The coronavirus has changed our lives in a number of ways, and one of the most drastic changes has taken place in the way we work. Large swathes of the population are now working from home, and research from Direct Line suggests that this trend is set to continue once life returns to normal (with 13 million Brits set to request permanent flexible hours). For many of these workers, working from home will have been a completely new experience. Although it undoubtedly has many benefits, working from home also comes with its own set of challenges.
When you live where you work, and work where you live, the line between these two worlds can start to blur. You could find yourself working later into the night, for example, or checking your emails as soon as you wake up. If this sounds familiar, it’s important to remember the importance of having a regular sleep schedule that allows you to switch off from work completely.
Sleep is absolutely crucial for our physical and mental health – and both are already under enough pressure due to the stresses of COVID-19. In this blog, we’ll look at three reasons why getting enough sleep while working from home is essential to keep us going through this troubling time.
1. Cut the risk of anxiety and depression
There is a body of evidence suggesting that poor sleep is a risk factor when it comes to developing a depressive disorder. Quite simply, if you are not getting enough sleep, there
appears to be more chance of you becoming anxious or depressed. Whether your mind is still racing with thoughts of work, or you’re suffering from insomnia, it is important to recognise that not sleeping adequately is a problem which needs to be addressed before it compromises your mental health. Take early action now.
TIP: Yoga can be a great form of exercise to engage in before bed. It stretches and strengthens the muscles, and leaves you in a better physical and mental state to sleep at night. It can also be very meditative – relaxing your mind as well as your body, and helping to banish all thought of work from your mind.
2. Recharge and refresh
Just as you leave your phone to charge overnight, you can also recharge your brain as you sleep. That's because the sleeping brain is known to have an important restorative function, which is essential at the end of each day. Get into a regular cycle for sleeping and waking up, and you can reap the benefits of an automatic 'reset function' which serves to optimise the daily functioning of your brain.
TIP: Why not see if some soothing music can help you drift off? This method of getting to sleep is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why. Close your eyes, put in your headphones, and you’ll be asleep in no time. If you have work notifications on your phone or computer, these should also be completely switched off.
3. Control your emotions, improve your performance
When we are sleep deprived, it has been found that our ability to control emotions, as well as perform well, may be impacted. Our memory can also be compromised if we don't get enough shut-eye each evening. It is all down to the ability of a restful night's sleep to reset brain activity, leaving us ready to embrace emotional challenges and perform to our best the following day.
TIP: The most comfortable temperature for humans who are trying to sleep is between the 60-75F mark. Is the temperature of your room disrupting your sleep? Pay close attention to your air conditioning system. Is it in full working order and, if so, is it on a setting that’s too hot or too cold? Your bedding could also be a potential issue. If you have too many bedclothes, or not enough warmth from your bedsheets, consider a new sleeping arrangement.
Madison Jones is a freelance researcher and digital content strategist from Berkshire. She loves the outdoors, yoga, and fishing. She had worked with various big companies in the industry of law, business, agriculture, and finance.