Sleeping Your Way to Wealth

by TTMK on November 2, 2014 · 5 comments

Did that title get your attention?

Well, this is a “PG” post, so there’s nothing outrageous that will be suggested : ) But literally, sleeping and money just might go together, as I’d like to explore.

I have a friend who’s pretty focused on making money, and also staying physically fit. He’s done quite well with his career, and works out most days of the week. I’d say that he’s probably in the top 5% in terms of income and as well as (subjectively) physical fitness. His wife is quite successful on those measures as well.

Together, they’re kind of a high-achieving “power couple” of sorts.

That being said, he told me that he gets only 5 1/2  hours of sleep per night. Apparently, with all the hard work and long hours he’s willing to put into the job, plus his workout schedule and family time, he can’t get a whole lot more sleep than that. Or, so it seems.

The thing is, he was recently talking about being at a “plateau” in his career. He had regularly been climbing the corporate ladder, but at this point he has seemed to settle at a mid-to-upper management level. Really impressive considering the tough circumstances from which he emerged, but that big picture view seems lost on him at times. It’s almost like he’s lamenting the reality that he’s not headed for the top rung in his career.

What jumps out at me is how he’s complained here and there about being tired, and how he just doesn’t have the energy to do all that he wants to get done.

As I listen to him, I connect the dots and believe that it just might be that he’s not sleeping enough, which could actually be hurting his ability to make money.

Does that make sense? It might seem counterintuitive, but I think that burning the midnight oil is something that only offers very short-term benefits, but if done more than rarely, can bring about long-term negatives to one’s health. Which, logically, should impact a person’s ability to make money.

I’ve written about this topic elsewhere, and it’s something that I think is a really underrated aspect of achieving success with personal finance. We really need to take care of ourselves in terms of our health in order to be in the best position to make money. After all, if we don’t make money, what’s there to save and invest?

At first glance, it might seem like reducing health care expenses is where this is going, and that makes sense too. But really, it seems like simply being healthy can allow us to actually maintain and maybe even improve our earning power.

I don’t know about you, but when I get a great night of sleep for a couple of days in a row, I feel like a fully energized person. In less time, I can do more. This allows for more of an opportunity to disengage and spend time doing other things, such as focusing on family and friends. That balance, in turn, makes me more productive when focusing on work.

It’s kind of a positive cycle at work.

The bottom line is that I think that sometimes we can try to push ourselves to do too much, in terms of volume of work, household tasks, or any other things on our to-do lists. Getting regular, adequate sleep instead of doing all of these extras can actually help us in our efforts to protect and even build our wealth!

My Questions for You

Do you agree that it’s futile to regularly “burn the midnight oil” staying up late to work or get things done?

Do you find that you’re able to get a lot more done in less time with a truly great night of sleep?

How do you make time to take care of yourself in order to enhance your ability to earn?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kasia November 2, 2014 at 6:49 pm

I agree with you that sleep is paramount to success. Yes there are people who say they live off 4 hours of sleep because they are so busy but that’s not something that you can sustain long term, nor should you. The recommended amount of sleep for good health is 7-9 hours per night.

When I’m rested I can get a lot more done in less time than when I haven’t slept. A lack of sleep leads to slower reaction times, it means thinking about how to tackle a task longer, or writing a comment on a blog that has to be reread several times to make sense. My baby didn’t sleep well last night, which means today my brain is working slower.

I think getting enough sleep, doing regular exercise and maintaining a healthy eating plan 80% of the time, is the way to success. It provides a solid foundation to building wealth and feeling well enough to enjoy it.


Jean @ NearlyRetired November 3, 2014 at 6:36 am

Disclaimer: As I write this the clock says 4:30am — it’s an insomnia morning….

Sleep is critical. Research shows (over and over) that lack of sleep makes us more prone to accidents, slows our brain function, increases health risks, and more. I try to get at least 7 hours a night — don’t always succeed, but definitely try…. (My work is high-travel and the crazy schedules and timezone changes combine to make it tough.)

As I near retirement, the quality of my health and how it might impact retirement satisfaction are at the forefront of my mind — you’re writing on an important topic.


Jon @ Money Smart Guides November 3, 2014 at 8:45 am

I think sleep is huge when it comes to being our best. I got a fitness band that tracks my sleep. After using it for a few months, I am much more aware of why I feel like crap some days or am more irritable. It’s because I didn’t get much sleep the night or few nights before. I am most productive when I get at least 7 hours a night for a few nights in a row. It’s amazing to me to know this about myself and that others could be more productive too if they just paid more attention to their sleep.


Little House November 3, 2014 at 8:56 am

I’ve never been able to burn the midnight oil. I have to get 8 hours of sleep or it’s really hard for me to function. Mr. LH was working with a client that specializes in sleep and its affect on everyday life. Not getting enough sleep can effect memory, weight gain, and overall health. Sleep is crucial!


Zee @ Work To Not Work November 7, 2014 at 1:38 am

Sleep is essential for me, if I don’t get enough sleep I cease to function. But then again, I do have real sleep issues that I’m trying to get diagnosed and resolved. Either way, I think that if you don’t get enough sleep then you will get worn down and not function as well.


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