Jori Hamilton https://www.sleepfoundation.org 4m 950
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
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Remote work has been on the rise for years. But, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a dramatic rise in work-from-home lifestyles very quickly. Now, about 4.3 million people are working remotely in the U.S. – over 3% of the workforce!
Many benefits come with remote work. It often allows for more flexibility and freedom and can reduce stress levels. But, there are also some potential drawbacks.
From not having a set schedule to working from your bed, there are plenty of bad habits you can form when working from home that could lead to a slippery slope of not getting enough sleep.
If you’re starting to notice that your sleep is suffering, it’s important to understand how that could impact your work life and personal life. Thankfully, there are things you can do to change your habits, get enough sleep, and be more productive in your remote lifestyle.
If you regularly feel like you aren’t getting the sleep you need, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults don’t regularly get enough rest. Unfortunately, that can negatively impact your work life and home life.
It’s easy to stereotype some things about a remote lifestyle. You might think you can sleep whenever you want, roll out of bed mid-morning, and start working from your bed or couch. Chances are, you’re not going to be very successful. What’s more likely is that you’ll end up less productive, less motivated, and your performance will suffer.
Then, you might find yourself scrambling to get things done, not finding time for your family or friends, and feeling completely overwhelmed. It’s not uncommon for people who work from home to feel a lot of stress, and eventually struggle with burnout. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to improve your mental health at home, including:
- Acknowledging your accomplishments
- Eating a healthy diet
- Including house plants in your home/office
Getting enough sleep is another crucial part of maintaining your mental well-being. Not getting enough sleep can trigger depression, and cause a vicious cycle of mental health issues that will negatively influence your life.
So, what can you do to get the sleep you need? How can you maintain a healthy work-life balance when you’re working remotely?
One of the best ways to ensure a good night’s rest is to practice better sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene is nothing more than making the best possible choices to get a good night’s sleep. An easy way to improve your sleep hygiene is to develop a nighttime routine that you can stick to. It should include things like:
- Going to sleep at the same time each night
- Avoiding screens an hour before bed
- Budgeting 30 minutes for winding down
- Trying different methods of relaxation
You can also work on your sleep hygiene throughout the day while you’re working from home. The habits you cultivate can actually have a big impact on your sleep quality. Make sure you’re getting enough physical activity throughout the day, eating healthy, and avoiding that afternoon cup of coffee while you work.
Developing these habits will absolutely help with sleep. But, they’ll also make it easier to establish that all-important work-life balance. You’ll know what your schedule looks like each day, so you can enjoy self-care and time with people you love, stay productive with work, and still get the rest you need.
Where you sleep is just as important as what you do to get more sleep. It’s not as easy as you might think to create a sound sleeping environment when you’re living and working in the same place.
We touched earlier on the downfalls of working from your bed, but it’s worth repeating. You don’t have to have a lot of space to work remotely. But, having a separate designated workspace away from your bed or couch will help you to stay productive. It will also allow your brain to know that your bed is just used for sleeping.
In addition to setting up an office space for work, you should optimize your bedroom for sleep. While some environmental factors are a matter of personal preference, some things will always make a bedroom feel more calm and tranquil, including:
- Having a comfortable mattress, pillow, and bedding
- Setting a cool temperature
- Blocking out light and noise
- Keeping your room clutter-free
- Using calming scents like lavender to create a positive sleep space
Your bedroom should be a place you go each night that is immediately associated with rest and relaxation. Don’t be afraid to add personal touches that make it feel like your “sanctuary” after a long day.
Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your mind and body. It’s important to avoid some of the “traps” that can come with a remote lifestyle, including not having a daily routine or schedule. By establishing good scheduling and sleep habits now, your overall well-being will benefit, and you’ll be more productive with your work. Try some of these suggestions to improve your sleep health, feel more well-rested, and enjoy the benefits of working from home.
About the Author
Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She’s always interested in learning new things which leads her to write about a wide range of topics. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking or buried in a book at a coffee shop. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter.