Working from home is 'causing insomnia' and poor sleep in younger workers

Working from home has many benefits – from greater flexibility to cutting out the time spent on your commute.

But there can be downsides too.

New research has suggested that working from home is contributing to poor sleep and insomnia – particularly among younger workers.

New research from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) reflects the impact of the previous year’s events on the public’s mental health and sleeping patterns.

They revealed that two-fifths (40%) found spending more time at home or in their bedroom meant that they struggled with their sleep and younger respondents are especially likely to have found this difficult.

Over three-fifths (62%) of 16-24-year-olds cited spending more time at home or in their bedroom as a factor, and it was the most commonly given reason among this age group. It is likely that shared housing situations and spending more time in their bedroom because of the requirement to work from home meant this age group struggled more with sleep as a result.

Nearly half (48%) of the UK population say their sleeping patterns have been negatively impacted by Covid.

The survey data was collected using online methodology with a nationally representative sample of 5,136 adults, taken from YouGov’s research panel in February 2022.

Younger respondents were found to be much more likely to have their sleep affected than older people. Over half (56%) of those aged 16-24 say their sleeping patterns were negatively affected compared to a third (34%) of those aged 65 and above.

Younger people are also more likely to report being unable to get up in the morning; half (48%) of those aged 16-24 gave this as a reason compared to under a quarter (23%) of 55-64-year-olds and a third (32%) overall.

So, if you have been finding yourself more exhausted than normal since the pandemic began – you’re not alone.

Many experts have suggested that blurring the lines between work and home is not good for your health – with warnings against sitting in bed for Zoom meetings. But creating a separate space for work isn’t always possible.

The most common reasons given for the pandemic negatively impacting sleep patterns are worries and concerns stopping them from falling asleep (46%) and suffering from insomnia (45%).

Researchers found that 16% of the public are losing sleep over rising cost of living concerns. 

Additionally, one-fifth (19%) found nightmares and bad dreams negatively affected their sleeping patterns during the pandemic, with women more likely to give this as a reason than men (21% vs 16%).

Instead, men are more likely to mention that a change to their usual routine meant that they had difficulty sleeping (41% vs 35%). This may be as a result of a higher proportion of men being in full-time employment and therefore finding the adjustment to working from home (or being furloughed) difficult.

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