How your sleep habits can affect your finances

Save In Your Sleep!

by Jill Cooper


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Since we usually write about getting out of debt, you may wonder how being well rested can help save you money? How often do you go out to eat because you are too tired to fix dinner? When something breaks, do you just go buy a new one because you are too tired to fix it? Do you buy more clothes than you really need because you are too tired to keep up with the laundry? Do you just say "yes" all the time to your children when they ask to buy something because you are too tired to fight with them? Trust me, the little monkeys are smart. They know when the enemy is tired and weak and that's usually when they attack! So if you want to win the debt war you need to get some sleep!

You must get 8 hours of sleep and 8 glasses of water a day. We pay as much attention to that warning as our children do when we tell them for the umpteenth time "Don't play with that or you will get hurt." But after living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 18 years, I know how very important sleep is.

Sleep is as necessary to life as food and water. Each of us needs to realize how much lack of sleep affects our whole life. Are we too tired to clean the house, fix meals, or do the laundry? Are we so tired that when our children come to us for our help with something, we snap at them or when our spouses want some snuggle time, we look at them like they have grown two heads?

Lack of sleep affects children even more than adults and yet many of us let them keep the same late hours as the adults. When I was a young mom, I was told that children usually whine and cry for one of two reasons; they are tired or hungry. If you keep them well rested and make sure they get snacks throughout the day, you will eliminate most of their whining and crying. I have found that to be so true.

We adults act the same way when we are tired. We become irritable, impatient, discouraged and depressed. No one can reason with us. We start acting just like that tired child and usually don't realize it.

Does that describe the way you feel most of the time (maybe even right now)? Then you need to get serious about your family's sleeping habits.

Here are some tips to help you get your family the sleep it needs:

  1. If you are a new mom or a mom with sick children, you may have to let some things go for a season. Just accept it and scale back your activities.

  2. Keep your meals as simple as possible. If all you can manage for a few months is sandwiches, make sandwiches. The same applies to cleaning the house. Do only the necessary cleaning and upkeep. This is not the time for spring cleaning. Even if you have to let the dusting and vacuuming go for a while, the rest will help you more.

  3. Make your children take a nap. Up until first grade, on the days my kids weren't in school, they always took a nap. When they were older and for whatever reason stayed up late the night before, I made them at least lie down and rest the next day.

    No matter how old they are, children need some daily down time. If they were too old for naps, I would send them to their rooms for 30 minutes each day during the summer to read, color or do some quiet activity. This not only helped them rest, but it separated them from their siblings and me.

  4. Have a regular bedtime routine. Whether it is bath time, story time, prayer time or just tucking the kids in with hugs and kisses, have a routine. When you are tucking the children in, give yourself an extra 15-20 minutes to talk to them. That is one of the best times of day to find out about things they have on their minds. Why? Because they are relaxed and they will use every stall tactic known to man to keep from going to bed, even if that means talking to mom and dad.

  5. Make sure that they have a regular bed time and stick to it. This is very important! When you wake them up and put them to bed at different times every day it causes their biological clocks to go haywire. Up until they started high school, my children always went to bed at 8:30. That may seem hard to believe, but I didn't have near the problem with attitudes, whining, sulking or outright rebellion that a lot of parents had to deal with.

    One thing to keep in mind is that when you start putting children to bed at an earlier than usual time, you will have to start slowly. If the children are used to going to bed at 10:30 or 11:00 at night, don't suddenly make them go to bed at 8:30. Start at 10:00 for a few nights then move it up to 9:30 and so on until you reach the bedtime you want.

    Adults need regular bedtime routines, too. As much as possible, try to have a set time that you go to bed each night. An hour or two before you go to bed, try to start unwinding.

  6. Make your bed in the morning. A made bed is so much more inviting than a rumpled mess, where you have to clear off loads of junk before you can crawl into it.

Jill Cooper raised two teenagers on $500 a month after becoming disabled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She is the co-author of Dining On A Dime Cookbook. For more free tips and recipes visit our web site at LivingOnADime.com/.

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