I’ve been working from home full time for just over twelve months now, just like millions of others across the UK. The pandemic has changed the way many of us work forever and although working from home has lots of benefits, it comes with its challenges too.
One of these challenges is sleep. Many of us have noticed that our sleep has been affected since the first lockdown hit the UK in 2020. Research from Drink TRIP found that 85% of people questioned said that lockdown had negatively impacted their sleeping patterns which is hardly surprising given the impact the pandemic has had on our lives.
I definitely believe that this interruption to our sleep has been caused by many of us working from home. I’ve certainly found it more difficult to switch off in the evenings, found it harder to separate work and home life and have even missed that commute time where you’d have a chance to reflect on the ups and downs of the day.
However, working from home does come with a multitude of benefits and I hope to see a mixture of both home and office work as we ease out of lockdown. With this is mind, here are my top tips for getting a good night’s sleep when working from home.
Take breaks throughout the day
One of the most important ways to ensure you can switch off at the end of the day is by ensuring you take regular breaks to switch off throughout the day.
Too many times I’ve found myself ploughing through my workload, not stopping to take breaks, only to find it’s impossible to switch off at the end of the day. Some days I would literally need to be dragged away from the computer and even hours later, stuff would be popping into my head.
Breaks are essential so you don’t burn out!
Switch off the computer at the end of the day
It’s so tempting when you work from home to pop back onto the computer to do work when something suddenly comes to you that you had forgotten to do or you remember an email you didn’t send.
The best thing to do is write it down in a notebook and catch up the following day. Turn your computer off once you’ve finished for the day so it’s not as easy as just logging on quickly to do work.
Don’t put work emails on your phone
When I first started working from home we had the kids here too as schools and nurseries were shut. This meant I was often pulled away from the computer so I put work emails and messages on my phone. Big mistake. As life slowly returned to normal I found I was answering emails at 10pm or checking my messages on my days off – not good.
Since Christmas, I’ve not had work emails or messages on my phone and I’ve felt a lot better and less drained for it.
Ditch the TV and read before bed
If you’re in front of a computer screen all day then the last thing that’s gonna help you sleep at night is lots more blue light before bed.
Forget the TV and read instead. It’ll help you drift off effortlessly.
Avoid caffeine after midday
This is a biggie for me and I always end up having a poor night’s sleep when I’ve had too much caffeine. The crazy thing is it’s a vicious circle…you sleep poorly so stack up on caffeine and then you end up having yet another poor night’s sleep…and so the cycle continues.
I now stick to two cups of coffee a day, both before midday and that’s the end of that!
Set up a separate working space
During the first lockdown, I had no idea how long I’d be working at home for, so I set up the desk and computer in our bedroom! Crazy isn’t it?
If you’ve got a similar set up…move! Having a separate work space will really get your head in the frame of mind that your home is for relaxing in and that separate work space is for working in.
Ditto if you tend to work from the sofa or bed with your laptop. It’ll be harder to switch off later in the evening without having separate living and working spaces.
How do you manage to sleep when working from home?