Four elements of a healthy bedroom in the age of COVID-19 and Working-From-Home...
While once a place for quiet reflection, late-night reading, and romantic evenings with one’s partner, in recent months the bedroom has been converted into an often-shared place of work. Now a virtual conference room, from which remote workers join Zoom meetings and take calls, the bedroom has largely lost its special designation as a sanctuary. Though mass work-from-home was initially expected to be a temporary change until COVID-19 had been addressed, most workers are now viewing it as a more permanent shift. In an age during which bedrooms have become boardrooms, what does a healthy bedroom look like?
Task-Specific Transitional Lighting
One of the keys to a healthy bedroom, especially when it functions both as a place to sleep and a place to work, is warm-toned transitional lighting. Try making each light in your bedroom dimmable and ensure all light sources are within close proximity to their dimmers or switches. If your bedroom adjoins a bathroom, try to have a dimmable, warm-toned light in there too. While blue lighting is fine for daytime because it “boosts attention, reaction times, and mood,” a soft, diffuse red or yellow light is better for nighttime as it reduces the likelihood that your 2 AM trip to the bathroom will reduce the quality of your sleep.
Clear of Clutter
According to Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne in an article for Psychology Today, while clutter accumulates because “of people’s natural desire to appropriate their personal spaces with possessions,” it eventually “compromises an individual’s perception of home, and ultimately feelings of satisfaction with life.” Clutter in your bedroom can also clutter your brain, making it difficult to organize thoughts and plans. Dr. Whitbourne and other experts define a clutter-free bedroom “as essential to [good] “mental hygiene.”
Clean, Oxygen-Rich Air
Zoned Work and Sleep Spaces
Place your work desk in the corner of the room, preferably at a diagonal from the entryway. Avoid placing it in the direct line of sight from the bed in order to create as clear a delineation between your workspace and your sleep space as possible. Do your best to avoid placing work supplies in or on nightstands or other bureaus; similarly, keep all linens and pillows intended for relaxation on the bed. In an article for Forbes, Ashira Prossack recommends placing all files, planners, and books inside desk drawers at the end of the workday as it “helps you mentally disconnect from work.”
Keeping your bedroom clear of clutter, eliminating harmful light sources, purifying the air, and zoning spaces for work and sleep will all place you on the path to improved physical and mental health.