Unemployment Leads to Sleep Problems

Updated May 25, 2022

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Causes for Unemployment

During the pandemic, the unemployment rate skyrocketed and millions of Americans found themselves without a job for a period of time according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For some, they were simply pushed out of work when the pandemic first hit. Companies across the country were forced to let people go to survive.

Other people are jobless by choice and have chosen to take part in the “Great Resignation” and left their job to find a better one. Being stuck at home with no job was okay for others but there was a noticeable regression in public health. Loss of employment status correlates with many Americans' struggles with mental health and sleep deprivation. Poor sleep quality can also cause issues with physical health such as hypertension and fatigue.

Different Sleep Issues

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Loss of work hours can lead to sleepiness, too much sleep, and disturbed sleep according to PsyPost. People who are unemployed have had more incidents of stress and other mental health struggles like depression. Some people struggle with sleep disorders like insomnia while others struggle to pull themselves out of bed.

Different Types of Unemployment

There are different types of unemployment, long term, short term, and unable to work. These three groups have different sleeping experiences according to PsyPost. Certain demographics like marital status were not used in sleep research.

Short Term Unemployment

Short-term unemployment refers to people who were unemployed for less than one year. A survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that the respondents who self-report short-term unemployment slept an average of 6.99 hours a night. This was actually slightly higher than the average worker who slept 6.87 hours a day.

Long Term Unemployment

Long-term unemployment refers to people who were unemployed for more than one year. This group reportedly slept for 6.91 hours but both were more likely to be listed as short sleepers (6 or fewer hours of sleep) or long sleepers (10 or more hours a day) compared to people who work.

Unable to Work

People were mostly identified as short sleepers while 9% were considered long sleepers. Too much long sleep can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

People who experienced prolonged unemployment are more prevalent insufficient sleep or frequent sleep disturbances compared to the general population that is still in the labor force. Poor sleep habits may harm a person's ability to search for jobs. Without proper help, someone’s overall health could decline quickly. Short sleep duration

What You Can Do

Insider provides a list of ways you can help yourself sleep better if facing prolonged unemployment.

  • Prioritize rest and self-care. You may want to consider psychiatry help or mental health support.

  • Create a time of day to address your worries so they don’t keep you up at night.

  • For better time use, engage in exercise or some sort of physical activity, lack of exercise is usually a predictor for poor sleep.

  • Try relaxing activities before going to bed like reading, drawing, or meditation to help with sleep and nighttime anxiety.

If your sleep problems do not improve, you should talk to your health care provider. They may be able to provide sleep medicine or some other form of help. Try to maintain a good sleep pattern for best results.


Over time, unemployment can worsen sleep quality. At first, unemployed people sleep just as well if not better than workers, but your sleep will eventually decline. Take the necessary steps to take care of your health problems and improve your overall well-being and don’t give up on your job search, it will come!

About the Author Steven Bieber

Steven Bieber HeadshotSteven is a content writer who recently broke into the mattress industry. In his free time, he enjoys watching football and listening to music.

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