Invest in Sleep

A frugal person strives to get the biggest bang for her buck. Everyone spends about a third of their life sleeping. That means that spending a bit of money on sleep isn't just justifiable, it's smart. Besides eating right and exercising, no lifestyle change pays bigger dividends than improving one's quantity and quality of sleep. Here's a guide on how to spend that money wisely.

Mattress

Buy a good mattress.

Unless you are deep in credit card debt or have taken a vow of poverty, there is almost no good reason for sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress. Yes, a good mattress can be expensive, but it's worth it. Before you rush out and drop $700 on a mattress, keep in mind that mattresses are cash cows for retailers– even in the high-margin world of furniture sales. There's a ton of room for negotiation. Shop around and compare. Use the “price match” or “price beat” guarantees offered by a lot of retailers. They offer such promises because they can significantly undercut their listed price and still make a profit. So don't be the sucker that pays MSRP for a mattress.

White Noise Machine

Make some (white) noise.

Noise – whether it's people with lead feet in an upstairs apartment or road traffic outside the window – can have a disastrous impact on quality of sleep. One great way to mitigate obnoxious sounds is to generate white noise using a fan or purpose-built white noise machine. Look to spend about $50 for a powerful machine with variable settings. Make sure the machine is small and portable because, after sleeping with white noise, it's hard to sleep without it when you're away from home. Combine white noise with ear plugs and sleep becomes a dreamy experience. (Sorry about the pun.)
Put on headphones. Active noise-canceling headphones are an even more advanced (and expensive) solution. But they're only an option for people who sleep on their backs, and who don't toss-and-turn in the night.

Sheets

Indulge in nice sheets.

Sheets are expensive any way you slice it. Why not spend an extra $20 to get luxurious, comfortable sheets? A higher thread count will probably feel better but don't fixate on that number. Pick sheets based on what feels good to you.

Pillow

Pick the right pillow.

Yes, it's possible to buy a $3 pillow. But this is a practical example of the adage “you get what you pay for”. An under-stuffed, cheap pillow is going to compress into a hard, flat husk of its former self. Instead, get a quality pillow for $15 to $20 that suits your sleeping style (e.g. side-sleeper, etc.). Feather or fibre or foam is a matter of personal preference -- just don't waste money and potential enjoyment by cheaping out on this important component of your sleep system.

Just a few hundred dollars in carefully selected sleep-related purchases can provide a ton of pleasure. That's great value-for-money. These tools can improve quality of sleep and maybe even quantity, since they can help you fall asleep faster. But you still need to give yourself enough time to get a good night's rest.

Time is money, so consider it another scarce resource you can invest in much-needed and well-deserved sleep.