Thursday, March 23, 2006

Early-to-bed, Early-to-rise

"Early to bed and early to rise.
Makes a man or woman miss out on the night life."
Early to Bed - Morphine

Cory Doctorow posted an interesting link at boingboing about HOWTO become an early riser. Now, I tend to be nocturnally productive (squash those naughty thoughts, you). During the new dawn hours, I usually feel too sluggish and yucky to do any quality work. I can barely manage the milk, cereal, bowl equation at that hour. I remember hearing ages ago that Prince (you Sexy Motherfucker) preferred to work overnight as well.

But - -
Statistically, it would appear that 4am risers are more productive. My friend Demon (not his real name) accomplishes a staggering amount of projects in any given week - - and he's up every day before the sun. In that BoingBoing post, Cory Doctorow says he's always been an early riser - - and he's nothing if not productive.

And what about its impact upon all other aspects of life? Are earlybirds happier overall than night owls? More social?
What are your sleep habits like - - and how do you think it affects your overall day? Your creative output? Your happiness?
Should I make an effort to change my ways, and become an early riser?


Blogger JRMurdock said...

This is where research is fun.

I once wrote a story 'cure for sleep' where the main character didn't want to sleep anymore. The brain produces hystamines. These tell the brain it's time to be awake. ergo, anti-hystamine allergy medicines make you drowsy.

What makes the body procuce hystamines? The sun.

Sunlight assists your body in the creation of vitimin D and the production of hystamines. When the sun goes does, your body has a reserve of hystamines and when those are used up, you get drowsy. Even if you body is fine and rested, you can still be sleepy. This is why some people who are sick and sleep all day can still sleep at night.

Conversely, when you go to sleep really late and you're not in a dark room, your body will begin to produce hystamines and this tells your mind 'Hey sleepy head, time to wake up.'

What does that all mean when it comes to creativity? Nothing that I'm aware of. I can write day or night. For me, creativity is a state of mind and once I turn it on, it's on until I turn it off, though I would say I'm more creative and prolific during the day than I am at night, though when I worked the night shift, I was more creative and prolific from midnight until 8am.

It's all about your internal clock and making sure your body and mind get enough rest throughout the day. If your mind isn't well rested, you'll have difficulty functioning whether your brain is making hystamines or not.

Now onto the topic of what to take to keep you awake at night.....

3/23/2006 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Mark Forman said...

I'll be the first to admit that sleep is over-rated and is productivity's mortal enemy. You do need to get adequate rest however and that doesn't matter if it's achieved by consecutive sleep hours or several naps.

Most of my best stuff is done in the dead of night. I often get up at 1:30 and write some scripts and do some podcasts audio drama bits. Interestingly, the work I do during this time passes like in a dream.

3/23/2006 5:26 PM  

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