“Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realise you haven’t fallen asleep yet” – Anon.
It’s a well-known fact that insufficient sleep can have many negative influences on peoples’ lives. Sleep deprivation affects decision-making, heightens stress levels, and leads to poor performance at work. If we’re worried about something, our stress levels increase, leading to a lack of sleep. A lack of sleep only serves to increase our stress levels, and so it continues. It’s a particularly vicious circle. Financial worries have been known to cause ‘severe stress anxiety’ in a quarter of adults in the UK according to a recent survey, leading to a host of health complications such as high blood pressure, headaches, ulcers and digestive problems.
Despite all the signs showing how stress is often the root-cause of the majority of everyday problems, it is all too often ignored by a ‘super hero’ mentality held by multi-taskers who are perhaps unaware they are taking on too much, or handling it in the wrong way. Busy people leading even busier lives can’t simply ‘switch off’ when they leave the office. Heavy schedules and demanding workloads give little time to relax and unwind, making it tough to get to sleep, and even tougher to stay asleep long enough to function properly the next day.
Lying awake at night waiting for the alarm clock to go off in the morning will not only lead to tiredness and irritability the following day, but will affect our decision-making. Negative feelings and emotions run high when we’re sleep deprived, and the ability to solve problems can often result in more problems.
Our cognitive functions and reaction times will also be slower when we’re tired, and moving around the vicious circle, we’re back to poor performance. Insufficient ‘shut-eye’ can result in weight gain, a weakened immune system, and also make us forgetful, unable to concentrate, pay attention or learn new skills efficiently.
A study carried out in the US some years ago showed a strong link between insomnia and depression. Of the 10,000 people questioned, those suffering with sleep deprivation were five times more likely to suffer from depression than people who enjoy a good night’s sleep. Insomnia is often classed as a ‘symptom’ of depression.
One of the main causes of a lack of sleep, according to almost every piece of research, is linked to financial stress, which in turn can result in depression. Success, generally speaking, is high on many people’s priorities, and money worries provide a big stumbling block on this path. Financial difficulties can be the cause of great anxiety and depression, bringing about unusual ways of coping, such as compulsive spending, which will only add to the initial problems.
Taking on too much debt is all too common, the arch enemy of wealth creation, and the cause of immense financial worry. Even the wealthiest of people regret accumulating too much debt in their lifetime, which delayed them reaching their financial objectives. A report undertaken previously by The Independent revealed that half of UK adults are ‘living on the financial edge’, and constantly struggling to make ends meet.
Worrying about money in the future and providing for family is the reason for many people lying awake at night. I have previously carried out a survey to determine peoples’ ‘top three financial regrets’, and not saving enough money for retirement was high on the agenda. We’re all living longer and coupled with increased living costs and higher taxes, retirees will need more money than perhaps they initially thought to see them through a comfortable retirement.
Another financial worry which has caused sleepless nights is people not seeking professional, financial advice sooner. This could have resulted in avoiding costly mistakes and helped them to reach and even exceed their financial goals more quickly.
Blog published by Mike Coady.