In personal finance, many of us are concerned about getting out of, managing, and/or avoiding debt. Debt can make live miserable or just limit our possibilities, depending on how much we have and how we’re handling it.

Well, with the time change here in the States, I became quite aware of my sleep debt. I don’t sleep that well anyway and my body is still shifting over to daylight savings time. Last night was pretty miserable, just couldn’t get to sleep…and then this morning I really didn’t want to get up. What made it bad was that I don’t normally sleep well anyway, so this was adding debt upon debt.

Just like other forms of debt, sleep debt is something we have to deal with. Just like money, we can’t have unlimited hours. And like money we need to use those hours wisely. Unfortunately, we often want to do so much more than is possible in a day and end up losing brainpower and rest as a result.

Like monetary debt, sleep debt affects our quality of life. It influences our moods, it makes us less able to respond properly to situations, it’s generally a miserable thing.

So remember, just like you don’t have unlimited money, you don’t have unlimited time. Acting like you have either will just get you in trouble.

I leave you with the song I was thinking of last night as I lay there. It’s from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe and is sung by the Lord Chancellor as he’s trying to get to sleep. If the middle part doesn’t make sense, skip to the last two paragraphs, which we can all identify with:

When you’re lying awake with a dismal headache, and repose is taboo’d by anxiety,
I conceive you may use any language you choose to indulge in, without impropriety;
For your brain is on fire – the bedclothes conspire of usual slumber to plunder you:
First your counterpane goes, and uncovers your toes, and your sheet slips demurely from under you;

Then the blanketing tickles – you feel like mixed pickles – so terribly sharp is the pricking,
And you’re hot, and you’re cross, and you tumble and toss till there’s nothing ‘twixt you and the ticking.
Then the bedclothes all creep to the ground in a heap, and you pick ’em all up in a tangle;
Next your pillow resigns and politely declines to remain at its usual angle!

Well, you get some repose in the form of a doze, with hot eye-balls and head ever aching.
But your slumbering teems with such horrible dreams that you’d very much better be waking;
For you dream you are crossing the Channel, and tossing about in a steamer from Harwich –
Which is something between a large bathing machine and a very small second-class carriage –

And you’re giving a treat (penny ice and cold meat) to a party of friends and relations –
They’re a ravenous horde – and they all came on board at Sloane Square and South Kensington Stations.
And bound on that journey you find your attorney (who started that morning from Devon);
He’s a bit undersized, and you don’t feel surprised when he tells you he’s only eleven.

Well, you’re driving like mad with this singular lad (by the by, the ship’s now a four-wheeler),
And you’re playing round games, and he calls you bad names when you tell him that “ties pay the dealer”;
But this you can’t stand, so you throw up your hand, and you find you’re as cold as an icicle,
In your shirt and your socks (the black silk with gold clocks), crossing Salisbury Plain on a bicycle:

And he and the crew are on bicycles too – which they’ve somehow or other invested in –
And he’s telling the tars all the particulars of a company he’s interested in –
It’s a scheme of devices, to get at low prices all goods from cough mixtures to cables
(Which tickled the sailors), by treating retailers as though they were all vegetables –

You get a good spadesman to plant a small tradesman (first take off his boots with a boot-tree),
And his legs will take root, and his fingers will shoot, and they’ll blossom and bud like a fruit-tree –
From the greengrocer tree you get grapes and green pea, cauliflower, pineapple, and cranberries,
While the pastrycook plant cherry brandy will grant, apple puffs, and three corners, and Banburys –

The shares are a penny, and ever so many are taken by Rothschild and Baring,
And just as a few are allotted to you, you awake with a shudder despairing –

You’re a regular wreck, with a crick in your neck, and no wonder you snore, for your head’s on the floor,
and you’ve needles and pins from your soles to your shins, and your flesh is a-creep, for your left leg’s asleep,
and you’ve cramp in your toes, and a fly on your nose, and some fluff in your lung, and a feverish tongue,
and a thirst that’s intense, and a general sense that you haven’t been sleeping in clover;

But the darkness has passed, and it’s daylight at last, and the night has been long – ditto, ditto my song – and thank goodness they’re both of them over!


{ 2 trackbacks }

Sleep vs Money
March 13, 2008 at 11:49 am
4 Most Interesting Personal Finance Posts Of The Week - 3.14.08 | Amateur Asset Allocator
March 14, 2008 at 11:41 pm

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

RacerX March 10, 2008 at 2:42 pm

As someone who has lived through horrible sleep issues. It is not fun at all. I went through a six-month period where I never slept more than 3 hours, and it was usually two, that I am now paranoid when I don’t fall aslepp right away!

It is like being the walking dead!

Looby March 10, 2008 at 4:07 pm

I too have been having sleep issues recently and the time change has really thrown me this year, normally I don’t notice it at all. I’ve given myself permission to take it easy today, hoping that by tomorrow I’ll be back on form and will actually get some work done!

Aryn March 10, 2008 at 4:52 pm

I’m with you 100%! I have a terrible time getting to sleep anyways, and then DST just throws me off. I do okay at fall back, but I’m exhausted today. I don’t drink coffee or much caffeine in general, but I had to get a latte today just to get by.

And now that a study shows that DST doesn’t even save energy, I think we should just get rid of it.

LJ March 10, 2008 at 5:22 pm

I have four kids. Sleep hasn’t been a real regular affair around here for years. I understand exactly how you feel. Dazed.

I find I can’t get to sleep very easily because I have grown accustomed to being awoken at odd hours, so I sort of hang out and wait to see who will wake up next. (I get a lot of night time potty trips, glasses of water and bad dreams) Because my husband has to go to work to support our family, I take all the late night requests and even will sleep on the couch if we have a sick kid or two, so my husband can get his rest. It can leave you feeling miserable the next day!

Luckily, we do not have to change our clocks. We have the same time year round for mysterious reasons I know nothing about πŸ™‚ So, at least I don’t have that to add to the list of sleep disruptions!

Take Care


Sandie March 10, 2008 at 5:23 pm

I think this is the first time in years that I have actually beaten the clock. Every year for as long as I can remember (with some years being worse than others) I have found myself chasing the clock for that one lost hour. It just seemed to me that I was always running behind – because I was! This year, I set myself up differently. I fixed it so that I have today off work and yesterday I worked really hard in the house and garden so that I would be able to go to bed a hour earlier and actually sleep. I think it worked πŸ™‚

CindyS March 10, 2008 at 7:13 pm

This is so timely for me. With all the stress in recent months I have not been sleeping well and daylight savings time hit me hard. A friend had given me a gift certificate for a massage and I traded it in today for a rei kei session. I felt great and got home, sat down on the couch and just now woke up from a 7 hour nap. I guess I was tired.

Becky@FamilyandFinances March 10, 2008 at 7:25 pm

I usually sleep really well, but I also had trouble getting to sleep last night and getting up this morning.
The hubby and I plan to go to bed early tonight, so hopefully that will get us on track with DST!

ms. m&p March 10, 2008 at 8:51 pm

I used to have horrible insomnia, so I know how you feel. It got a lot better in college, but now I keep a small prescription of ambien on hand for emergencies. It’s just not worth it to suffer through the week.

FYI–my family physician told me that if you take some benadryl (the non-drowsy kind), it can help you get to sleep. It has a small dose of the same medicine that’s in sleeping pills. It’s supposed to work better than the OTC sleeping pills (those do nothing for me).

fathersez March 10, 2008 at 11:33 pm

I am really blessed in this issue. I sleep like a log most nights.

There was a time when I had some serious work related problems, and I practiced a yoga method. It worked for me.

Perhaps, Mrs. M, you should give this method a shot.

I have written about this in one of my posts.

Heidi March 11, 2008 at 10:09 am

Not being able to sleep just plain sucks.

I used to have problems falling asleep at night (my mind just goes and goes), and then I joined a gym that offers cardio kickboxing classes at 6 am six days a week. I have been doing it for 9 weeks an my insomnia has completely disappeared.

And I agree with fathersez – yoga can be great too.

mrsmicah March 11, 2008 at 10:48 am

Thanks, FatherSez. I’ve given certain types of yoga and breathing a try. But I’ll check out how you do it. πŸ™‚

fathersez March 11, 2008 at 11:06 am

You are welcome, Mrs. M.

I hope it works for you as well as it worked for me.

Minimum Wage March 12, 2008 at 12:47 am

I paid at the office.

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