Tag Archives: sleep deprivation

the advantages of sleep deprivation (for writers)


I know, I know. As a self-confessed sleep enthusiast, the title of this post seems wrong to me too. But listen, for writers and bloggers, I’ve decided there are some advantages.

True, this may be because I’m too sleep-deprived to see sense, or perhaps I’m just desperate to put a positive spin on the situation I’ve found myself in over the past twenty months (and on and off for the past seven years) but whatever it is, here are my:

6 reasons why sleep deprivation is useful for writers

1) It’s a source of inspiration – can’t think what to write about? How about a poem or post on how awful sleep deprivation is making you feel (and look!)? Or you could write about the specific reason you were up for most of the night? You could even make it into something to laugh (dryly) about like this version of my favourite christmas carol.

2) The middle of the night is actually a time when inspiration can strike and allow you to suddenly overcome that block you were facing earlier on. Your brain might be muddled and gloopy but sometimes when it’s looking for something, anything, more interesting to concentrate on than saying ‘shhhhhh’ it comes up with a new idea.  I once thought up a whole new subplot for my book while crouching desperately in the dark near a cot.

3) It’s extra hours you wouldn’t normally use. I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggles to find enough time to write when juggling kids, work and life in general but, even so, I would never willingly use the hours between 3 – 5am to get anything done. Just no. However, if I have to be awake then I may as well use the time creatively. For a total pro in this department, check out Reneé who even stays awake to write AFTER the baby has finally gone back to sleep!)

4) It’s good practice for life as a writer. Ever found yourself slumped over the kitchen table staring at a kettle, willing it to pour you a cup of tea because you’re just too tired to move? But even though you CAN’T move, you have to anyway (and usually to do something more urgent than tea-making too)? It’s the same with writing – sometimes you have to force yourself through periods where you Just. Can’t. Do. It. Surmounting the seemingly insurmountable is an endlessly useful skill (for life in general actually). Coping with sleep deprivation is like bootcamp for the soul.

5) Sleep-deprivation induced hallucinations can be creative. WHAT IS THAT WEIRD THING FLOATING IN THE CORNER OVER THERE?! Oh, it’s nothing, just my eyes aren’t working properly… hang on maybe I could write a story about a weird thing floating in a corner…

6) It’s motivational! One day you will sleep again and you will have so much more energy that you can write far more. Imagine what you will be able to achieve! You’re doing great! Woo hoo!


Convinced? Well, I did my best. Now I’m off to see if I can squeeze in a quick (two minute) nap…

in the night


So, the baby has decided to celebrate the milestone of his first birthday by returning to sleeping like a newborn. Possibly even worse than one.

He had his jabs last week (a nasty triple-whammy of MMR, Meningitis and some other nasty virus) and he’s got a cold AND he’s teething so perhaps terrible sleep is to be expected but urgh. And bleurgh. I am crap with sleep deprivation. I am not one of those sunny ‘ah well, never mind, he’s only a baby’ types. I sulk and moan. I’m a grump.

But anyway, I digress… in the dark hours of the long, arduous night last night, I wrote this poem. I can’t pretend it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, although frankly, even if it was, I wouldn’t know as I’ve lost all… you know… what ever that stuff is that makes you able to understand and judge things…

Here it is (and I think you can tell I was fed up of it being night!):


The darkest hour


Molten moonlight drips

through silhouettes of trees.

Dazzled darkness trips

and tumbles to its knees.

Stolen sunlight slips

from fraying bonds and flees,

chasing nightmares out before it,

spreading sunbeams in its wake.


NB – I wrote most of this post on Wednesday evening and posted it on Thursday morning. In between, the baby actually SLEPT and when I woke up I changed a few key words of the poem. I think it works better than it did. Still not sure though.

Linking up with Prose for Thought over at Verily Victoria Vocalises.

Prose for Thought

a song for Santa

Dear Santa,

I know you’re very busy and this is not the best time of year to approach you with any extra requests, but I was just wondering if you could grant me this one wish? You see, I’d very much like some sleep please.

This is serious. The baby is nine months old now which – given the discomforts of late pregnancy – means it’s now been roughly a year since I last had a solid, delicious eight hours. Or anything close.

I don’t mean to whinge, except that, well, actually I DO mean to whinge.

Look, I’ve even rewritten the words of my favourite carol just to explain how serious the situation is:


 Oh Holy Sh*teadvent tree

*Lovely piano intro with tingling bells*

Oh holy sh*te, the baby isn’t sleeping,

This is the night when I may lose the plot.

Long, painful hours where I am gently weeping

As I stand helplessly near the cot.

A stab of cramp my weary legs are trembling

The hours drag slowly on towards the morn.

I fall on my knees and wildly I beseech him

Oh baby of mine, I know you’re tired, I’ve seen you yawn.

Oh Christ, Just CLO-OSE YOUR EYES!  It’s nearly dawn!


So you see Santa, I’m really tired.

I promise to leave you a bottle of whiskey if you can grant me this one special Christmas wish (although I can’t promise not to have drunk most of the bottle in an attempt to get some frikkin’ sleep).

Lots of love



Prose for Thought
Check out the other #prose4T posts over at Verily Victoria Vocalises!


I love sleep. Adore it. That beautiful floaty feeling that overtakes you when you’re all snuggled up under the covers and start to drift off… there’s nothing like it.

But that feeling of being dragged from the deepest realms of slumber by a crying baby and knowing you’ve got to clamber out of the warmth and stumble across a cold corridor… that’s not so good.

Unfortunately for me, at the moment there’s rather a lot of the second feeling going on and it’s making me get a bit obsessed with the idea of a full night’s sleep. Oh, the things I could achieve if I could get a solid eight hours! I could build a boat, design a rocket, tame a lion: the world would be my oyster! And I could probably think up something award-winningly inventive to do with that oyster too.

Well, maybe not. But at least my brain would be less squelchy and my legs would be less sludgy.

On the upside though, I have been using these endless wakeful hours to write. Not on paper (too dark, danger of accidentally stabbing baby with pen etc.) but in my head. I’ve written bits of stories and alternative versions of songs and – given my obsession – it probably comes as no surprise to learn that I have written about sleep. In the deepest depths of last night my brain falteringly put together a haiku:


Soft blankets embrace

Warmth envelops leaden limbs

Slip slowly to sleep.


Ah, sleep. Love it.

sleep deprivation

I think my baby may have been reading my posts. The moment I decided to start blogging, he promptly decided to stop sleeping. Actually, ‘stop sleeping’ isn’t really the right phrase to use at it implies that he slept in the first place, which he didn’t really. These last few nights have been particularly bad though; a haze of screaming, feeding, crying and stumbling between rooms moaning. And most of those were me.

This has left me dragging myself through the days and collapsing into bed the moment all the kids are down in the evening, none of which leaves any time for writing, let alone blogging. Gah.

I’m not saying I can’t write when I’m tired but at the moment the urge to sleep is pretty overwhelming and when I do write I struggle to remember words, let alone put together sentences! My brain feels like a tea bag that’s been used to make far too many cups of tea; all soggy and wrinkled and devoid of flavour.

Sorry, I don’t mean to whinge. That’s just where I’m at at the moment. It won’t last. These teeth – if teething is the issue – must work their way through soon… surely?

Until then, I guess I’ll just pour myself another pint of tea and hope I can stay awake long enough to finish this blog p… *snore*