We’ve spoken before about the amazing benefits of allowing your body to have the amount and quality of sleep that it needs. Your brain relies on you getting your slumber in order to function properly. During sleep, your body may be resting, but your brain is busy! It is working hard to process your day, spending this time making connections between events, sensory input, feelings, and memories.
Of course, a good night's sleep makes you feel more alert. This isn’t the only benefit to your brain, though. Deep sleep is a very important time for your brain to make memories and links. Getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better. It may not be surprising that it is more difficult to take in new information following a night of inadequate or frequently disturbed sleep. When we are sleep deprived, our focus, attention, and ability to make good decisions suffers. Being chronically tired to the point of fatigue or exhaustion means that we are less likely to perform well mentally. Neurons do not fire optimally, making even everyday tasks seems difficult and confusing.
How a Lack of Sleep Affects Your Finances
Based on this, it should come to no surprise that your sleep affects your finances. After all, if you’re not thinking clearly, you aren’t making good financial choices. Our thinking becomes foggy and our capacity for decisions and judgments is then compromised. Maybe you’re extra tired every morning and purchase two large coffees instead of one, which certainly adds up over time. It may be something simple like spending a little more money than you should on a shopping spree. It could be more serious, though. A new study suggests that shorting ourselves on sleep may lead to making riskier decisions, including gambling with higher amounts than those who are well-rested. In the same study, people with less sleep seemed to become impulsive and their awareness about why they were taking more risks was phased out. In other words, they were making risky, not-so-smart decisions and they weren’t even aware they were doing it. It isn’t difficult to guess why acting this way would lead someone to a financial situation they’d rather not be in.
It’s a Vicious Cycle!
Getting a good night of sleep allows your body and brain to function well, meaning you’ll make better financial decisions. If you’re tired or chronically exhausted, you’ll make poor decisions when it comes to your money. Being in debt or having other financial issues lead to worrying and anxiety which, you guessed it, lead to sleep trouble!
The stress hormone, cortisol, is released when our brains signal our adrenal glands that we have encountered a perceived threat. In a natural daily rhythm, our bodies have the lowest cortisol levels around midnight, which coincides with the time most of us are in a safe, relaxing bedroom getting our much-needed sleep. Trying to sort through bills you cannot pay or thinking about where tomorrow’s paycheck needs to be spent can spike your Cortisol right when it’s supposed to be declining. A high Cortisone level disrupts sleep. You’ll wake up tired again, and have a hard time thinking clearly again, leading to financial decisions that eventually cause even more bills to pile up and additional sleepless nights.
The opposite is also true. In a recent study, one-third of those polled qualified as “excellent sleepers.” Within that group, nearly six out of 10 (59%) said they save money regularly to cover any unforeseen expenses, and more than half said they routinely save for retirement. On the other hand, only 21% of those who don’t save to cover home expenses and just 25% of those who aren’t making an effort to create a retirement nest egg could be called “above average sleepers.”
Invest in Yourself
There’s a few smart things you can do to get the sleep you need at night beyond just avoiding unnecessary financial stress. If you aren’t yet doing so, sleeping on a high-quality mattress that you find comfortable is the right place to start. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule and avoiding well-known sleep disruptors, like alcohol, caffeine, and digital screens in the hours before bed, will lead to success too.
When you’re getting the sleep you need on a supportive, comfortable mattress, you can stop any viscous sleepless cycle in its tracks. You will awake each morning feeling well-rested and energetic, and you’ll make better financial choices. A new cycle will then take shape, one where you are sleeping well and feeling at peace about your finances!