>> Nov 18, 2016
Good quality sleep is essential to every aspect of your life. It’s hard to stay alert during work meetings if you had a poor night’s sleep. Even worse, as your ability to operate machinery, multitask, and stay alert decreases, you’re also much more likely to be cranky and angry.
For those that are creatively inclined, sleep is even more important, as it allows the mind to explore undeveloped ideas and allows your imagination to grow. If you’re wondering how getting more sleep can help you write better, read on for information about sleep and helpful tips about writing.
Getting Enough Sleep
Regardless of your job—whether you’re a parent, police officer, attorney, librarian, or writer—you perform better if you’re well rested. Sleep helps you remain calm whether you’re dealing with a stubborn toddler, an aloof teenager, an unhelpful coworker, or an aggressive driver. It also helps your mind operate efficiently throughout your entire day.
While there isn’t consensus on how much sleep is enough, most experts say 7-9 hours per night for adults is healthy. Some people operate better with different amounts of sleep and while a few may feel well-rested after just 6 hours, others need closer to 10 in order to face the day.
Each week experiment with different amounts of sleep and record which weeks you felt the most alert and energetic. Then, make it a habit to sleep that number of hours every night.
Getting Creative After Hours
Sleep is more important than just keeping you alert, it also contributes to your creativity and passion. For many, a creative job is much lower priority that a well-paying job, which generally means you get creative after a full day at work. Without a decent night’s sleep, you may just choose to crawl right into bed or sit in front of the TV until it’s time to sleep. Eventually you’ll notice that you made no progress over the last few weeks, leading many artists to give up their passions due to frustration.
If you’re well-rested, working on your passion after a long day at your regular job is much easier. You’re very likely to have more energy to work on you current project and you’ll experience personal satisfaction as your project reaches completion.
Capturing Your Creative Ideas
If you’re struggling to get used to a new schedule or you’ve reached a block in your creativity, you might want some tips to help you capture your inspiration. While most of these work best if you’re well-rested, you can also use them on days when you want to write, but you’re a little too tired.
Keep a notebook by your bed.
Some people find that their most creative ideas come just as they’re falling asleep. As the noises of the day fade away and your mind is winding down, ideas for stories, characters, plot lines, and dialogue might emerge. You can capture these gems if you have a notebook—or even a voice recorder—by the side of the bed. It’s possible that you’ll remember these great ideas in the morning if you don’t capture them on paper or recording, but why risk it?
Keep a notebook with you.
If you always have a notebook with you, then you can take a moment during the day to write down ideas. You can also use a recorder for this, though some might feel self-conscious speaking into a recorder in public.
Meditate creatively—don’t just fall asleep.
Take a few minutes during the day to meditate and mull over your creative writing ideas. If you’ve had a good night’s sleep, then you’re more likely to stay awake during this meditation. After a poor night’s sleep, a meditation session can too easily turn into a nap.
How to Fall Asleep
If you’re not able to sleep as much as your body needs, there are solutions. You may have already tried exercising, chamomile tea, avoiding caffeine, spritzing your pillow with lavender, taking a warm bath, and making sure your room is dark and quiet. If you haven’t had positive results, you might want to consider alternative sleep disorder remedies.
Alternative remedies can be CPAP machines, cognitive therapy, or a special retainer to help you breathe so you don’t wake up during the night. You can also explore supplements, acupuncture, or hormone balancing treatments. Start with less aggressive treatments, but if they don’t work, speak to a doctor about stronger methods to restore normal sleep.
Writing and Sleep
While it may take a few months before you find the right remedy to your sleeplessness, do your research and experiment with different treatments. Don’t give up on your writing and push through to ensure you get your ideas on paper every day.
Carl Turner is a freelance writer from Santa Monica, California. He has spent most of his post-collegiate career studying the effects of insomnia on the brain and has researched effective ways to combat a lack of sleep and maximize on productivity and creativity.