The Sleep Deprived Writer

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Someone once said that he couldn’t remember the last time he had four-hour night’s sleep. Looking at him, there was nothing wrong with his appearance and daily performance. He seemed healthy and strong and went about his normal daily business. I guess he’s one of those extraordinary people around.

Sleep is as substantial as food, sound sleep is synonymous with good health and every adult human being needs at least eight hours of sleep every day to maintain a healthy body.

Unfortunately, it’s a busy, stress-filled life, with so much to do, so much to accomplish, little time. It becomes even harder for a writer, who needs the quietness of the middle of the night and early hours for better imaginative or factual writing.

Middle of the night is very essential to a writer. Taking this away from him is impeding his writing activity.

What Do You Do?

Do you go to sleep while loads of work await? Will you ever be able to sleep well with those unfinished projects everywhere? How can a writer ever sleep when all he has is quiet hours of the night?

I Stayed Awake At Night To Write.

When I started writing my first two novellas in 2013 – that was six years ago, I was determined to finish both of them in three months and  I stayed awake into the early hours of the morning, writing slept between 2 to 3 am just and woke up by 5 am on workdays.

It wasn’t hard for me to do because I was very passionate – a hundred per cent, you know, when you’re starting a project you’re passionate about and you have this burning desire to make it happen, I didn’t feel like I was sleep-deprived and physically, I was fit past a fiddle but that was not for long.

Three months later, and with continuous wake keeping, I began to notice a lot of abnormalities in my system. I felt tired and dizzy. I found it difficult to concentrate and hard to remember things. My digestive system felt funny with grumblings I couldn’t understand.

I also found out that, my writing turned bad and I needed to depend more on external aid to extract thoughts and ideas.

My writing process began to retard as I continued to feel very tired.

Funny enough even at this stage, it didn’t occur to me that the whole chaos within me was because of lack of adequate sleep. 

It happened that my body got so tired that it refused to keep awake with me anymore. That’s when I began to sleep by 10 pm at most to wake up at 5 am.  Lo and behold, after a week of sound sleep, I felt this peacefulness within me and every symptom I had disappeared. I felt my whole body was delighted and thankful.

What Happens To Sleep Deprived Writer?

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A writer said that writing sleep deprived is like writing drunk. While writing, you think you’re at your best, and that you have come up with your best writing ever which actually read well to you, only to wake up in the morning to find out that everything you’ve written makes no sense at all.

Sleep deprivation can decay the mind and body and its damaging effect can lead to other mental and physical illnesses.

Understand that Sleep Impacts Mental And Physical Function Of The Body

Sleep impacts brain function in a big way. A healthy amount of sleep gives the brain, the ability to adapt to input. It means that with sleep deprivation, it becomes hard for the brain to process what is learned during the day and this interferes with thinking pattern and makes it hard to remember things.

The entire body system; the central nervous system, the immune system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, cardiovascular system and the endocrine system can all be affected by prolonged lack of sleep.

So, not just the brain and thinking pattern that get affected, but the entire body can be affected badly by prolonged lack of sleep.

Do this;

Write whenever you feel is best for you but please make sure you get adequate sleep at night, 7 to 9 hours will do.

It sounds unrealistic and easier-said-than- done right?

The truth is there is no better way to keep the body and mind sound than having a deep sleep at night as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I find the early morning writing more productive and there are writers who have discovered this time and think it’s the best time for them to write.

So, instead of staying awake at night most of the time to write, make use of early morning often and night hours a few times.

© Florence Ezekafor

8 thoughts on “The Sleep Deprived Writer”

  1. Amen! Sleep is so important for almost everything. I can see why people go short to make time for things they are passionate about, but its not good for your body to do it for too long.


  2. I am definitely better off writing early in the morning. My brain doesn’t seem to handle complex tasks very well once it gets late. I do often draft tired, but you’re absolutely right. The best writing comes from a well rested mind.

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  3. That’s imperative but I’m myself a night owl. I get to sleep in the evening after college, though there’s a need for a sound sleep no matter what. Thanks for this post!

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    1. Whatever works for you is good. I gave an example with the man who slept less than for hours each night for a long time and he’s fine. The most important thing is to make sure you’re not deprived of good sleep.

      Liked by 1 person

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