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Working from home is terrible for sleep and what to do about it

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Whilst you can save money by working from home, be more productive and have total control over your work environment, there are also some negatives that come with this ‘dream’ lifestyle, such as no longer being able to sleep!

A United Nations study published in 2017 found that 42% of workers who work from home from 15 countries suffer with insomnia compared to just 29% who work in an office.

I can definitely relate and understand the reasons for this finding.  I regularly stay up late and struggle to sleep as I am technically always at work, coming up with new ideas or even working late into the night.

Why does working from home cause insomnia?

  • No clear cut-off from work and home life - there’s no separate office to leave behind at the end of the day.  Your home is your office and you could always be working.  It’s hard to switch off if you’ve got a lot of work on.
  • Working late at night - as there is no official finish time, you can work as late as you like.  Not only does the work keep you up later than you should be, but you are staring at screens late at night which can cause trouble sleeping.
  • Too much flexibility - you can drop work in the day to run errands, visit friends and go to the gym.  You do this as you know you can work in the evening and pick up work later.  Sometimes there are too many temptations in the day time and too much flexibility to work at the hours you choose.
  • Work from your bedroom - if you work from your actual bed then you are associating that space with work and potentially stress instead of it being purely a relaxing space to sleep at the end of each day.

How to prevent insomnia when working from home

Luckily there are lots of ways to prevent sleepless nights when you work from home.  Working from home should be a joy rather than a burden, so it doesn’t seem fair that it should affect your sleeping pattern.

Here are some blog posts on how to improve your sleep and below are a few more tips when working from home.

Firstly, invest in your bed

We spend a third of our lives in bed, so it really should be a piece of furniture that we invest in.  It’s something that online bed company Bed Guru know all about as I discovered this quote on their website “Sleep is the foundation of good health and wellbeing. When we invest in our sleep mentally, physically, and financially, we live longer and happier lives.”

Make sure you invest in the right type of bed and mattress for you.  Everyone is different and has a different mattress firmness that is suited to them depending on sleep positions.  Choose the right duvet thickness for the season.

First of all it’s important to make sure your sleep troubles aren’t down to the actual bed itself.  Then you can focus on changing your work-at-home habits if they are affecting your sleep.

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Have a cut-off

Be strict with yourself and set an absolute cut-off time when you’ll stop working.  Whether that’s 9pm or 10pm, make sure you set it and you stick to it.  Allow yourself enough time before going to bed to wind down and relax without thinking of work.  Resist the temptation to carry on working right up to bedtime and allow your brain to recover from work-mode until the next day.  Ask yourself whether the work is really so important that it can’t wait until the next day.  Your health and sleep is important.

Avoid caffeine late in the day

It’s easy to stay fuelled up on coffee and tea when you know you have lots of work on and can stay up late completing it.  Drinking caffeine late in the afternoon can really play havoc with your system when you want to sleep at night time.  I expect many people who think they are insomniacs simply drink caffeine way too late in the day.  Even if I have a tea at 3pm I know I won’t be able to sleep at 10 or 11pm as the caffeine keeps me awake.  Work out how sensitive you are to caffeine and set a cut-off time for your last caffeine fuelled drink too.

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Try natural supplements

You don’t have to see the doctor or opt for prescription medication when you are suffering with insomnia.  There are many off-the-shelf products made from natural ingredients that can help you sleep soundly at night.  It may just be a case of trial and error to find what works for you.  CBD oil is effective for many at promoting a better night’s sleep.  Lavender or melatonin supplements may also work well.

Separate work from the bedroom (and home)

Unless it’s the only space you have then do not work in the bedroom.  Keep the bedroom for sleep and relaxing only and ban work from this area!  If you have enough space then have a separate office or room for work and don’t let it come out of there.  This will create a physical line between work life and home life; somewhere you can shut the door when you are done.

Final word

Work out the reasons why you are struggling to sleep and work on those.  If you don’t know exactly what it is then try the above tips and see if they help.  You just need to be strict with yourself and solve the issue of your sleeplessness.



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