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Insomnia is Detrimental To A Writer’s Mind

You can’t create without sleep

For many reasons, sleep does not come that easily for me. In my younger days this was less of a problem. I could survive on a few hours of sleep and still make it to class or work in the morning.

But the older I’ve gotten the more I found myself suffering from the lack of snoozing.

Sleep is mysterious. It’s not something that scientists completely understand. The only thing they can tell you with certainty is that if you do not sleep, you will die.

And anyone who struggles with insomnia can tell you that without proper sleep, your creativity will suffer.

If you’ve ever flown long distances and experienced jet lag, you know the confusion you body goes through as it readjusts to another time zone. When you forgo sleep, on purpose or accidentally, your brain still goes through that process of recalibrating.

Our circadian rhythm wants to be honored. 6–8 hours a sleep a night is preferable to keep our brains happy. Since creativity comes from our brains it is obvious that neglecting sleep will have an ill effect on our ability to write, draw, or just make things.

In the past month I’ve seen myself:

1.Become unfocused.

- I am unable to complete a project without desiring to skip to something new and shiner.

2. Making stupid mistakes.

  • As an English major and teacher I KNOW how to construct a sentence. More or less. Yet looking at some of my recent work I see grammar, spelling, and other errors that a less tired me would not have missed.

3. Getting dejected more often.

-Bad stats happen. Yet because my emotions are highly strung due to the lack of shut-eye, I am laid low by what I perceive as my ultimate failure.

In my case, and perhaps in yours, one reason my insomnia comes about is because I desire to work as much as possible. Sleep feels lazy and when I’m sleeping I can’t write, apply for jobs, respond to emails, or a host of other things that an awake person can do.

If I am not awake, some magical person who only requires 4 hours of sleep will take my work!

Yet this paranoia only makes me worse at my craft, and you as well if you’ve fallen into the no-sleep trap. Your best work generally will come about through alert writing and editing.

Like death, you may be able to cheat sleep once or twice. But the debt you pay will be taken out of your health, both mental and physical, and your ability to write effectively.



This story is published in a Few Words, Medium’s brand new publication which only accepts stories that have less than 500 words.

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