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Research reveals people lose an average of 2.1 hours of sleep per night over debt related stress 

New research amongst customers conducted by peer-to-peer lending service Zopa has found that two out of five Brits are losing an average of 2.1 hours of sleep due to debt stress[1]. The study, which polled 1,000 adults’ attitudes towards debt, found that family life was also significantly affected for nearly half of those in debt (44 per cent), with one fifth (20 per cent) saying loss of respect from family and loved ones was their biggest fear associated with debt.

The survey also reveals that the increasing cost of food and unexpected car costs are indicated as two of the main contributors to personal debt.  Despite recent reports saying food prices have fallen by 2.5 per cent, over a fifth (22 per cent) said the rising cost of food and household items were the main cause of their debt, whilst over a quarter (27 per cent) said overspending on non-essential items was to blame. Additionally, unforeseen car costs were also cited as a cause; accounting for 21 per cent of people’s debt and 21 per cent of people blamed their poor personal finance management.  The majority (65 per cent) of respondents attributed this personal debt to two or three sources, with 63 per cent of debt found on credit cards and 10 per cent struggling to escape the trappings of an overdraft.

Almost a fifth of people (19 per cent) revealed they had accrued £4,000 – £6,000 of debt before approaching Zopa for a consolidation loan. By replacing expensive credit card debt with flexible, cheaper credit through a low cost Zopa loan with no early repayment fees, nearly half (48 per cent) of the respondents found that getting a handle on their finances dramatically improved their life, with 54 per cent saying they felt ‘back to their old selves’. Most importantly, sleep and family life significantly improved as 35 per cent said they slept through the night and woke up less frequently and over half (52 per cent) said were able to enjoy family life much more.

Despite this, almost a third (32 per cent) said it took up to six months before they approached Zopa to reduce their debt. Zopa also provides consumers with a custom quote that doesn’t mark their credit file. This is available to everyone through Zopa’s soft search loan calculator and provides a transparent breakdown of the rate and costs of the loan.

Giles Andrews, CEO and co-founder of Zopa comments: “Our lenders have already helped over 30,000 people consolidate their debts over the past 10 years. Whilst it’s great news that we’re continuing to see more people consider a Zopa loan as a sensible way to tackle their debts and get debt free, this research clearly shows that the delay in tackling debt head-on can affect the amount of sleep we get, our general wellbeing and our personal lives.

“At Zopa we want to make it simple, easy and fair for people to get debt free with an affordable monthly re-payment in order to help them get back on their feet financially. I’d encourage people worried about their debts to seek advice immediately from the likes StepChange and then look at low-cost options to help them reduce their debts.”

[1] The recommended amount of sleep per night is eight hours. Source: www.nhs.uk