Are Writers at Risk of Sleep Disorders?

Many writers sit at the computer late into the night. Is this the best thing for our health?

Over the last year I’ve read many statements from online writers, telling of how they seem to be developing sleep disorders. The inability to have a good night’s sleep seems to be coming more and more common. Whilst some may not worry about this, not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to a writer’s creative capabilities as well as their health.

Personally, I know that when I work at the computer too late at night I often have difficulty sleeping, no matter how tired I am. After using the computer I seem to have broken sleep, sleeping for shorter periods at a time. While this is fine for a few nights, it eventually catches up with me. As a writer I find it difficult to come up with new ideas when I haven’t had enough sleep. I need to find time to catch up on sleep when this happens.

Research shows that those who work late at night are definitely at risk of having sleepless nights, eventually developing serious sleep disorders. Part of this is due to exciting tasks stimulating the brain before going to bed. Writers definitely fall into this category, especially those who choose to write at night. I know myself, that too many ideas late at night can keep my brain humming long after I should be asleep.

The other problem is that of the bright light of the computer screen. Apparently the bright light of the computer screen affects one’s biological clock and suppresses natural production of melatonin, which is responsible for regulating sleep, thus producing sleep problems.

As writers we should be aware of the possibility of developing sleep problems. Often working on the computer late at night is unavoidable, especially if we are trying to meet deadlines or achieve publication goals. However, like everyone else, writers need to take care of their health.

The obvious answer is to turn off the computer earlier. This may mean writing less, but for many writers it may mean being more organised and starting the writing process earlier in the evening. Set a deadline, an hour or so before regular bed time. Use that time away from the computer to relax. Read a book, write journal notes for the day by hand, take a relaxing bath – anything that is not stimulating.

We need to slow our body clocks down a little before retiring to bed. By establishing bed time routines away from the computer and becoming more aware of our night time activities, we may well be doing ourselves and our bodies a favour. Sleep may not seem an important issue to you now, but after a few years of broken sleep your health may well become broken. Your writing dreams rely on having adequate sleep.

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  1. Sleep is something I highly value. Not having enough sleep for a few days is tolerable, but I just can’t seem to function well if I am deprived of my much needed rest. I am guilty of staying late at night, particularly last month as I tried to write 20 articles. So now I am taking some time to relax and of course get enough sleep :-)

  2. been away from writing and yes its true that we should set a limit on staying in front of computer although it may mean less “writng work load” at least we can avoid sleep disorders especially if we work late for our articles just to finish it..Nice one val..

  3. We should not sacrifice our health to achieve our goals. Maybe, setting a regular schedule in going to bed would help. However, we should keep our productivity and passion in writing continue.

  4. My own biological clock seems to function at night and sleep during the day. It was like that for me during school years as well. Some reason the day time I am able to sleep but night I am wired. You do bring up true, valid, and good points though.

  5. You are so right, Val and this is good advice. I switch of my computer at eight pm. What isn’t done by then has to wait until the next day.

  6. great post

  7. Interesting post. Since I do shift work my sleeping patterns are messed up but not because I am a writer.

  8. Sleeping is very important for your health and brain. Please see my link below for article related to brain and sleep:
    -Brain and sleeping:
    -How to sleep well:

  9. Very true! Writing really pressures me as I’m not really a writer,lol! But I’m happy with it! Didn’t have enough sleep last month because of the feb special,need to write more articles and comment on other’s works,wasn’t able to reach 20 articles but at least I got the badge and I’m happy with it!
    Now,pressure is less but have more time to sleep,love this article!

  10. Very good article, you points make sense. Though, I too am one of those who function better at night and sleep better during the day. For some reason, the daytime sleep (3-5hours) leaves me feeling refreshed and able to function for the next 19-20hours. On the other hand, sleeping during the night leaves me feeling almost like if I had not slept at all. Though, it is not caused by computer. I have always been wired this way (even when I was a little baby – my mother told me that, actually I never slept as a baby unless my mum was pushing me around in a buggy outside) and I do not remember ever sleeping more than 4 hours without waking up. Most of my life, I wake up at least once every hour regardless of the reason, I just wake up. If I stay up after 2 hours I function the same way entire day as if I stayed in bed for 8 1-hour sleep periods. Though, I usually stay in bed for at least 4 hours as I am kind of lazy. It is funny when someone is hyperactive and lazy at the same time :) By the way, I did not sleep at all this night, I was writing an article for Helium, then playing a game and writing a review for Triond. Yet, I feel like if I had a good night’s sleep (I did not sleep for almost 17hours so far). All it takes is to eat some cereals or fruit and my brain does not want to sleep (I get exactly opposite reaction when I eat bacon or something similar though). It is the same whether I use computer, read a book the entire day, exercise … Most my days are like this. Anyway, my health and inspiration does not seem to suffer and I have not been ill for over a year now (actually I think it is more than two years).

  11. Oh, and sorry that I wrote almost an entire article here :) , I was eating some fish with vegetables and I cannot just eat, I have to do something else while I eat. So I wrote a very long comment, haha.

  12. You have made some valid points here, Valz. Sometimes, I sit late night to write articles and end up sleeping during daytime.

  13. Yes very good tips, we can all get carried away when writing a good article. I have a little son though and HAVE to be in bed by 9 else I’d die the next day lol. I’m safe for now!

  14. I don’t have a set writing schedule. I do write every morning but the rest of the day it could be any time, even it it’s midnight. I know sometimes I don’t get enough sleep because of writing.

  15. I can only work in front of the computer at night; hence, I have sleepless nights when I have to meet deadlines. Writing down notes during the day is actually an excellent idea. Everything becomes easier when the final write-up has to be done.

  16. I am not at risk because my body has been conditioned in a way that I can’t sleep until I have accomplished my daily target of at least three articles. After that, sleep comes naturally without much ado.

  17. Having a routine seems the best way to combat sleeplessness. Even when the computer is turned off early at night, it still does not stop me thinking about what I want to write.

  18. I enjoy the quietness at night, and I can think better, and end up I sleep late, try to sleep earlier but find such a waste, lol.
    Morning wake up extremely tired, usually.

  19. If I am up too late at night which is more often than not, I take a power nap during the day.

  20. I never write on schedule, I write when I can grab a free minute, Usually at all sorts of odd hours.

  21. Sleep is very important. I’m sure we all have been guilty of staying up late to write articles. Your body will feel so much better with rest and relaxation. Thanks for sharing this.

  22. Also guilty of writing mostly at night – I have always had more inspiration at night. I have a day job (although flexible) and sometimes cant get up in the mornings to get self out of bed, son to school, attend meetings and meet deadlines . . . . . I seem to get only one or two articles a week done though and fulltime writing still out of the question

  23. So true–good topic to cover and well-written article! \’m a night-owl, but I actually found a way I could get up early in the morning and write, and it gives me a better over-all quality of life.

  24. I write to unwind so if I work late I write later cheers Val

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