“Insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge.” -Collette
This is a great prompt from the Daily Post, today. It is so appropriate because the link between creativity and insomnia has always been a phenomena that has interested people.
I have always had sleeping problems, but I have found that as I have been running my blog and writing more than ever before, my insomnia has taken a much stronger grasp over me.
I find that my brain becomes more active at nighttime, which has resulted in extreme reluctance to both fall asleep and to wake up. This is an aspect of my personality that I have spent a good portion of my life trying to fight and control.
Waking up for school was a nightmare for me. I had just fallen asleep, it seemed, when the incessant blaring of my alarm would perpetrate my dreams like some armed robber, coming straight for my peace of mind.
Although I got a break in regards to waking up early for school as I got older, I also got two jobs when I was 16, so that meant waking up early on the weekends. I would go in for 9 on Saturday and 7 or 8 on Sundays.
I always overslept, though. Fortunately, I was a hard worker and my employers were much more understanding then they had to be. I don’t go to work for other people anymore, though. Partly because I just don’t want to – and am able to, luckily – and because my sleeping patterns just don’t work out for me when it comes to long-term employment.
I think my circadian rhythms must just be totally off the rocker. My brain becomes hyper-alert and focused without fail around 9 or 10 PM. This will last till around 3 or 4 AM, although it could go longer. If I totally allowed my body to do what it wants to, I might end up a legitimate vampire.
At this point I have three choices, either lie in bed for 6 or 7 hours, tossing and turning, take medication to put myself to sleep, or embrace it and just write. I even feel more motivated to do things during the night, like cleaning or other chores.
I have also read the insomnia could be a result of social anxiety. I think there is some merit to this, but not a whole lot. It just feels like my body wants to do its own thing. During the day, I feel drowsy and very tired. At night, I could do anything.
It has been an adjustment, going back to living with my family and dealing with my sleeping patterns. They start waking up and getting ready for work around the same time I finally fall asleep. That means they go to bed when I am just feeling awake for the night.
Sometimes I won’t sleep for days at a time, then crash for a full fifteen hours or so. If I am experiencing the “flow” state of mental output, I find I cannot sleep no matter how tired my body may be. I can’t really make a ton of commitments, knowing my sleep patterns are so screwy.
As I explained, all this writing has undoubtedly exacerbated my symptoms of insomnia. But if that is the price to be paid for creativity, I’d have to choose the sleep debt every time. You know what they say: When I’m dead, I’ll rest.