It’s 3:45 in the morning, and you’re stuck with your best idea. You’ve got a 9 a.m. deadline, and sleep is the last thing on your mind. For creatives, this scenario sounds pretty familiar. When creativity strikes and you function off deadlines, it’s hard to turn work down and choose sleep instead. However, it’s important to understand sleep’s pertinence to a creator’s innovative ideas and creativity.
Lack of Sleep = Poor Cognitive Function
To remain creative and productive, it’s important to care for our cognitive functions properly. Losing precious hours of sleep, no matter how tempting it may be to keep chugging through work, can be more detrimental than you might think.
WeHeart has noted that “lack of sleep has been linked to poor cognitive function including poor focus, concentration, low creativity, erratic behaviour, inability to multitask, and increased mistakes.” All of these processes are essential for creative minds to continue exploring their creative routes.
Society has raised this hyper-focused, Americanized version of work ethic involving endless hustle that cannot be sustained long term. Creatives today feel the pressure to constantly create, produce, and put out work. But operating at such a pace tends to lead to poor quality and rushed projects.
Attempting to produce content/art at such an exponential rate is a major struggle in the creative community, and it must be remedied. No one in any field performs at proficiency when they do not get the proper amount of rest. Sleep is simply an essential part of human survival. Lacking it leads to a plethora of damaging results that impact your work and creativity, and physical health.
Scientific Sleep Studies
In a study by The National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, which compared sleep deprivations to impacts of alcohol consumption, the results showed that loss of sleep for 17-19 hours could lead to a 50% slower response rate. Tests on those sleep-deprived individuals resulted in an equivalent or worse score of someone performing the same test and having a BAC of 0.05%. Basically, if you’re running on very little sleep, then you might as well be inebriated.
According to a study by Raidy and Scharff 2005, “it is believed that visual tasks would be especially vulnerable to sleep loss because iconic memory has a short duration and limited capacity.” The important thing to understand is that this could be a problem within the creative field due to the industry’s reliance on visual aptitude.
Creators may not be doing their best work simply because they don’t even know the quality they could be reaching if they gave their bodies more hours of sleep. Try it out. Get the proper amount of sleep and compare your creativity and productivity to when you don’t, and see the difference for yourself.
Additionally, NCBI reported that self-evaluation impairment had been linked to sleep deprivation. Again, this could fault the quality of work and impact creators. For instance, studies have shown that people who do not get sleep for 36 hours became more confident in their incorrect answers due to lack of sleep. This correlates to creators affirming that they are creating their best work off little amounts of rest, even though their potential could be light years ahead if they properly care for themselves. Maybe that editing job, painting, or story you wrote until 4 a.m. isn’t as good as you think.
When someone sleeps, their brain discards waste only during REM sleep. According to WebHeart, during REM sleep, you’re body experiences sleep cycles, which lasts on average for 90 minutes. Therefore the more you sleep, the more cycles you experience, which leads to greater filtration of the lymphatic system that drains. A key benefit is that your concentration, attention, creativity improves: all of these functions are imperative to a creator’s success.
Maybe think again next time before you commit to an all-nighter to finish your work. You may not produce your best result and you could ultimately hinder further production of quality work if you continue to operate in such a pattern. If you’re tired, then sleep! Your body needs it. And though society may seem to be telling you sleeping is for the weak, it’s simply not true. Sleep is for the smart-minded who care to nurture their body and minds; sleep is for those who want to continue performing and creating at an optimal level.
Featured image from Unsplash.com
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