When most people think of being a freelancer, they think you roll out of bed half-way through the day and work whenever you want. In many cases, freelancing involves an erratic work schedule and pay. This uncertainty often leads to little sleep, and even that small amount of sleep is non-restorative. There are ways you can improve your sleep hygiene, even as a freelancer.
Establish A Schedule
Most freelancers have a schedule, but rarely stick to it. This often means enforcing boundaries with clients. Tell clients your business hours and avoid the temptation to answer calls or emails outside of these hours. If you want, you can draft emails or continue to work on projects beyond your normal business hours, but never let your clients know this is happening. In many cases, when clients know you work at any time of the day or night, they will continue to expect this irrational level of commitment. Even if you do not work directly with clients, such as working on content platforms, it is up to you to adhere to a schedule. Most platforms give you 24 hours or more to revise content. Learn to resist the temptation to revise your work immediately if it will interfere with improving your sleep.
Create A Separate Work Space
It is easier for many freelancers to work from their bed or the bedroom because they may live with roommates, have limited space, or deal with physical limitations that makes it easier to work from the bed. Whenever possible, try to have a dedicated space that is not your bedroom for work. Your space can be something simple, such as the couch, or a laptop cart and chair in the corner of the living room. When you separate your work area from your bedroom, it is easier for your bedroom to seem like the restorative oasis that it should be. If you have no other option than to work from your bedroom, at least do not work from the bed. A comfy recliner or bean bag chair in the corner of your room is a much better option.
Limit Your Electronics
It is common to use your electronic devices while lying in bed, which can make it harder to fall asleep. Avoid checking emails and other business-related tasks around bedtime. Many people enjoy listening to audio books, reading e-books, or watching videos while they are waiting to fall asleep. Unfortunately, the light associated with your electronic device can cause problems with your circadian rhythm. If you frequently use electronic devices around bedtime and have difficulties falling asleep, this may be the problem.
As you wind down for the evening, allocate a specific amount of time for your electronic device, such as an hour. After that time, stop using your device and prepare for bed. Additionally, if you use your phone as an alarm or to check the time, try to purchase a digital clock for your bedroom. Even briefly checking the time on your phone while you are trying to fall asleep can add to the problem.
Having an unpredictable work life doesn't mean you will never have better sleep hygiene. Working hard on developing and implementing a schedule is the first step to better sleep quality. If you continue to have sleep issues, contact a professional in sleep medicine.