Want to Feel Like You Hit the Jackpot? You May Want to Hit the Hay Instead
Before I had a kid — and was required to wake up at the crack of dawn — sleeping was one of my favorite hobbies.
Wait — sleeping doesn’t count as a hobby? Well, I loved it and practiced it as often as I could.
Now some might say sleeping takes away from productivity, which in turn takes away from opportunities to put more money in your pocket.
But this new study backs up my claims that sleep equals life.
The Rich Benefits of Sleep
Researchers from the University of Warwick studied more than 30,000 adults over four years and found that those who got better sleep experienced long-term benefits equivalent to the mental and physical health benefits of winning a lottery jackpot of about €200,000 — or $213,350.
Study participants completed a questionnaire used by mental health professionals to gauge psychological well-being, both at the beginning and the end of the four-year span.
Those who improved their quality and quantity of sleep and used less sleep medication increased their scores so they were comparable to lottery winners who were tested two years after a medium-sized lottery win.
They also scored similarly to patients who took an eight-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy program.
It’s Not All In Your Head
Well-rested study participants also got better scores on a survey that tested physical and emotional health and the ability to perform everyday tasks.
Conversely, those who reported declines in sleep quality and quantity and who took more sleep medication over the course of four years showed worsened physical and mental outcomes.
Bottom line: Sleep makes you feel good inside and out.
“It is refreshing to see the healing potential of sleep outside of clinical trial settings, as this goes to show that the benefits of better sleep are accessible to everyone and not reserved for those with extremely bad sleep requiring intensive treatments,” Nicole Tang, one of the study’s co-authors, said in a university press release.
While the study wasn’t designed to show a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between better sleep and overall well-being, Tang said it showed a positive link between the two when considering long-term effects.
Another interesting takeaway: The study also found that quality of sleep is more important than quantity. Changes in sleep quality had the biggest impact on well-being, followed by changes in the use of sleep meds and lastly by changes in the amount of time asleep.
Tang said the next step is to see what lifestyle factors and activities contribute to better sleep.
Not Sleeping Well? Here’s How to Get Better Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
To ensure you get a good night’s rest, the foundation offers the following tips:
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Establish a relaxing bedtime ritual
- Avoid afternoon naps
- Exercise daily
- Make your sleep environment ideal by keeping it cool, dark and quiet
- Choose a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Watch your alcohol and caffeine intake in the evenings
- Turn off electronics before bed
Get More Zzzzs
If you’re looking for ways to sneak extra sleep time into your day, you may consider reducing your commute. The less time on the road, the more time in your bed.
You could scrap the commute totally and work from home, though you should make sure to set boundaries when work and home intersect.
Incorporating mindfulness into your day may help keep work stress at bay and calm your mind so you can enjoy a restful evening.
Your Turn: Would you rather get more sleep or win the lottery?
Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She thinks sleep is wonderful, but a $200,000 lottery jackpot might be better.