Many of us probably knew this already, but now it’s official - women are fretting far more frequently than men. A lot more, in fact.
An enormous survey by YouGov has revealed that 4.5 million women are losing sleep over financial fears, compared to 2.9 million men - that’s nearly 1.5 million more.
If that worry is not worrying enough, it’s not the only thing us women are losing sleep over, either...
Gone are the days when men were in charge of the finances. Many women now take control when it comes to budgeting at home, squirreling away savings and checking out comparison websites to ensure they’re on the best deals. The YouGov poll found that paying for household bills is causing the biggest worry, and that women are also fretting about the future, with more than half of us concerned about our lack of savings and a quarter stressing about debt.
The fact the pay-gap between men and women remains such a gulf can’t help either - the latest figures show women in full-time work still earn 15.7% less than their male counterparts.
There’s a funny little saying about when the baby comes out, the guilt gene goes in - and it couldn’t be more true. As mothers, women worry about the health of their children, their general ability, whether they’re well-liked or being bullied, if they’ll do well in exams, what they get up to once they’re old enough to go out, whether they’ll get a job and be able to pay their own bills, if they’re falling in love with someone terrible, whether they’re happy - the list is endless. So if the kids aren’t physically waking you up in the night, either because they’re tiny, toddlers or teens, they’ll be creeping into your mind and stirring your slumber with worry.
When was the last time you sat bolt upright in your sleep gasping about something you’d forgotten to do at work? Last night? Me too. Since the recession hit and workplaces clamped down on jobs and people, our workloads increased enormously - and then proceeded to stay that way. Many working women have a ‘to-do’ list as long as their arm and our brains are often so full that the only way to remember something is during the night.
Women love to have friends. We look out for them, offer advice, laugh with them, chat to them - the world is a better place for these friends. However, they also make us worry more. We might fret about inclusion or exclusion, and we might also worry about any personal circumstances affecting them. So although Jayne’s divorce isn’t physically going on in your own life, because you’re chatting to her for hours on end and checking she’s OK every other day, you will also naturally worry about them - often at bedtime.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, the crazy hormones women have to put up with also keep us awake at night. First there’s that trusty menstrual cycle, which can affect sleep and make you dream more, then as we age, the changes in our bodies affect the quality of our sleep. Sadly, older women get less deep sleep and are more likely to wake up. Then comes the perimenopause, a big biological shift which tends to hit around your 40th birthday, when you wake up sweating. Then comes the actual menopause, when the spiking and falling levels of oestrogen and progesterone wake the brain during sleep, often accompanied by lovely night sweats. More proof, if ever it was needed, that women are amazing for coping with all this stress and with the lack of shut-eye that comes with it..