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The impact of health on your finances

#1: How Sleep Affects Your Finances

Going without sleep for 24 or more hours makes a person perform as if they had a blood-alcohol level that is more than the legal limit for drunk driving.

Most likely, all-nighters aren’t easy anymore, but if you’re consistently getting just four or five hours of sleep a night, your decision-making skills may not be as sharp as they could be. And that can have implications for your money.

Lack of sleep can cause us to make many poor decisions, all leading to negative financial consequences. It could be as simple as buying a magazine that you don’t need at the supermarket, or as big as drastically overpaying for a new car.


How to Get Healthier

The first step is to commit to an earlier bedtime in order to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Make sure to follow proper sleep hygiene, like room-darkening window treatments, setting the right temperature, and avoiding the use of smart phones before hitting the sheets.

If nine hours seems too tall an order, look instead for windows in your day to catch a quick, 10-minute power nap. Napping can increase memory and cognitive function, which may just be the boost you need to be more alert at work—and make smarter money decisions.

So catch up on some extra winks on the train to work, or on a Saturday afternoon, and soon enough, a financially productive year won’t just be a dream.


#2: How Diet Affects Your Finances

Eating too many restaurant meals is a hallmark of poor nutrition—those who indulge too often have higher levels of obesity, body fat and unhealthy habits. Plus, as anyone carefully tracking his expenses can attest to, dining out can also wreak havoc on your wallet. A family of four eating moderately at home will spend half of what they would use on a week’s groceries, eating one meal at a restaurant.

And there’s more: It seems that eating high-fat restaurant meals may also affect cognitive abilities, showing signs of short-term memory loss and lower levels of brain function than those receiving a low-fat diet.

There are a lot of parallels between good eating habits and good financial habits. If you don’t have the discipline to say no to junk food or count calories, you probably make a lot of impulse buys and have trouble balancing your checkbook. Self-control is the key to good financial health, as well as a healthy diet.


How to Get Healthier 

A good tip for your nutrition and finances is to plan your meals in advance. Even if you plan to go out for a few meals during the week, it still helps prevent gut decisions to stop at a restaurant instead of eating a good, home-cooked meal.

And feel free to take a few short-cuts if it means you’ll be motivated to maintain your healthy diet. Don’t feel guilty about spending a little extra money for prewashed spinach or precut vegetables. If it means you eat at home and you eat better, it’s worth it.


Bonus tip:

Instead of filling up on empty calories, add more energy-boosting foods to your diet, like almonds and berries, so you’ll have a clear mind to tackle your financial to-dos.


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