The COVID-19 pandemic has made many companies switch to remote operations to avoid the spread of the deadly virus. Ideally, working from home comes with many benefits, including reduced commuting time and increased work satisfaction and happiness.
However, remote working can also put pressure on the employees to always be available online. This requires that you always be connected to your devices, which can negatively impact your sleeping habits.
Note that sleep deprivation may lead to fatigue and low productivity. Therefore, you need to sleep better to work more efficiently. Here are tips for improving sleep when working remotely.
The Benefits of Good Sleep
• Improved Productivity
When you sleep well, you wake up when well-rested and ready to perform your tasks for the day. Hence, you can concentrate better on your tasks and execute them faster. Also, lack of enough sleep can lead to poor health, which reduces productivity.
For instance, sleep deprivation increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Such conditions can lower your productivity, affecting company returns. When you sleep well, you enjoy good health and work efficiently.
• Improved Memory
During sleep, your body rests, but the brain works to record your day and make a connection to the day’s event. Therefore, good sleep helps your brain to create memories such that you can remember things for longer.
• Improved Work Relationships
When you’re sleep-deprived, you may become moody and easily irritable. Hence, you may find it difficult to interact with all your colleagues. Good sleep can improve your mood and help you relate with colleagues better. This helps improve work relationships.
How Does Working Remotely Affect Sleep?
Working from home though convenient, affects sleep in the following ways:
• Deviation From The Usual Routine
Working outside the office blows up the usual routines. Previously, you would wake up and leave for work and return home at a given time. However, working from home changes this pattern as you spend your day indoors. Hence, adjustments are necessary, and this may impact sleep.
• Prolonged Sleep
While eliminating early mornings and commuting times can allow your body to rest, this prolonged sleep may not work for everybody. Some people may experience challenges keeping regular sleep time or being tempted to sleep more.
• Home Dynamics
Parents with toddlers may have a hard time working from home. For instance, the kids’ activity may interrupt your work, and you may need to extend your working time. That means less sleeping time.
• More Screen Time
Remote work means more screen time for employees since work-related interactions such as meetings are online. Over time, the blue light from your gadgets can interfere with your sleep if you work late.
• Work-Rest Imbalance
People also find it challenging to draw the line between the work and rest space. In return, your brains may not know when to switch from work mode to sleep mode. Also, when you can’t balance between the work and home settings, you may develop stress and anxiety, disrupting sleep.
Now that you understand how working from home affects sleep, how can you improve sleep?
Ways Of Improving Sleep While Working Remotely
If you’re wondering how you can improve sleep when working from home, here are useful tips.
1. Check Email or Work-Related Texts Only During Work Hours
When working remotely, there’s no clear boundary between work and personal life. Hence, you need to set a strict limit and know when to work or rest.
Achieving a balance helps you complete your work on time and get some extra time to take a walk, work out or engage in your hobby. In this regard, only check your work emails or texts during work hours. Also, turn off work notifications when connected to personal devices to avoid starting on a work issue that may take up some of your sleeping time.
2. Take a Relaxing Shower or Bath Before Sleep
Showering before bed can help improve sleep quality as the shower helps cool down and relax the entire body. Ideally, a warm shower a few hours before sleep can improve your temperature circadian rhythm and help you fall asleep quickly and sleep better.
3. Turn Off Your Work Gadgets and Lights
During the day, you should keep your working area well-lit to boost concentration. However, the light and particularly blue wavelengths can interrupt your sleep.
Energy-efficient lights such as LED bulbs and phones emit blue wavelengths that can disrupt the circadian rhythm. Therefore, turn off the lighting and gadgets a few hours before sleep for better sleep.
4. Stick To A Regular Sleep Schedule
Developing a healthy sleep schedule is vital to keep the circadian rhythm in check. Therefore, identify a specific bedtime and wake-up time and don’t deviate from the set time. That way, the body can adapt to the schedule and shut down when the sleeping time arrives. Further, consider establishing a specific daily routine where you carry out your activities at the same time.
5. Avoid Taking Caffeine a Few Hours Before Sleeping
Caffeine is a psychoactive compound that naturally occurs in plants such as tea and coffee. When you consume caffeinated food and drinks, the small intestines absorb the caffeine and distribute the compound throughout the body. When the caffeine reaches the brain, the compound blocks adenosine production.
Adenosine hormone promotes sleep, and the brain usually produces the hormone during waking hours. The more you’re awake, the more adenosine the brain produces and the sleepier you become.
When caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, you remain alert and awake. Additionally, caffeine, when consumed around bedtime, disrupts circadian melatonin rhythms delaying sleep. Caffeine also reduces the deep sleep stage that leaves you refreshed when you wake up.
Working from the house can increase work productivity and satisfaction. However, the process can also interfere with your sleep, mainly due to a routine change and failure to balance work and rest.
If you’re working from home and want to sleep better, you should avoid taking caffeine a few hours before sleeping, check email or work-related texts only during work hours, and stick to a regular sleep schedule. Also, take a relaxing shower or bath before bedtime and turn off your work gadgets and lights before bedtime.