Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Creativity and Sleep Deprivation: A Vicious Cycle

Sometimes you just need a nap.
A by-product of working creatively, sleep deprivation can also be the bane of continued creativity, causing one to stare at walls and get seriously distracted by grass growing. After throwing oneself headlong into a creative endeavor and pulling an all-nighter, or for those of us pushing 30, a late-nighter (read: working after 11 PM), the brain gets a little sluggish the next day, and may require a little jump-start. Said jump-start can take many forms, including an invigorating shower, a morning run, or everyone's favorite pick-me-up, caffeine. Getting rid of distractions can also help one to retain focus, such as turning off the TV, closing the blinds (so you can't be mesmerized by that ornery grass), and signing out of Facebook (gasp!). If, after all that, drive does not present itself, sometimes a lazy day can be utilized to give yourself a "cooling off" period between bursts of energetic work, helping one to avoid burn-out from the sustained effort involved in wrapping up a big project. Time spent daydreaming may reveal an angle you haven't considered yet with your project, such as a new character development for your book or a novel use of materials for the latest craft project, and that eureka! moment may just be the poke in the butt you need to get started again. Just remember, if you're feeling snoozy, don't succumb to the urge to nap, no matter how alluring you pillow looks, unless you plan to work another late night and start the cycle once more.

Personally, I stayed up too late last night, and have spent the day wiping the sleep from my eyes and trying to comprehend simple conversation.  Not ideal when one is trying to write, but I always get my second wind around 8:30--when the babies go to bed :) How does the need for sleep affect your work, and how do you cope?


  1. I almost rock myself to sleep daily with my youngest. Therefore, I start the coffee pot when I fix lunch...ha!

  2. There's nothing better to lull you to sleep than cuddling a warm, snoozy baby!