Over 50s money worries keep 41% awake at night

Money worries are the number one cause of sleep loss among over 50s, new research finds.
money worries
Money worries are hitting the over 50s hard.

More than 2 in 5 adults over the age of 50 are so concerned about their money worries that they can’t sleep at night, according to new research by SunLife.

With the cost of living crisis only getting worse, the study quizzed 1,000 Brits across a range of ages about their sleep habits to find out what’s keeping them up at night. 

Over a third (37%) of people aged 50 and above revealed they feel sleep deprived. Money worries are the number one cause of sleep loss for the age bracket, closely followed by relationship issues and work.  

But there are many different methods this age group is willing to try to drift off faster. While 42% read a book before bed, 1 in 6 adults aged 50 and over rely on sex to help them get a good night’s kip. And 39% say they need to sleep in total darkness.

Ian Atkinson, Chief Marketing Officer at SunLife, comments: “Sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing, yet many people in the UK are suffering from some measure of sleep deprivation. We all know that we should aim for around seven to nine hours of sleep at night. But with inflation at a 40-year high, it’s clear that many people are feeling the pressure financially, and this is having a huge knock-on effect on our sleep. 

“Our study shows that age plays an important role in our sleep habits. But despite the different priorities for over 50s compared to 18-24 year olds, money is a consistent theme across the ages. It’s important that we speak openly about our health challenges and get support in place sooner rather than later.”

What money worries bother people over 50 when trying to sleep?

Energy bills52%
Food prices37%
Low disposable income31%
Petrol prices27%
Low savings24%
House/rent prices23%
Emergency costs16%
Pension/retirement funds16%
Money scams10%
Spending habits8%
Inheritance/funeral costs5%
Care costs5%

Compared to adults aged over 50, the study shows that mental health is the biggest issue keeping 18-24 year olds up at night, with more than a quarter (26%) admitting to this. 

To help them drift off, 1 in 10 adults aged 18-24 found they couldn’t sleep unless their bedroom was in complete darkness, and 1 in 12 could only sleep if they played music or listened to a podcast.

To understand why issues such as money worries keep us awake at night, we looked to sleep expert and psychologist Dr Lindsay Browning. She explains: “When there is something on your mind, you need time and space to think about it. If you are too busy during the day to stop and think about things like money or relationship worries, then when you lie down to go to sleep at night, this might be the first time you’ve had all day to actually think. 

“This can result in you not being able to fall asleep as your mind is racing. If the thoughts are negative, then this can also lead to you feeling more physically stressed, which makes it harder to fall asleep.”

4 steps to help you sleep

So, how can we help ourselves to sleep better? Dr Browning has some simple advice on how to overcome our worries before bed:

  1. Write down what’s on your mind – Keep a diary or fill in a gratitude journal to raise your wellbeing.
  2. Talk about your worries – Open up to a friend, family member or counsellor to get your worries off your chest.
  3. Wind down before bed – Sip a cup of herbal tea, run a bath, put some relaxing music on. Whatever works for you!
  4. Try relaxation techniques – Meditating, mindfulness and muscle relaxation can help you relax physically as well as mentally. There are lots of books, videos and apps to get you started.

Read the full research summary here.

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Tags: , , Last modified: July 29, 2022

Written by 11:04 am News & Views, Finance