Working from home could steal your sleep
We are all about working from home to #flattenthecurve but suddenly telecommuting may negatively impact your sleep in the coming weeks.
When working from home you may….
1. Have an overall increase in screen usage, and we know the blue light from our devices decreases levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Decreased levels of melatonin can make it harder to fall asleep at bedtime and more biologically challenging to stay asleep through the night.
2. Feel obligated to constantly be checking in to “prove” that you aren’t just hanging out watching NETFLIX. This increase in accessibility can lead to a surge of stress.
3. Have wavering boundaries. It can take months, even years, to set firm and repeatable boundaries when working from home. First, the laundry is calling your name as soon as you sit down to write that important email, and then the next thing you know… Your boss is contacting you at all hours of the day and night which impacts sleep, stress, and overall health.
4. Have CNN playing in the background all day. This means hours and hours of taking in all the panic which leaves you stressed.
With all of these changes, it is no wonder that when then you put your head on the pillow at night your mind is racing and sleep seems like a far off dream.
Worry can wreck sleep
Whether you are super worried about the current state, feeling like the entire thing is blown out of proportion or somewhere in the middle, this pandemic likely has some impact on your stress level, especially if you’ve recently been told you will be working from home for the next 14 days.
Even if you are healthy yourself, you still have plenty to worry about… Wondering when your kids’ schools are going to close and how the hell you will start working from home with them running around, curious if you will actually be able to take that trip booked a few weeks out, hoping the stores nearby won’t run out of anything else, and thinking about how your parents (or even grandparents) are going to take care of themselves during this time.
There is no need to create more fear here because fear-overwhelm is already running rampant. But, it should not be discounted that this is a stressful time, and there is much uncertainty in our world which can lead to lots of mind racing and restless nights.
When we are in a state of stress, our body over-produces cortisol. When cortisol levels are higher, it is harder for us to unwind and relax.
In this time, you need more sleep, yet your racing minds and increased stress may prevent you from getting the sleep your body needs. This is a vicious cycle.
Sleep + immunity, the perfect pair
According to Mayo Clinic getting enough sleep is one of the ways our bodies produce infection-fighting antibodies. The basics here are that during rest and recovery, the immune system releases cytokines, which are proteins that, in high enough numbers, can help with decreasing inflammation, infection and stress.
However, without enough sleep, production of these cytokines decreases creating a deficit in immune fighting properties. In short, during times of infectious outbreak, WE NEED SLEEP as much as we need toilet paper, rice and beans and hygienic hand washing, maybe even more so.
Boost your immune system with sleep when working from home
If you’ve had a tough time shutting off your mind over the past few days, you aren’t alone. My recommendation is to take 15 minutes tonight during your bedtime routine to sit with a good guided meditation track or body scan. Taking a few minutes to relax your body and quiet your mind is one of the quickest ways to promote a faster sleep onset.
Apps like Calm, Insight Timer and UCLA Mindful each have free meditations that vary in length. Find one that best suits your needs and give it a try. Catching a few extra zzzs might be exactly what you need to make it through this trying time.
Cheers to sleep
Whether you are quarantined, voluntarily home-bound, or trying to maintain normalcy in your life and schedule, sleep will boost your immune system. There is no discounting that you need more of this “miracle cure” during this time of change and chaos, especially if new to this working from home life!
Brittney Stefanic is a certified whole-family sleep consultant and founder of Sleeper Teachers Sleep Consulting. As a recovering worry-wart, she understands firsthand that it is easy to let fear and a racing mind win out as you lay in bed at night. But as a sleep educator, Brittney believes in the healing power of sleep. Brittney and her team love educating and supporting families around the world in finding sleep solutions. You can follow the teachers on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook @sleeperteachers for sleep tips and tricks.