It’s finally 2021. For much of the world, this year will mark the tail end of an unpredictable global pandemic. It will also mark the end of a year in which the United States experienced its largest and most drastic spike in unemployment; individuals who remained employed were affected by changing routines and being forced to work from home, some in a space they hadn’t set up as an office.
According to a study by Tuck Sleep, a sleep product review company, nearly one in ten surveyed Americans reported that they had been doing most or all of their work from bed (24 to 40+ hours) since the pandemic began. While this is understandable given the unexpected disintegration of the traditional workplace, there are potentially serious negative consequences to sleep hygiene and overall sleep quality to consider.
How Working in Bed Affects Sleep Quality
The bed should be a cue for sleep — not wakefulness. The link between keeping your job out of your bed and improved sleep quality has been observed for a while. In 2007, Harvard researchers released an article that encouraged individuals to limit bedroom activities to sleep and sex only. By keeping work out of this intimate space, you’ll increase the association between your bed and relaxation. On the other hand, working in bed — and mentally associating it with all the stress that can come with a job — can make it more difficult for you to unwind at bedtime, plus disrupt overall sleep quality.
Additionally, the relationship between sleep and productivity is cyclical — as sleep is disturbed from working in bed, job performance and productivity can decline due to fatigue and increased stress from poor quality rest. Additionally, working in bed makes it easier to doze off during the day, potentially delaying deadlines and further increasing stress and anxiety.
Posture & Sleep
Beds are designed to improve sleep quality – not posture! When working from bed, the temptation to lie on your stomach or back is strong, and even when sitting up straight, that fluffy mattress creates an uneven surface and likely back curvature that can cause immediate and long-term soreness, and even lead to musculoskeletal disease.
Additionally, back pain can decrease sleep quality. According to Spine Health, back pain may result in poor sleep due to an increased awareness of your pain, inability to find a comfortable sleeping position, medication that helps pain but disrupts sleep, and a lack of exercise due to the pain.
Find Another Space to Work
As tempting as it is to work from your bed during the day, the best route for your emotional, mental and physical health is to find another suitable space. This doesn’t have to be a dedicated room — it could be a kitchen counter with good lighting or a desk in the living area. It may take some adjusting at first if you’ve been used to working from your bed, but the benefits will be worth it.
Of course, if you are dealing with a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, simply working from a different space in your home may help your sleep a little, but it won’t fix the root of the problem. You can read more about the symptoms of sleep apnea here. If you think you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation with us. We can help get to the heart of the issue and figure out the best treatment.