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Health & Lifestyle

Sleep Smarter, Hustle Harder: 5 Hacks For Mastering Your Sleep When You Work Two Jobs

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Given the cost of living crisis, it should come as no surprise that, unfortunately, many people are having to create extra streams of income. So much so that 44% of Brits (20 million people) have a ‘side hustle’ (a job on top of their primary job).

However, did you know that working these longer hours can cause sleep deprivation - making the stress of your full-time job, part-time job and financial struggles seem even harder to manage?

of Brits have a side hustle

That being said, research shows that side hustles are set to become the norm for many more, with Google searches for ‘side income ideas’ and ‘easy side hustles from home’ increasing by a staggering 200% and 129% this year alone. In addition, the #sidehustle hashtag on TikTok has generated over 16 billion views and counting.

16 billion views
for #sidehustle on TikTok

So to help the transition to two jobs not impact a person’s sleep, we’ve delved into the disadvantages a side hustle can have if your sleep isn’t prioritised, before revealing our top sleep tips for overcoming these side hustle struggles.

We’ve even shared three side hustle incomes that can generate money in the least amount of time.  

Woman smiling at laptop. Side hustle.

Beyond the 9 to 5: How side hustles are impacting the sleep of 20 million Brits - especially teachers

The average Brit works around 36 hours. However, reports reveal that 45% of side hustlers consistently work more than 40 hours a week, and 25% work more than 50 hours per week. 

36 hours
is the average weekly work hours for Brits
of side hustlers work more than 40 hours a week

In the UK, the legal working hour limit is 48 hours. So, given that 44% of the UK has a side hustle, this suggests that more than 20 million people are working more than they should, impacting their health and sleep. 

Interestingly, a study found that those in the education sector are most likely to look for side hustles. With recent strike action for better pay for teachers, this could be one of the reasons those in this sector are turning to side hustles. 

But teachers in the UK already work, on average, 54 hours per week, meaning these additional hours could be putting a large number of them significantly over the working hours threshold, therefore impacting their ability to sleep. 

Longer hours are linked to insomnia and other sleep struggles

Not only could you struggle to fall asleep, but a study revealed that long working hours can lead to more early morning awakenings. Essentially, you are more likely to wake up early when, in fact, you need to sleep more due to working two roles. 

The study even goes so far as to suggest that long working hours - over 50 - can lead to other sleep disturbances, such as insomnia. So given that one in every three suffers from insomnia, these long working hours could be putting you more at risk. 

If you have spent several hours staring at your ceiling, hoping that you might soon nod off - working long hours could be to blame. 

The same study discovered that repeatedly working long hours can lead to difficulty falling asleep. And if you need help falling asleep, you are less likely to hit the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. This is recommended for several reasons such as strengthening our immune system, while also decreasing the risk of obesity and even type 2 diabetes. 

Getting less sleep has even been proven to make your job all the more stressful, which is particularly worrying for those that work on the side. 

Man asleep at his desk.

Working 38 hours per week is the ‘ideal’ burnout buster

If you are wondering how many hours you should be working to avoid any time pressures and risks of burning out, which could later impact your sleep, there is an answer. 

A time management expert conducted a study of 900 people and discovered that those who work 7.6 hours per day - or 38 hours a week - did not feel starved of time or experienced pressure when trying to complete their work. So this is an additional two hours on top of the average full-time job of 36 hours. 

38 hours
is the maximum amount you should work per week

If you do, however, want to earn money to supplement your main income, there are roles you can opt for that don’t take you far from home or even further than your front door. 

Three side hustles you can do in two hours per week

To avoid working too many hours while also earning additional income, you could… 

1. Start petsitting to make £1,600+ per year

Think of petsitting as babysitting, but with pets. You can do this at your home - if you take in pets for several days with owners on holiday - or by popping into someone else’s home. 

Interacting with pets has been proven to decrease cortisol levels - which can leave you feeling alert and awake when trying to sleep - and even lower blood pressure. So, there are health and sleep benefits to this side hustle - read our post on how sharing your bed with your dog can help you sleep better.

And, the average petsitter can make around £16 per hour, which can quickly add up if you have the pet at home. Should you do this for the recommended two hours per week, this amounts to £1,664 per year (pre-tax), however, naturally you can make more if you petsit for more than two hours which shouldn’t be too strenuous. 

Girl sitting on laptop on sofa with big black labrador resting on her knee.

2. Hone your craft to make £5,200+ per year

If you are a writer, blogger or creative by trade, there are many opportunities you can take. For instance, many companies hire freelance copywriters to draft copy for ads, blog posts and more. Or people are continuously looking for other skills such as photography to graphic design. You can start with sites such as Fiverr which makes it easy to find work. 

An hourly rate for a freelance writer can start from upwards of £50, which is £100 per week (if you work the recommended two hours), so an additional £5,200 per year (pre-tax) 

3. Rent out your parking space to make up to £1,000 per year

If you have the luxury of a parking space in a location that many travel to, you could rent out that space. Consider renting out your space on marketplace sites and you could make money without ever having to leave your home. However, you should only do this if the space is owned by you. 

It’s been estimated you could make over £1000 alone, each year, by renting your parking space. 

Woman holding camera at desk, looking through photos.

So, how do you stop blurring the line between work and home and avoid burnout if you have a side hustle? 

5 expert tips for improving your sleep schedule as a side hustler

Side hustles are becoming increasingly common. But that doesn’t mean you should accept sleep disturbances. There are ways you can improve your sleep schedule while taking on a second role. 

1. Keep work out of your bedroom

Posture, sleep quality and even the intimacy of your relationship can be impacted when working in your bedroom. 

Sleep loves routine. So, creating a routine of working from your bed or in the same area as where you sleep breeds a routine of thinking about work when trying to sleep.

Not to mention, if you work from bed or even have your desk next to your bed, you could begin to associate the room with your workload as opposed to a place for intimacy with your partner. One study discovered that distractions, such as checking emails on your phone, can lead to decreased satisfaction in your relationship, as well as depression in your significant other. 

There are also health issues that come from working in bed, particularly when slouching over your laptop, which can cause back, shoulder and neck pain. 

If you do have to work from your bed, use your headboard as support for your back and place supportive pillows to keep your back in a straight line. You should also place your laptop on a foldable tray/table to keep your arms in a straight line in front of you and avoid looking down at your screen.

Remember, shut off your laptop two to three hours before bed for enough time to wind down before sleep - check out our Ultimate Bedtime Routine for more tips about this.

Two students, tutor situation at desk.

2. Keep your bedroom dark 

If you’ve ever noticed you sleep less in summer, you are not the only one. That’s because daylight reduces the amount of melatonin produced by your body, which is essential for sleep and is often called your 'sleep hormone'. Therefore, you might notice you sleep better in winter as it gets darker earlier, meaning you can produce more melatonin and fall asleep quicker. 

With that being said, the best thing you can do is invest in blackout blinds to block out as much daylight as possible. Alternatively, opt for a satin eye mask which can help you sleep and is gentle on your skin as it reduces any friction from tossing and turning in the night. 

3. Switch off your electronics two hours before bed 

Our biological body clock follows a 24-hour cycle. So, when we wake, cortisol is produced which keeps you feeling alert. As the day passes and it gets darker, our body naturally produces melatonin - a sleep hormone that promotes feelings of sleepiness. 

But, electronics that emit blue light have been found to suppress the natural production of melatonin, meaning you could spend a significant amount of time trying to fall asleep. But the good news; this can easily be remedied. 

All you need to do is switch off your electronics two hours before you go to bed. So, if you can, schedule your side hustling hours around this to ensure you don’t sacrifice your sleep. 

4. Stick to your passions for your side hustle 

The quickest way to lose motivation is if your side hustle becomes yet another chore. This can quickly lead to feelings of frustration and even burnout. 

Of course, you can try different options to make additional income - such as the side hustles we recommended. But this is time spent away from your friends or family, so opt for something that fulfils you.

Start with making a list of your skills and where you excel, and look at opportunities surrounding that topic. Perhaps this will even help you with ideas for your side hustle. 

Woman making a cake, vlogging.

5. Stick to single-tasking, instead of multitasking 

We are all guilty of trying to do too many things at once. But has this worked for any of us? 

Ultimately, multitasking is hindering your progress. It is even associated with depression and anxiety, so this is your sign to single-task. 

Focus on completing one task - or idea - at a time. So if you are looking at multiple side hustles, stop. Weigh up the positives and negatives of each and go for the one you believe in the most, and put all of your focus into that one idea. This way, you are more likely to make a success of your decision. And, most importantly, it reduces the risk of burnout and anxiety, which stops you from sleeping.

If you also have employees that work on the side - for instance, they are allowed to within their contract - you can keep your eye out for signs of burnout. These include disengagement with work, isolation, higher sensitivity to feedback and exhaustion. If you spot these, you can speak to your employee about what would help them.

An image of the author, Martin Seeley, Senior Sleep Expert Martin Seeley, Senior Sleep Expert Bio & articles

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