Does Sleep Deprivation Help Creativity?
It’s a common misconception that if you spend too much time sleeping that you’re not productive. Many people have the work or die mentality, and therefore are losing out on vital sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to various health problems, including stress, high blood pressure, and lack of alertness.
While these common health conditions are associated with sleep deprivation, other aspects or your wellbeing can be affected. For instance, many people don’t take into account what sleep deprivation can do to their creativity.
Can Lack of Sleep Help Creativity?
Are you more creative when you’re sleep-deprived? The simple answer is— no. Many people would love to believe that humans are more driven and effective in their work when they stay up all night long and wake up early in the morning. The truth is, that is just another myth for hardworking people.
Lack of sleep can negatively affect your creativity. Studies show that one night of losing sleep can significantly impair your creative thinking. For a sleep-deprived individual, this can lead to psychological and physical health issues.
Sleep deprivation also leads to poor decision-making, reading comprehension, and cognitive performance.
What Type of Sleep Can Boost Creativity?
Sleep is necessary for strengthening your body and restoring your energy. In order to be your best creative self, you need to go through non-REM and REM sleep.
Non-REM sleep is the early stage of falling asleep. You are not quite there yet, but you are fully relaxed. In this type of sleep, even with your eyes closed, you are still somewhat aware of your environment.
REM sleep is the stage of deep sleep. During this stage of sleep, the brain is most active, with rapid eye movement and increased respiration. This is also the stage where you experience most of your vivid dreams. The average person experiences about 3-5 cycles of REM sleep in a night’s rest.
So, how does REM sleep tie into creativity? Because your brain is most active during this type of sleep, when you wake up, you are more refreshed and able to make easier creative decisions. Studies also show that people get the best REM sleep right before they wake up. That means you are more likely to be creative right after a good rest.
How to Solve Sleep and Creativity Problems
When it comes to getting the proper sleep for your body, you may have to go through a process of testing. Figuring out what routine will help you sleep better at night is the end goal.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your sleep and be on your way to effective creative thinking:
- Have a sleep schedule. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day will help your body alert you when it is time to rest.
- Avoid alcohol late at night. While alcohol can initially make you feel sleepy, depressants like this affect REM sleep the most, which inadvertently affects your creativity.
- Exercise regularly. Getting 20-30 minutes of activity helps you sleep better.
- Create the best environment for your sleeping comfort. Getting better pillows, setting the right room temperature, or playing relaxing sounds can all help you get a night of better sleep.
You don’t have to give up your sleep to be creative. The two work together and can never be separated. If you’re having trouble with sleep deprivation or sleep loss, the BetterSleep app has plenty of resources that can help. Find the things that suit you, like relaxing sounds, and be on your way to restful sleep.
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