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Sleepless Nights: Losing Sleep Over Money Worries

Worries and stresses from work, relationships, and life, in general, are often seen as the causes of a sleepless night, however, our latest survey suggests that money is likely playing a key part in many people’s restless nights.

The CDC estimates that 35% [1] 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html#:~:text=More%20than%20a%20third%20of,Morbidity%20and%20Mortality%20Weekly%20Report. of the adult population is sleep deprived. We surveyed over 1,300 people to see how finances are affecting sleep patterns, asking respondents a series of questions about the current health of their finances, their financial habits, and whether they had lost sleep due to financial concerns over the past year - as well as how often.

Key takeaways

Four out of five have lost sleep due to money worries

Our survey found that 83.5% of adults in the U.S. have lost sleep worrying about their finances over the past year, with more than one in five (22.9%) saying they’ve lost sleep multiple times over the past month worrying about their finances.

Results showed that over a third (25.4%) of adults with three debts (such as student loans, mortgages, credit card debt, auto loans, etc.) regularly lose sleep due to their financial concerns, with this figure increasing to 42.7% in adults that have four or more debts currently owed.

But it’s not just those with debts that are losing sleep. Nearly two fifths (39.7%) of adults currently without any debt because they are not able to get credit also lose sleep regularly, compared to just 16.1% of those without any debt but can get credit. Meanwhile, just over one in 10 (10.7%) people who have paid off all their debts say they have had sleepless nights over the past year.

Women are slightly more likely to say they’ve lost sleep worrying about their finances over the past year, with 84.3% of women compared to 82.9% of men saying their money worries have kept them up over the past 12 months.

In terms of age cohorts, our survey found that those between the ages of 45 and 54 are the most likely to say they’ve lost sleep due to financial worries, with 89.1% saying their finances have kept them up at least several times over the past year.

In comparison, people over 65 are the least likely to have lost sleep due to financial stresses, with 40.5% saying they have never lost sleep, and just 4.8% saying they’ve lost sleep regularly.

Younger generations are worrying too, though. For those under 25, 75.2% have lost sleep over the past year due to financial worries, of which one in five (20.8%) are losing sleep regularly. Additionally, 85.6% of 25 to 34-year-olds are losing sleep due to their finances, and 22.7% are unable to get to sleep regularly.

One in five do not feel financially secure

Feeling financially secure can naturally help to relieve some of life's worries, however, our survey found that one in five (22.1%) adults in the U.S. do not feel secure about their finances. These worries are highest in those aged under 25, where nearly a third (32.7%) say they do not feel secure about their finances.

Women are far more likely to say they feel insecure about their finances (26.4%) than men (16.2%).

One key driver of these insecure feelings are worries about unexpected bills and expenses, with the survey revealing that one in six (15.5%) of adults would not be able to pay an unexpected $400 bill. This figure increased to nearly one in four (24.6%) when asked about an unexpected $1,000 expense.

Results showed that 29.7% of people under 25 and 17.5% of 25 to 34-year-olds would be unable to afford an unexpected $400 bill, with this inability to afford increasing to 36.6% and 26.7% respectively when asked about a $1,000 expense.

In terms of sleep, 42.2% of those that describe themselves as very insecure say they have lost sleep regularly. However, results also indicated that a large portion (36.1%) of those who describe themselves as “very secure financially” also lose sleep regularly.

Even with payday coming up, nearly one in five (18%) say they sleep less worrying about their finances and being able to afford upcoming bills, with nearly 21.6% of people saying they sleep about the same but feel less rested the closer it gets to payday.

One in four have lost sleep due to falling stock and cryptocurrency prices

When asked whether falling portfolio values had an impact on their sleep, one in four (25.4%) said “yes,” with those who describe themselves as financially secure the most likely to say falling stock and cryptocurrency prices have a negative impact on their sleep (29.1%).

Results found that 55.7% of adults using trading apps/websites check their portfolios while in bed, with 9.1% checking cryptocurrency markets, 27% checking stocks, and 19.1% checking both cryptocurrency and stock markets.

However, easy access and abilities to trade haven’t eased many people’s concerns, with one in five (19.8%) saying access to apps or financial platforms hasn’t helped with their financial worries.

Managing your money and your sleep

In response to the finding Lauren Bringle, Accredited Financial Counselor® at Self, has shared these considerations for how best to manage your finances to avoid restless nights.

Set a budget and write down your finances

Writing down your finances and creating a budget can help you to identify unnecessary spending, and help you to create financial boundaries for yourself to create financial buffers to aid with feeling secure financially.

Set achievable financial goals

If you’re saving for something in particular, such as a home or a car, write these down and break down the amounts you might need over time, making goals both manageable within your budgets and achievable to avoid necessary stress and hardship.

Only spend and invest what you can afford

When spending or investing, only put in what you can afford to lose. By keeping some money back you can not only diversify portfolios to better manage market trends or corrections but also avoid the stress of life savings disappearing due to actions outside of your control.

Be mindful of when you’re looking at finances and accounts

At a time when you’re looking to relax, checking financial and market apps should really be avoided. Not only to help put you in the best place mentally to get a good night's sleep, but to allow you to choose a time when you’re more awake and alert, and have the ability to make changes to accounts should you need.

Methodology:

To understand how financial worries are affecting people’s sleep, we surveyed 1,389 adults from across the U.S. about the current health of their finances, their financial habits, and whether they had lost sleep due to financial concerns over the past year, - as well as how often. The survey took place between February 16, 2022 and February 22, 2022.

Respondent breakdown:

Gender Identity:

Female - 55.4%

Male - 43.5%

Age breakdown:

18-24 - 7.3%

25-34 - 37.4%

35-44 - 28.6%

45-54 - 14.5%

55-64 - 8.8%

65 and over - 3.0%

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