide where the line is drawn between the two. To keep everything in balance and enable yourself to relax before going to sleep, is essential.
Try to limit your working hours to a specific period of time, and then take a stroll or engage in a short activity that tells your brain “Work is finished for the day.” Relaxing is on the agenda.” Don’t let work-related notifications keep you awake at night by turning them off on your personal devices.
Soak up some sunlight: Our sleep and waking cycles are influenced by our circadian rhythms, which are regulated by exposure to natural light. In contrast to commuting to the office, working from home can make it difficult to even leave the house during working hours. The quality of your sleep may be improved if you spend some time outside in the sunlight. When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, natural light in the morning is the most beneficial.
As much as possible, set up your work-from-home office in an area where you can enjoy the changing rays of the sun throughout the day. In the evening, reducing the lights can help you communicate to your body that it’s time to go to sleep.
Prioritize a wind-down routine: before you go to sleep: The burden of working from home might be alleviated if you follow a pleasant sleep routine. Meditation, reading, listening to soothing music, or journaling are all examples of activities that might help you relax. Journaling helps you keep track of habits that may be interfering with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
It’s also critical to take breaks throughout the day in order to better organize your workday. Breaks come naturally in an office setting, but you’ll have to plan them if you’re working remotely.
Stick to a sleep schedule: People’s habits and sleep patterns were thrown off when they began working remotely. Because our bodies want consistency, sleeping in and pressing snooze because you don’t have to drive to work might throw things off. Get back in the groove and get a good night’s sleep by establishing a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Avoid deviating from your schedule, even if it’s just on a Monday.
Create a good environment for sleeping and working: It’s critical to select a specific work that you exclusively utilize during working hours in order to establish a clear separation between work and play and, as a result, improve your ability to sleep at night. It would be ideal if your workspace was not located in your bedroom, but we understand that this is not often the case.
Avoid working from your bed, even if it seems like the most convenient option. You may have trouble falling asleep if your brain starts to equate being on your mattress with being awake. Cool, calm, and dark are ideal conditions for a good night’s sleep.
Find time to move: “What if a Slack message comes through while you are away?” may make you think twice about leaving your workstation while working from home. It’s possible to improve your sleep with just 30 minutes of activity a day, though.
Limit screen time at night: While scrolling through TikTok before bed or checking email one more time, our smartphones emit blue light, which can enhance awareness and impair sleep. The activities you engage in on these gadgets might keep you awake long after your bedtime, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Take a break from your devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed to allow yourself to relax.
Get dressed for work: Prioritize getting dressed and showered overworking in your jammies, as enticing as that may seem. This can help you make a clear contrast between the moment you wake up and the time of day you have planned.
When working from home, it is critical to balance your online and offline time in order to get a good night’s sleep and produce great work. Prioritize getting a good night’s sleep to guarantee that you’re ready to take on the – remote – day when you get up in the morning!
Balancing Remote Work and Personal Life
It may take some time before you achieve a healthy work-life balance. With some tweaks, you may be able to take advantage of both the workplace and your home while working from a distant location. Among them are:
- You can use these tactics to train your brain when you’re at work and when you’re at rest to replace your commute. You might, for example, make your bed, shower, and put on your work attire at the beginning of the workweek. Putting away your computer and work equipment at the end of the day can be beneficial.
- Establish a Timetable: Create a work-life balance that includes time for physical activity, nutritious food, and personal downtime.
- Maintain a Regular Bedtime: If the nine-to-five workday doesn’t suit you, remote work may provide you the freedom to choose a schedule that works better for you. If you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, you’ll sleep better.
- Set a Schedule: Let your loved ones know that you may be unavailable at particular times due to work commitments. Try to avoid checking your work email after work hours, and make sure your peers do the same.
- Consider taking a brief stroll, or even making a cup of tea with a member of your family, every now and then as you would if you were working in an office. Taking these little breaks can keep your body active and your eyes rested as you work on your computer.
- Maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise can help you sleep better and be more productive.
Practice Self-Care: Reach out to your support network and practice mindfulness or other relaxation techniques to keep yourself grounded if you’re feeling lonely or anxious
Establishing physical boundaries between your workspace and your personal space can be helpful if you’re having trouble making the transition to remote work.
Creating Your Home Office
There are a number of issues to keep in mind while designing a work environment at home:
- To get the most out of your workday, you need to choose a place that’s both private and isolated from the rest of your home. Consider using a curtain or a room divider to separate your workspace from the rest of the room if you’re working in a shared environment.
- Consider the ergonomics of the situation: Your computer monitor and monitor stand should all be set to a comfortable height for you. To avoid a sore neck from staring at your laptop all day, consider purchasing a keyboard, mouse, and laptop stand.
- Find Peace: Turn off the television, your phone’s notifications, and anything else that can be a source of distraction. Headphones or earplugs may help you focus if you’re concerned by noise from other members of the home.
- Maintain a Clean Workspace: Clearing clutter and keeping a clean and tidy workstation can help alleviate stress.
- Increase Your Exposure to Natural Light: Working in a well-lit environment might help you avoid eye fatigue and stay awake. You can improve your mood and get a good night’s sleep if you have a window that gets a lot of sunlight.
When working from home, it’s best to avoid turning your bedroom into an office. When you’re attempting to get some shut-eye, it’s difficult to separate your professional life from your bed because of the associations you’ve made. The bed is perhaps not the most comfortable place to work.
For those who live in a studio apartment or a shared family, they may have to work in their bedrooms.
Tips for Better Sleep When Working From Your Bedroom
Follow these suggestions to minimize the influence on your sleep if you must work remotely from your bedroom.
- Keeping your eyes open while lying in bed can make it more difficult for your brain to wind down at night. Standing desks can be made from repurposed closet shelves if you don’t have much room. There are many ways to separate work and play in your bedroom by rearranging your furniture.
- Treat yourself to a change of scenery by moving to another room or taking a stroll during your breaks.
One hour before bedtime, turn off all electronic devices. Sleep specialists advocate removing electronic gadgets with backlit screens from the bedroom since they emit blue light that disrupts sleep. At least an hour before going to sleep attempt to put away your work and engage in a non-screen activity like reading a book or listening to some music.
- Put Yourself to Sleep Using a Regular Schedule: Brush your teeth, put on your jammies, and read or listen to music as you wind down for the night.
- Maintaining a healthy sleep routine is especially crucial if your bedroom doubles as your workspace. Create a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom. Lowering the temperature and shutting off any noise or distractions could be part of this process.
Working from home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your sleep. You may improve your productivity and sleep hygiene when working from home by applying a few innovative strategies.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I stay awake while working from home?
If you have trouble staying awake after a bad night’s sleep, here are some suggestions:
- Get some fresh air by going for a stroll in the morning or during a break. Sitting still can make you drowsy, but getting up and moving about can help you stay more aware. You can even stroll as you work, for example, when you’re on the phone.
- Take a cold shower for a few seconds.
- Make sure the room is well-lit so that you can get the job done quickly and easily. Turn up the lights if you can’t get any sunlight in, or open a window if you can.
- If you feel yourself growing tired when working on a challenging assignment, consider switching to a simpler one. Taking a few minutes to respond to emails can allow your mind to recuperate.
- You can help yourself wake up by drinking a caffeinated beverage, but don’t forget to also drink plenty of water while you’re at it. Getting dehydrated can make you feel drowsy or dizzy.
- Snack on foods high in protein and carbohydrates when you’re hungry. Consume fewer sugary foods and beverages.
- If you’re having trouble waking up in the morning, try listening to some rock, pop, or metal. Even if you’re the only one in the house, you can turn up the volume.
Does working from home make you tired?
It’s possible, and there are a variety of reasons for this:
- You may find it difficult to sleep at night if you have a habit of working in your bedroom.
- When you start working from home, your typical schedule is disrupted in a big way. It’s possible to miss important cues for your sleep-wake cycle, like sunlight and exercise, if you spend all day inside.
- Work-life balance can be compromised if you work from home. If your workplace and home are in the same building, it might be difficult for some people to separate work and home life, which can lead to longer workweeks.
- When working from home, the vast majority of people use a computer. Even if you’re only perusing the web while sitting at your desk, the blue light from your monitor might keep you up at night and keep you from getting any sleep. The amount of time you spend on social media can also affect your sleep.
- Working from home can lead to feelings of isolation, especially if you live alone. Loneliness can lead to sleep deprivation if it turns into depression.
How long can you go without sleep?
264 hours is the world record for the longest period of time without sleep. The Guinness Book of World Records no longer accepts entries for sleep deprivation, therefore that record is likely to stand forever. After just one night of little or no sleep, the majority of us start to feel the effects.
Are three hours of sleep enough?
Three hours of sleep is not enough for a good night’s sleep. Adults typically require a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night in order to wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the day. Those who have an active lifestyle, such as professional sports, may require as much as 10 hours of sleep a night in order to recuperate at their best.
A little sleep is better than no sleep at all, so long as you’re getting some. If a person has completed two sleep cycles, they may even feel rested when they wake up. At Harvard Medical School, researchers estimate that the initial sleep cycle takes between 70 and 100 minutes, with subsequent cycles taking between 90 and 120 minutes on average.
How much sleep do I need by age?
As we get older, the amount of sleep we need decreases:
- The recommended sleep schedule for newborns is 14 to 17 hours each night.
- 4-11-month-old infants require 12-15 hours of sleep per night.
- Toddlers (those between the ages of one and two) require between eleven and fourteen hours of sleep per night.
- 3 to 5-year-olds require 10 to 13 hours of sleep every day.
- Children in school (between the ages of six and thirteen) require between nine and eleven hours of sleep per night.
- Those between the ages of 14 and 17 need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night.
- Adults between the ages of 18 and 25 need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
- Adults between the ages of 26 and 64 years old also require 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
- Elderly people (those aged 65 and older) require between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night.