Imagine getting paid to sleep.
Isn’t this the dream? (Hah! Couldn’t resist.)
There are internships, part-time jobs, and sleep studies that actually encourage you to shut your eyes for hours at a time…
…and receive cash by the end of your “shift.”
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Interesting concept, but why is there a need?
Well, the majority of these sleep studies help develop and discover treatment options for sleep-related problems.
Mattress companies, health app developers, wearable fitness tracker manufacturers, and the like have studied and tracked people’s sleep habits in the past.
Hospitals even have entire departments dedicated to figuring out how to tackle sleep problems.
What’s cool is that these studies are currently happening in the US as we speak.
And you can get hired even if you don’t have sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), or other sleep-related problems.
Opportunities may be rare, but they’re out there.
Read on to learn all you need to need to know to make money in your sleep.
How to Participate in Sleep Studies
To get paid to join sleep studies, you first need to check if there are available trials locally. Check for studies here (search “sleep” and choose your location, then filter out your age, gender, and other criteria).
You’re going to see a few studies, but there’s a good chance you won’t qualify for all of them.
However, you can increase your acceptance chances if you read the study’s criteria and pick those you’re eligible for.
Sleep studies look for volunteers within a specific age range, weight, or sometimes gender.
In some cases, you should also have sleep apnea or other specific medical requirements to participate in the study.
Make sure you know what you’re signing up for before sending an application. Learn the duration of in-hospital periods, payment terms, and other details.
Of course, you have to be honest with your answers (don’t even consider making up a sleep problem just to get paid to sleep).
You can send your applications remotely and then visit the facility in the latter part of the process.
What to Expect Once You Land a Spot in a Paid Sleep Study
If you’re accepted to the study, you don’t just begin sleeping at the facility. You still have to complete several tests and interviews, including:
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- A physical exam — this involves the typical cup-peeing and blood-sampling tests
- A psychological exam — a test or interview so doctors can determine if you can handle the stress involved in the study
- Other sleep-related exams — to confirm your sleep problems and identify the severity
While there isn’t any actual sleeping just yet, you’d be pleased to know that you will still be paid for your time just by completing the final assessment phase.
Plus, the physical examination and lab procedures are normally free.
After passing the exams, you’ll be given several assignments to complete.
This may include wearing a fitness device to track your activity, listing down food intake throughout the duration of your trial, keeping a sleep log, or other types of documentation that the study requires.
In most cases, you’ll be assigned a contact person who will tell you everything you need to know and remind you about these requirements. They will see you through the study and work with you so you don’t get kicked out of the trials.
What Happens During the Sleep Study
Once you start the actual study, you can’t expect to get a full night’s sleep with your comfortable pillows and sheets.
Here are 3 reasons why you might have some trouble sleeping:
1. Medical devices
Be prepared for a couple of needles throughout the trial.
You will definitely get paid to sleep, but be aware that most participants are required to wear an IV, electrodes, rectal thermometer, and other medical devices in some parts of the study.
Bedpans may also be needed, since some phases of the study may require you to maintain a constant position.
2. Challenging sleep requirements
Aside from the IV and other medical devices you must wear, you might also be required to maintain a specific posture while sleeping.
This can be challenging since we’re all used to our own sleeping positions, and changing it overnight can lead to sleepless nights.
Don’t worry though, because you’ll be given all the details of the study before you begin.
So if staying in the same spot for several hours is something you can’t do, you’d have the chance to back out before the sleep trial begins.
Can’t stand a few hours without your phone? How about not knowing the actual time?
As a participant in sleep studies, you’ll be cut off from the outside world.
This means no internet, no phone, no laptops, and even no clock.
In most cases, you won’t even have windows to know if it’s daytime or nighttime.
During the study, the doctors will only tell you what you need to know. They’re in charge of telling you if it’s night or day throughout the study’s observation period.
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Depending on the details you’ve signed up for, sleep studies held in a facility may be as short as a couple of days to as long as a month. Most long-term studies are done half at the facility and half at the volunteer’s own homes.
Other Ways to Get Paid to Sleep
If you’re not a fan of being isolated or poked by needles, you can get a job as a mattress tester instead.
There are no strict rules here; your responsibilities include sleeping on a prototype mattress and filling out a feedback form or creating your own report to assess the comfort level of the mattress.
Aside from mattresses, other things you might be hired to test include blankets, pillows, comforters, and other sleep products.
It may sound like it’s not a real job, but it actually exists.
Where to Find Mattress Tester Jobs
The first website you should look at is FlexJobs, where they’ve carefully vetted the companies that list open positions.
If you aren’t successful in finding a job from FlexJobs, you can compile a list of mattress companies yourself through an internet search and initiate contact with them.
One of the more recent openings is one from Sleep Junkie.
The coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted sleep quality, and people are increasingly seeking mattress advice.
Sleep Junkie is a website dedicated to providing mattress reviews. They’re currently looking for a “Sleeping Beauty” who will test three top-rated mattresses and write a detailed report on them after two months.
At the end of the two-month period, Sleeping Beauty gets to keep their favorite of the three mattresses and will get paid $3,000 for sleeping.
To apply, fill out the application form on this page.
How Much Can You Earn From Sleeping?
Now that I’ve tacked the downsides of sleep studies, let’s discuss the benefits and amount of cash you can earn:
- APPLICATION STAGE: During the application, exams, interviews, and overall assessment, participants are paid either a daily wage or per-task basis for their time. Every task completed ranges from $25 and $100.
- AFTER THE TRIAL: Payment for medical studies average around $6,000 for a 5-day to a week-long study, while a 30-day study can go from $10k or higher. NASA’s sleep program is always in demand because it offers a whopping $19k for participating for 70 days.
If you’re going to be paid on a daily basis, know that $150/day is the average amount paid to participants if trials are conducted physically at the lab.
The type of study also affects how much you’ll get paid to sleep.
Make sure to discuss payment, payment breakdown, and other money-related issues before you begin with the sleep study.
You should know if your payment will be taxed, when you’ll be paid, and how you’ll be paid.
Mattress testers, on the other hand, get paid $17 per hour on average.
More Ways to Get Paid to Sleep
Many sleep studies fall under paid clinical studies.
Sleep Education is a site hosted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine that has a directory of AASM-accredited sleep centers. You can search for the nearest facility from your location through a city or ZIP code search.
The American Sleep Association Clinical Trials Resource Center also lists accredited clinical research trials actively recruiting patients with sleep disorders.
Harvard’s Division of Sleep Studies regularly recruits both completely healthy people and those suffering from sleep disorders to come to their research facility for testing.
Most studies pay you to sleep onsite overnight with pay ranging from $100 to $350 per night spent in their research labs.
As of March 2021, there’s one study looking for healthy participants between the ages of 18–35 to sleep on-site for 26 days and that pays out a whopping $9,000.
Be sure to check out their list for the most up-to-date postings and to see if you qualify for any.
You can also check out these resources, if want to earn extra cash from sleep studies:
- MedSleep regularly conducts sleep trials. (Canada-based)
- NASA’s sleep study pays a legendary $19k if you complete 70 days of the trial.
- University of Colorado’s Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory pays $600 to $1,800 for 4 days of participation.
- Institute of Translational Health Sciences tackles sleep disorders with the help of volunteers.
Getting paid to sleep can be a dream job for the right person.
The rewards for lab-based studies are definitely worth a few days of discomfort.
Have you ever participated in a sleep study? How much were you paid? Do you have any tips for those who want to participate in sleep research studies? Tell us in the comments!