Looking to make more money? Try getting more sleep.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking: “if I’m laying in bed, how am I being productive — and earning more?”
Of course, you can’t sleep the day away. But plenty of research in the last few years shows prioritizing a good night’s sleep, rather than working late into the night and only getting a few hours of rest, is a great move for your career. And it turns out, it doesn’t even take that much sleep to have a profound impact.
A Good Night’s Sleep Boosts Wages
One study, from two researchers at UC San Diego, drove this point home. The key finding was that participants who reported a “one-hour increase in long-run average sleep” increased their wages by 16%, which was the “equivalent to more than one year of schooling.”
That’s pretty remarkable: simply working your way up to about 8-9 hours of sleep each night provided the same career boost as the time it takes for many people to complete a Master’s program — and it costs you much less.
The reason sleep pays big dividends at the office? You’re more productive when you’re well rested. And as we talked about last week, sleep is a natural supplement for your brain as well, helping to both improve your focus and memory.
(You can find out the best time for your body to rest by finding out your chronotype. If you don’t already know it, it’s easy to learn by taking this quiz: www.chronoquiz.com.)
Maybe averaging an extra hour of sleep each night sounds a bit difficult, however. You’ve got your job, you have kids to take care of, and you still want to fit in your weekly bowling league if possible, too. I get it, you’re busy. Still, even finding time for a minimal increase in sleep can help you make more money.
The same team of researchers in 2016 conducted a different study and found that over the long term, participants who had just one extra hour of sleep each week increased their wages by 4.9%.
“The biggest effects come through employees who work on commission,” Prof. Jeffrey Shrader, one of the study’s lead researchers, told The Guardian. “If you go to work well rested, you are livelier and happier, and can sell more to increase your earnings.”
If you sometimes work up until the moment you fall asleep, be sure to check out my Sleep Doctor Glasses, which block out blue light that stems from electronic devices. Blue light delays the production of melatonin, an essential hormone that helps us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The Business World Has Started to Prioritize Sleep
More companies are catching on to how sleep can make their employees more productive. Several Silicon Valley tech firms, including Uber and Google, have added “nap pods” to help their workers get quick rest during the day. Even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, has made sleep a key part of his life.
“I prioritize [sleep],” Bezos said in 2018. “I think better. I have more energy. My mood is better.”
He added: “As a senior executive, you get paid to make a small number of high-quality decisions. Your job is not to make thousands of decisions every day. Is that really worth it if the quality of those decisions might be lower because you’re tired or grouchy?”
Bezos makes a good point. And yet for millions of Americans, getting quality sleep is the exception, not the rule. About 33% of U.S. citizens get 6 hours of sleep or less each night, according to one study published in 2017; that’s up from 28.6% in 2004.
There’s a disconnect here: sleep benefits our careers, but many Americans aren’t getting enough of it. Let’s quickly review a few tips that can help you get better sleep — and maybe make a little more money while doing it.
7 Tips for Better Sleep
Avoid Exercise Before Bed: Many people try and fit in their exercise after work, but make sure it isn’t too close to your bedtime; try and avoid exercise up to 4 hours before going to sleep.
Stay Cool: This applies to both you and the temperature in your bedroom. The optimal temperature for falling asleep is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering your body temperature helps you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer, with your body heat naturally rising as you’re about to wake up. To keep your bed cool, I recommend the ChiliPad. It’s a water-based hydronic mattress pad with a temperature range from 55 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit — letting you pick the perfect temperature for when you’re dozing off.
Take Baths: After a long day, it’s hard to find something more relaxing than taking a bath with Epsom salts. Taking a bath will ease muscle tension and make it easier to fall asleep.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol is often thought of as a sleep aid, but it actually disrupts our circadian rhythms and suppresses melatonin, a key facilitator of sleep and regulator of sleep-wake cycles. For more information on how alcohol impacts sleep, read my full blog post on the topic here.
Take Your Vitamins: In particular, B Vitamins help the body regulate tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce melatonin. Magnesium is also an important mineral when it comes to sleep, helping to relax nerves and promote healthy circulation. For this, you may want to look at Jigsaw’s Magnesium pills — they’re the easy way I work Magnesium into my routine each day.
Watch Your Diet: Eating healthy can help you sleep better. Foods with Potassium, like bananas and certain vegetables, are especially useful. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and trout are also great sleep aids.
Avoid Blue Light: As I mentioned above, blue light can stifle melatonin production. It’s best to avoid blue light for an hour before going to bed.
Your Alarm Clock Can Get Your Day Started Right
There’s one more thing you should consider: your alarm clock can have a major impact on how your day starts off.
A new study found people who wake up to melodic alarms in the morning were less groggy than those who had beeping alarms. The researchers hypothesized melodic alarms promoted natural arousal in the body, helping to make us more alert and attentive in the morning. A beeping alarm, the researchers found, tends to confuse the brain and jar it from sleep — which isn’t ideal. Instead, if you use your phone as an alarm, search for songs and melodies you can easily hum along to. Those make for a top notch alarm.
The combination of a good night’s sleep and a melodic alarm should make for a great pair, helping you feel more rested, alert and ready to tackle your day at the office. It just may also lead to a little bit more money in your wallet.