Work from home is not the blissful experience that most Indians expected it to be, discovers the latest pan-India survey of over 1,500 respondents, conducted by sleep solutions firm,

While 67 per cent reported that working from home has altered their sleep schedule, 50 per cent believed it has disrupted their sleep patterns. Interestingly, 81 per cent respondents felt that their sleep schedule will get better once the lockdown ends.

Since India announced its 21-day lockdown starting 25th March 25, 2020, has been auditing the changes in patterns and quality of sleep and the associated impact on life itself, across the country. The ‘Work from Home’ study has participants from Bengaluru, Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and other Indian cities, with 55 per cent respondents in the 26-35 years age group and 20 per cent in the 36-45 years age bracket.

Pandemic-triggered anxieties

The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered anxieties vis-à-vis job security, managing finances, health of family and friends, consequently accounting for sleepless nights among respondents. People were also found to be compromising on sleep because of binge watching shows (14 per cent), working late hours (15 per cent) and a poor mattress or bed space (19 per cent). And 49 per cent acknowledged that they are staying up late due to lockdown-induced stress.

The survey data indicates a 40 per cent increase in late-night sleepers since the lockdown. Before the lockdown came into effect, 25 per cent respondents reported going to bed post mid-night, which increased to 35 per cent after the lockdown. The duration of sleep clocked in by people also took a turn for the worse. While 25 per cent of the survey respondents used to get less than six hours of snooze time under regular circumstances, instances of less than six hours of sleep increased among 36 per cent of the people since the lockdown began.

“As social distancing becomes a way of life, people all over the country are trying to manage their health, households and finances in the face of challenging times. While working from home cuts down on travel time and would be a perk otherwise, the lockdown has adversely affected people’s quality of sleep. This survey will provide us with actionable insights to strengthen our response to the current crises. Sleep is not just an immunity booster but also an essential function to help the body and mind respond optimally to any challenging situation. These are testing times and the only way to emerge stronger is to ensure the well-being of our bodies and minds” said Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, co-founder and Director,

How to sleep better

One of the easiest ways to improve sleep, experts concur, is to maintain the sanctity of the sleep space. Using the bed as a workstation or eating area can adversely impact sleep patterns. Fifty nine per cent of participants in the survey said they work from their beds, while 56 per cent used their sleep space for eating and watching online content on their phones or laptops.

“Thinking about the Covid-19 crisis and watching news about the crisis causes undue stress among people, which is one of the primary causes of insomnia. Reducing TV time, increasing levels of physical activity and adhering to the same pre-lockdown work-hour routine will drastically improve the quality of sleep,” Dr Arun Sasidharan, Sleep Researcher and Scientist at the Centre for Consciousness Studies, NIMHANS, told BusinessLine .

Incidentally, 50 per cent respondents felt their sleep space could be made better by dedicating it only to sleep. Other activities that they believed would help them sleep better were adjusting the light (13 per cent), creating a sleep ritual (12 per cent), adding aromatic scents (6 per cent), listening to music or white noise (8 per cent) and following guided sleep meditation (11 per cent).