Guest Writer Sarah Jones 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.
Don’t Reduce Sleep if You Want to Reduce Stress
Deadlines. New projects, writer’s block, long hours. It happens to all writers. When that idea hits you at two in the morning, you may find yourself still typing away at eight am. Which may be great for the writing project but there’s another day shot without proper sleep and you still need to get things done. In order to write and function in your daily life, it’s vital to have proper and regular sleep. Why?
Keeping your mind well rested will keep you focused. Not just on writing but everything you need to do during the day. If you are tired and all you can think about is getting sleep, you aren’t going to be very productive. Proper rest will eliminate that and allow you to get your mind on the task.
We’ve all been there, staring at the blank sheet of paper or screen. Nothing is more frustrating for a writer than being stuck. That elusive ideas or plot dancing just out of reach. Having slept the night before and the night before that, keeps your mind open and your ideas flowing. It’s like opening a window and letting in the sunshine and a nice breeze.
If You Dream It…
A full night of blissful sleep allows our subconscious to come out and play. Dreaming can be so amazing, particularly for a writer. Maybe your new character will appear or maybe by sleeping and dreaming, the ending of your novel will finally be discovered. In our dream state, we may see things more clearly.
Sleep relaxes us, not just while we sleep but during the day. With your mind and body relaxed and ready to get going, you are far more creative. Well rested means sharper, wittier and far more susceptible to ideas and suggestions. Don’t assume the ideas aren’t coming, just because you are too tired to come up with them.
Getting the sleep you need isn’t always easy, even if you know you need to. If you do struggle to get proper sleep, let’s look at the How.
Pick a bedtime. Pick it and stick to it. Once you have the bedtime in place, and start adhering to it, life will start to even out and get easier. Setting a regular sleep schedule for yourself will start to be second nature to you and you will just start to accept it and work around it. Going to bed and getting up at the same time will add structure and balance to your busy life.
Exercise, in any form, can go a long way in helping you get more sleep. This doesn’t mean you need to work yourself to exhaustion, just some fresh air and movement is enough. A walk or two throughout the day, in particular if you have a sedentary job where you sit most of the day in a stuffy room. Some light gardening or yard work is great exercise and also falls into the last category of relaxation. It could be playing catch with the kids, walking the dog, cleaning out the hall closet. Find something you like so you look forward to it, you don’t want it to be a chore.
Take A Nap
If you are the type of person who can take a nap, Nap! Maybe just a good twenty minutes will refresh you and get you through the rest of the day. If you have a structured day where you can schedule a nap, it’s good to try and take one at the same time and for the same amount of time. However, don’t let the nap be the bulk of your sleep. It can ruin your sleep just as easily as help it.
When we are rested and focused and clear-headed, the ideas and creative juices will flow with greater ease. Why fight an uphill battle when you don’t need to? Stress is monster! Don’t let him in! Get your sleep in order to reduce the stress, open up the creative gates and let the words out!