Sleep research discusses sexy vs. rich

Ramit Sethi

It’s amazing how many people think money has to be complicated. I always talk how the most ordinary things usually work quite well — deciding how much to consciously save, consistently growing your money in a diversified way, etc — instead of debating minutiae about the fanciest investments. Take a look at this new sleep research covered in the New York Times, which has lots of parallels to personal finance.

The “…American Journal of Psychiatry analysis of 21 studies showed that behavioral treatment helped people fall asleep nearly nine minutes sooner than sleep drugs. In other measures, sleep therapy worked just as well as drugs, but without any side effects.

The behavioral strategies for better sleep are deceptively simple, and that’s one reason why many people don’t believe they can make a difference [emphasis mine]. One of the most effective methods is stimulus control. This means not watching television, eating or reading in bed. Don’t go to bed until you are sleepy. Get up at the same time every day, and don’t nap during the day. If you are unable to sleep, get out of bed after 15 minutes and do something relaxing, but avoid stimulating activity and thoughts.


It may be hard to believe, but studies show these simple steps really do make a meaningful difference for people with sleep problems.”

Hmm, could managing your money be the same? If you have a friend who is paralyzed by inaction, maybe sending this to them will wake them up. (Note to new friend: Here’s the table of contents of all my past articles.)

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  1. Mrs. Micah

    The connection makes sense. In my mind, it connects to food too, you should eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re “supposed” to and only eat enough to make you not hungry, rather than eating until your plate’s clear or you’re bloated or something.

    Life is simpler than we sometimes make it.

  2. Adam

    I can say the methods do work within ones own sleep cycle, my problem is that my day is about about three hours longer than everyone else’s. The result: my days go round and round the clock. It makes it an absolute pain to schedule things, but I’ve just adapted my life around it best I can. Some days I work nights and do necessary work on the servers and network infrastructure, then other days when I’m up during the day I can handle situations with clients or other “daytime” errands.

  3. England

    I disagree, though the urge to sleep is a natural urge and want; saving is not. I enjoy sleep, and even look foward to it. Basically it feels good.

    I have never “needed” or wanted to save. I would rather spend it on “myself”, on things I don’t need. There is no internal carving to stay alive by saving.

    I agree with your stance on savings and money management; this illustration just was not all there.

  4. Jen Buschel

    I applaud you on your blog. You are very interesting.

  5. Andy

    Dude you really have to stop with all the plugs…

  6. Harrison

    I believe we should live in this way as human. We should take care the signal that our body, mind and life gives us and act accordingly. For example, if you are hungry and not eating any foods, then your stomach will get hurt. However, on the other hand, there are many people over-eating until they are fat and slightly over weight.

  7. Sra

    I don’t think Ramit is saying that managing money wisely is exactly like nurturing your sleep cycle. I think he’s saying that if you have problems managing your money wisely, you can address those problems in the same way you might address problems related to getting enough quality sleep. Namely, through behavioral treatment. Of course for a finance writer, he doesn’t expound upon this as it relates to finance very well.

    I love you, Ramit, but sometimes I think you get lazy about drawing your topics out a little further — fully completing your thoughts. Actually stating your conclusion. I felt the same way about your Kiss Ass e-booklet. The guest articles were good, though. And I agree with what that guy said about your plugs.

  8. Lurking

    This is very interesting. I found out about this site in today’s Sacramento Bee.

    You say, “If you have a friend who is paralyzed by inaction, maybe sending this to them will wake them up.” I think another consideration as to why people don’t take action on their debt is that people are sometimes so paralyzed by their debt that they go into depression, spiraling even further into financial paralysis. Is Prozac part of financial planning? Should it be? Is telling someone to get a financial grip really enough? In today’s economy, with so many people losing their homes, this is a real issue that I don’t think the media is really dealing with. Your thoughts?

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