Monday, June 04, 2012

A Tale of Sleep Deprivation

I need about seven hours of sleep to function. I don't usually have a problem falling asleep. However, there have been many times in my life when I did not have enough hours in the day. The only way to find more time was to steal from my bedtime hours, but that did not help me work any better--or write any better.

Way back when I was a college student I worked at a glass factory. For two summers, I endured rotating shifts because the wages were great. However, I found it next to impossible to keep my eyes open. Mostly I stood and packed bottles into boxes, but every hour or so, I got a chance to sit down and watch the bottles twirl by the light box. I was supposed to be looking for bad bottles, but the twirling bottles quickly turned into lovely dancing ladies in long dresses as I started dreaming. I am lucky I did not fall off the stool.

I know many authors who do not get enough sleep. They get up early, write, and then put in a full day at their real job. I never did that. The thought of crawling out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to write never appealed to me. I love writing, but I like to do it with a clear head.

There are the writers who stay up late into the wee hours to write. I never did that either. I actually tried it a few times, but the next day I was not up to par.

I tend to do my best writing in the evening after supper. I don't watch television so I don't have that distraction. I have not written as many books as some authors, but I know my limitations. Not getting enough sleep will make my blood pressure go up and that is a bad idea. So I sleep when I am supposed to sleep and write when I can.

When do you write?


Joselyn Vaughn said...

I'm with you on getting 7 hours. Most nights I get between 5 and 6 mostly because my youngest has an amazing talent of waking up about 5 minutes after I fall asleep. I tend to write best late at night when everyone is asleep. I can concentrate better when the house is quiet.

Penelope Marzec said...

I spent a lot of years getting about six hours of sleep and for me it is not enough.

I find it conducive to have a quiet house for writing, too. Currently, that's in the evening because hubby now has a room at the opposite end of the house for practicing the accordion. :^)

Janice Seagraves said...

I've given up to TV to write more and at times sleep too.

I've nodded away at the keyboard while my fingers are still moving. How I managed to write while I was semi-couscous is a my story. Although, I think my character just took over.


Penelope Marzec said...

Yes, sometimes my fingers continue typing while I lapse into a semi-conscious state, too. Still, giving up television is preferable to giving up bedtime in my opinion.

Christine Brown said...

I do my best sleeping from 4am to 8am but I wish I could get more! I try to write whenever something pops into my head. But my muse is definitely a female and her name is Insomnia!; )

Penelope Marzec said...

Insomnia is awful! I sure hope you can get more sleep. Writing when inspiration strikes is good, though. I have to make notes for myself when I don't have the time to write.

MarkD60 said...

I usually get about four hours. Ten till two and toss n turn the rest of the night.
I'd love to be able to sleep.

When I was taking online college classes, I'd wake at 3AM and study till time to go to work.

Penelope Marzec said...

Mark: Maybe you should have been a novelist! :^)
Though I seriously hope you solve your sleep problem. Sleeping like a log is far better than tossing and turning.