Sleep Awareness Month: Should You Work from Bed? The Pros and Cons

The month of March is all about sleep; March is Sleep Awareness Month, March 14–20 is National Sleep Awareness Week, and March 19, 2021, is World Sleep Day.

To honor National Sleep Awareness Month, we’re chatting all things sleep—even more so than usual— and will share your thoughts too (be sure to check out how at the end of this post).

We have all been through a tough year with the given situation and the resulting lifestyle changes. For many, this has meant putting sleep on the back burner.

For everyone who has had to shift to working at home, the office has become a makeshift set up—the dining room table, the living room couch, even the closet just to get some peace from the kids. You may even have worked from your bed, but is this a good idea?

The Benefits of Working from Bed

The bad news for in-bed workers is that there are few arguments in its favor from experts. Most agree it’s a bad idea, but there are some reasons you might do it anyway:

  • It works for youEveryone is different, and if you work well in bed and are productive in getting things done in comfort, there’s no reason not to do it.
  • You can shut the door Families struggling to find space in a suddenly crowded home look for privacy wherever they can get it. Working in bed with the door shut may give you the peace and quiet you need to get through a task list.
  • It’s relaxing Unless you have an ergonomic office set up in your home, working in bed can be more comfortable and relaxing than the hard dining room chair in front of a table that isn’t the right height.

Good Reasons to Steer Clear of the Bed as Office

Working in bed may work for you, but there are also many good reasons not to do it:

  • Poor sleepThe number one reason cited by most experts is that working in bed is likely to compromise your sleep. When you connect work with your bed, it becomes more difficult to fall asleep. The bed should be a relaxing sanctuary, not a coffee- and stress-fueled workplace.
  • Physical discomfort The first 15 minutes in the office may feel pretty comfy and cozy, but a bed is not an ergonomic chair. You may develop poor posture, neck pain, back pain, even shoulder pain or eye strain.
  • Deteriorating mental health There is something to be said for getting up, showering, and changing into “real” clothes. Staying in bed and your pajamas can be a recipe for depression and apathy.

Sleep is the Most Important Thing

The bottom line is that if working in bed works for you, do it. If it disrupts your sleep, causes chronic pain, or comes between you and your partner, it may be time to ditch the habit. Few things are more important to good health and the ability to work productively than sleep.

The research on sleep deprivation is clear: it increases the risk of chronic illnesses, contributes to obesity, interferes with memory and cognitive tasks, reduces your ability to function during the day, and increases the risk of accidents. So, if working in bed until late is preventing you from falling asleep, cut it out.

If You’re Going to Work in Bed…

Whether it’s out of preference or necessity, if you’re going to work from your bed, you may have to make some changes to turn it into an adequate office space.

Here are some other tips for working in bed, if you must, and getting better sleep at the end of the workday:

  • Get a TV tray you can put over your legs to hold your laptop. Find the right height to avoid straining your wrists.
  • Use pillows to support your back and neck as necessary. If you begin to feel strain and discomfort after 10 or 15 minutes, you need a new arrangement.
  • Change your position regularly to avoid sore, stiff muscles.
  • Get up at least once an hour to walk around the house or do chores.
  • Before working in bed, get up in the morning to eat or have coffee, shower, and change.

What do you think about working in bed? Is it the epitome of work at home flexibility? Or is it a pit of despair and laziness? Tag us at #workfromnolah and let us know what you think and your experience working from bed.