Having trouble sleeping? At Byrdie, we have a bit of an obsession with this topic. Last year, we consulted a panel of sleep experts to learn the physical factors preventing you from sleeping well—drinking alcohol before bed, sleeping in a too-warm bedroom, and using your phone right up until the moment you go to sleep are all culprits. But what about the mental reasons you can't fall asleep?
That is exactly what a new survey by Sleep Junkie aimed to find out. The site polled more than 2000 American men and women, seeking an honest answer to the age-old question What keeps you up at night? The survey compared participants' reported sleep quality with behaviors that tend to "weigh heavily on most people's minds," like financial troubles, lying, and infidelity. What they found was fascinating (and actually very validating, especially for women)—keep reading to see what we mean.
According to the survey, over 66% of U.S. men and women would give their quality of sleep a "C" rating or lower. But why? The study's researchers thought that feelings of guilt might have to do with it—and they were correct. As the survey says, more than 76% of women said it's "likely" that their conscience caused them to lose sleep. Interestingly, only 61% of men said the same.
"Women may be more inclined to lose sleep over their conscience because, according to experts, they tend to be more empathetic than men," the study reports. (Of course our positive qualities would end up screwing us—the patriarchy!)
The researchers wanted specifics, so they asked participants to report what behaviors might be weighing on their conscience enough to affect sleep.
The number one most common thing keeping men and women up at night is taking medication for depression or anxiety. "Of those who reported taking antidepressants, nearly 16 percent of women and over 13 percent of men felt it impacted their sleep," the study says.
For women, other top causes for lack of sleep included the stress of parenthood and declaring bankruptcy. For men, top causes included stealing, swearing, and lying. (Do I even need to compare moralities here?)
So next time your boss—or anyone—gives you a hard time for being tired, just tell them: It's because you're a morally superior human being, and you have a survey to prove it.
Next up, read the strange (but effective) sleep tips we learned from Byrdie readers.