Whether you re looking to make a down payment on a new home or are currently trying to save up for retirement, stressing over the state of your financials is understandable and exceedingly common. However, higher amounts of stress typically equate to having trouble sleeping, which can adversely affect your finances and the state of your financial health. In fact, stress is known to be the primary cause of sleeping disorders like insomnia, which is why it’s important that you get the right amount of sleep. Individuals who are having financial problems are much more likely to be affected by shortened sleep, disrupted sleep, and various sleep disorders. The following offers an in-depth guide to the link between sleep and financial health while also taking a look at some methods you can use to improve your sleep and finances.
How Your Financial Health Is Connected to Your Sleep
Money is known as one of the primary reasons that people become stressed, which is backed up by a somewhat recent study that was done by the American Psychological Association. More than 25 percent of all adults feel stressed out about money almost constantly. Well over 50 percent of adults only make enough money to get by, which means that they are living paycheck to paycheck. While stressing over health, jobs, or relationships is also common, these stressors occur far less frequently in Americans when compared to financial stress.
Types of Sleep Disorders That Can Cause Issues With Your Financial Health
There are a large number of sleep disorders that a person can be affected by, each of which can worsen your sleep and cause issues with your financial health. People who are financially stressed will invariably sleep less than other individuals who aren’t stressed over the state of their financials. However, the sleep problems derived from financial stress can be more severe and may develop into a sleep disorder.
Insomnia is a very common type of sleep disorder that occurs when a person is unable to fall asleep. The main symptoms associated with this condition include low energy and sleepiness during the daytime. Insomnia can also occur when a person is able to fall asleep but wakes up regularly throughout the night. Chronic insomnia is a long-lasting version of this sleeping disorder that also bolsters the risk of such health conditions as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Many of these conditions become more likely in individuals who are affected by financial stress.
Another common sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea, which is a form of sleep apnea that involves the affected individual suffering from momentary lapses in their breathing while they are sleeping. In most cases, these issues with breathing will result in the person making a choking or gasping sound. The primary symptoms that occur with OSA include unexpected weight gain, fatigue, mood changes, and headaches. People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea will spend more time in the hospital than individuals who don’t.
Both of the aforementioned sleep disorders can lead to the development of sleep deprivation, which results from the affected individual not getting enough sleep. If you stayed up all night, it’s possible that you would suffer from sleep deprivation. However, the same is true of someone who has missed several hours of sleep over a period of months or even the entire year. The main symptoms that occur with sleep deprivation include mood swings, memory problems, issues with concentration, irritability, and a worsening of your balance or coordination. If you are financially stressed, you could develop any one of these sleep disorders.
Links Between Your Mental Health and Financial Health
There have been numerous studies that show the link between a person’s mental health and their financial health. When a person is affected by financial issues, their mental health will likely worsen, which leads to the individual taking longer to fall asleep each night while also waking up regularly during the night. If a person’s mental health is worsening because of their financial problems, they may start to exhibit less motivation, an increase in substance abuse, and changes in their eating and sleeping habits.
The main reason that these signs are typically displayed by people who are going through financial issues is because they are used as coping mechanisms. The presence of financial stress can easily lead someone to take naps more often, drink alcohol regularly, or take drugs. Such behaviors are known to affect the overall quality of a person’s sleep. For instance, smoking and drinking alcohol are attributed to the development of sleep apnea as well as a worsened quality of sleep.
Surfing the internet or watching TV causes high amounts of blue light to enter the brain, which is perceived by the brain to be sunlight. As such, a person will have difficulties falling asleep. While taking a short nap during the day can be useful for giving yourself a quick boost of energy, taking too many daytime naps will make it more difficult for you to sleep at night, which could eventually lead to insomnia. Both obesity and binge-eating make it more likely that you will suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea because of how these issues affect your breathing.
How Your Income Level Can Affect Your Sleep
Studies show that individuals in lower-income households are far more likely to be constantly stressed about money, which also makes it more likely that these individuals will suffer from sleep-related issues. Individuals who make below $16,000 can take nearly an hour to fall asleep. On the other hand, people who make over $100,000 per year take an average of 15 minutes to fall asleep, which shows that stress plays a significant role in a person’s ability to sleep.
While financial stress is believed to be a primary reason why lower-income households have more problems with sleep than higher-income households, there are several additional factors that could have a role in these differences. For instance, lower-income households are more likely to be situated in neighborhoods that are crowded and noisy, which can make it difficult to fall asleep. At a certain income level, being stressed about food availability can also be a factor.
Why Sleep Affects Financial Health
When you have difficulty sleeping, it’s possible that your financial health will be impacted in several ways. Stressing over your finances in the first place will likely make it more difficult for you to fall asleep each night. In time, your missed sleep may cause you to develop sleep deprivation, which can make it harder for you to properly manage your finances. This is a harmful cycle that can be difficult to break out of once it has started to affect you. If financial stress affects your ability to sleep properly, you might not have the mental fortitude to turn your financial situation around. However, understanding why sleep affects your financial health may assist you in correcting these issues and improving your finances.
Issues In Your Workplace
Not getting enough sleep can cause a wide variety of issues in the workplace that could affect your financial health. The effects of sleep deprivation will add up over time if you don’t improve your sleep, which could cause you to go to work even though you’re fatigued or ill. Even though you go to work, the sleep deprivation symptoms that you’re suffering from will likely cause the quality of your work to drop significantly. You might find it difficult to concentrate when suffering from sleep deprivation, which could reduce the likelihood that you receive a raise.
If you allow these issues to compound, the quality of your work could drop off to the point that you will need to work more hours, which will make you even more exhausted and only serves to add to your stress levels. If you happen to fall asleep during a meeting, your boss or colleagues might believe that you aren’t taking your work seriously. In the event that these errors increase without any improvement from you, it’s possible that you will receive bad performance reviews or even lose your job.
It’s particularly dangerous to continue working even when suffering from sleep deprivation if you have a very physical job. For instance, construction workers will need to pay the utmost attention to the equipment that they’re using at all times. Any lapse in concentration could result in a work-related injury for you or a colleague. Construction workers who suffer from some level of insomnia are much more likely to be affected by a work-related injury. The risk of dying while on the job actually doubles if you don’t get enough sleep.
Poor Cognitive Performance
If you suffer from sleep deprivation, your cognitive performance will likely be adversely affected. The worsening of your cognitive performance could display itself as:
- An increase in forgetfulness
- A reduced ability to focus and pay attention
- Short-term memory loss
- Decreased ability to commit things that you learn to memory
- Reduced reaction times
While these problems can be difficult to manage on their own, the lack of sleep that you suffer from will cause you to expend more effort for your cognitive functions, which will likely make you even more exhausted at the end of the day. Even if you are able to perform tasks well at the beginning of the day, the presence of sleep deprivation means that you will invariably experience issues with performing the same tasks as the day goes on. It’s possible that you won’t even be aware of your sleep deprivation, which might cause you to overlook a mistake that you make.
The effects of sleep deprivation can start to appear after a single night of shortened sleep. Keep in mind that there’s very little variation in the amount of cognitive impairment that you could suffer from as a result of a shortened sleep. It’s been found that individuals who get around five hours of sleep each night are just as impaired as individuals who don’t get any sleep for two nights in a row. This type of sleep deprivation is common and has been found to exist in nearly 33 percent of all Americans.
Along with suffering from poor cognitive performance, you might also begin to display poor decision-making. While cognitive impairments can directly affect your job, they can also make you more prone to exhibit poor decision-making, a heightened amount of risk-taking, and rash judgments.
People who are sleep deprived are more likely to make an impulse purchase that they can’t afford than individuals who get the right amount of sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, the brain will find any instance of gain to be more appealing than usual, which is a problem that’s compounded by being unable to properly consider the negatives that come with making such a decision.
How to Bolster Your Sleep and Improve Your Financial Health
If you aren’t sleeping well and are having issues with your financial health, there are numerous things that you can do to improve both your sleep and your financial health. In fact, getting enough sleep may be enough to help you improve your finances and get rid of the problems that were weighing them down. Start by trying to increase the amount that you sleep each night by one hour. You may find that this makes a considerable difference in your ability to make money.
Track Your Finances
The first thing that you should do when trying to improve your financial situation is to track your finances. Even people who make more money than they need in a given month can allow fears and anxiety to grow over the belief that they aren’t making enough, which is a belief that only exists because they aren’t properly keeping track of their finances. By making a list of all of your assets and debts, you should be able to start tracking your finances, which should lower your stress levels by a considerable amount.
When you take account of all of your finances, make sure that you write down any financial goals that you want to try meeting in the upcoming months and years. With these goals in mind, you can determine how much income you’ll need to make in order to effectively reach the goals that you’ve set. By taking these steps, you should start to feel like you’re in control of your finances.
Cut Some Expenses
While you’re working on sleeping better, one simple way to improve your financial situation is by first focusing on cutting some of your expenses. Once you have identified your financial situation and have started to keep track of your finances, you should be able to quickly identify the expenses that you can afford to get rid of. If you tend to eat out at restaurants on a regular basis, try eating out less, which should save you money in the long run. Before you go shopping, consider making a strict shopping list. Doing so should help you avoid making too many impulse purchases. Another way to keep your weekly grocery bill in check is by creating a budget that you can spend each week.
If there are any items in your home that you don’t use anymore, there are several methods that you can use to sell some of these items. For instance, both Amazon and eBay can be used by individual sellers. When you cut out expenses and increase the money you have by selling unwanted items in your household, your financial situation should begin to improve. Other expenses that you could cut out include monthly subscriptions to magazines and TV streaming services. It’s much more beneficial to put this money towards your savings. Make sure that you pay everything you owe on time each month to get rid of any possible late fees that you could accrue.
Exercise and Eat Healthy
Two of the more important things that you can do to improve your sleep and reduce stress include exercising regularly and eating healthy. Instead of eating at restaurants on a regular basis, it’s far better to make and eat healthy meals at home. A healthy diet will allow you to sleep better, which will cause your health to improve as well. When your health is improved, there will be less of a chance that you develop a costly illness that could worsen your financial situation. The types of foods that are particularly beneficial for sleeping include cheese, nuts, beans, fish, and leafy greens. You should also stay away from eating foods that are high in spice or sugar before you go to bed if you want a deep sleep. Your alcohol and caffeine intake should be reduced as well.
Along with eating a healthy diet, it’s also highly recommended that you exercise as often as you can. When you exercise on a regular basis, this will help you become tired once the evening rolls around, which should make it easier to sleep. This approach to sleep is at its most effective when you exercise early in the morning. Certain types of exercise like yoga, running, and walking have proven to be very effective at reducing stress as well, which can be very beneficial when you’re trying to manage your stress levels.
Increase Your Savings
Since being in a better financial position can directly reduce the amount of stress a person experiences, you should think about trying to improve your financial situation by increasing your savings. When you build up your savings, you should be less stressed about the amount of money you have. If ever an emergency occurs, you will have money in the bank to cover some of your expenses. When you want to save for retirement, set up a special retirement savings account or contribute to the 401k plan that’s available with your employer. These steps should help you reduce your financial anxiety.
If you want to save enough by retirement, most experts believe that everyone should place around 10 percent of their monthly income into a retirement account. Even if this amount is too high for you at the moment, you could start by placing two percent of your monthly income into one of these accounts. Over time, increase this percentage until you reach 10 percent. If you fear the possibility that you could lose your job in the foreseeable future, one way to mitigate these fears is by placing a small amount of money into your savings account each month. Just $25-$50 every month could be enough to give you confidence that you could get through a job loss.
Sleep Well and Consistently
Once your finances have been properly organized, all that’s left to do is to make sure that you sleep well. While improving your financial situation should make it easier for you to get a good amount of sleep, it’s sometimes difficult to get out of a routine of sleeping less than you should. If you were waking up several times each night because of stress, it can take a few weeks to stop waking up even after the stress has dissipated.
The best way to get your sleep back on track is to set a time that you want to go to bed every night. If you follow this schedule every day, you should start to experience a more consistent sleep. Your bedroom should also be dark, quiet, and cool to get the best sleep. Before you go to bed, you can calm yourself by reading or book or by listening to some soft music. However, it’s recommended that you avoid computers, TV’s, or similar electronics before going to bed.
Now that you know how sleep affects your financial health, you should be able to identify why you might be suffering from sleep problems. The aforementioned tips and guidelines can help you improve both your sleep and financial health, which should assist you in breaking out of this cycle for good.