Getting paid to sleep — you might say it’s a dream come true. The truth is, hospitals will pay you to sleep — or not sleep, in some cases — so they can learn more about sleep and sleep-related disorders. So how can you get paid to sleep? And how much will you earn? Here’s what you need to know.
Find a Sleep Center Near You
Sleep centers are accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and you can find a listing of them on the AASM website. Look for the box that says, “Find a Sleep Center,” enter your address, city or ZIP code and select a search radius. You’ll get a listing of accredited sleep centers in the specified area.
To determine which sleep centers are running paid studies, you’ll need to go to the website of the individual sleep center. Those located in teaching hospitals are your best bet for paid studies.
There are many different kinds of studies, and each has different criteria. Some studies are looking for volunteers of a certain age or those who have a specific health condition. They may look for study subjects of a certain race or socioeconomic status. In short, you may need to do a little legwork to find a study you’re qualified for.
Sleep Studies for Those With Specific Conditions
Many sleep studies focus on potential treatments for specific conditions. Sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous sleep disorder characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, affects many people and is the subject of many studies. If you have this condition, you may be eligible for studies like one at Harvard Medical School that pays up to $900 for a single one-hour screening visit and four 12-hour overnights.
Research on the impact of sleep on those who work nontraditional hours, sometimes called shift workers, is also ongoing. If you work overnight hours, or your shifts change periodically, you may have additional opportunities to participate in studies that focus on how changing sleep patterns can impact productivity and mental health.
Overnight Sleep Studies
Some studies require you to stay overnight in the hospital for just one night. One study on the effect of sleep on memory requires an overnight stay and MRI scan, and you also have to track your health and complete a survey. Compensation for this survey is up to $350 plus meals.
Multiday Sleep Studies
Some sleep studies require an inpatient hospital stay for multiple days. For example, a study currently being conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston requires a screening process of up to three weeks, followed by a seven- to eight-day inpatient study. The study is enrolling healthy volunteers, ages 18 to 30, and pays up to $2,500.
A study on circadian rhythms that requires four screening visits, a regular sleep schedule for two to four weeks and a five-day stay in the sleep research laboratory pays up to $1,800.
Men and women ages 20-45 may qualify for a sleep deprivation study that consists of four weeks of screening and a 10-day hospital stay. Other requirements of this study may include personal health tracking, an injection or IV, and a blood draw. This study pays up to $4,000.
For those who have the time, another Brigham and Women’s study requires a 33-day inpatient hospital stay after a two-week screening period. They’re looking for healthy 20- to 40-year-olds who don’t smoke and take no medications. This study pays up to $6,250.
At-Home Sleep Studies
Not all sleep studies require you to stay overnight in a hospital (although inpatient studies tend to pay better). One study on the effect of shift work on sleep is enrolling healthcare workers who work regular eight-hour overnight shifts and are 50-65 years old. This study is conducted completely remotely, so you don’t even need to be local to the hospital to participate. Compensation for the two-week study is up to $500.
What Happens During a Sleep Study?
Every study is different, and you should receive specific information about what to expect at your study before you agree to participate. Typically, you’ll have to agree to provide blood samples, and have your vitals (temperature, blood pressure, pulse, etc.) taken. Some studies require that you are unaware of the time of day, which means you’ll be spending time in a room with no windows, TV or smartphone.
Any other conditions of your particular study should be explained in detail before you begin. If you think you may have difficulty completing any part of the study, or if you do not understand what will be required, ask. In most cases, you will only get paid if you complete the entire study, so be sure you understand exactly what that entails.
If the idea of spending a few days sleeping, with no disruptions from technology, and getting paid for it appeals to you, sleep study participation may be for you.
Information is accurate as of May 17, 2022.