Millions of people in the United States routinely suffer from sleepless nights that many researchers believe are seriously detrimental to their overall health. Numerous hospitals devote entire departments to the study of sleep – and they are willing to pay you thousands of dollars just to watch you nap.
Most studies want healthy adults with consistent sleep patterns. I ticked both boxes and made $ 12,000 while participating in two studies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Here’s what I learned from it, and how you, too, can be paid to sleep.
How to Qualify to Make Money While You Sleep
Some cities have a higher concentration of facilities that sleep study participants pay for, but it’s easy to find Facilities in your area.
When you find a sleep center near you, they usually run multiple studies at the same time. You don’t qualify for everyone, but you can qualify for more than you think.
Read the details of each study carefully so that you are only applying to those for whom you qualify. You will need to take a survey frequently, share your personal information, and confirm that you understand the goals and remuneration of the study. For example, the questionnaires I filled out included:
- An age window: Most of the studies look for volunteers in a certain age group.
- Duration of hospital stays: Make sure you know what you’re signing up for, whether it’s a few hours or several nights.
- Payment: You should make sure that studying is well worth your time and effort before joining.
- Specific lifestyle or medical requirements for studying: Some studies look for volunteers with specific needs or qualifications, e.g. B. People with sleep apnea or people who work outside of the traditional 9-to-5 shift.
- Convenience with the learning methods: Recruiters want to make sure you’re up to the challenge. While the questionnaire doesn’t tell you everything about the study, to make sure you don’t tailor your answers to what you think the recruiters want to hear. However, they want you to know what they are trying to watch.
Don’t fumble with your answers. Being honest is the only way to successfully master this process – and contribute to the collection of accurate scientific data!
What happens after you are admitted to a sleep study?
Once you’ve been accepted, you’ll find that you have just become the recruiter’s best friend! She’ll talk to you all the time and want to see you.
Next, go to the hospital for a series of briefings and tests. You will likely meet the attending physician who will give you a thorough explanation of the study and its processes.
At this point, you will likely take two exams:
- A psychological examination: The goal is to make sure you can handle isolation and a hospital environment in general.
- A physical exam: Like a normal doctor, a nurse will weigh you, take a small blood sample, ask you to pee in a cup, etc.
The best part? This is paid time. If you get cold feet and want to stop at this point, you will still be making money for the parts of the process that you completed.
Compensation varies, but most researchers want to dangle a carrot so you can move on. Most of the time, you can expect to pay anywhere from $ 25 to $ 100 for every step you take.
Most institutions are really good at explaining the payout, but if yours doesn’t explain it at the beginning, ask. This is also your opportunity to discuss when and how you will be paid and how your payment will be taxed.
After your exams, you will meet the recruiter whom you will call every day for the duration of your studies. At that point, I actually stopped calling her my best friend and started calling her “my mother”. She gave me one special watch to monitor my light and activity patterns and keep an eye on what I was doing.
You will also keep a physical sleep log that will document your progress as you wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. To ensure accuracy, call your new “mother” when you do this.
That means mom has confidence in you. She wants you to succeed, and if you have a few nights of curfew, you probably won’t get kicked out of the study.
What to expect when you … sleep
No, it’s not just comfortable pillows and sweet dreams. Researchers pay participants because these studies have some drawbacks.
In my experience, they sound worse than they actually are. Here’s what you should be prepared for:
During the study period, you will likely be completely cut off from the outside world. Typically, you don’t have any time information, which means you don’t have a watch, computer, or phone. They also have no windows to observe light patterns. Day and night while you’re in the study, the doctor determines what can be a little worrying.
I only took four days of studies (for which I made $ 4,000) and saw others for 31 days (usually $ 10,000). Start small and work your way up once you’ve tried it once or twice.
Unusual positions or challenges
You may need to maintain a “constant posture” for part of the study. In some cases, you may have to sit in the same position for six hours, or you may be kept awake at a 45-degree angle for two days in low-light conditions. That depends on the study. Make sure you can manage it before signing in.
And no, I’m not kidding about the “constant” part – you don’t have to get up or switch positions to use the toilet, so you may have to use a bed pan. That was the hardest part of my studies!
Needles and other medical devices
You may have to endure an IV, rectal thermometer, and electrodes on your head during at least part of the study.
Did you just say Rectal thermometer?! Why yes, I did it. There’s a reason these studies are paying big bucks.
The technicians and researchers make all of these procedures and measurements as simple as possible. The thermometer helps them make sure you are maintaining a normal body temperature, and it’s not as big a deal as it sounds.
03/18/21 @ 10:43 am
03/02/21 @ 9:57 am
10/17/19 at 5:00 p.m.
03/02/21 @ 9:56 am
The rewards for participating in sleep studies
No, everything is not easy – but the rewards are great. I made $ 4,000 for a four day study and $ 8,000 for a seven day study.
Unless you donate blood or follow instructions, you can do pretty much anything you want outside of activities that increase your heart rate.
When you want to relax, just hang in your most comfortable clothes and listen to music, write letters, draw or paint. I finished several books that had collected dust on my shelves.
Or take the time to work. A technician told me that another participant was working on his architecture thesis while he was studying!
You’ll enjoy a full tech clean, interact with interesting technicians and researchers, contribute to science, and most importantly, get a great grease check. Not bad for a couple of nights of work!
Jillian Shea is an employee of The Penny Hoarder.
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