September 19 marked three years since I first started this blog, and I completely missed it. There’s nothing especially special about keeping up a blog for three years—but wait a sec, don’t most people give up after a week or something?
But that’s not the point of this month’s blog post, as awesome as that feat is. Everyone who writes and keeps up a blog for any considerable point of time will reach milestones like this. That’s not the exciting bit. What’s exciting is, come the end of each month, I’ll write something new and enjoyable for you to peruse and enjoy. Whether it be a short story, a critique of the media or some simple writing tips, that’s what I’m here for. When I started, I was in my second year of university, awkwardly stumbling around the internet trying to make my mark.
This also isn’t the point of this month’s blog post. What’s happening to me!? No—wait a second—this happens every month! I start with some random stuff, and then lead into the more exciting stuff. In this month’s case—sleep!
What? What’s so important about sleep? you may ask, dumbfounded. I know all there is to know about sleep!
Recently I came across a Clickhole article—yes, Clickhole—and the article really intrigued me. It was called The Sleeping Habits of Five Geniuses. The ironic part was that I was reading this piece in the early hours of the morning; a time when I should usually be asleep. At least I don’t follow the “true and tested” “sleep cycles” of those famous people. A thousand and one excuses about why I stay up so late started to run through my head: creative minds work better at night; Clickhole runs on an American schedule so all their important stuff appears on my Facebook feed at 4 or 5 in the morning; working nights means I do my best work in the early hours; I’ve actually been able to write with this bleary sleepless brain spurring me on, etc, etc.
Does our sleep cycle really matter in the whole scheme of things? Does it truly matter whether you’re up at the crack of dawn, or still pottering away into the early hours of the morning?
Many successful people claim that their success is due to their sleep cycle—that their getting up before the sun rises increases their productivity. However, I’ve found most creative minds tend to be night people. Just check here and here. Research seems to indicate that early risers are happier, but night owls seem to be the most successful and richer. Here’s some older research to back that up (ha,ha):
[it can be concluded] We found no evidence…going to bed and getting up early was associated with any health, socioeconomic, or cognitive advantage…If anything, owls were wealthier than larks, though there was no difference in their health or wisdom.
In the end though, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re up before the birds are, or you’re still lazing around until well into the afternoon. I’m not here to lecture you. No, that’s for all those faux-progressive sites, your mother, and Great Aunt Bessie. No. If you feel more productive at 5am with the sun rising just beneath your curtains and the smell of fresh coffee awakening your senses, then all the power to you. However, if you’re casually getting out of bed halfway through the afternoon to the afternoon romance-drama on daytime TV alongside a double espresso and the flashing lights of your laptop, then that’s awesome too!
The good thing about writers—and artists, and game developers, and cartoonists, and musicians, and everyone—is that we’re all different, we all have different lives and varying ways of going about releasing our creativity and plonking it out for the world to see. The stats say that you’re more likely to be creative and left-brained if your greatest enemy is that evil sun, and you’re more likely to be logical and right-brained if you fear that dastardly moon.
I’ve been making some great progress on my novel thanks to night-time—well, that, coupled with a crippling addiction to The Fall—but we’re all inspired at very different times. Maybe you don’t care whether it’s 3am or 3pm to let your muse do the talking; maybe you just need a good cup of coffee, the latest Taylor Swift song (I’m not judging you), reliving the grand nostalgia of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, or simply lying back and letting your fingers do the talking.
So, are you most creative, at your peak productive hours, in the morning, afternoon, or night? Do you need fifty-five double mocha-fat non-fat babycinos before you can even consider being productive, or does the brilliance of existence (or liquid water on Mars!) just spur you to do what you do?