How Getting More Sleep Helps Your Finances
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that adults ages 18-60 get at least seven hours of sleep every night, but a third of the population isn't meeting that minimum level of sleep. We've all heard that getting enough sleep every night is important to our health, but could it benefit our bottom line, too? Indeed it can. Here's how getting enough sleep can save you big bucks. (See also: 7 Ways to Boost Your Finances While You Sleep)
1. Fewer illnesses and medical expenses
In a 2014 study by the National Sleep Foundation, Americans who reported poor quality sleep also reported poor quality health, with 67 percent classifying their health as "poor" or "fair." Lack of sleep can affect your health in a vicious cycle. People who sleep less than the recommended seven hours each night are at higher risk for serious health issues, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. It also makes you much more likely to catch a cold, as your immune system is weakened by lack of sleep.
Better overall health means fewer emergency room and doctor visits, fewer payments for medication to keep your health in check, and being able to avoid chronic health issues that can really put a dent in your savings. It also means you're less likely to miss days of work. So if you won't get better sleep for your health, do it for your wallet! (See also: How to Fall Asleep When You Can't)
2. Better decision-making
Sleep deprivation can have catastrophic results — human errors related to sleep deprivation contributed to the explosion of the Challenger shuttle in 1986, the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl power plant that same year, and other disastrous events. But even mundane daily decisions — some of which can really impact your finances — can also be affected by not enough sleep.
In a 2015 study, researchers at Washington State University demonstrated how inadequate sleep impaired participants' ability to adapt to changing circumstances, leading them to make errors in the laboratory task they were asked to complete. The lack of sleep prevented participants from incorporating ongoing feedback into their decision-making process.
In another study, funded by the Clinical Research Priority Program (CRPP) Sleep and Health of the University of Zurich, participants made progressively riskier decisions as they became more sleep deprived, such as making the decision to gamble a larger amount of money instead of receiving a set amount of less money without risk.
If you want to make sound, less risky decisions that take into account all of the information available, getting enough sleep is essential. (See also: 6 Ways to Get Prettier, Smarter, and Healthier While You Sleep)
3. Higher productivity
Getting enough sleep can have numerous positive effects on your productivity, according to the National Sleep Foundation. You have better working memory, so you'll be a faster learner. Enough sleep gives you faster response times and higher accuracy, as well, allowing you to make accurate decisions quickly. You'll also be less easily distracted and have better focus.
Overall, getting enough sleep enables you to work better and faster, which can translate into increased productivity and better time management at work and at home. (See also: 10 Time-Management Fails — and How to Fix Them)
4. Less temptation to consume junk food
Researchers from the University of South Carolina and Arizona State University found that sleeping as little as two hours less per night seriously slows down the body's metabolism. In addition to having detrimental effects on glucose metabolism, a study from Sweden found that lack of sleep also increases impulsiveness, feelings of hunger, and cravings. This creates a perfect storm wherein people are more likely to make impulse purchases of high-calorie, unhealthy foods.
Not only is this bad for your health, it also affects shopping habits and what you're spending on food. All those impulse junk food purchases can add up quickly, swelling both your grocery budget and your waistline.
5. Safer driving
I once knew a sleep-deprived new dad who drove his car right into a parked police vehicle. Needless to say, he was lucky to walk away with just a big ticket to pay. Sleep deprivation makes you more likely to get into a possibly tragic accident. According to the CDC, drowsy driving caused 72,000 crashes in 2013 and 800 deaths — all of which could have been prevented with more shut-eye.
Protect yourself and others by getting adequate sleep and avoiding driving when tired. The best way to prevent drowsy driving is by getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. Not only could you prevent a tragedy, you also protect yourself from higher insurance premiums, costly medical bills and repairs, and the potential of getting sued. (See also: 9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You're a Good Driver)
Getting enough sleep can improve your life in many ways, including saving you money. To start sleeping better, start by practicing good sleep hygiene and making quality sleep a priority. You can also talk to your health provider about ways to improve the quality and duration of your sleep so your days are more productive and successful. (See also: Get Better Sleep With These 5 Great Sleep-Tracking Apps)
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