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Working From Home’s Effect On Sleep

“People truly are having trouble shutting their brains off,”

Dr. Melissa Milanak, Clinical Psychologist

With the welcomed acceptance of work from home making its way into the mainstream, workers are finding themselves at home much more than they were previously. While WFH provides significant benefits such as cutting commute costs and more time with loved ones, those working from home are starting to have issues with their sleep.

According to Pew Research Center, between 45% and 71% of US workers are telecommuting. More than double what it was before the pandemic at 20%. Of these workers, 40% say that their sleeping has suffered either from worse sleep or less.

A Lenient Work Life Can Lead To A Disrupted Sleep Schedule

“People felt more freedom because people didn’t have to physically go to work, later bedtimes became more common. But then they weren’t having the consistency of a regular bedtime.”

Dr Melissa Milanak, Clinical Psychologist

While the world continues to battle a pandemic, workers continue to battle a healthy work life balance. “People felt more freedom because people didn’t have to physically go to work, later bedtimes became more common. But then they weren’t having the consistency of a regular bedtime.” Dr. Milanak states. The pandemic brought with it a wider acceptance of working from home. But as workers began to turn living rooms and bedrooms into makeshift offices, routines began to buckle, and with it, a proper sleep cycle that our bodies are used to.

The leniency of WFH accustomed telecommuters to be liberal with the times they head to bed. Because of this, their bodies didn’t know when to feel tired.

Lack of Physical Activity Also Plays a Role

“When we’re sitting all day, we’ll end the day feeling fatigued. But there’s a difference between sleepiness and fatigue. We might feel more mentally exhausted because we haven’t had those breaks. But we haven’t built up enough actual sleepiness to be able to fall asleep.”

Dr Melissa Milanak, Clinical Psychologist

But its not just and out of balance sleep schedule that have affected those who work from home. The physicality of just physically being in an office such as walking around, delivering items, and doing presentations is no longer there. Because of the more sedentary nature of working from home, our body loses a lot of the work and exercise it was once use to that would aid in helping us fall asleep. “When we’re sitting all day, we’ll end the day feeling fatigued. But there’s a difference between sleepiness and fatigue. We might feel more mentally exhausted because we haven’t had those breaks. But we haven’t built up enough actual sleepiness to be able to fall asleep.” This is something we’ve all experience before at some point. Feeling exhausted but restless at the same time. This issue can be exacerbated by breaking from our normal day to day physical activity.

It has been stated that at least 1 in 3 remote workers have reported sitting for almost 8 hours per work day while working from home and walking as little as 1,000 steps during those hours. That is significantly less than the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s 10,000 step recommendation.

Coworking Provides A Great Solution

Working from home is a wonderful opportunity and seen very positively among the workforce. According to an Owl Labs report in 2021, just 36% of those surveyed said the office is best suited for individual work. They also found that a majority (59%) of respondents would favor an employer who offered WFH opportunities as opposed to one who wouldn’t. Work from home is here to stay and if you find yourself feeling more and more exhausted when doing so, joining a work community or coworking office, such as the wonderful Village Workspaces, is a great solution to avoiding an office setting and keeping your home feeling like a home.

Home should feel like home so why work there all the time?