As comforting and relaxing as working at your bed can feel, there are serious consequences for ignoring basic ergonomics while you type away on your laptop in a horizontal position. Your neck can be cranked, your arms are unsupported, and your body’s flat position inhibits proper blood flow. Bad computing-from-bed practices can lead to repetitive stress injuries and trauma disorders which can impact your health negatively.
Many of us are familiar with proper workspace ergonomics when working with a standard desk and chair, but what about in bed? In this article we’ll look at 5 ergonomic tips for optimizing your computing experience from bed.
Make sure your Back is supported with a Pillow
Reading- or working pillows are made with cotton or microfiber which is more firmer than the pillows you sleep on and will keep your back supported while sitting in bed. Some of these pillows come with armrests to keep your arms supported while you work.
Use an Adjustable Bed Laptop Table Tray
Laptop Trays and Stands are specifically designed o be used in bed to ensure the well being of both you and your laptop. Some of them are multi-positional and come with a vented aluminium surface to ensure your laptop remains cool and doesn’t overheat.
The trays or tables come with slip guards too so your computer and mouse stay in place. With different degrees of movement, bed-tables can be adjusted to all positions, heights and angles to ensure you’re always comfortable. Hop over to Ergonomic Trends for a list of the highest rated bed trays and stands.
Ensure a Quality, Portable Reading Light
Avoid eye-strain by illuminating the area where you are working. The light will allow you to have better focus for your activity. The best reading light is one that is portable and which comes with a clamp and suction cups to protect the gripped surface. To get the exact light angle for your work, you can twist and turn the light-head around and bend the arm of the light up and down as you need.
Avoid Working on your Laptop just before bed
Sleep is important for providing restoration, both physically and mentally. Apart from making sure your bedroom is quiet and comfortable, avoid the habit of using your computer right before bed. Not only do electronic devices stimulate brain activity, preventing you from drifting off to sleep, exposure to light from your computer can also lower levels of the hormone melatonin. You don’t want this happening as a drop in this hormone can lead to restless legs, intestinal symptoms, sleep problems and changes in mood.
Get a Multi-Touch or Touchscreen Laptop
A multi-touch or touchscreen can be beneficial for use in bed, as interacting with a computer by means of these touch screens is more effective and faster with its multi-touch swipes. The limitations of a standard trackpad is amplified in bed when your arms are unsupported, and your neck cranked.
If you find yourself taking a laptop, quiet mouse, writing paper and other work-related equipment to bed, a touchscreen laptop without the need for a wrist-pain causing mouse, can be less cumbersome and ergonomically better. A touch screen is just that much faster than using a mouse or trackpad and searching for the cursor.
Health is a priceless gift of which many of us take lightly until something goes wrong. Working on a computer all day, particularly from bed, can put strain on many parts of the body. We’ve all needed to put in a few hours of work from bed before, but there are some things you can do to make it less painful.
People of all ages who opt to use their computers in their beds should establish the right posture as well as adopt ergonomic advice to minimize any negative effects. Ignoring to do so can mean pain and a body out of balance over time.
- Muller, J. Creating the Perfect Ergonomic Workspace- The ULTIMATE Guide Available at http://ergonomictrends.com/creating-perfect-ergonomic-workspace-ultimate-guide/
- Chen, L. & Zhang. NCBI. Which lamp will be optimum to eye? Incandescent, fluorescent or LED etc. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3949479/
- Shochat, T. NCBI. Impact of lifestyle and technology developments on sleep. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3630968/