Levels of personal debt continue to rise and, correlating with this growth, our sleep is worsening. This parallel is not coincidental, however, and studies show that those with financial debt sleep for fewer hours and at a lessened quality. A large majority of Americans are currently in some form of personal financial debt, with the most common forms being as follows:
- Student Loans
- Credit Card
- Car Payments
Notably, students loans have recently surpassed credit card debt in the USA for the first time. Interestingly, studies show that different forms of financial debt have a greater effect on our rest. For instance, debt such as a mortgage has a comparatively low impact on one’s sleep compared with car payments or medical bills. This is perhaps due to the security involved with owning one’s own home. Car bills may be a source of stress for many and recent reports have shown that nearly six million people are more than three months delinquent on their regular car payments. It is this type of financial struggle that impacts our wellbeing, causes stress to rise, and our sleep to worsen.
One of the most striking correlations is that of the amount of debt owed to the hours of sleep one enjoys each night. For most, the greater the debt, the fewer hours slept. People who report a debt of over $60,000 are more likely to sleep around five hours a night instead of the average seven to eight. Again, the quality of this sleep is also substantially lower than those with less or no financial debt. Debt also affects our daily lives by increasing our levels of stress. When our routine, especially work and relationships become strained, this also leads to a lower quality of sleep.
Those with financial debt are also less able to afford luxuries or even fundamental quality of life items, such as good furniture, for example. They don’t even dare to care if they possess the best mattress for health or sleep on a cheap and uncomfortable one. Without certain comforts, our sleep becomes compromised and these likely to be the first qualities we sacrifice. Our dreams are inclined to become more financially orientated during periods of debt too. Many people in debt report their dreams to involve money, often as a struggle but, surprisingly, more likely as a bonus, such as winning the lottery.
While dealing with debt is difficult, there are techniques and habits you can employ to improve your quality of sleep and to reduce the potential stress that financial worries may bring. Removing screens from your bedroom, especially those that emit blue light, will help you to fall asleep more easily. As will relaxing before you get into bed, as the excitement of a television show or even a book can leave the brain whirring as you close your eyes. Many people successfully employ yoga into their routine in the evenings, which has been shown to improve calmness and wellbeing. Our bodies are also sensitive to sound, more so than we may first think. So, if there is any source of noise in your bedroom, be sure to remove it.