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If you had the choice between spending the morning studying in bed or heading to the library – which would you choose? Yeah, we would choose the first option, too. Cozy time is the best time, right? Well, not always.
Unfortunately, trying to accomplish anything other than sleep in bed – like studying or working – can interfere with your sleep quality and more. In fact, there are many reasons why studying in bed vs. a desk can work against you, and we’re sharing five of them next. However, we know there are times when reality works against us – and the bed wins. So, we’re also including some pro-sleep tips for studying in bed when you just need some cozy study time.
And before you post-graduates click-away, everything we discuss here also applies to working – so stick around if you regularly work from bed.
If you are wondering why studying in bed is not ideal, get ready for some education! Although studying in bed may seem like a dream, it may be creating some avoidable problems.
Do you ever find yourself getting sleepy while studying in bed? Since our bodies typically associate “bed” with “sleep”, it’s not surprising when this happens. However, if you regularly study in bed, you may be inadvertently retraining your mind to associate your bed with studying. So what happens when you crawl into bed to sleep? Your brain thinks it’s time to study!
Sleep quality affects everything in our daily lives, and your body needs adequate sleep to stay healthy, retain new information (studying!), handle stress, and perform at its best each day.
Although laying in bed is the ultimate in comfort, sitting in bed isn’t always as comfortable. Sitting in an uncomfortable position applies pressure to your back, which can lead to spine problems over time. It’s a sneaky disadvantage to studying in bed, but it’s important to consider for the long-term.
Even if you think you are comfortable sitting or laying on your side or stomach to study, doing so for too long can create stiffness in your neck and back. Also, beds are inherently uneven, so even if you think you are sitting up straight, it’s not the same kind of straight a chair provides.
It’s hard enough to focus on school materials as it is, but studying in bed can actually really sabotage your productivity. There are several things working against you in this situation – not enough room to spread out and nowhere to take notes (if you still favor pen and paper). Not to mention, the poor sleep quality you’re probably also experiencing is a real productivity zapper.
There’s hygiene related to cleanliness and sleep hygiene, and we’ll talk about both. First is cleanliness. Not to gross you out, but did you know that we shed thousands of skin cells every night? Studying in bed during the day just adds to that mess! Not to mention any drinks or food you may spill during your horizontal studying.
What about sleep hygiene? These are the practices and habits that contribute to a good night’s sleep, and guess what one of them is NOT? Studying. As we mentioned before, studying in bed is subtly rewiring your brain to associate your mattress with activities other than sleep, which can make it difficult to sleep at night when you should be resting and recharging.
Everything we have mentioned so far circles back to mood. All of it can affect your mood: lack of sleep, lack of productivity, achy back, and dirty sheets. Our beds should be places of sanctuary, not stress. Studying in bed may bring stress into your sanctuary and sabotage not just your focus, but likely your sleep as well.
Ok, if you skipped right to this section, then you are probably never going to give up your bed studying habits – and that’s ok, you do you! Although we highly recommend only sleep and sex for the bed, reality is a rule bender sometimes. So, here are some tips for how to be comfortable studying in bed if a desk isn’t working or appealing.
There are clear lenses that protect against the high end of the blue light spectrum or yellow or amber lenses that block all blue light. Blue light, a type of light on the color spectrum that has higher energy, is emitted by cell phones, computers, and television screens. That higher energy light isn’t doing your eyes or your sleep any favors.
That achy back we mentioned earlier? It’s posture related and happens from sitting in an uncomfortable position for too long, either hunched over your computer screen or propped on your elbow. A reading pillow can help you study more comfortably in bed by supplying the correct support for your back. We’re not saying it will prevent all the aches earned from studying in bed, but it can certainly help.
Like the pillow, a lap desk or portable study table will encourage better posture while studying in bed by positioning your screen and books for better access. Plus, having a small desk to work on – even in bed – can help keep you organized, which is a productivity booster. Every little bit helps. If you’re really committed to studying in bed (or just have no other places to do homework), a lap desk and reading pillow are the ultimate combo to ensure your posture is on point.
Our bodies weren’t made for sitting or sleeping all day. Daily movement keeps us healthy and strong. So if you’re hunkered down for a major study session, try the pomodoro technique to keep your mind active and your limbs refreshed.
It’s simple – just take a break every 25 minutes and get out of bed, even if it’s just to walk to the bathroom. If you are still working after four breaks, start to stretch out your breaks a little longer with each subsequent 25 minute break. Your body and mind will thank you!
If you are studying in bed all day, it’s important to set a hard stop time if it stretches into the evening. Your chances of falling asleep later will be improved if you take an hour or more to disassociate your bed with studying. That means getting up and leaving the room. Take a walk outside, take a shower, make dinner, whatever you like – as long as it’s not near or in your bed.
When you return to bed for sleeping, do not bring your phone, tablet, or laptop with you. Your sleep deserves your undivided attention!
Ready for more tips for better sleep? Bookmark our blog to learn about emerging sleep trends, expert analysis, and more. Our website also has a wealth of information and resources about sleep and how to conquer it.