A recent survey by AmeriSleep is shedding light on the connection between remote workers and sleep. The survey wanted to find out whether the time saved commuting and a greater flexibility in schedules would lend to remote workers getting their necessary eight hours a night. They also wanted to see how sleep, and remote working in general, carried over into overall well-being and quality of life.
The findings were based on the answers of 1,001 Americans who work remotely full time. So what did the survey find? We have the answers.
Remote workers sleep less, not more
Surprisingly, those hours saved commuting (and possibly even getting ready each morning) do not transfer over into getting an appropriate amount of sleep. The average adult should be getting eight hours of quality sleep each night but 35 percent of all Americans report that they get less than eight hours. An even higher percentage of remote workers – 39.5 percent – reported that they got as little as 6.5 hours of sleep each night.
Not only are remote workers not sleeping enough, but 35 percent of them reported that the sleep they did get was not quality sleep. This means that they may have woken up during the night, awakened feeling tired or sore, or otherwise did not feel refreshed upon waking in the morning.
The survey found that remote workers who do not get enough sleep are 70 percent more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs, and 76 percent more likely to suffer from high levels of stress.
Remote workers are happier, though
Despite being four points above the national average in lacking sleep, remote workers are still significantly happier with their jobs and lives overall versus the average American. In fact, three-quarters of respondents stated they plan to work from home for the rest of their career, and are 57 percent more likely to be happier with their jobs.
Remote workers also nap, which is known to be a mental booster. The survey respondents stated that 38 percent of them napped at least nine hours per week while working from, with an average work week of 47 hours. The best finding? Eleven of those work hours are typically spent working from bed.
What happens when remote workers don’t get enough sleep?
When it comes to too little sleep, remote workers suffer in the same way as anyone else. In the short term, sleep deprivation may cause daytime sleepiness, crankiness, dissatisfaction with a person’s life, and poor job performance. If sleep deprivation continues for too long, however, the consequences become much more severe.
An extended period of sleep deprivation – which can even be receiving but two or three too few hours per night – can lead to serious health consequences. Due to an inability to control hunger sensations, a person may become obese. Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders have been linked to long-term sleep deprivation. It can also cause weight loss, forgetfulness, a lowered immune system (leading to more frequent or intense illness), and much more.
How can remote workers ensure they get rest?
When a person is in charge of their own schedule, it can be difficult knowing when to draw the line. But that line does need to be drawn. The best way to ensure remote workers get enough rest is to set a bedtime schedule they stick to unless an outside emergency occurs. The time isn’t as important as ensuring it leaves enough rest.
For example, if you want to wake each morning at 5 a.m., then you will want to go to sleep by 9 p.m. to get a full eight hours. If you prefer to sleep in until 8 a.m., however, you simply need to be bed before midnight.
Remote workers should avoid the temptation to stay up all night working, and should remember that bedtime should be stuck to even on the weekends. Once in a while it’s okay to go out a bit late to blow off some steam, but it should not become a habit. Also avoid eating for a few hours and drinking anything for half an hour before bed.