Work worries are causing sleep problems

Worrying about our jobs and our finances is keeping us awake, says a new study.

Why is sleep in the news?

Nearly 1 in 3 of us are having problems sleeping more than once a week, a new survey by Harris Interactive has found.

Those who took part said that money and work worries are the biggest problem when it comes to nodding off.

As well as the one third having problems getting to sleep weekly, 2 in 3 are struggling to get to sleep at least once a month and 1 in 10 people have used prescribed sleep medicine in the past 6 months.

Are money worries the only reason people can’t sleep?

Not necessarily. The survey also found that our bedrooms are not as relaxing as they should be. Many people are now eating, drinking alcohol, smoking, making phone calls and even doing work in their bedrooms.

31% are reading more, 37% are using their laptops for pleasure and 50% are using their laptops to finish work in bed. As well as disrupting our sleep, all of this is causing 22% of us to have less sex!

Are there health problems if people don’t get enough sleep?

Not getting enough shut-eye can mean you’re at higher risk of getting heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes and mental health problems.

It also means your body has less time to repair itself and you might feel grumpy or emotional. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep has a worse impact on women than on men.

Find out how lack of sleep affects the body

What should we do differently?

Experts recommend that you keep your bedroom free from distractions – including TVs and video games as well as piles of washing and other mess. You’ll also sleep better if your room is cool – between 16ºC – 18ºC.

Get more tips on how to get a better night’s sleep

What have the experts said?

Rebecca Small, assistant medical director at Bupa says: ‘Television, laptop and computer games can all stimulate the mind and therefore can prevent a good night’s sleep.

‘Reading, meditation and exercise such as yoga can have a relaxing affect, helping prepare your body for sleep.

‘You may be able to improve your symptoms by using relaxation techniques and exercise. Contacting other people who have anxiety disorders through charities and patient groups can be a good source of support and advice. Your GP may be able to advise you about self-help groups in your area.’

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Where to next?

Tips on getting better sleep
More information on common sleep problems
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How to recession proof your relationship
Natural ways to boost your libido
How lack of sleep affects the body