Perhaps it would be better to ask, how much sleep do you, as a writer actually get? Do your characters nudge you out of a sound sleep at two in the morning, or are you still plunking away at the keyboard when dawn breaks? Do you find yourself lying awake wondering how to turn the story around? Do obvious logical errors in the plot nag at you in bed?
And, if you are a blogger—and these days, chances are good on that account—are you finding yourself losing sleep over keeping up your blogging schedule?
I’ve heard it said that “writers are people, too”, and I suppose that’s so. The thing is, I know writers of different ages, skills and temperaments, and one thing that seems to be true is that writers aren’t like other people. Think I’m making that up? Look around. If you are reading this site you read other writing sites. You read books about writing, you know and talk to other writers, and, in the company of writers you might find you fit in pretty well. But if you are only in the company of writers you may have missed out on the fact that non-writers are not driven the same ways you are.
There. I’ve said it.
How much sleep does a writer actually need? A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society suggests that older people actually need less sleep each night to support their health. “But wait”, you say, “I’m not old!” (Give it time and luck. You will be.) But that’s not the point.
What I wonder is this: Do writers have different needs when it comes to sleep? Do their minds actually work differently? Does a brain that constantly looks for new things to say, and new ways of saying them need more (or less) sleep?
I used to hate the idea of naps, for instance. If I laid down in the middle of the day, if I fell asleep during daylight hours, I would wake up with a headache so bad I couldn’t think. These days, however, as I’m up late and usually out of bed by 5 or 5:30, there are days when I”m exhausted by 9 in the morning. Oh, yes. I’ve taken a nap at 9, and felt better the rest of the day.
What about you?
What about those of you who have jobs, kids, an active social life… Do you need more or less sleep than non-writers, spouses, friends or acquaintances? Are you getting that sleep?
Sorry. Did I wake you?
Today’s challenge is to take a look at your health and sleep requirements… and at those of the people around you.