Is Remote Work Affecting Your Sleep?
Modern technology has made it possible to work from anywhere and at any time, which means the percentage of remote workers is rising. As more of us work remotely, though, we are losing hours of sleep. We're here to explain why this is happening and what you can do to get better sleep.
Roughly 42% of the American workforce is now made up of remote workers
Remote work has been connected to a less consistent sleep
Remote workers can take steps to cultivate a healthy and sustainable sleep schedule
Did you know?
Sunlight also plays an important role in good sleep habits! When working from home, it can help to take a walk or exercise outside during the day and set up your workstation close to a sunny window.
If you work remotely then you understand the struggle of work time bleeding into your personal time. Although remote work boasts attractive benefits like being able to work out of your bedroom or from your favorite coffee shop, scientists know that there is one major downside to working remotely: sleep loss.
If you’ve been noticing that it takes longer to fall asleep or that you wake up periodically during the night, it may be because of your remote work habits. So how can you change this? Luckily, there are several simple steps you can take to improve your sleeping habits while continuing to enjoy the perks of your remote role.
Why Remote Work Impacts Your Sleep
A 2017 study done by the International Labour Organization revealed the lasting impact that modern technology and telework have on our daily habits. Now that we can access information from anywhere by using laptops, phones, and tablets, it means the time that we spend working has no fixed beginning and end. In other words, that 9 pm email is able to get into your head and keep you up all night.
Before telework was possible, our workdays started when we drove to work and ended when we drove home. With remote work, our workday doesn’t have clearly defined starting times and stopping times. Now our smartphones bring work to the breakfast table and bedside table, whether we’re actively checking notifications or not. And accordingto a recent study by Stanford University, 42% of Americans are balancing a work-from-home life.
So what does this mean for our sleeping habits? One of the essential keys to getting a good night's rest is being able to turn our brains “off.” To do this, our bodies need a safe and stress-free space dedicated to resting. If we aren’t careful, remote work can infiltrate that safe space. Instead of falling asleep quickly, we lie awake thinking about our current projects or upcoming meetings.
How Can Remote Workers Get Better Sleep?
If you love your remote job but want to find ways to improve your sleeping habits, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you on your way to a better sleep schedule. Remember, adjusting your sleep habits can take time, so there’s no need to stress if you don’t see an immediate change.!
Workspace vs. Sleep Space
One of the nicest parts about working from home is how comfy it can be: instead of being confined to a cramped cubicle, you can spread out across your living space. And as time goes on, it can start to seem comfortable to lounge in bed with laptop in hand. But this forms a mental connection between your bed and work-related worries. . Later that night, when you’re lying in bed to go to sleep, your brain might automatically turn to the topic of work — keeping you awake late into the night.
The best way to solve this is to stop working from bed altogether. Set up a workstation in a separate room or designate a corner of your bedroom as your workspace. Follow and stick to a routine that tells your brain when it’s time to work and when it’s time to rest.
Adding some extra coziness to your workstation might be a great way to incentivize yourself to leave your bed behind. A supportive chair, stress relief knot pillow, or weighted blanket can all be helpful in creating a calm area that you actually want to work in. Weighted blankets might be a good solution to reduce your daytime stress levels, too, which can also help you sleep better once nighttime rolls around. If you’re new to weighted blankets, our cozy Cotton Napper might be a good option – or you can check out our guide to figure out the best choice for you.
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Good Sleep Habits — Anytime and Anywhere
Once you’ve defined your workspace, a good next step is to practice healthy sleep habits both during the day and in the evening. This looks different for different people, but you can start by limiting your caffeine intake while you work and establishing a consistent bedtime. Try to avoid eating too much after dinner, since indigestion can keep you awake, and turn off screens at least an hour before you’re ready to sleep.
If it’s difficult to stick to these practices, you can talk with your friends and relatives and ask them to check in on you throughout the day. A support system can be a big help in establishing good sleep hygiene! And don’t forget that daytime naps can be a healthy addition to your routine. Whether you work from home or in an office, we hope you can find strategies to keep your sleep schedule separate from work-related stress.