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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Can’t Sleep Because of Bills

While Washington is contemplating to extend unemployment benefits to 2.5 million out-of-work Americans many of those Americans can’t sleep because of bills.  As unemployment rises to a 62 year high, benefits for those that have been out of work for more than six months expired 48 days ago with 5 jobless Americans vying for every job opening available.  CreditCard.com poll reported in June, 2009 that one in five Americans suffer from restless nights and insomnia because of financial troubles including paying for their credit cards. 

Many credit card holders have seen their interest rates increased as well as added fees in the last year causing several to file for bankruptcy. The poll which was conducted by GfK Roper, a division of GfK Custom Research North America asked over a 1000 Americans why they couldn’t sleep and their response was; can’t save money for retirement, can’t afford health insurance, inability to pay mortgage or rent, education or credit cards. 

There is little doubt that today’s economy is causing many Americans to have sleeplessness nights.  Some have considered financial counseling to reduce stress and alleviate anxiety in order to sleep at night.  Others meditate or use self-hypnotic tapes to keep their mind off their financial problems before they go to bed. 
  Women were more likely than men to lose sleep over financial matters due to fluctuating hormone levels that interrupt normal sleep patterns caused by stress.  If a spouse or loved one is in financial trouble the women of the family feel the impact in their sleep.  Since many men lost their jobs the wife has picked up a low paying job just to keep employment benefit such as health insurance, life insurance, an accident plan and/or dental and vision for the family. 

Older people were mainly concerned over health care and younger adults reported losing sleep over saving for retirement.  Almost half of those polled or 48% worried about paying their mortgage/rent and 32% suffer from lack of sleep due to credit card debt.   Since the poll many more are losing sleep due to the change in interest rates and the retirement loss many faced when Wall Street had its meltdown. 

For those that wonder, how much sleep do I really need?  Well, if you are having difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, waking up too early in the morning and feeling restless during the day you are not getting enough sleep.  Lack of sleep also affects work performance and concentration, so if you aren’t getting enough sleep at night because you are stressed about work and bills, you may not be able to get or keep a job….it’s a catch 22.  If you can’t keep your job to get your health care you can’t afford to get COBRA to obtain counseling for your financial difficulties or a doctor for your sleep disorder.  If it isn’t one thing it is another. 

If Washington manages to get both the Senate and the House to agree on extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans at least then for those that can’t sleep because of bills might rest a little easier, if not at least they will be surprised. 

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