It’s pretty common to hear creatives talk about how much sleep they lack, or how tired they are, or even how they’ve barely eaten all day. Usually, this is received as a good thing. “You’re putting in the work!” For most creatives, working late into the night helps with their productivity. While it is known that certain levels of insomnia is good for creativity (much like when you’re slightly tipsy), the long term effects of insomnia are detrimental to the creative.
Sleep is necessary for growth and development. Depending on where you live and what you do, the average hours of sleep needed daily could range between 6 to 7 hours.
Sure, you probably could be getting more creative the less you sleep, getting into a certain trance-like state that is almost like tripping. However, sleep actually helps your brain to function properly and keeps you alive. Here’s how it works.
YOU’RE FORGETFUL BECAUSE YOU DON’T SLEEP!
Your brain needs daily maintenance. Just like your computer, your brain needs to reboot every time. This reboot for humans usually happens within the period you are asleep. During this reboot period, your brain regulates your blood, rewires your system and most importantly, consolidates memory.
Memory consolidationis very important, because it ensures our survival. When neural networks are strengthened and the information they process becomes more and more repeating in the brain, our brain marks it as vital information. This makes retrieval of the information in the future easier to access, since the connections to that information are so strong. Some researchers believe that these connections are genetically stored in our DNA. They can be seen and attributed to things like, a new borns desire for mother’s breast and regulated breathing. Therefore, our brain making strong connections are important, and it makes sure that it performs the maintenance required to consolidate information (amongst other things) on a regular basis.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain restricts itself to doing the necessary things i.e monitoring breathing, blood regulations etc, and other things things like memory retention are pushed back. Therefore the less sleep you get, the more forgetful and less creative you become.
YOU KEEP GETTING SICK COS YOU DON’T SLEEP MAN!
Sleeping also keeps you healthy… literally. During sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like cytokines. It uses these substances to combat foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Cytokines also help you sleep, giving your immune system more energy to defend your body against illness. You may notice that when you are tired and insomnia, you may tend to easily catch a cold or flu. That’s your body yelling to you to get some sleep! Lack of sleep prevents your immune system from getting stronger. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not be able to fend off diseases, bacteria and viruses. It may also take you longer to recover from illness.
YOU GON’ GIVE YOURSELF A HEART ATTACK IF YOU DON’T SLEEP!
Long-term sleep deprivation also increases your risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart diseases. Sleep deprivation prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat. Insulin controls your blood sugar level. Higher insulin levels promote fat storage and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. Extra fat storage is terrible for the sleep deprived creative, because you most likely don’t get any exercise do you? Therefore, all that extra fat doesn’t get used up and ends up constricting your blood vessels and increases your risk of heart attacks and other cardio-vascular diseases.
CHALE, YOU’RE PACKING ALL THAT EXTRA WEIGHT COS YOU DON’T SLEEP!
Lack of Sleep can also makes you fat. All facts, no lie. Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. The abnormality in these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why you probably binge eat on Indomie at 1AM when you’ve finished that clients work. A lack of sleep can also contribute to weight gain by making you feel too tired to exercise, since fatigue is the most common effect of sleep deprivation.
LOOK, YOU’RE GONNA GET DIABETES IF YOU DON’T SLEEP!
Sleep deprivation also prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat. Insulin controls your blood sugar level. Higher insulin levels promote fat storage and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
YouR man/girl gon’ leave you soon if you don’t get some sleep!
This one may be a hard hitter for the guys, but I gotta say it. Sleep deprivation gives you a low libido. Yeah, you probably suck in bed because you don’t sleep enough. For testosterone production, you need at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is about the time of your first REM episode. A 2011 study put out by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), found that after one week of sleep deprivation (less than 5 hours of sleep a night), young men had 15% less testosterone than normal—which is equal to the amount of testosterone loss that occurs with 10 to 15 years of aging.
And just like with men, sleep deprivation negatively affects women sexually. Sis, if your vagina is dry and you cannot get aroused, you probably need to leave the studio and catch up on some sleep. In a University of Michigan study , researchers found that women with lower than average hours of sleep reported low genital arousal and vaginal lubrication. As many ladies (and gents) know, wetter is better.
MAN LOOK, DEPRESSION AIN’T IT Y’ALL. YOU GOTTA SLEEP!
Sleep deprivation can also make you irritable, moody and quick tempered. Prolonged sleep deprivation can also lead to anxiety, depression and manic attacks. In an a research in Michigan, patients diagnosed with depression tended to have suicidal thoughts or commit suicide when they became sleep deprived.
This post was important for us here at Harmattan Rain, because for creatives especially in our part of the world, there are no health benefits or packages to hold us down when we are not well. Aside that, there isn’t a lot to make to rack up huge hospital bills. Take care of yourself first as an artist, because what’s the point of finally blowing up, or making money when you can’t even properly enjoy the benefits, because you are unhealthy … or worse dying.