Ah, sleep. That tiny little window we get each night to rest and recharge.
Only, not all of us get to experience that window as restfully as we’d like to.
Some of us dread tucking into bed at night because we know what’s coming: a tossy-turny, stressful sleep inundated with thoughts about money. Or worse, a tossy-turny stressful night with zero sleep at all, thanks to constant money stress.
We’ve all been there.
To truly overcome financial insomnia, we have to first recognize it, face it, and plan to beat it. To cut out some of the guesswork, we’re sharing more about what financial insomnia looks like and how to overcome it.
What Is Financial Insomnia?
Financial insomnia describes sleep problems brought on by money-related stressors. Stressors may include losing a job, having poor credit, swimming in what feels like neverending debt, or something else.
Everyone experiences financial stress in their lives. But consistently losing sleep over money-related stress could mean you’re struggling with financial insomnia.
6 Steps to Beat Financial Insomnia
The following six steps can help you overcome financial insomnia.
Step 1: Recognize it, face it, make a plan
The first step to overcoming any problem — as they say — is to admit you have one in the first place. If you’ve been consistently losing sleep over money, admitting you’re struggling with financial insomnia is key to moving forward.
Once you’ve come to terms with the challenge you’re facing, give yourself some grace. With 63% of Americans still living paycheck to paycheck, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Then, stare your financial woes in the face. Make a list of every financial concern you have and create a plan to unleash yourself from each of them.
Hang your list on your mirror, fridge, or bedroom wall so you can keep your commitments top of mind every day.
To cut out some of the brainstorming work for you, the rest of the steps we’ve compiled are based on some of the most common financial concerns.
Step 2: Get out of debt
With one-third of Americans having more debt than savings, we thought getting out of debt would be the most appropriate choice for step two.
While it may sound daunting to pay off your school loans, credit card debt, or home loan, don’t despair. The magic of debt pay-off happens when we instill small habits, like working in cash instead of credit or paying extra toward principal every time you make a loan payment.
To get out of debt, come up with one simple habit you can instill for each debt you have.
Here’s a quick example:
- Home Loan: Pay an extra $50 toward principal each month
- Credit Card Debt: Pay $10 more than the minimum payment each month
Step 3: Repair your credit
Good credit means a lot in the Western world. Need a new car? Can’t wait to buy your dream home? Ready to start your next business venture? Need to repair your house’s foundation?
You’ll need good credit to do all of the above.
That’s why repairing your credit if you have a low credit score is crucial to having good financial health.
Here are some quick tips to help you improve your credit:
- Make all credit card payments and loan payments on time
- Apply for a secured credit card or savings secured loan to build up credit
- Always leave a small unpaid balance on your credit cards and loans to show banks you can use credit responsibly
Step 4: Create a budget that helps you feel at ease
Poor budget planning is often to blame for late-payments and low cash flow before payday.
To create a budget that helps you feel at ease no matter what stage you’re at in the pay cycle, focus your plan on the five core budgeting areas:
- Budget for fixed expenses, like rent payments and car payments
- Budget for flexible expenses, such as groceries and utility bills
- Budget for curveball expenses, like flat tires and other emergencies
- Budget for luxury expenses, i.e., restaurant outings, treats, and gifts
- Budget for savings and retirement, i.e., adding to your savings account or upping your retirement contribution
Step 5: Learn everything you can about financial health
While this article is a great starting point, learning everything you can about financial health is a lifelong journey.
Even dedicating 10 minutes of your time every day to learning something new about financial health can improve your financial well-being. As long as you apply that knowledge to your real-life, that is.
So whether it’s learning how to manage assets on stock trading apps or learning how to make wise real-estate investments, commit to learning everything you can about financial health.
Step 6: Use sleep aids
And finally, hack your sleep if needed. Sleep aids are around for a reason. The following may be able to help:
- Weighted blankets: According to Sleep Advisor, weighted blankets can help combat anxiety and insomnia through a process known as Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT). DPT focuses on using extra pressure to calm the nervous system. When you experience anxiety, your body goes through severe stress, known as the fight-or-flight response. Weighted blankets put pressure against your entire body and signal your nervous system to rest, which can lead to a lower heart rate and leave you feeling calmer.
- Sound machines: Sound machines can support good sleep by eliminating distracting sounds and creating a consistent sound environment. They are especially helpful if you’re sensitive to sound at night or if you live in a bustling area.
- Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy in the form of therapeutic-grade essential oils, resins, and candles can provide restful sleep when used as directed. Aromatherapy smells, like lavender, can stimulate smell receptors in the nose, which send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain responsible for controlling emotions and stress.
- Guided sleep meditation: A guided sleep meditation can help you let go of swirling thoughts and relax your mind. In turn, this activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which can help lower your heart rate and slow your breathing.
Not being able to sleep well due to constant thoughts and stress about money is debilitating at best. Luckily, there are ways to overcome financial insomnia — one step at a time.
We hope this article is the breath of fresh air you need to get past financial insomnia once and for all.
Looking for something else to read? Check out our article, Why Is Sleep So Important? How Can I Incorporate It Into My Self-Care Routine?
Note: If you’re still struggling to come up for air, consider meeting with a licensed therapist, sleep consultant, and/or financial consultant for extra support.