28.02.2020 | 4 minutes estimated reading time | Print this article

Why do over 18 million people lose sleep over money stress?

It controls practically everything we do, from where we live to what we eat, and it’s the reason many of us get up in the morning and go to work. Money is vital to our lifestyles, so it only makes sense that it could affect our mental health.

Our minds on our money and our money on our minds

In our latest research, over 18 million people said that worrying about money kept them up at night.

Money stress and sleep

Just over 14 million people revealed that they experienced stress over money worries.

Thinking about money

We rarely stop thinking about money. About 65% of people admit to thinking about money throughout the day, with 28% saying that it’s consistently on their mind. A further 36% of people told us that it plagues their thoughts late at night when they are trying to sleep.

65% thinking about money

It’s not only financial problems that impact the way we think and feel. Many people feel pressure to earn more money, with 42% of people saying that they feel pressure from their family, and 40% of people feeling pressure from the workplace.

Money stress and your mood

Even if your income increase, the pressure might not subside. Almost one in four people informed us that they experienced anxiety over impressing their colleagues after receiving a pay rise. More money doesn’t necessarily mean fewer problems.

Work pay and stress

Forming a healthy relationship with money

Money can be detrimental to our health, but as it’s such a vital part of our lives, we need to find ways to form a healthy relationship with money, whatever our financial situation may be.

The negative impact of money

As part of our research, we asked Dr Joe Gladstone, a Behavioural Scientist and the Assistant Professor of Consumer Behaviour at the University College London the following question: What affects our relationship with money day-to-day?

As creatures of habit we thrive when we have structure and a plan to follow. Finances play such an important part of our day-to-day lives that it’s easy to lose track of any future plans we may have made. Making small, practical changes, and committing to a structured plan can help give us the security we need to remove any stress and to keep us mindful of positive goals that we set ourselves“.

So what practical steps can we take to ensure that we form a positive relationship with money?

Start saving at the start of the month

It may sound simple, but you may find that putting away money at the beginning of the month is more effective than trying to save whatever you have left at the end of the month. Even setting yourself a target of putting away £20 to £25 as soon as you get paid will get you into the habit of saving regularly, plus your savings won’t be eaten up by any unexpected bills or surprises midway through the month.

Get into good habits

Getting used to saving regularly can be half the battle when it comes to forming a healthier relationship with money. Whether you’re saving for something specific or your future, setting a savings goal may help you work towards a secure financial future.

One of the best ways you can improve your relationship with money is not to make purchases on credit. Instead of borrowing money for a purchase, try to save the money each month and then pay for it outright. Aside from helping yourself to get into healthier savings habits, you’ll likely feel more deserving of your purchase when you make it.

Switch current accounts

Our research revealed that UK consumers have over £3.5 billion in cash in current accounts. It’s worth checking whether the rate of interest paid by your current account is competitive compared to what’s offered by other banks. If you could be earning more, it may be worth considering switching to earn more.

Earn more from your savings

Once you’re in the habit of saving money, make sure that your money is working as hard for you as it can by checking the interest rates on other savings accounts. If you can move your savings, it could be beneficial to move them to an account that offers a higher rate of interest, but be sure to check whether the rate of interest is fixed or variable.

Feel positive about your money

We hope that you have enjoyed reading about our research into the psychology of savings. If you’re worried about debt or have concerns about your finances and need help, the government has set up the Money Advice Service, a free and impartial service for people with concerns about money.