Self-Applying Monetary Incentives to Improve Sleep Schedules

Sleeping Indira

For the next week, I will donate $1 to charity for every hour or fraction there of that I stay up after midnight. This is a one week experiment. Next week, I’ll evaluate it and decide if it’s something that I want to continue.


I have been trying to get on an earlier schedule for a while. One strategy that I’ve employed is to make myself to get up earlier. This semester, I took an early morning exercise class once a week. I made it to all classes and although there were a few painful days in which I was very sleep deprived, this has helped a lot.

However, I still find myself staying up later than I intend to do. When I’m on the computer, it’s just too easy to get sucked into thinking that I’ll just read one more article or post one additional email. When I’m out with friends, it’s easy to think that I’ll just stay up a few minutes longer. I’m instituting this experimental policy so that I’ll have an incentive to go to bed earlier. I know there will be times when staying up late is necessary or highly desirable which is why I’ve decided to use flexible monetary incentives rather than a hard and fast rule.

Notes: I’m counting the time when I’m in bed with the lights out rather than when I actually fall asleep. Calculating the exact time that I fall asleep is difficult and not something I can totally control. This project may have been inspired by this alarm clock.

Sleep, Don't Weep

Credits: Images courtesy of flickr  users kudumomo and Tambako the Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)


Update: 29 April 2012 – Here are the results after 1 week.

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One thought on “Self-Applying Monetary Incentives to Improve Sleep Schedules

  1. If your sleep habits improve, many people will be in need of life-sustaining supports. Meanwhile, might I suggest you donate to a company that provides farm animals and protections in third world countries. Imagine if we could all sleep a little less.

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