In 2024, over 270,000 employees have been laid off, with news outlets reporting that the majority of those layoffs come from the tech industry1. For those in that group and their colleagues still working for these companies, the news of mass layoffs and a lack of job security could lead to trouble sleeping. Insomnia resulting from layoffs, also known as layoff insomnia, is when your sleep is negatively impacted due to either being laid off or the worry of anticipated layoffs.
Insomnia is one of the most prevalent sleep disorders, with 1 in 3 adults worldwide experiencing insomnia symptoms2. Although insomnia is a common problem, it can lead to mental and physical health complications, such as depression, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and more.2
To gain more insight into how these layoffs are impacting real workers, we surveyed almost 500 employees in the tech industry on the effects of being laid off or how the worry of potential layoffs at their companies is affecting their sleep.
- Tech industry is the worst for layoff insomnia; 67% of tech employees losing sleep over recent layoffs.
- 82% of tech employees that were specifically laid off experienced negatively impacted sleep as an effect.
- 86% of layoff survivors experience “layoff insomnia” as worrying about layoffs led to trouble falling asleep.
- 81% of employees in tech-specific roles (engineering, software, etc.) at their company experienced negatively impacted sleep after being laid off.
- Entry-level tech employees show the highest rates for layoff insomnia (75%).
- 86% of Millennials are experiencing post-layoff sleep problems, making them the generation with the highest rates of layoff insomnia.
- Gen Z employees are the most worried about being laid off, with 75% losing sleep over layoff anxiety.
Layoffs Are Negatively Impacting The Tech Industry In One Big Area: Sleep
Our data study found that among those experiencing layoff insomnia, employees in the technology field fared the worst, with 67 percent of tech employees losing sleep over recent layoffs.
Breaking down those numbers further, we learned that 52 percent of those tech employees experienced sleep troubles or sleep disorders prior to layoffs at their companies. Among those employees who had been laid off:
- 82 percent saw their sleep worsen as a result.
- More specifically, 65 percent saw their sleep moderately to extremely negatively impacted.
We also saw high numbers among those who had not been laid off but worked at companies that recently went through layoffs.
- 86 percent of these employees said their worrying has led to trouble falling asleep.
Younger, Less Experienced Tech Employees Are Sleeping The Worst In Response To Recent Layoffs
Based on our study results, factors such as a person’s role at the company, experience level, age, and gender also impacted layoff insomnia rates.
By Role & Seniority
Employees in tech-specific roles such as engineering or software had the highest rate of insomnia after being laid off, with 81 percent reporting sleep issues.
With regards to seniority:
- Employees in entry-level positions showed the highest rate of layoff insomnia at 75 percent
- Conversely, executive-level employees showed the lowest rate at 40 percent.
Breaking down these numbers even further:
- 66 percent of entry-level employees at companies that recently went through layoffs said they had trouble falling asleep because of worry.
- However, that number jumped up to 88 percent for entry-level workers who had already been laid off.
Just 29 percent of executive-level employees at companies who had recent layoffs reported sleep problems, and 66 percent experienced worse sleep after being laid off
Generational differences also factored into layoff insomnia rates. Gen Z workers experienced the highest rate of insomnia at 76 percent, while Baby Boomers experienced the lowest insomnia rate at 44 percent.
Interestingly, among the post-layoff crowd, millennials actually reported more sleep problems compared to Gen Z, at 86 and 80 percent, respectively. Conversely, millennials still working at companies that recently had layoffs showed a lower rate of sleep problems than their younger colleagues.
Women Showed The Highest Rates Of Layoff Insomnia
Based on gender, women showed higher layoff insomnia rates than men, with 70 percent of women reporting sleep issues compared to 65 percent of men.
Tips To Avoid Layoff Insomnia When Working In Tech
Despite the stress and anxiety that can come with layoffs, there are daily practices you can do to help improve your insomnia.
- Consistent sleep schedule – Keeping a consistent sleep schedule means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends. This can help train your body to feel more sleepy at your desired bedtime.
- Have a comfortable bedroom and mattress – Sleeping on the right mattress will allow you to feel more comfortable to help induce sleep onset. Along with that, having a cool, quiet, and dark bedroom will foster sleepiness even more.
- Practice healthy habits such as eating and exercise – Try to eat healthy foods that won’t trigger nighttime problems like acid reflux. Additionally, regular exercise is not only good for your physical and mental health but it’s also linked to better sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol – To help you sleep better, either cut off caffeine completely or only have it in the morning so it won’t stay in your system into the evening. You should also avoid alcohol as it can actually lead to more disturbed rest.
- Don’t eat big meals right before bed – Avoid having large meals late at night as this could trigger indigestion.
- Turn off electronics before bed – Ideally, you should cut off screen time from devices like cell phones and computers an hour before bed, but if this isn’t possible, 30 minutes is okay too. Not only can scrolling through your phone or working on your laptop create stress, but the blue light3 emitted from these devices also hinders melatonin production, which is important for fostering sleepiness.
Final Thoughts On Layoff Insomnia Hitting The Tech Industry
While employees in the tech field are navigating mass layoffs, they are simultaneously dealing with high rates of insomnia as a result of these layoffs. Our data study revealed that as many as 67 percent of those in the tech industry are experiencing layoff insomnia. This includes workers who’ve been laid off and those currently working at companies that’ve undergone recent layoffs.
Insomnia rates also fluctuated based on a person’s job role, seniority level, age, and gender. Tech-specific roles, entry-level employees, Gen Z, and women all reported the highest rates of sleep issues as a result of layoffs.
That being said, tech professionals can still take steps to improve their sleep health through good habits such as regular exercise, a consistent sleep schedule, healthy eating habits, sleeping on a comfortable bed, ensuring their bedroom is optimized for sleep, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and cutting off screen time before bed.
Jill Zwarensteyn is the editor for Sleep Advisor and a certified sleep science coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.
Sleepadvisor.org surveyed nearly 500 tech industry employees to find the effects recent layoffs are having on tech employees’ sleep health.
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You are welcome to use any of the findings, data, and graphs from this report, but we do ask that you please provide a link back to our study to cite the original data source.
- Cox, Jeff. “Layoffs are up nearly fivefold so far this year with tech companies leading the way”. CNBC. 2024.
- “Insomnia”. Cleveland Clinic. Last modified February 13, 2024.
- “Blue light has a dark side”. Harvard Health. 2020.