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“Relationship woes and money lows” - What’s keeping Brits up at night?

  • Squabbles with friends or family, problems at work and the state of our savings are the things most likely to keep Brits up at night
  • Women are kept awake mulling over difficult decisions for 30 minutes more than men each week, and find it harder to cope with lack of sleep
  • Reading, exercise and being confident in our finances are the best recipe for a good night’s sleep, new research from Barclays Plan & Invest reveals

New research reveals that deciding how to resolve a problem with friends or family (32 per cent), worrying over an issue at work (29 per cent) and having enough money saved for a rainy day (26 per cent) are the most common problems keeping us awake at night.

The study, conducted by Barclays Plan & Invest, set out to discover how long Brits are left lying awake thinking about decisions and life problems. Turns out, we spend just over two hours a week tossing and turning over difficult decisions, with women kept awake half an hour longer than men. And with this weekend’s clock changes giving us an extra hour of precious sleep, many of us will be keen not to lose it.

Dates, mates and investment rates

The findings also showed that relationships and finances are the two most influential factors when it comes to losing sleep. Alongside saving for a rainy day, 16 per cent of people are kept awake worrying how to invest their money, coming in just below relationship problems (22 per cent) and fretting over their loved ones’ happiness (21 per cent).

When asked what helps people get to sleep, the most popular home remedies were reading a book (28 per cent), exercising during the day (27 per cent) and knowing one’s finances are in order (27 per cent). Yet reaching for a book is not on the agenda for 18-24s – with only 6 per cent choosing to read when they can’t sleep, compared to 34 per cent of over 55s.

Dr Peter Brooks, Head of Behavioural Finance at Barclays Plan & Invest says: “Money matters and relationships are two huge topics in people’s lives – so it’s no surprise that they’re keeping Brits awake at night. But we all know how important a good night’s sleep is for both our physical and mental well-being, so it’s really worth taking the time in the day to think them through.
“When it comes to money, the root of many of our worries may stem from a reluctance to act, or by simply being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. Having a plan in place and knowing that you’re saving or investing for your future can make a huge psychological difference and is exactly why we launched Plan & Invest - to alleviate the problem of financial decision-making. Our team of experts will create a personalised investment plan for your future, so you can sleep easy at night.”

Young and restless, or old and tired?

While a bad night’s sleep is universally unpopular, the study showed that women feel the effects more strongly than men. On average, people reported feeling mentally drained (42 per cent), physically weaker (30 per cent) and more prone to anxiety (26 per cent) after a sleepless night, with women displaying symptoms more often than men (50 per cent, 33 per cent and 31 per cent respectively).

The young also struggle to survive on a poor night’s sleep far more than their older counterparts. They are four times more likely to feel anxious (40 per cent of 18-24s, compared to 10 per cent of over 65s), over eight times more likely to feel angry (36 per cent to 4 cent), and more than twice as likely to become snappy with people (26 per cent to 12 per cent) if they haven’t got their 8 hours.


How to deal with an issue with my friends or family  32 per cent
How to deal with a problem at work  29 per cent
Whether I have enough savings for a rainy day  26 per cent
How to deal with a relationship problem 22 per cent
Whether my loved ones are happy 21 per cent
How to start investing my money  16 per cent


Mentally drained 
42 per cent
Physically weaker 
30 per cent
Increased anxiety 
26 per cent
23 per cent
Become snappier with people 23 per cent


Notes to Editors:

The ‘Losing Sleep’ research was commissioned by Barclays Plan & Invest, in collaboration with UCL research associates Joseph Marks and Dr Bastien Blain, to explore the factors most likely to keep the nation awake at night.

Consumer research of 2,003 people, conducted in September 2020 by Mortar, revealed relationship woes and financial concerns were the primary reasons for a poor night’s sleep.

About Plan and Invest

Plan and Invest is a new digital advice service that will create a personalised investment plan that’s tailored to a customer’s goals, with Barclays then managing the investments on their behalf – traditionally known as discretionary portfolio management.

Customers will complete an in-depth questionnaire on their circumstances and what they want to achieve by when, along with a personality assessment on how they respond to risk. Barclays will then use the latest technology to combine this information with their expert team’s pick of investments, to create a personalised plan that can follow over 10,000 investment paths.

It’s free for customers to create their initial personalised investment plan and they will only be charged once their accounts are set-up and their money has been invested. Once a portfolio is set-up, Barclays will charge an ongoing annual fee of between 1.39 per cent and 1.59 per cent, which is charged based on the value of their investments and split into two types of costs – service costs and product costs.