In January 2021, we conducted a survey involving 1,000 people within the UK on how working from home throughout the COVID-19 period has affected their sleep patterns. The resulting data gathered helps highlight some interesting factors that have impacted peoples sleep during the quarantine.
1. Survey Demographics
Understanding the data requires a disclosure around the people undertaking the survey, in this instance, 48.7% of those asked were female, with 51.3% male.
2. Survey Results
We asked 1,000 people how their sleep whether their sleep patterns have been affected, either positively of negatively. The results were somewhat surprising, identified below.
- Only 10% of people surveyed said that their sleep patterns had not changed.
- 31.3% said that their sleep had improved since quarantine.
- 58.7% of people had negative sleep patterns throughout Covid-19
Additionally we factor in the survey participants age and which generation they fit into. The results found that it was Millennials who were most negatively affected with their sleep (making up 52% of those surveyed, but of this generation, 72% reported negative sleep)
Factors That Affected Sleep Patterns Relating to Remote Work and Covid-19
When it came to factors that caused an adjustment in sleep patterns, of those that reported negative patterns of change, the answers given could be broken down into the following segments
The biggest factor for negative sleep patterns came through the answer of working longer followed closely by those struggling to find a balance between work and home life. The disconnect that those in the workforce normally experience through commuting to and from an office seems to give a degree of separation, allowing those surveyed the opportunity to adequately switch-off and find a balance.
In a close third place, we see the stress of the unknown playing a role in peoples sleep patterns, struggling to come to terms with the pandemic and its economic effects and what that means for job security. This comes despite the ONS prediction of only 6.5% unemployment expectation by the end of 2021, up from 4% throughout the UK. An increase for sure, but not relative to peoples concern.
Solutions To Improving Sleep Patterns
With the factors that cause poor sleep patterns through Covid-19 addressed, it then comes to what can be done to improve sleep patterns as we begin to come out of this pandemic. The survey here was simple, what can be done to improve your sleep patterns as part of the new working from home pandemic quarantine.
The survey shows that the two most popular solutions involved setting a sleep schedule(38.6%) and sticking to it, along with exercising for at least 45 minutes a day (28.9%). Other notable solutions involved turning off electronics before bed (22.8%) and creating a separate place for work (9.6%).
Predicted Sleep Patterns Once Lockdown Eases
Now that we have assessed the problems effecting sleepers and how they can go about solving them, it comes to look forward, to what those sleep patterns may look like once lockdown eases. Our next survey question was around the return to normalcy and whether sleep returns to normal. To put it simply, will sleep patterns return to normalcy for those surveyed?
The results are encouraging, of those surveyed, we found that 67.8% believe that their sleep will improve after lockdown ends and normalcy resumes. Of those that said no, we asked a follow up question of why. Those which answered generally suggested that attitude to flexible working means that many of the staples of troubled sleep will be here to stay even after lockdown.
The Bottom Line
Those that were surveyed identified key problems in their sleep patterns post lockdown. The causes of poorer sleep seems to have been the fault of a new way of working that many in the UK have not been familiar with, this created a changing shift that actually drove productivity in the form of additional work caused by poor work/life balances that resulted in people working longer (a separate study on longer hours worked and whether it actually means increased productivity is required) meant that many found the work life shift toward the former and away from the latter. The good news is that most believe that this is temporary and that with lockdown restrictions easing, we should see an improvement in sleep patterns as a direct result.
When it comes to improving your sleep, the options above, such as reducing screen time, having separate rooms for work and sleep, they are all valid and suitable options. Other options include ensuring you have the right sleep setup, from pillows and sheets, to mattresses and bed frames. You can only get the right sleep with the right sleep setup.