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Protect your wallet -- by taking a nap

Exhausted people aren't frugal people. Here's why a little extra sleep can pay off.

By Donna_Freedman Mar 11, 2013 11:14AM

Logo: Woman asleep (Tom Grill/Corbis)Feeling a little groggy today? Join the club. Daylight saving time kicks a bunch of us right in the head every year. That's why National Napping Day was invented in 1999 by Dr. William Anthony, then a professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

The Monday after the time switch was an obvious choice because "Americans are more 'nap-ready' than usual after losing an hour of sleep," according to BU archives.

To celebrate, I took a nap on Sunday. It lasted maybe half an hour and it worked just as well as the ones that kept me going while I obtained a university degree in my late 40s.

The long bus commute, classes, homework, studying, and my MSN Money job plus an apartment house managing gig left me perpetually exhausted. Whenever possible I'd factor in a 20- to 40-minute nap. These short snoozes kept me going long enough to graduate. They kept me frugal, too.

What's the connection?

Exhausted people are less likely to:

Takeout costs a lot. The alternative -- eating mostly out of cans or boxes -- is not a balanced diet, which can lead to health issues that also cost money.

Stay on top of chores.
Hiring part-time help can dent your budget, but living in clutter or with things that need repair isn't ideal either.

Sedentary habits lead to health issues, too.

Too beat to hang out? Not good for your head or your body, since isolated people fall into some unhealthy habits. Put another way: Your best friends should not be your couch, the remote and a bag of chips.

Be fun to socialize with.
It's hard to be a good friend, partner or parent when you're weary. Maybe you're just too tired to enjoy what other people suggest (a bike ride, a board game, a bedtime story) or maybe you're downright grouchy. Either way, you're no fun.

Grabbing 40 winks

Get over the idea that pushing through fatigue is what winners do. Sure, some people seem to thrive on just a few hours of sleep in every 24. They're the exception. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.


On days when you haven't had enough sleep, a brief siesta can save you. If it makes you feel any better, known nappers include Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

A little shut-eye is all you need. The NSF suggests 20 to 30 minutes in midday, a time frame less likely to leave you feeling groggy. A longer nap might also keep you awake when it's actually bedtime.

Your mileage may vary, though. Most of my college-era naps took place between 5 and 7 p.m. Of course, I rarely went to bed before 1 a.m., so I still had plenty of time for my body to get tired once more.

"But I work," you might be wailing. A few possible tactics:
  • Is there a break room/employee lounge? Go there at lunchtime. Curl up in a chair (or on the sofa, if you're lucky enough to have one) and set your cell phone alarm for 20 to 30 minutes. That still gives you a few minutes to eat your brown-bag lunch and get back to work.
  • Or maybe your work area clears out from noon to 1 p.m. -- if so, put your head down on your desk and pretend you're in kindergarten once more.
  • Got an office all your own? Lock the door, forward your phone and zone out.
  • Live near the workplace and got an hour for lunch? Run home for a 20-minute nap.
  • Get creative: A former co-worker was known to go out for a brief nap in his car.
If you can't get enough sleep at night, grab some during the day. Your budget will thank you. So will your friends, your family and that dog you've been too tired to walk.

More on MSN Money:

Mar 11, 2013 3:31PM

How about a George Costanza and just build a hide-a-way under my desk.....great idea.

Mar 11, 2013 3:34PM
I could use a nap right now!  I need to find a corner to hide in.
Mar 11, 2013 3:55PM
They need to make Daylight Savings time Illegal!
Mar 11, 2013 3:40PM
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ - What?... did you say something?
Mar 11, 2013 3:43PM
i have a standing desk in my cubicle. i hang up a hammock diagonally across my cube at lunch and powernap.
Mar 11, 2013 4:23PM
I agree. I wouldn't suggest losing the extra hour of sunlight. What would be ideal is to not turn the clocks 'back' in the Fall. Just keep them the way they are now and do away with changing the time . . . our poor confused bodies.
Mar 11, 2013 4:15PM
AAAAAAAH! Just reading this article makes me want to nap.
Mar 11, 2013 3:47PM

When are we all going to stop this nonsense and demand the time change stop!?!?!?

We are not a country of Victory Gardeners anymore.

Contact your Senators and Representatives!!

Mar 11, 2013 4:03PM
Mar 11, 2013 4:47PM
After 50 what happened to my energy????
Mar 11, 2013 5:27PM
Absolutely agree. They should have " nap rooms" in office buildings. I've been told I'm a world class napper. It's great!
Mar 11, 2013 4:18PM
I'm working on a technique to do my rote work in the office while in an upright semi-sleeping state. Kills three birds (or bats) with one stone: 1)boredom and cruddy repetitive work for someone else, 2)lack of sleep and 3)obnoxious people interrupting, you now can be as rude to as they are to you. Problem is your mother taught you to nod acknowledging people and meet their eyes and act as though they have something intelligent to say. They'd step over your corpse, answer a cell phone without excusing themselves and are merely running off at the mouth, but are blissfully ignorant of their abysmal jerkdom: their mothers didn't. So the semi-sleep technique would probably sell books, at least in corporate chicken coop America. Problem is my mother taught me not to be a sucking hoax peddler: but some of these "programs" look so good on the cable channels....its tempting. A nice how to book (soft cover on cheap newsprint) and a CD "suggestion series"....mmmm
Mar 11, 2013 3:48PM
I noticed the 'MSN writer" needs a second job to make ends meet.  He'll be fired in an hour for publishing that information.  He probably gets health insurance from his other job.
Mar 11, 2013 3:43PM
I wasn't aware that George W. was ever awake!
Mar 11, 2013 5:22PM

As an American I can attest that George Bush was napping on the job and even when he he appeared to be awake. I love the George Costanza reference--good old Seinfeld. 

Mar 11, 2013 4:05PM
Oh Donna, another MSN Money braindeadiac.  Gee, such a triumph to earn a college degree.  Does she type that 7 times into everything she writes?  How about this... got out of a VA hospital after getting out of the Army, while still enduring a year and a half of outpatient rehab, went to a community college while working full time at a miserable job, got a full time job after finishing the two year degree and was able to attend a very high ranking private university in D.C. where I eventually earned my bachelors and masters while being promoted on the job, and graduating from medical rehab.  Didn't cost me anything either.  So, you collected rent, called the plummer, and typed opinionated nonsense for MSN money... and 20 years later you are still living on your golden achievements of riding the bus and taking naps.  Bad news Donna, you never had to attend college to find out it aint easy to keep chugging along when you are sleepy.  And, again more bad news, most people can't lock the door and grab a nap at work.  Really, how many people can imagine the boss walking past while you are snoozing and drooling all over yourself?  Why is this article on a supposed "money" page anyhow?  Should be on the Barney show or something.  And an evil cut, maybe a little beauty sleep may not be a bad thing for you.
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Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.


Donna Freedman

Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.