Insomniac Creatives

In Music, Try this, You HAVE to on December 18, 2009 at 3:51 am

Creative people are always thinking.  The conversation of strangers at the local coffee shop, a good book/movie, or even a a beautiful day are all potential sources of inspiration for the create mind.  Individuals with 9-5 jobs can leave their work behind when the whistle blows.  They can take off the uniform, put down the hammer, let go of the strings and disconnect from the daily grind.  After work they can unwind with family and friends and enjoy their hobbies.  This is a luxury the truly creative mind never gets to experience.  When your job/livelihood/passion falls under the umbrella of a creative art – you are always on the clock, whether you like it or not.  This also holds true for the conflict an active mind presents to consistent, fulfilling slumber.

“Sleep deprivation is a commonplace occurrence in modern culture.  Every day there seems to be twice as much work and half as much time to complete it in.  This results in either extended periods of wakefulness or a decrease in sleep over an extended period of time.  While some people may like to believe that they can train their bodies to not require as much sleep as they once did this belief is false,” Sarah Ledoux.  The deadly combination for the creative spirit is the feeling that there is too much to do and too little time combined with the overactive, analytical and keenly perceptive mind.

In 1959, The American Cancer society surveyed more than 1 million Americans about their sleeping habits.  Conclusions drawn from the study showed that people who got less than 7-8 hours of sleep on average per night, had a higher mortality rate.  A six year follow-up was done to the people surveyed.  The results showed that men 30 years old or older that got 4 hours of sleep a night had more than double the risk of dying than men who averaged 7-8 hours.  The risk was only about 1.5 times higher for women.  Similar results were found in a different study of 4,713 people.  Those getting 6 hours of sleep or less had a 30% higher death rate.  Although we can see what happens when people don’t get enough sleep, individuals with overactive minds are still left helpless.

What do you do at night when business “todo”s race through your head, or the need to complete a video project won’t let you sleep?  In some people the internal trigger that says enough is enough never goes off.  This level of tenacity and passion would seem like an asset that forcing people like that ahead of the crowd.  But creative people push themselves past healthy boundaries and sometimes out of the running.  Look at Vincent Van Gogh – it has been recorded that he wouldn’t sleep; and when he did it was a light, restless sleep. Ernest Hemingway can join the ranks of people who baffle the scientists that stand by the premise that you can only be creative when well rested.  Studies tend to reveal that people like Vincent and Ernest are not the norm.

Creative minds need to recognize their boundaries and prioritize the 24 hours they have been given in a day.  If people don’t put themselves first, they won’t be around or healthy enough to contribute to the arts they love so well.  It is characteristic of the creative mind to think about the art or business of  business 100 percent of the time.  Artists even dream and think about their business during non-waking hours and often wake up during the night to jot down a flash of inspiration.  If you find yourself struggling with balancing a creative mind with a healthy lifestyle that values sleep – please take time to build yourself back up through rest, sleep and con-creative activities.  You have to fill yourself up to give anything out.  Pretty soon you will have nothing left to give.
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