How Not to Lose Sleep Over Debt 

The average American household has more than $137,000 worth of debt, and about 1 in 11 Americans say they don’t think they will ever be completely debt-free. This is a starling number when we also consider the rising cost of living, the high cost of student loan forbearance, and steep credit card interest rates. Is all of this debt contributing to sleep loss? 

A recent study surveyed 1,000 American adults on their financial stress and quality of sleep. The results show that the amount of debt a person owes could be affecting the quality of sleep they get each night. Americans with more than $60,000 in debt were more likely to report getting only an average of 5 hours of sleep per night. While those with between $31,000 and $60,000 in debt were more likely to report a poor quality of sleep. This research suggests that more and more Americans are unable to get adequate sleep due to financial stress. 

If your finances are contributing to sleep loss, our tips below can help to curb anxiety and increase shuteye. 

Financial Planning 

  • Take Inventory. Taking stock of where you are financially can reduce the fear of the unknown. If you avoid confronting your finances, you will be more likely to stress over what might be. Getting a thorough picture of your current situation will allow you to balance all spending against your current income. This will give you a more accurate idea of what money can be used for savings, paying down debt, retirement, and other financial goals. 
  • Stay Informed. Sometimes just getting the information you need regarding financial concerns can go a long way in reducing stress. For example, if retirement is a continual source of anxiety for you, consider getting information on a 401(k) or a Roth IRA and find out the first steps in setting one up.
  • Set Goals. Once you have taken inventory of your finances, you can start setting up financial goals. By sticking to a budget, you may free up income that could be put towards achieving these goals. For example, reducing excessive spending on dining out, could free up funds for emergency savings or retirement fund. 

Emergency Savings

When you rest your head at night, thoughts of “what if” may be keeping you from sleep. Setting up an emergency savings account is a great way to plan for those unexpected expenses that may come up. Keep this account separate from other savings accounts and used only for emergencies. You will rest easier knowing that any surprise home or auto repairs, medical expenses, or fees will be taken care of. 

Get Automated 

Automating your monthly payments can keep you on top of due dates and help you avoid late fees. Delinquent payments have been shown to contribute to nighttime stress and anxiety. In fact, Americans behind on payments were more likely to feel stress and worry over finances. When you set up automatic payments, you save yourself time and ensure that all bills are paid on time.

Financial goals can also be set up with automatic payments. Consider setting up automatic payments for your savings account and retirement plan. This can help you reach financial goals on time and give you peace of mind. 

Supportive Mattress and Sleep Hygiene

An unsupportive or broken down mattress could be causing you to wake frequently throughout the night, resulting in a poor quality of sleep. Consider taking stock of your mattress to be sure it is supporting your specific needs. If not, consider replacing it or purchasing a mattress topper that is contouring and supportive. 

In addition to your mattress, creating healthy sleep habits can also drastically improve sleep. Consider incorporating some of the following sleep habits into your nightly routine: 

  • Creating a Sleep Schedule. Sticking to a set sleep schedule will ensure you get the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night.
  • Reduce Exposure to Electronic Light. When possible, avoid electronic light for at least 2 hours before bed. This will increase your body’s natural melatonin production and help you get to sleep faster. 
  • Keep Your Room Cool. Since your body temperature often drops as you sleep, keeping your room at a cool 60-67 degrees will prevent you from waking throughout the night.
  • Avoid Large Meals Before Bed. If your body is working to digest food, it can be difficult to relax and prepare for sleep. 
  • Get Regular Exercise. When we get regular physical exercise throughout the day, our bodies tend to relax and find sleep more quickly. 

Losing precious hours of sleep each night due to stress can create a vicious cycle. Stress over money can reduce the quality and duration of our sleep, and sleep deprivation can affect our cognitive abilities. When we are not performing at our best, our work performance and ability to manage our finances can also be affected. The financial and sleep relate tips above can help get you out of this dangerous cycle.