Getting to work from home can be a real treat. You don’t have to worry about a commute, you don’t have to get dressed and leave the house, and you can even work from bed if you want to. But while all this sounds good on paper, working while lying in bed can actually have some serious negative impact on your sleep — as well as your body. So before you get too excited about heading back to bed to start work for the day, let’s discuss how to work from bed in a slightly healthier way.

Why You Should Not Work From Bed

Poor posture

Put simply, your bed is not made to be used while sitting up for a long period of time. Your bed is designed to hold a body while it’s prone, so your posture while working in bed will not be good. This can lead to neck and back pain and overall discomfort while working and even after you’re done.

Hindered productivity

If you’re working in bed, you might just doze off. Beds aren’t made to be a place of work, so your body and mind may drift quickly and easily while you’re trying to work. Maybe it’s falling asleep, maybe it’s getting distracted by your phone, but any way you put it, your productivity could go down.

Sleep disruption

The biggest problem with working from bed is that your bed and your bedroom are meant for the purpose of rest. If you’re staying in bed to work, there’s a strong chance you’ll mess with your mind and your equilibrium when bedtime rolls around. You might find yourself unable to sleep. Working from bed creates a level of confusion in your mind and ends up turning your sleep oasis into a place that includes deadlines, stress, conversation with co-workers, and more. 

Energy slump

Not only is your bedroom meant for sleep, but it also might be literally designed for it as well. Because bedrooms are nighttime rooms (generally speaking), they don’t always have as much light. That means if you’re working there, you might not have enough light, which could lead to irritation and a slump in energy. You need sunlight for energy and actual light of any kind to properly see your work. Plus, if you’re working in a room that’s too dark, the melatonin in your blood will make you sleepy.

Are There Benefits of Working From Bed?

There isn’t a lot of good that can be said about working from bed unless you’re doing it as a one-off thing. You might be tempted to think that the comfort of your bed is a plus, and while it is initially, that won’t last. One upside of working from bed is that you don’t have a commute and don’t have to get dressed. These small conveniences are certainly appealing, but the negative aspects of working from bed will quickly outweigh them.

If You Have to Work in Bed

Get a lap desk

Find a lap desk so that you have a proper base to work on. There are plenty of different models and shapes to choose from, but this will keep your computer and materials organized and off your lap, plus it will trick your brain into feeling like this is a more professional setting.

Use supportive pillows

Make sure you have a set of pillows that are properly cradling your back, neck, and body while you work. You should be sitting up and have enough cushion around you so that your spine and neck aren’t out of alignment and so that everything feels comfortable.

Change clothes

Part of tricking your brain into not confusing the daytime bed with the nighttime bed is to change it up. You may not want to get dressed to work in bed, but you should at least change your clothes into a different set of loungewear than you slept in. Go from pajamas to sweatpants if you must, but at least change so that you feel like you’ve changed the setting.

Move around often

Unless you’re sick or unable to move, take breaks from working in bed as often as you can. Get up and move around, get some air, absorb the sunlight. At the very least, get up and leave the bed when you’re done with work, even if it’s to sit on the couch or the floor, so you’re not blending the workday with bedtime. Create two distinct parts of the day so that your mind won’t get confused and hinder the production of melatonin when sleep time comes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I work from bed at home?

If you have to work from bed at home, create a supportive and professional workspace in bed to the best of your ability. Get a lap desk and supportive pillows and stick to a distinct workday routine (and leave your bed for a break before bedtime).

Are there good reasons to work in bed?

The only good reasons for working in bed are convenience and comfort, and the comfort won’t last long. The conveniences are nice — no commute, not having to get dressed — but the drawbacks of working from bed are bigger.

Is working from bed bad for your back?

Yes, it can be. Your mattress is made to support you while you’re prone (and sleeping), and sitting up working can put stress on your spine after an extended time.

Why should you not work in bed?

There are a number of reasons to not work in bed, including that it’s hard on your spine, it can hinder your sleep at night, and your quality of work will probably not be great.