It’s the dream job: making money while you sleep. And while it can seem impossible, it’s actually not. Paid sleep studies actually exist—in the name of science! Research has never sounded so good.
Or so lucrative! In fact, one woman recently made a whopping $12,000–just for taking a snooze. Jillian Shea shared her story with The Penny Hoarder—and we’re so glad she did!
If you’re an adult with relatively normal sleep patterns (pick me, pick me!), you could be a good candidate to take part in a sleep study.
Where Can You Find Open Sleep Studies?
Such studies are typically offered at most major hospitals, and all you have to do is search.
For example, a quick Google search led me to the Georgetown University Medical Center website, where I was able to scroll through countless studies. Shea, the aforementioned sleeper with the big payout, entered two different studies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Just don’t answer any ads on sketchy websites. They’ll probably not pay you, and they might sell your organs on the black market (joking, but not really).
What Sleep Study Participation Typically Looks Like
There are a number of hoops you’ll need to jump through in order to be accepted into a study, such as blood and urine tests, but all of that is paid time. According to Shea, you can expect up to $100 for every step of the process you complete.
But let’s get to the important part: the sleeping.
There are some downsides. After all, you’re taking part in a research study that probably isn’t about how to find the comfiest mattress for you.
Isolation is one thing to expect. You’ll be separated from the outside world during the observational periods, without your phone, windows, clocks or anything else to signify time cues. For how long?
“I’ve taken part in studies as short as four days (for which I earned $4,000) and have seen others as long as 31 days (typically paying $10,000),” Shea writes. “Start small and work your way up once you’ve tried it once or twice.”
You also might have to wear medical gear while you sleep (or attempt to sleep), including an IV, a rectal thermometer, a heart monitor or any other number of devices.
Some studies also require specific postures for part of the study, like sitting up straight for six hours. And they really mean no moving, so get ready to use a bedpan, Shea says.
But there are also big upsides (aside from the obvious cash payouts).
“When you’re not giving blood or following instructions, you can do pretty much whatever you want outside of activities that would raise your heart rate,” Shea writes. “Hang out in your comfiest clothes and listen to music, write letters, draw or paint. I never make time to create comics, but I completed three during one study, not to mention finishing several books that had been collecting dust on my shelves.”
If that sounds good to you (and you can ignore the rectal thermometer), then see if you can sign up for any sleep studies in your area! Sweet dreams.
Other Ways To Earn Money
If sleeping in a lab doesn’t appeal to you, there are a few other ways to earn money while you sleep.
Consider taking overnight babysitting or nannying jobs. These typically pay pretty well because you’re working for at least eight hours! Of course, you’ll need to earn the parents’ trust, but once you have, you’re in!
We’ve found overnight babysitting jobs for doctors and nurses who work through the night. When one parent is away for the week traveling, they need someone to pinch hit.
There are also tons of other scientific studies that need your help that don’t involve sleeping.
If you’ve got a research university nearby, this is a super easy and totally legit way to make a few extra bucks.
You won’t get rich doing this, but it’s still something.
Here’s an example: Northwestern University was recently looking for people who were right-handed and native English speakers. They were willing to pay participants $30 for the first hour and $20 for every hour after that to solve problems and play word games.
If you’ve got a specific health problem, you could also sign up for a clinical trial. Sometimes researchers are also looking for health volunteers. In addition to your local university or medical center, a good place to look for clinical trials near you is ClinicalTrials.gov, a site run by the National Institutes of Health.
If you’re not already investing in your company’s 401(k) or another retirement program, you should also consider opening a high-yield savings account. That way, your money will be making you money while you sleep.
What is it? A high-yield account is just like any other bank account, accept it pays a super high interest rate. These rates change, but for the most part, you can earn roughly 1 percent with these types of savings account. The best part? Interest is deposited monthly, meaning you’ll start to see the fruits of your “investment” fast.