At this time of year the long daylight hours coupled with warmer temperatures can cause us to lose sleep. Studies reveal we literally sleep for less hours and that sleep we do get, importantly, is fragmented, which means we don’t go through the healthy sleep cycles which scientists have discovered can help to protect us from everything from weight gain to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s also interesting, however, is that sleep scientists have also discovered several ways in which getting a healthy eight hours sleep each night can help us to improve our financial situation
1 – We’re less likely to take risks
Researchers at Duke University found that in tests, those who had had poor sleep had something they labelled ‘optimism bias’. They were more likely to assume a good outcome from decisions and viewed negative consequences as less of a risk. The upshot of this is that someone who regularly sleeps badly is more of a gambler and makes riskier choices than if that same person had a good night’s shut eye.
2 – Poor sleep affects our cognitive functioning.
Whether you are trying to work out how much to tip or working out the best offer at the supermarket or even negotiating a complicated business deal, you will find it harder to do this well after even just one night’s poor sleep, experts have found. Just one night’s broken sleep increases concentrations of the molecules NSE and S-100B which impairs our cognitive functioning. It makes it more difficult to do math and it’s one key reason why it is so dangerous to drive when you are tired.
3 – The cost of convenience
We’ve all had those exhausted moments when it’s easier to get in a pizza or ready meal than to cook something healthy and nutritious from scratch, or when a taxi is so much easier than public transport or waiting for a lift. The trouble is, convenience costs and so if you’re regularly tired from lack of sleep, you’re frequently more likely to make expensive decisions to help you cope with being tired all the time.
4 – More sleep + an increase in salary
A major US study of millions of people in 2015 revealed that one hour’s extra sleep at night increases wages by 4.9%. Researchers at Williams College USA used data from US citizens who lost an hours sleep due to daylight saving times and found consistent effects in how much more workers earned when they slept more. The study has since been replicated and, interestingly, those who work on commission benefit more. The reason is that workers who get eight hours sleep each night are simply more productive than those who don’t.
So what can you do?
A few simple tricks can help you enjoy all the financial and health benefits of sleeping soundly:
- Switch off devices an hour before bed — the blue LED light they produce disrupts your sleep.
- Ensure the room where you sleep is dark, quiet and cool. If you struggle to get off to sleep, having a warm bath just before bed helps as this cools your body down and assists with the onset of sleep.
- Don’t drink alcohol in the evening. It’s harsh, but true! You may think a night cap helps you sleep, but it adversely affects the quality of sleep you get.
- Get good daylight exposure in the mffiddle of the day. Go out for a lunchtime walk, if you can, as walking and gentle exercise is also helpful to improving sleep.