Are you now working from home?
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned how we work and run a business on its head, and more people than ever have discovered the benefits (and drawbacks) of working from home. Even now, as the world has reopened to a large extent, many more people work from home than did so before early 2020.
According to research by the Australian Institute of Family Services, up to a (surprisingly high) 42% of Australian survey respondents worked from home at some point before COVID. In June 2021, this number was 67% – which was far below the peak during the worst of the pandemic lockdowns in Australia in 2020 and later in 2021.
While there are numerous benefits of working from home, including flexibility and a better work-life balance, there are certainly some negative ramifications to it – and disrupted sleeping patterns are among these.
Despite less time required for commuting, socialising, and grooming for work each day, 40% of people are sleeping worse since working from home.
Put simply, when you work where you sleep, your sleep suffers.
Stress is a major part of this.
The Impact of Working from Home on Sleep
Working from home (WFH) puts a lot of added pressure on most workers – particularly those who were previously unused to this type of work – to be constantly connected, always online, and readily available to respond at a moment’s notice. For people unused to the work-from-home model, it can be very difficult to “switch off” and maintain a balance between on-duty and off-duty time.
Some examples of the impact of WFH include:
- Normal routines are decimated, and long periods of readjustment lead to stress which impacts sleeping patterns and quality.
- WFH can mean blurred lines between “work” and “home”, making it difficult to leave work in the normal allocated hours as it is when one works out of the home.
- Eliminating the need to get up early to commute can be a benefit in terms of a more natural waking process, however, for some people, this results in a tendency to go to bed later, sleep in, and ignore a regular sleeping pattern.
- Combining working with childcare and teaching or supervising lessons for school-age children is an added level of stress, with interrupted work and less sleep, as many parents elect to work later after the kids are in bed.
- WFH means much more screen time. Add to this the normal recreational time we spend on our screens. The blue light from laptops, desktop computers, and mobile devices, not to mention televisions and some eReaders, disrupts natural dopamine and melatonin levels in the brain and directly affects sleep – especially when one uses a computer at night.
- Moving less makes deep, quality sleep more challenging to achieve. Our bodies and minds miss those unplanned opportunities for natural movement – commuting, going to meetings, going for lunch, etc.
- People are less inclined to take a sick day when they work from home – no matter how much they might need it. This prolongs illnesses and symptoms (and exacerbates relatively minor issues like tension headaches) and further compromises sleep quality.
Tips to Sleep Better When You Work From Home
- Set Clear Work/Life Boundaries You must have a clear boundary between work and non-work. You need to draw a distinct line between work time and leisure time – and if possible, even between the space in which you work and relax. (This can, admittedly, be difficult if you don’t have a home office or study space.)DO NOT WORK IN YOUR BEDROOM – AND ESPECIALLY NOT ON YOUR BED! No matter how comfortable it might be, the bed is for sleeping, relaxation, and intimacy – not working on your laptop. Get dressed for your workday. It helps set the tone – you don’t need to be office-ready, but you do need to be out of your pyjamas.When you have finished your work for the day – switch it off. Don’t check work email or texts after you have signed off for the day.
Turn off work-related notifications on your personal devices and enjoy your downtime.
- Vitamin D Sunlight exposure is critical for good health, mood, and maintenance of the circadian rhythms which strongly influence natural sleep/wake cycles. Try to get outside in the sun (especially in the bright morning light) for ten minutes per day (or more – but remember to be sun smart!) and aim to let as much natural light into your home and workspace as possible.
- Exercise Just 30 minutes of gentle exercise a day is enough to greatly benefit your physical and mental health, mood, and sleep quality. It’s also a great way to wind down after work is complete for the day.
- Bedtime Routine Create a relaxing wind-down routine for the hour or so before bed. This might include taking a warm bath, listening to soft music, having a warm milk drink or chamomile tea, or reading in bed. Dim the lights an hour or two before bedtime and, if you are feeling stressed, write down your worries so that you can leave them behind for the night and come back to them fresh the next day (if you need to).
- No Screens Before Bed! No matter how relaxing you find scrolling at night, switch off screens at least an hour before sleeping. If you use an eReader, choose one without backlighting.
- Sleep Schedule Designate a specific sleep time and waking time – and stick to them.
- Address Snoring
If you snore, you will invariably have a bad night’s sleep – as will your partner. Identify the contributors to snoring, make some lifestyle changes, and try some sleep remedies to stop snoring and improve your sleep.
Improve Your Sleep with SnoreMD
One of the biggest disruptions to quality sleep is snoring – and with the right snoring solutions, it can be among the easiest to address.
SnoreMD is a scientifically proven, patented Class 1 Medical Device that has successfully helped many thousands of people in Australia and around the world stop snoring and enjoy a better night’s sleep.
SnoreMD is a mandibular advancement device. Worn in the mouth during sleep, it is safe and comfortable to use and suitable for adults over the age of 18 years. It gently repositions the lower jaw, opening the airways and promoting a clearer flow of air when breathing and minimising (or even stopping) snoring from occurring.
Purchase SnoreMD online and enjoy a deeper, more restful quality of sleep night after night.
Call 07 5370 9323 during business hours if you’d like to have a chat with us.