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Why/How To Gamify Your Sleep

Many of the people I am in community with, at church and on the seminary campus where my husband is a MDiv student and my family lives, struggle with sleep. At potlucks and forums and Sunday School classes I hear them exclaim, “I had to stay up late to work,” or “I woke up in the middle of the night stressed about a presentation.”

Wouldn’t it be better to get a good night sleep and be more productive at whatever you’re passionate about the next day?

Tired people, whether you’re a student, parent, professional, or all three, make mistakes.

Calm and focused people enjoy getting the job done.

And better sleep equals more calm, more focus.

More and more studies are affirming the impact of sleep on productivity, including one at Harvard in 2015. The study suggests companies could increase their bottom line with insomnia management programs for employees. Some companies, like Aetna, financially reward employees who sleep because they know it’s good for business. Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini says, “If people are checked out at a meeting, why are they there, number one, and if we are talking about important things, you can get things done quicker if people are present and prepared. You can’t be prepared if you are half asleep.”

When I read that quote I immediately thought of it’s application to the people I am in community with. Now, I haven’t found any sources of financial reward for parents and students and parent/students to sleep more, but we can still apply the concept of tracking our sleep and setting up rewards in order to evolve our sleep habits.

Aetna participants in the sleep program track their sleep and receive $25 for every 20 nights of 7 or more hours of sleep logged (with a cap of $300 per year). Most importantly, they receive the larger reward of feeling greater clarity and energy.

That system of TRIGGER (tracking hours asleep), RITUAL (sleep more), REWARD (feel incredible - well-rested, refreshed, less anxious, more focused, less unhealthy cravings, more peace!) is all that is needed to shift to healthier lifestyle habits.

Some people will need support in getting more sleep. When you’ve been neglecting your body for years, even decades, you will probably need an accountability partner, community support, professional coach, or even all three! Know that you’re not alone (the Center for Disease Control states that 1 in 3 adults aren’t getting enough sleep) and that the support you need exists.


Getting 8 or more hours of sleep is key to having a body...key to creating a home for the Holy Spirit in your God-gifted body! Don’t wait for someone else to reward your sleep hours. Set an earlier bedtime for yourself and then...

  • Post a tracking sheet on your refrigerator. Give yourself a smiley face the morning after you got into bed on time, a straight face if you were a little late, or a sad face if you totally blew off the earlier bedtime.

  • Pay yourself! For every week that you earn 5 smiley faces treat yourself! Or go the Aetna way and reward yourself after 20 consecutive nights of at least 8 hours of sleep. Treat yourself by purchasing a high quality massage oil to do self-massage with, spending an extra couple hours on Saturday playing with your favorite hobby, checking out a new art exhibit, getting a professional massage, soaking in an epsom salt bath with essential oils, getting friends together for a hike, going out for Sunday brunch, whatever it is that would act as a reward for you!

Track your hours, get your reward and feel the difference. If you don’t quite make the challenge, don’t feel defeated, you may want to apply for the next round of the Fruitful Living course which will provide you a coach, supportive community, and personal accountability partner, or reach out to a professional sleep consultant.

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