What Causes Millennials Stress and Sleeplessness?
Millennials in the Workplace
Despite the stereotype of laziness and a laissez-faire attitude, millennials tend to have a perfectionist, competitive mindset that drives them to work harder and longer compared to some previous generations.
In 2017, studies indicated Millennials were more likely to be employed and working full-time compared to non-millennials. That’s not surprising since many older
generations are now retired. However, research also shows Millennials tend to work longer hours compared to their predecessors at the same age.
About three-quarters of millennials globally work more than 40 hours per week. In the United States in 2015, the average American between ages 20 and 34 worked 45 hours per week. Unsurprisingly, millennials, on average, report higher levels of stress and professional burnout as well.
According to The Financial Brand, Gen Ys prioritize seeking freedom and happiness rather than tangible, traditional indicators of “success.” But that doesn’t mean financial stability isn’t on their minds.
Financial insecurity—including concerns about job stability, long-term career outlook, and debt—is one of the leading causes of millennial stress. According to Mintel and The Financial Brand, about two-thirds of millennials feel they face more challenging economic circumstances than their parents.
This may partially be because many Gen Ys entered the workforce during the Great Recession. Even after the recession, wages remained stagnant and have not risen to meet increasing living costs in many areas. As a result, many Gen Ys don’t have much faith in their job security or the economy. As a result, they fear another recession and the COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced that fear.
Reports also show millennials feel the workforce is more challenging and competitive than their predecessors, which is supported by the nation’s turbulent economy over the past several years. For these and other reasons, millennials are less likely to purchase homes or start families as early as their parents did.
Millennials and Mental Health
Mental health is another primary concern for millennials. Studies show that in addition to the prevalence of chronic stress, more Gen Ys live with anxiety or depressive disorders compared to previous generations.
According to Business Insider, a report by Blue Cross Blue Shield found millennials’ physical and
mental health is declining faster than Gen X’s over time. This decline in wellbeing (sometimes called “health shock”) is often attributed to ailments such as depression, hyperactivity, or substance abuse, according to Business Insider.
These ailments, like many health conditions, can be exacerbated by stress or insomnia. Mental illness may also cause sleep difficulties, which, in turn, reinforce those ailments.
Fortunately, Gen Ys are also more likely than previous generations to seek help for mental health issues, thanks in part to the de-stigmatization of mental illness.