DARIEN IL – You pound the pillow, trying to make it comfortable. It isn’t. You throw blankets off, then pull them up, and 5 minutes later throw them off again. That didn’t help. You get up, pace the floor near the bed, and lay down again. Frustrated. You can’t sleep.
So what’s keeping you up at night? For many Americans, according to results of a survey from the Illinois-based American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the answer is “economic stress.”
Worries over the prospect of a financial recession have robbed 75 percent of adults in the U.S. of a good night’s rest, just-reported survey data indicates. Sixty-nine percent say they’ve lost sleep due to job security concerns. Whether they’ll have a paycheck next week, next month, or in six months weighs heavily on their minds.
During periods of economic instability, inflation, and job market insecurity, sleep medicine physician and academy spokesperson Dr. Susheel Patil said, “persistent, anxious thoughts can make it difficult to fall asleep and impact sleep quality.” It’s understandable, Patil added, “that a substantial number of Americans are losing sleep” over such issues.
What’s worse, a lack of sleep can affect future job performance, and possibly lead to heightened or additional stress. For many people, anxiety worsens at night … just when they should be winding down.
Five top tips for a better night’s sleep
The good news is, there are several methods to get better sleep sooner. The academy suggests:
- Keep a regular sleep schedule. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep by going to bed, and getting up, at the same times every day. Even with days off, like on weekends and holidays, stick to the plan.
- Create a peaceful sanctuary. Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and a little bit cool. That should keep outside noise and distractions to a minimum. Use the bed for sleeping. It’s not a place from which to watch TV, or read, or work the crossword puzzle. It’s where you get recuperative rest.
- Follow a routine to tune everything out. There’s plenty of unrest in the world, and it affects each of us. It’s essential to schedule at least 30 minutes to unwind before bed. Consider developing a nightly pre-sleep habit. Do something calming. Have a seat somewhere, and read or meditate. Taking a warm bath or shower may help.
- Cut back on social media or the news. Minimize your exposure to stress-inducing news and social media chatter near bedtime. That can help you avoid dwelling on new stressors before sleep.
- Try writing in a journal before bed. Putting what’s on your mind into words on a page can be a great way to bring you calmness and a sense of control. Release worries and stress from the day on paper. As a result, you may rid yourself of unwanted thoughts once you get into bed.
“Good sleep habits can help break the pattern of sleepless nights and stressful days,” Patil said. Those dealing with persistent sleeplessness, though, should seek the advice and assistance of an experienced healthcare professional, the academy advised.
The academy commissioned its online survey of 2,005 adults in the U.S. It was conducted from March 24-29 by Atomik Research, an independent market research agency based in Arkansas. Its results, with an overall margin of error within plus or minus 2 percentage points, were reported Oct. 9 (Monday).
Established in 1975, the academy intends to advance sleep care and enhance sleep health. Its combined membership consists of 12,000 accredited sleep centers and individuals.