Why Sleeping More During The Pandemic Doesn't Mean You're Getting Better Sleep

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone's lives. Many people have experienced consistent stress, worry, and fatigue for the past two years. Many people have also experienced poor sleep as a result of all that stress. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, more than half of Americans reported in a survey that they are still experiencing sleep issues due to COVID as of March 2021.

Although the ability to work from home allows many people to sleep in and get more rest at night, that rest is often disrupted due to a variety of factors. Not having a designated workspace and shifting around your work schedule can throw off sleep rhythms. Many people may be drinking more, due to increased socialization and/or as a way to cope with stress, which disrupts sleep significantly (via Mindbodygreen). Finally, the general anxiety felt by many Americans about the lingering pandemic can make it hard to fall and stay asleep.

Even if you're able to sleep in longer than normal, you're probably not getting healthy sleep if you still feel tired during the day. According to Mindbodygreen, you shouldn't worry too much about waking up tired as long as that feeling wears off in less than 10 minutes. It is normal to experience sleep inertia, which is a feeling of grogginess after being woken from a deep sleep, immediately after your alarm goes off. However, feeling tired all the time is a sign that your body isn't recovering properly at night.

How to adjust your sleep schedule when working from home

If working from home has thrown a wrench in your sleep schedule and has you feeling more tired than ever, there are a few ways you can improve your sleep habits. Start by picking a time you'd like to go to bed every night and slowly begin adjusting your current schedule to match that one. According to the Sleep Foundation, you should try bumping your bedtime back about 15 minutes every two to three days to give your body time to adjust to each change.

As fun as it can be to take an afternoon nap when working remotely, you should avoid these if you are having trouble sleeping at night. According to Harvard Health Publishing, naps can be useful for some people, but will most likely leave you lying in bed at night having a difficult time feeling sleepy. If you need to close your eyes for a few minutes, make sure you limit your nap to 20 minutes. You can also try taking a walk outside to wake you up.

Finally, make sure you aren't working late at night. It can be easy to disconnect from work when your office is in your living room, but working late can cause a lot of sleep problems. Not only can work leave you feeling anxious in the evenings, but exposing yourself to the bright light of your laptop can also make it harder to fall asleep (via Sleep Foundation).