Financial stress has become a rising concern for a significant portion of the U.S. population. According to a November 2023 survey by Sleepfoundation.org, a staggering 76% of adults experience some level of anxiety about their finances. Unsurprisingly, this anxiety takes a toll on sleep, with 77% admitting to losing sleep over money worries at least occasionally. In this blog, we explore the relationship between financial stress and sleep.
A survey by financial services company LendingClub and PYMNTS indicates that 61% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck as of June, reflecting a persistent trend from the previous year. The rising cost of living, exacerbated by inflation, has intensified these challenges, with 83% of U.S. adults citing inflation as a significant stressor.
Understanding the emotional toll of financial stress is crucial. People may experience guilt, fear, shame, stress, and exhaustion in different ways. Guilt for spending money or seeking support, fear of checking bank balances, and shame for needing assistance are common feelings. Recognizing these emotions is the first step towards regaining control and seeking support and journaling a few key questions could help:
- Are there specific times you tend to spend money more?
- Are there specific times you tend to save money?
- How does spending money make you feel?
- Do you feel differently when spending versus saving?
- What emotions come to mind when you think about money?
- What aspects of dealing with money negatively affect your mental health? (e.g., appointments, opening mail, confrontation, or being misunderstood)
- When anxious about money, ask: What’s the purpose of this thought, and what helpful action can be taken?
- Dealing with anxiety? Writing, talking to someone, and seeking help are more effective than just thinking.
Impact on Sleep
For a considerable number of individuals, financial stressors manifest as sleep disturbances. A substantial 41% of respondents in the survey report losing sleep over money worries almost all the time. Alarmingly, almost a quarter of participants state that they have been dealing with sleep disruptions due to financial concerns for years. These findings highlight the long-term implications and the need for effective solutions.
Money concerns emerge as the predominant source of worry, surpassing family, mental health, health, and relationship issues. The survey revealed that 44% of respondents regularly face sleep problems directly linked to financial anxiety that connects to other common stressors such as depression, fatigue, pain, insomnia, or difficulty focusing.
Digging deeper into the financial worries affecting sleep, the survey identifies key concerns that plague individuals. The ability to pay household bills stands out as the most common financial worry for 43% of participants, closely followed by concerns about mortgage or rent payments (28%). Additionally, worries about interest rates and inflation (32%), credit card debt (29%), and the fear of job loss (29%) contribute to the overall financial stress landscape.
As we work to get quality sleep at night, creating an environment for a calm night’s sleep is key. Here are some area to start:
- For a place where you spend at least one-third of your day, it is important to be surrounded by a relaxing environment. Calming blues and grays is step one to set the scene. By repainting the walls and scaling back louder or darker color palettes, your mind prepares for a restful night’s sleep.
- To create a spa-like setting for the bedroom, soft music can help lower your blood pressure and relax the body. White noise can be a distracting factor for some sleeping disorders where a fan or sound machine can help balance the noise.
- Where you put your head at night is equally important for relaxing. So let’s talk pillows. Down, memory foam, feather, microbead, buckwheat; a few choices are on the market. Each is designed for one purpose: sleep. But how do you choose? Sleep.org is one resource that asks some simple questions as you pick.
- Latex, memory foam, firm, soft, pillow-top, cooling, and elevated mattresses create too many choices. This is one of the most important decisions (besides picking the perfect bedding and decorative pillows) for better sleep. Try out several brands before purchasing. Some even have a trial period!
- The ideal temperature for sleeping is in the 60s. When entering the rapid eye movement cycle, your body loses its ability to sweat causing the body to align with the room temperature. When too warm or hot, your body wakes you up and it is hard to fall back asleep.
For a comprehensive analysis, you will need to schedule a sleep study with your local sleep clinic, such as Alaska Sleep Clinic. Our experts can provide a fully comprehensive evaluation of your sleep troubles and prescribe the best treatment for your dilemmas. If you live in the Alaska area, then be sure to give our experts a call for a free evaluation.