Man sleeping in bed

5 tips if cost of living is causing sleep problems

Nine in ten of us have suffered sleep problems due to cost-of-living worries

Nearly nine in ten of us are struggling to sleep because of the cost-of-living crisis, a new study has found.

And more than one in ten have sleep problems every night because of the cost of living.

Sleep expert Dr Hana Patel, who is a GP and expert witness, said those of us worrying about money these days are not alone.

“Many patients have been sharing with me how difficult things are at present, and feeling low or anxious is a normal response when you’ve lost your job, have been made redundant, or may be struggling with debt,” she told Quids in!.

“It can make some people act or think  in ways that are unfamiliar to them, including affecting their sleep. I would recommend, if you have more time because you’re not at work, some form of exercise – physical activity can improve your mood if you’re feeling low and subsequently help you get a better night’s sleep.”

What can we do about it?

Dr Patel also shared five tips for those of us who are losing sleep because of the cost-of-living crisis.

  1. “Don’t shy away from money issues.” She says it’s natural to avoid things that cause us stress, but burying our head in the sand could lead to worse problems. It ties in with the Quids in! advice to check our bank balance every day and open our post as soon as it arrives.
  2.  “Schedule daily ‘worry time’”. Sounds strange, but there’s a logic in Dr Hana’s advice! She says taking ten minutes a day to write down concerns about money and other things is a good idea. It helps us see things more clearly and start to see some solutions.
  3. “Get the hang of budgeting”. Dr Hana – like Quids in! – is a fan of setting a budget (see our online budget planner for a simple way to get started). She points out that some months are more pricey than others because of birthdays or events. Budgeting helps us plan and get through the toughest times money-wise.
  4. “Talk about money.” It can be awkward talking to friends and family about money worries. But it can be helpful. For example, we may feel less pressured to spend on things like social events or other things that we can’t really afford. Deep down we know that no one is going to judge us for saying no to things if it’s going to cost us too much.
  5. “Routine!” Dr Patel says a bedtime routine and regular sleep time can work wonders for cutting our anxiety. She says focusing on the next part of our routine can stop our mind from drifting back to our worries. It should also help to trigger feelings of tiredness.

The study was carried out by Virgin Money, who spoke to around 2,000 people in April 2023.

Image: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

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