To be a productive writer, your body and mind should feel great and be at peak performance. Writers will see the importance of sleep with the quality and quantity of writing being written–all from getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Here’s why it is so important to get plenty of sleep for your writing and how to make sure you catch all your Zs.
Sleep Helps with Learning and Memory
Memory consolidation is the process of committing new information to your memory, and this is where the importance of sleep comes in. Memory consolidation occurs mainly when you’re asleep, and those that sleep after learning a new task perform better on tests. If you’re trying to learn something new for your writing, or you’re trying to remember where the plot is going, sleeping will lock in the facts.
Sleep Helps with Problem Solving
Dreams are your mind’s way of working through problems and finding solutions. Yes, even your wacky, abstract dreams! Writers are constantly seeking solutions in their writing, be it character development or structuring an essay, so allow your mind to shuffle through the possibilities by sleeping.
Sleep Helps with Metabolism and Weight
The importance of sleep on our bodies is that it maintains the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates as well as the levels of hormones that affect our appetites. So if you don’t want to be midnight snacking and packing the pounds, sleep off the pounds naturally.
Sleep Helps with Focus and Safety
When you don’t sleep at night, you’re more inclined to nod off during the day. This can lead to self-injury, traffic accidents, and poor-decision-making. Remind yourself of the importance of sleep at night when you’re delaying your bedtime so that the following day you can make headway on your writing project (and avoid accidents).
Sleep Helps with Mood
Why go through the day irritable, impatient, moody, and unable to concentrate? Writing already relies on how perky you’re feeling, so sleep your way to positivity and productiveness.
Sleep Helps with Cardiovascular Health and Preventing Disease
Fighting illness should be reason enough to recognize the importance of sleep. Sleep disorders lead to hypertension, increased stress, and irregular heartbeat while sleep deprivation alters the functioning of your immune system, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Maintaining 7-8 hours of sleep has been proven to help fight cancer. Rest is just as important as activity for your body’s ability to defend against diseases.
You get it. You see the importance of sleep for your writing. But it’s a challenge in itself to get restful sleep every night. Try these tips to get the restful sleep you deserve when you’re feeling restless.
- Create a dark bedroom. Block all ways sun can creep under your eyelids so that you don’t wake up too soon. Pull thick curtains over your window, wear a sleeping mask, sleep underneath your pillow or covers if that’s what it takes!
- Create a quiet bedroom. Turn off all machines or noisemakers inside and surrounding the bedroom that will keep you awake. Ask others to be quiet after your bedtime. If you fall asleep faster to soothing sounds or need to block out the noise from outside, play pre-recorded sounds of a waterfall or white noise (like a fan).
- Designate your bedroom as only a sleeping space. That means no television, no computer, and no arguing in your bedroom. Keep your writing workspace out of the bedroom so that you’re not constantly thinking of tomorrow’s work. If your writing workspace must be in your bedroom, try these sleeping tips:
- Stop working 2 or more hours before sleeping.
- Turn computer off or put in hibernation mode. Hide or turn off lights from computer and printer that will light up the room or remind you of your work.
- Try separating writing workspace from rest of the room by a curtain or shoji screen.
- Avoid violence or strong themes that cause intense emotions for at least one hour before bed. That includes books, films, video games, arguments, and discussions. Find activities that are calming and optimistic.
- Exercise regularly, but not 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Wake without an alarm clock whenever possible. If you must be up early in the morning for work or an appointment, set an alarm for the absolute latest time you must be out of bed and try training yourself to wake up at your designated time naturally.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening. Both prevent deep sleeping through the night, so stop caffeine intake after lunch for best results.
- Regularly go to bed at a certain time. Have a nightly routine that trains your mind and body to prepare for sleep before you crawl underneath the covers.
With deadlines and writing goals, the writer will quickly learn the importance of sleep just from practice. Get the restful sleep you deserve so that you are ready to go at daybreak to achieve writing success.
What are your suggestions to get restful sleep? Post your tips below!