top of page

Why Is It Bad For You to Work From Bed

Improve The Quality of Your Life With The Right Mental Link Between Work And Sleep




It is a common theme for me as a holistic home designer that your home is the foundation of the quality of your life. That the spaces where we live and work not only are mirrors of who we are or want to be but also significantly impact our mood, self-esteem, comfort, and general wellbeing.


In the past one year our home has gone through a big change. It has become more important and more influential as many of us had no option but working from home - meaning we spend a vastly increased time at home. For lots of people this sudden change meant they had to ‘carve out’ some working space in their home where they can do their daily work-related activities. It also meant to create a different daily routine as well as establish some discipline to stay on the top of the workload.


It seems many, for whom working from home came as a new way of life, have ‘opted’ for the ‘working from bed’ solution.

Working from bed seems to be very convenient and comfortable – at first. And let us admit, it can be very tempting as it feels like you are living a dream life - having the freedom of work from wherever you want to and whenever you want to. No commuting, no office, no boss, no annoying co-workers, etc. Surely, you have seen all these idyllic images of working form bed: nicely messy bed, being in pyjamas or leisure wear, laptop, cup of coffee or tea, some snacks, maybe a pet on the bed, a nice bunch of flower. It does feel like you are not working but are on holiday. And that can be one of the problems amongst many others.

It is ok if we do this on an occasional basis. I myself do it sometimes. Also, not everyone does well sitting and working at a desk for hours. But that might come from….which could be another topic to discuss.


Your bedroom has a purpose from interior design perspective: sleep and intimacy. These two are the primary functions of a bedroom. Keeping this in mind, no matter how stylishly and ergonomically perfectly designed your bedroom, it is still not the place where you do your work.

For several reasons.


Let us see those reasons.



Sleep quality

To a certain extend it does not matter how many hours you sleep, if it is not a ‘time well slept’ then you will wake up feeling rubbish. Your quality of sleep can be improved in many ways. This time I will only discuss it from the perspective of the function of the bedroom.


As I mentioned above the two main purposes of the bedroom are sleep and intimacy. We have been mainly using the bedroom for these two functions for very long time. Long time enough for our brain to create a mental association between those two functions and the bedroom.

According to the Maslow Pyramid or the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, that divides all human needs into five categories of psychophysical needs, sleep belongs to the most primary biological category, while intimacy is in the third, psychological category. However, if you take for example Freud’s theory or the tantric philosophy, they regard sexuality or libido as a primary life force, a basic drive of life, the driving force of all behaviour. So we are talking about two basic human needs here.


This link between sleep and the bedroom is created by our subconscious mind and it has been conditioned to associate these two with each other.

When we use our bedroom and our bed for daytime activities, like working, watching TV, etc., this mental link starts to break down and our brain creates a new association between the bedroom / being in bed and being awake and doing daytime activities. This will hinder your ability to fall asleep in the evening without you even knowing what is going on, why you cannot fall asleep and why you wake up feeling still tired. What happens is that even though your body feels tired, your brain 'thinks' it is daytime and it stays active and alert. In order to have a good and restorative sleep your bed needs to be a cue for sleep, and working in bed will not give this cue to your brain. This can be worsened if, on top of working from bed, you watch tv or movies on your laptop while in bed as it further stimulates the brain and with a highly alerted brain you will not very likely fall asleep quickly and easily. Looking at bright screens reduces the melatonin, the so called ‘sleep hormone’ that helps you drift away. And I do not even get started on the ‘blue light’ and EMFs (ElectroMagneticFields) not only causing disturbed sleep but health problems as well.


So if you work from bed (or watch tv/laptop) on a regular basis for a longer period of time, sooner or later you will find yourself in a trap resulting in all sorts of negative effects, like lack of focus, decreased productivity, foggy mind, moodiness, feeling sluggish and ‘broken’, lack of control of emotions.


The best if you leave all these electronic gadgets out of the bedroom and you give yourself a two-hour long tech free time before heading to bed. Given that many of us find this extremely challenging (and I am not an exempt either) the minimum you can do for yourself and your wellbeing is not using any gadgets at least 30 minutes before sleep and turning off the wifi before drifting away.

You can also start doing meditation, especially in the evening, to learn to discipline your mind, or take a short walk to clear up your head, and air the bedroom before (and after) sleep time. Applying essential oils can be also very helpful to improve your sleep – there are certain kind of oils that help you wind down preparing your body and mind for bedtime and sleep.


If you feel the problem is ‘bigger than you’, you cannot deal with it on your own, seek out sleep specialists. There are several sleep clinics and sleep retreats where you can learn to rewire your brain in order to establish new, healthy sleep habits.


And do not touch the sleeping pills – you will be doing a huge disservice for yourself if you try and solve your sleep problem with medication.




Productivity

Decreased productivity is the direct result of lack of quality sleep. They are interwoven.

Using your bed as a workspace means you are bringing your work into bed with you, both literally and figuratively. Working all day from your bed means your brain will start to associate work and high functioning mental activity with the bedroom and being in bed – as we discussed above. So, you or more precisely your brain will not be able to stop thinking about work and will have a hard time ‘turning it off’ when it comes to sleep time. This then will result in you waking up still feeling sleepy, tired and slow - in other words unproductive.

Not only this, but on the other hand after a while you will find yourself not feeling focused and productive enough if you spend all of your productive hours in bed. You may find yourself giving in to heavy eyes and taking naps when you want to be working.




Mood and energy

Your mood and energy level are also in direct correlation with the quality of your sleep as well as with your productivity. The better you sleep the better mood you will be in and the better energy level you will have and the more productive you will be.

From design perspective, generally speaking, the bedroom usually has a more relaxed and neutral feel with more toned and lighter colours, with less decorative elements and items. It is not the most energising, electrifying room to keep your energy level high. In many cases it is also not the best naturally lit room.

These features in the long run, when you need to do your work for hours, work against alertness, productivity, focus, creativity – the qualities you need when working. If you close your eyes and imagine a work space your brain naturally will come up with mental images of a bright, energetic, dynamic, more colourful room.

A darkish, calm, serene feeling room is not so great for workday productivity.




Relationships

There are already lots of talks about how our everyday gadgets can negatively impact our relationships – let them be family relations, friendships, business associations or romantic relationships – causing frustration, feeling of neglect, dissatisfaction, miscommunication, in some cases decreased confidence or even depression.

Truth to be told no one likes to be ignored for an electronic device.

Now imagine, when you get used to do work in bed how it can further wreck your romantic relationship. When you never turn off the screen, when you always keep your phone or laptop in an easy reach by the bed it will signal to your partner that they are not important enough in your life, they do not deserve your attention.

As I pointed out earlier the other primary function of the bedroom is being the space of intimacy. It can strengthen the relationship from many aspects. But if you do your work on a regular basis in bed you and your partner will start associate the space with work rather than togetherness, love, intimacy and partnership. And it will open up a hosts of other problems.


I can talk about this not only as a holistic home designer but also from a very personal experience having lived with a partner who spent lots of time working and watching movies in bed up until even midnight. My sleep got messed up resulting in me struggling with productivity and creativity, and this habit of him did not help us on the relationship front either.




Hygiene

I remember when I was a kid my mom kept telling me that once you got home from work or school you changed your clothes as you did not move around in your home, especially did not lie on your bed wearing your street wear. Well, this might sound a bit fussy or strict.

Then just think about the recent virus situation – everyone sanitising their hands and every items coming into their home…it would make sense now to even change your clothes when you get back home, right?

Most of us usually spend 7-9 hours sleeping in bed on average – that is 33% time of your day, quite a significant amount. Now factor in the additional time spent in bed working – maybe in your everyday street wear. The result? Vast hosts of germs, bacteria, dirt and dust. And this is the bed where you go to sleep to every single night.

And I did not even mention our ‘co-habitants’ in bed: the lovely, tiny dust mites who feed on our dead skin cells we shed while sleeping or while just being in bed.



Posture

There are also lots of studies telling us how important the right posture is while working – especially if it is a work where you need to sit for long hours. There are anatomically as well as ergonomically proved measurements of how high a desk or chair should be, etc. Office or workstation ergonomics is a serious business telling us under what optimum ergonomic conditions, equipment and posture we should work in order to maximise our performance and avoid any mental and physical distress.

This practically is non-existent in bed. You are sitting on an uneven surface, especially if you prefer soft mattress for sleep, not giving enough support for your spine. You have your laptop, the keyboard and the monitor at an incorrect height and position. Most likely you are leaning forward, especially with your head and neck giving your joints, muscles and nerves an extra tension.

Your whole body, after a while, will be in full tension due to the unhealthy position and posture. Resulting in different kind of health problems, like shoulder pain, back pain, migraine, deformed posture or serious musculoskeletal disorders.




All in all, working from bed, in the long run, will negatively impact every area of your life resulting eventually in a decreased quality of life.

Quality sleep is the biological basis for general wellbeing and happiness – do not mess it up with a habit of working from bed.

Treat your bedroom and your bed as a sacred space where you can recharge, rejuvenate yourself to live the best life you can.




With the recent changes covid has brought upon us forcing many people stay and / or to work from home I feel even more convinced that our home, our immediate every day environment plays a vital part in our general wellbeing and can be a great contributor - or a huge obstacle for that matter - to create a happy, balanced and successful life.


So, I am here to help you transform your home and life.



If you do not know where to start your journey, by all means, download your beautiful gift, the Home Harmony Starter Kit. This 20 page long booklet will help you become more aware of your space giving tips and ideas to build a stronger connection with your home.

Download your copy here now.



You can book a 15 minute long free discovery call or book an hour long informal chat with me where you can Ask Me Anything related to your design problem.

And if you feel ready to work with me have a look at here in what way I can help you.


Have a fab day,

Marianna


Styling and Decorating - Express Yourself

You might have a newly purchased home that needs a full styling service or you already have the big pieces in place but the interior still lacks that "wow" factor and need some help with the smaller details.

Perhaps you just need a sort of design remix to refresh your space and give it a new look.

Or alternatively you are about to sell or rent your property and wish to make it more appealing and valuable for possible buyers and renters. 

bottom of page