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Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Importance Of Sleep For Frugal Living

I need a lot of sleep. I used to hate sleeping, but in the past few years I've needed more and more sleep. I still don't like going to sleep, but once I get into bed, I don't want to get up. I never thought about the connection between sleep and frugal living, but when a reader sent me this piece, I found it really fascinating! Hopefully you will too!

Photo by Alexander Mils from Pexels
When you think about the correlation between money and sleep, you probably think about losing sleep over money problems. Studies show that about half of all adults lose sleep over money -- and the bulk of those worries are related to not being able to afford everyday expenses.

However, the connection between sleep and money goes well beyond worry and anxiety keeping you up at night. The fact is, not getting enough rest can actually harm your finances, and make it more difficult to make good decisions with your money.


Stress, Sleeplessness, and Spending

To understand how not getting enough sleep relates to your finances, think about the last time you felt overtired or didn’t feel well-rested. If you’re like most people, you were irritable, cranky, and had trouble focusing. Even the simplest tasks may have felt like monumental obstacles -- and you might have experienced difficulty putting forth your best effort in anything you did.

Now imagine that you’re tired most of the time -- and you have to make major decisions that can have a long term impact. Without mental clarity or energy, you might miss important information that can influence your choices, or you might not take the time to consider all aspects of the issue. Ultimately your decisions may not be devastating, but they may not be the best possible solutions.

Researchers and healthcare professionals have long cautioned that not getting enough sleep has a significant detrimental effect on your mental state. Simply put, when you aren’t well-rested, you’re more likely to have difficulties with processing information and making good decisions. And that includes decisions about money. It can be as simple as opting to pick up takeout on the way home from a long day at work, thereby spending money instead of preparing less-expensive food at home. Or as significant as making risky investment decisions that could lead to huge losses because you are under stress and not willing to consider all of the possible outcomes.

In 2009, researchers at Rutgers University discovered that stress -- including the stress brought on by sleep deprivation -- has a significant impact on financial judgement. By exposing subjects to simulations of stress, they learned that stress causes people to revert to lower-level thought processes instead of using more rational decision-making processes. When exposed to stress, the subjects were more willing to take financial risks, whereas those who were not stressed tended to be more conservative in their decision making, and sought to make decisions that would lead to more positive outcomes.

Sleep Helps You Earn More Money

Spending more because you’re tired are the only ways that sleep deprivation can cost you. According to one study, not getting enough sleep can actually affect your earnings potential. In a 2016 study at the University of San Diego, researchers found that increasing sleep by just one hour per night increases annual earnings by 5 percent. In fact, just that small increase in the amount of sleep is equivalent to about a year of additional education -- and thousands of dollars in salary.

The researchers attribute this increase in earnings power to the fact that sleep helps improve your energy levels and cognition, allowing you to make the most of your working hours. While they caution that there may be other factors influencing the wage increases, they noted that when everyone in the workplace gets more sleep, productivity increases across the board, and the likelihood of higher earnings increases. Bottom line? While you might think that sleeping less and working more will put more money in your pocket, it’s likely that the opposite is true.

Sleep and Your Health

Inadequate sleep doesn’t only affect your decision making skills. It’s actually detrimental to your overall health as well -- which can ultimately lead to major costs. For instance, sleep deprivation is linked to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. It’s also linked to an increased risk of accidents, largely because of the effect on decision making skills. Again, not getting enough sleep can make you take more risks, and those risks can lead to expensive outcomes.

So how can you ensure you get enough rest? The first step is to make sleep a priority. Set a bedtime schedule, and stick to it. It’s also worth investing in your sleep area. One way to get the most from your budget is to spend money where you spend your time -- and if you are going to spend eight hours a day on a mattress, it’s worth investing in a good one. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend thousands of dollars on a bed -- the best budget mattress can give you as comfortable a night’s sleep as a high-end option -- but you need to do your homework and put time and effort into selecting a mattress that will support your sleep goals.

It’s also worth spending money on items that can help improve your sleep experience; for instance, spending a bit more on high-quality pillows or linens that will last for years and support good sleep quality is better than buying inexpensive bedding that you’ll need to replace and won’t help you get as much rest.

So while you might not think that your sleeping habits have anything to do with your spending habits, the fact is, not getting enough sleep could be costing you a lot. When you are considering your budget and how you can live more frugally, don’t overlook this important factor, and make getting good sleep a top priority.

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