How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Score You More Money

I bet that if I asked how many days you’ve showed up sleep-deprived to work, you’d probably say you’ve lost count. Whether it be because of anxiety, trouble falling asleep or because you woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep, lack of sleep can take a toll on your mood and productivity at work. 

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A 2016 Rand study analyzed wage data and the economic effects of sleep deprivation in the workforce in five countries (the US,  Canada, UK, Japan and Germany), and the results were surprising. It found the US loses up to an estimated $411 billion and 1.2 million work days a year because of sleepy employees. 

Aside from the country’s overall losses, you may also see an effect on your own salary if you’re lacking in sleep. Here’s why, and how getting proper rest each night can come with a financial bonus too. 

Read more: 3 Hacks to Fall Asleep in 10 Minutes or Less

Restful sleep leads to higher productivity and even pay

A study published in the Journal of Sleep and Sleep Disorders Research (PDF) found that people who sleep less than five hours a night suffer a productivity loss of 29%, while people with insomnia have a productivity loss of 58 to 107%, depending on the severity. In other words, people who get less sleep are less productive at work, and people who sleep a “normal” amount (seven to eight hours, according to the study) are more productive. 

More sleep has also proven to translate to higher paychecks, perhaps because higher-ups notice the differences in performance. In their article Time Use and Productivity: The Wage Returns to Sleep (PDF), two researchers from UC San Diego reveal that “a one-hour increase in average weekly sleep increases wages by 1.5% in the short run and by 4.9% in the long run.” It’s true that
, but it seems that you certainly should if you want to be making more of it. Sleep deprivation leads to unwanted side effects that can put a hindrance on your ability to perform and excel in your career. 

How sleep deprivation affects performance 


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You know you aren’t as quick on your feet when you’re tired as you typically are, but what’s really happening to your brain and body when you don’t get enough sleep?

Response time

Sleep deprivation slows down your reflexes and response time, and can have an even more significant effect than alcohol. Stanford researchers performed a test comparing the response times of sleep apnea patients and volunteers with a blood alcohol content level of .057, .08 and .083. The sleep apnea patients performed worse than those with a BAC of .057 in all seven measures, and the same or worse than the legally drunk volunteers in three of the measures. 

Knowledge retention

Sleep helps restore the part of the brain that retains knowledge, strengthening memories from throughout the day and priming your brain for learning new information the next day. Sleep deprivation can reduce your ability to learn new information by up to 40%, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Stress levels

The level of cortisol, the main hormone responsible for stress, increases in your blood when you don’t get enough sleep at night. 

Concentration and thought

Sleepiness can bring on a “foggy” feeling that makes it difficult to remain alert and concentrate. This can make it difficult to problem solve or make important, quick decisions. 

Use These 27 Tips to Help You Sleep Better Starting Tonight

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5 quick tips for a better night’s sleep

The average adult needs around seven to nine hours of sleep a night to give your body the chance to fully reenergize and recover. If you’re struggling to fall asleep or you’re consistently waking up in the middle of the night, it could mean bad news for your health and your wallet. Here are a few tips you can follow for a more restful night’s sleep. 

1. Avoid electronics an hour or so before bedtime. Devices like your laptop and your phone emit a blue light that can harm your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps dictate your sleep-wake cycle. 

2. Abide by the 20-minute rule. If you tuck yourself into bed and 20 minutes pass, but you haven’t fallen asleep, get up and practice something relaxing until you feel sleepy. That might be reading a book, sitting and listening to music, or drinking a cup of herbal tea to help lull you to sleep. 

3. Make a bedtime routine and stick to it. Start getting ready for bed around the same time and tuck yourself into bed each night to help set your sleep-wake cycle. Eventually, your body should automatically recognize when it’s time to start winding down for bed and start feeling tired. 

4. Practice physical activity during the day. Exercise can help tire you out and ensure you’re sleepy when bedtime nears. However, don’t work out too close to bedtime or you’ll get your heart rate going. It’s a little counterproductive if you’re trying to get tired. 

5. Make sure your bedroom is a good sleep environment. The ideal sleep temperature is around 65 degrees. You want your bedroom to be dark and you want a comfortable mattress.