We live in a time of uncertainty, as the world is changing every day, by the hour. The Coronavirus has been spreading rapidly across the world, affecting many areas and millions of people in almost no time. Countries are taking strong measures in an extraordinary, desperate attempt to put a stop to the virus’ spread: flights are cancelled, events are on hold and above all - millions are grounded to their homes everywhere. As the show must go on, for many, that means working from home. But adjusting to a completely new routine and spending so much time indoors has its consequences, and keeping your sleep (and work) healthy during this time should be a priority. So what can you do to make sure you get the quality ZZZs you need, even in times of working from home?
Keep working out.
Even if you spend most of your day at home, it shouldn’t be an excuse to give up on your daily workout. Exercising regularly has been well-known to play a major role in getting the quality sleep we need: a poll by the National Sleep Foundation found a strong correlation between exercise and better sleep; the bottom line - all kinds of exercisers had a significantly higher chance of achieving a good night’s sleep compared to non-exercisers (67% vs. 39%). Working out reduces stress, resets our sleep-wake cycle by raising our body temperature and then letting it drop, and increases the time we spend in the most restorative sleep stage - deep sleep.
If giving the gym a visit isn’t an option, there are many ways to easily exercise at home, from pushups to squats and planks. If you need some extra motivation, you can join thousands of people who use video conferencing to work out together - a growing trend of online workout sessions.
Create a dedicated zone for work.
While it may seem like a good idea to lay down on your comfy sofa or bed and get the job done “in style”, we strongly recommend to use a desk (in a dedicated room if possible) and keep your work out of the bedroom. Creating a dedicated zone for work will not only increase your productivity and help you be more focused, but using your bedroom only for sleep and intimacy will help signal your brain that when in bed - it’s time to sleep.
Another thing to keep in mind while working from home is being smart about napping; when we have the freedom to handle our work just about any way we want, it might be hard to resist the temptation of taking a nap to flight the post slump dip. According to the American Psychological Association, naps can do wonders in refreshing our mind and body, but having a too long nap or doing it too close to bedtime may keep you from maintaining a regular sleep schedule which is so important for your sleep health.
Our mental health and emotional well-being are bound together with sleep: Getting enough quality sleep boosts our mood and puts us at less risk for mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and other emotionally dysregulating conditions.
If the latest news about the escalating pandemic is making you feel stressed - you’re not alone. With the growing concern over the continuing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are becoming more worried and stressed, and many are actually losing sleep because of constant worries or social distancing. Especially in times like these, it’s highly recommended to practice relaxation techniques on a regular basis, even if you don’t experience symptoms of stress or anxiety.
In the age of digital health, there are many apps and platforms which provide guided sessions of yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques based on breathing or sound; give it a try to help yourself reach a state of mind that will encourage better sleep.
If achieving mental relaxation isn’t something you aim for regularly, now could be a good opportunity to do something about it.
Keep a regular sleep schedule.
Working from home has its benefits, but it should definitely not mean sleeping-in. It may seem as if “the only rule is there are no rules” (office rules in particular) during crazy times like these, but it’s important to keep your body’s inner clock in balance to make sure you get the most out of your sleep and stay productive.
Go to bed and wake up at fixed times and try taking advantage of the time you would have spent on commuting to work: Get some extra work done, exercise, meditate or do anything else that makes you feel accomplished and will help start your work-from-home day off on the right foot. Besides, this way when it’s time to go back to the office it will be much easier to wake up on time.
Eat (and drink) responsibly.
Our diet plays a role in how well we sleep, especially while working from home on a regular basis where our fridge is just a step away. Make a habit of having a balanced and healthy breakfast within the first hour of waking up to signal your brain that it’s time to be awake and alert. Have a high protein lunch (try to cut back on empty calories) and eat a light, low-fat dinner no later than 3 hours before bedtime; it will make it easier to fall asleep and remain asleep through the night (that means no snacking before bedtime too).
As caffeine is probably the most common way for many people to get a boost of energy during the day - especially while at home where you have limitless access to it, it’s important to consume it responsibly; keep any caffeinated beverages limited and restricted to the morning or early afternoon and make sure to hydrate with other liquids too.
It’s all about finding the balance. As our sleep is affected by our consumption habits during the day, make sure to keep your meals healthy and cut back on caffeine as much as you can.
Better sleep, better well-being.
For some, working from home doesn’t change their day-to-day work, it just means they’re doing it from another environment. Others may be working from home under difficult conditions as they are forced to do so while having their kids around. But one thing is for sure - as this new reality has turned millions of office workers into remote employees overnight, it's important than ever to maintain a balanced routine and adopt habits which will support your sleep and improve your overall well-being.
Digital health is rapidly evolving globally, but its importance to help individuals track, analyze and optimize their health remotely is relevant now more than ever. We at dayzz recognize the potential of this new reality to trigger sleep difficulties or worsen existing ones, and offer our sleep training program to organizations at no cost during this challenging time.
Dayzz’ sleep training kicks off with a remote assessment of users’ lifestyle and sleep habits; by using a unique algorithm based on big data analysis, the app provides each user with a sleep training plan that suits just them - from the comfort of their own home.
Regardless of how you choose to do it - make sure you give your sleep the attention it deserves - especially in times like these. Stay safe and sleep well.