Work from home sleep patterns

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Coronavirus and Sleep: How Work From Home Has Affected Americans’ Bedtime Habits

Coronavirus and Sleep: How Work From Home Has Affected Americans’ Bedtime Habits

For better or worse
Work from home sleep patterns

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Life for many Americans has been out of the ordinary for the better part of three months. As communities continue to navigate social distancing to save lives, added stresses, grief and uncertainty have wreaked havoc on people’s sleep schedules. For those who have escaped record-breaking unemployment rates and continue to work from home, lost routines and blurred boundaries between work life and home life have resulted in altered sleep habits.

Methodology

Methodology

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To best determine how working from home has affected the sleep patterns of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, Sleep Standards surveyed 1,020 people ages 18 to 73. Here are some of the survey’s most revealing results.

Respondents were split over whether or not their sleep has been negatively affected

Respondents were split over whether or not their sleep has been negatively affected

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Out of the 1,020 people surveyed, 50.2% reported that their sleep patterns have been negatively affected since they have been forced to work from home. On the contrary, 49.8% of respondents reported their sleep has not been negatively affected. When people miss out on sleep, being tired is just the start. Other side effects of bad sleep include weight gain, increased anxiety and higher risk of long-term health issues like cardiovascular disease.

Some generations report more impacted sleep than others

Some generations report more impacted sleep than others

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Of the four surveyed generations, millennials have so far witnessed the most impact on their sleep. Sixty percent of participants ages 23 to 38 reported change in sleep habits, followed by 22% of Gen X respondents, 11% of Gen Z respondents and 6% of Baby Boomers. In this case, sleep gets better with age.

People sleep more now than before

People sleep more now than before

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Of those surveyed, 37% reported having slept more while working remotely than before. While a sleepless night can cause detrimental health effects, a good night’s sleep can boost health. Rest betters the immune system, improves mood and stops stress in its tracks before scary side effects like high blood pressure, diabetes and digestive problems take effect. Still, getting too much sleep can be concerning too.

Others have lost sleep

Others have lost sleep

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While 26% of survey respondents reported no change in sleep duration, 36% of people have lost sleep. Eighteen percent reported losing just one hour while the other 18% have lost more. 

So what’s been keeping people up?

So what’s been keeping people up?

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What has most impacted the sleep of new remote workers during mandatory work from home? Here are the four most common factors from least to most popular.

Work after hours

Work after hours

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Out of the 1,020 survey participants, 47% reported working past their end time. Marking the end of work hours is key to establishing a work-from-home routine. Workers should consider setting their status to away or marking the end of the day with a familiar activity like listening to a favorite podcast or taking the dog for a walk.

Late-night screens

Late-night screens

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Turning off electronics is the one thing you should do to sleep better. Still, 52% of respondents reported late-night screens have impacted their typical sleep patterns. Scrolling through social media or catching up on news should be reserved for the hours before bedtime.

Difficulty ‘switching off’

Difficulty ‘switching off’

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Even after setting their status to away at the end of the day, 55% of people still report difficulty switching off work mode.

Blurred boundaries between work and life

Blurred boundaries between work and life

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Two-thirds of survey respondents agreed that the boundaries between work and life have blurred and impacted their sleep patterns. To successfully work from home and distinguish work from home, remote workers are encouraged to get dressed for the day and work in a designated work space. Luckily, 33% of the 1,020 survey respondents have a home office. However, the same percentage works in their bedroom, 10% in the kitchen and 42% in their living room.

What are people doing to improve their sleep pattern?

What are people doing to improve their sleep pattern?

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To improve their sleep, remote workers have implemented some familiar sleep remedies. Here are the six most common solutions from least to most common.

Banning screens before bed

Banning screens before bed

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Fourteen percent of respondents have heeded expert advice and implemented a nightly screen-time ban to better their sleep. Still, phones do more bad for your health than just inhibit sleep.

Watching what they consume

Watching what they consume

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Like a screen ban, the next most common solution calls for self control. Thirty-six percent of survey respondents reported watching what they consume before bed as a means of bettering sleep. For a better before-bed mood, stream happy shows or consume foods like nuts and seeds that boost happiness hormones.

Drawing a line between work and life

Drawing a line between work and life

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Thirty-six percent of participants also reported taking measures to draw a line between work and life to sleep better. Marie Kondo recommends remote workers implement a before-work routine to prepare for the workday, an evening routine to end the workday and a night routine to cap off the whole evening. Setting clear boundaries and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule both help to manage anxiety.

Reserving their bed only for sleep

Reserving their bed only for sleep

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Of the 1,020 people surveyed, 38% now make the effort to reserve their beds for sleep and nothing else. To better a bedroom for sleep, do more than make it a work-free zone. Clear out clutter and keep the temperature cool. For optimal sleep, your bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Exercising

Exercising

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More than half of survey participants (51%) have turned to exercise to better their night’s sleep. Regular exercise in the morning or afternoon has been found to raise body temperatures a few degrees. Later in the day, when a person’s body temperature drops back down to normal, drowsiness may set in, allowing for easy sleep. For remote workers, there are plenty of free online workout classes and fitness apps to better your at-home workout, and safe and easy workouts perfect for seniors too.

Setting a consistent sleep schedule

Setting a consistent sleep schedule

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More than any other sleep solution, survey participants in need of a good night’s rest have turned to consistency. More than 50% reported setting a consistent sleep schedule to get more restful sleep.

All in all, most Americans think their sleep patterns will be better after lockdowns

All in all, most Americans think their sleep patterns will be better after lockdowns

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