Choking Creativity (Part 4)

This is Part 4 of my series, Choking Creativity. To read Parts 1, 2, and 3, follow this link.

1. The Fog

“Sleep will enhance your ability to explore, make connections, and do less but better throughout your waking hours.” Greg Mckeown, Essentialism.

Too many mornings begin in a fog. The obligations of the day suck me dry, then the obligations of the evening land me in bed well past any reasonable hour. In bed, I don’t give up on the day. There’s the day’s news to catch up on, my social media feeds call my name, and news episodes of The Expanse, or The Crown, and The Blacklist wait to be streamed. I stretch the limits like taffy, hang on until my eyes are too heavy. I wake early, attempt to get a jump on the morning after too little sleep. 5:49 minutes of sleep? Round it up. Call it six. It’s good. Right?

I wake early, attempt to get a jump on the morning after too little sleep. 5:49 minutes of sleep? Round it up. Call it six. It’s good. Right?

2. The Problem

In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeownw cites to a Harvard Business Review article, in which the author states that a week of 4-5 hours per night of sleep “induces an impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.1%” He expounds, showing how less than seven hours of sleep per night affects creativity and productivity.

You know this to be true, don’t you? How many mornings do you sit in the fog hoping the coffee will work some kind of miracle? How many days do you wander in a sleep-deprived funk? And on those days, how creative are you?

Be honest.

Our lack of sleep–isn’t this a consumption problem too? The activities, the obligations, the media–we consume and consume and consume until it’s well past the witching hour. Then, how much time do we leave to sleep, that time to recharge our brains and bodies?

Researcher after researcher has shown that sleep is the fuel for our creativity. It is the muse. Today, let’s examine the practices of consumption that disrupt our sleep. Let’s prioritize sleep as a practice of creativity.

3. The Practice

Consider the nights you’ve gotten less than 7-8 hours of sleep in the past month. What cut into your dreams? Television? Scrolling the news on your phone? The black hole of social media? A good romp with your significant other (which, I can excuse from time to time, human as I am). Do you see any patterns?

This week, make it your goal to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Resist the activities that deprive you of good sleep (save for the above-stated romp). Combined with your practice of making the first thirty minutes of your day digital free, see if this enhances your creativity. Consider writing notes on the results.

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