I think many people have a view of writers as people who keep crazy hours and who drink buckets of coffee to stay awake after long nights of creating, and this may be somewhat true. The muse does strike at odd times but also quite often writing may be a second job / hobby that you fit around another career which can lead to you to chip away at precious sleep time.
Losing a bit of sleep is not a big deal and is just a general part of life. But its very easy for a lack of sleep to become the norm when are you trying to get everything done and I know many people who will forgo sleep in favour of completing a task / blog post/ chapter.
However I think it is very much time to remember what a good nights sleep gives you.
- Increased productivity
Productivity can mean many things but studies have shown over and over again that a good nights sleep gives you an increased focus time (you can concentrate on a task longer), improved decision making and improved memory.
- Greater Creativity
This article in particular (Tuck) provides a nice overview of studies related to sleep and creativity (although it did leave me wondering how they measured creativity). They also discuss the concept of ‘sleeping on it’ and why its a good idea to think about something you need to resolve before bed, as it can trigger your unconscious mind to work on it while your sleeping.
- Reduce Stress
Sleep has been shown to reduce levels of stress and a good night’s sleep can decrease anxiety and leads to more emotional stability.
Obviously the inverse of all these thing occur when you repetitively have less sleep than you should or if you continuously burn the candle at both ends. I actually find the subject of sleep deprivation really fascinating in a morbid kind of way e.g the symptoms and negative outcomes – I would definitely recommend reading about it.
A good nights sleep is not always easy to achieve but there are some simple ways you can help increase the chances of a restful night.
One of the biggies is setting yourself a nighttime routine. Now this doesn’t have to be set in stone – but trying to keep to a similar bed time and doing things in a particular order can teach your body and mind that its time to sleep.
Keeping your bedroom just for sleeping and ensuring its a nice environment (tidy!) helps to get you in the mood for sleeping. Its sometimes hard to keep the entire room for sleeping, I in fact have my PC in my bedroom which makes this practically impossible but I do try and make sure that I only sleep in my bed e.g. I wont sit on my bed and work or read, I try and take that elsewhere.
Another final tip would be to try and get 10 mins of outside time somewhere in the day, this triggers the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
The takeaway point is remember to invest in sleep and you will reap the rewards later. So snuggle up in bed and get some shut eye.
Do you have any tips for a good nights rest?