Are you getting enough sleep to be creative?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about getting enough sleep to be creative…

The majority of people in the US don’t get nearly enough sleep. Roughly 33% get fewer than seven hours a night which is widely regarded by doctors and scientists as the bare minimum. (And some people require more than that. As much as 10 hours a night.)

I frequently decry the wrongheadedness of writing coaches who encourage their clients to get up “just 15 minutes earlier each day,” generally trying to back them up to a wake-up time of before 6 am. This horrifies me. You cannot create if you’re sleep deprived. And only a small percentage of people are true morning larks.

I’ve written before about how much sleep writers need and described how to improve your sleep, but a recent interview on the subject by Joanna Penn caught my attention.

In a post under the headline, “Improve your sleep,” Penn interviews Anne Bartolucci, a licensed psychologist and a certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist. She’s also the author of two non-fiction books, including Better Sleep for the Overachiever, and she writes under the name Cecilia Dominic as a best-selling steampunk and urban fantasy author.

Here is part of what Bartolucci has to say about sleep:

“If you think about it, we know a lot of why we need sleep because of what happens when we don’t sleep. So if you’re not sleeping or if you’ve had a rough night, we notice that we’re not as sharp the next day. We notice that it’s a lot harder to communicate maybe. It’s harder to focus on things, and we’re grumpy.

“It’s really hard to be creative when you’re in this foggy, grumpy, irritable state, especially if that’s your normal state because you haven’t been getting good sleep for a long time.”

To learn more about sleep and creativity, read or listen to the entire interview.

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