Since the COVID pandemic, more and more employees have worked from home or still are working from home. It's convenient for a lot of people as it takes the stress of commuting every day out of the picture. However, remote working has had a pretty harsh impact on our sleep schedules.
How remote working negatively affects sleep
Hard to turn off
When you commute to work every day, you're able to leave your job behind and properly switch off at the end of the day. However, when working from home, you might find it a little harder to set boundaries. Maybe it's 7 pm and you've just seen a work email come through to do something, it's hard to ignore if you're already at your laptop.
Working from your bedroom
Following on from the first point, working from your bedroom can cause sleep complications. It might sound inviting to lie in bed with your laptop all day to work but it can actually turn your brain away from sleep when it comes to bedtime. You should only be using your bedroom for sleep and sex - nothing else.
Too much freedom
A lot of the time, remote workers, especially freelancers, set their work hours. Flexibility is great as it can help people with specific requirements, however, it could blow up in your face if abused. If you get distracted by reruns of Friends or start work later than usual, you could find yourself rushing to finish your tasks late in the evening when you should be relaxing.
Reduced physical activity
Physical activity plays a huge part in whether you get quality of sleep or not. Sleepscore Labs Sleep Uncovered Report found our exercise levels declined during the pandemic, with 23% of people saying they never exercised during COVID compared to the 16% who said this pre-pandemic.
If you work from home, you're probably not interacting with other people as much as someone with a job they commute to. Too much loneliness has a lot of side effects such as higher levels of stress, increased risk of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and dementia.
In addition, loneliness can affect your ability to have good sleep. A study concluded that loneliness may contribute to symptoms of sleep problems.
It can also help your sleep
Despite all the above points, remote workers have more freedom over when they can wake up. In the time they'd use to get ready and commute to the office, they can sleep in and get a full night's rest. Remote workers have also reported feeling more productive when they work from home.
Tips for getting better sleep as a remote worker
- Set boundaries - If your boss is emailing you at 8 pm asking you to quickly work on something, tell them no. If you're out of working hours, you shouldn't be expected to work then. If you give in to doing too much, you could end up sacrificing your sleep on a regular.
- Set a consistent routine - Having a routine as a remote worker is important, but even more so when it comes to sleep. Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day. Check out our ultimate sleep hygiene guide to help you build a beneficial sleep routine.
- Get a sleep journal - If you're struggling to sleep day to day, purchasing a wellness journal could help you get your sleep schedule and mental health in check. Use it for noting patterns even with affirmations to help you through the day. Check out our semi-guided journal here.
- Work outside of your bedroom - As we mentioned, working in your bedroom is probably not the best idea ever. Set up a workstation, with a desk and supportive chair.