Trying something a bit different with this post. This was pitched and provided by Sarah Jones to be of interest to ironSoap.com readers on her subject of expertise, sleep health. If you enjoy this article, please leave a comment below and I can look into providing more guest features like this.


Many writers plunge through the depths of the nighttime darkness trying to finish writing their novel. In order to complete a word count for the day or a chapter or two, sleep often times becomes the one thing we give up as we chase our goals. But should you?

The Effects of No Sleep

Productivity and creative thinking are directly affected by sleep, or lack thereof. Our mental performance as writers is challenged by the amount of sleep we receive each day. Harvard Med has studies that show that lack of sleep stunts our creative thinking and our mental performance and quick-thinking cognitive abilities. In short, no sleep means dull and thoughtless writing.

Lack of sleep has negative effects on our creative processes as well as our mood and our health. No sleep often creates a foul mood as fatigue and sleepiness set in. During hours of sleep at night, our bodies recuperate and systems restore themselves. Not getting enough sleep challenges our health, mood, and cognitive abilities and can stunt the writing process instead of flourishing creativity.

When to Write, When to Sleep

The challenge we writers have is to make time for everything. Sleep is a must, as is carving time for writing our novel. Both can be achieved by practicing some techniques for a healthier and more restful experience.

Designate your writing times. Often times writers procrastinate and avoid writing, even if we have a novel to finish. You can either bully yourself and charge through to accomplish your writing, or listen to the passive procrastinator that doesn’t “feel” like writing today. A writer writes! Push through and treat it as a job and get that word count in so you can sleep tonight. Accomplishing daily goals in your writing will ease stress and anxiety and allow for a restful evening.

The Magic of Yoga Nidra

If you are getting a good amount of sleep at night, but still feel tired, consider trying yogic sleep. Yogic sleep or Yoga Nidra is a technique used that attains a “restorative sleep,” otherwise a sleep where you are completely relaxed and rested but are still fully aware during the process. Yogic sleep may take some practice, but once it is completed successfully, the benefits of a rested mind and body will help you finish your novel.

To try Yogic sleep, we first must engage in breathing exercises to steady our breathing and lower our heart rate and blood pressure.  The next step is to create a resolve, or attempt to manifest a factor that we wish to have in our lives such as peace or courage. The next steps involve separating the mind form the body, embrace the awareness of any feelings and emotions, and then to visualize as the process concludes. It is said that 45 minutes of this type of restorative sleep equates to approximately 3 hours of regular sleep, the benefits of sleep can be achieved in a much shorter period.

Yogic sleep is an excellent option for our bodies and minds to rest and recuperate without the hours and hours of sleep that we have avoided. Breathing exercises, organizing and planning, and getting proper exercise are also researched and proven elements that help de-stress our lives and increase productivity.

We need sleep to think, and we need our thinking to write. Shoving hours of sleepless writing into a novel will get you closer to completion, but may make for a massive editing headache. Sleep and rest increase our brain activity, which is the heart and soul of a writer’s world, so don’t stay up too late tonight, because you need your rest.


Sarah is the Editor of Sleepy Deep. Feeling the repercussions of being an irregular sleeper for far too long, she decided to do something about it. She learned why sleep is so important and how to maximize it, and is now helping others who are struggling to find their right sleep routine.

by Sandra Grills

“Mama, I need a hug” a small voice calls into the darkness. She believes, even at the age of eight, that her little voice will be heard. She trusts that someone will be there. Not just any someone, her Mama, ready to give her a hug.

With a sigh only perceptible in my sleep weary mind, I roll over and push myself out of bed. My eyes open just a crack as I shuffle down the hall. She’s sleeping when I reach her room—a little cherub running around in the land of nod—but experience warns against leaving. It would only result in a louder, more urgent call. I reach down and do what many would consider an unthinkable sin, I wake a sleeping child.

Delicate eyelids flutter open, and a smile cracks the flawless face with a look that says “I knew you’d come.” Heavy arms reach up and claim their hug. The smile continues, even after the arms drift back onto the bed, and the eyes slide closed.

Sleeping

Mark Probst via Creative Commons

I tiptoe past the creaks in the floor, careful to lay my feet on soft carpet, before I lay a weary head back on my pillow. A little noise floats up the hallway. The contented sigh of a sleeping child who feels safe.

 

 


Sandra GrillsSandra has been a director, a business owner, a project manager, a bookbinder, and a mother. Her current passion is reading and writing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where she lives with her husband, two amazing children, and a gecko named Captain Doug.