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…

8 thoughts on “the advantages of sleep deprivation (for writers)

  1. Mummy Tries

    Fab post Maddy, love the lighthearted approach to a topic that has brought most of us to our knees at some point or another, thanks for the shout out too :) I can only get up at 4/5am because I go to bed at 9pm!! xxx

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Reneé and regardless of how early you go to bed I’m still impressed at the early starts! I’m FAR too much of a sleep addict to resist the lure of my cosy bed!

  2. Nicola Young

    I’m tired at the moment because I am writing so much that my characters just won’t shut up. They are in my head constantly, day and night. I’m surviving with lots of coffee, which doesn’t really help in the long term – I just end up being more wired up.

    1. Maddy Post author

      It’s great that you’re writing so much – sounds like you’re going to have no problem winning NaNo! Exhaustion isn’t great but I guess it’s worth it?! Thanks for commenting Nikki xx

  3. Carol Cameleon

    This is just my kind of post Maddy, taking a positive slant on something! The amount of times I’ve been all set to go to the land of nod and inspiration strikes!! Not quite sleep deprivation inspiring writing but it leads to sleep deprivation! Thanks for linking up to #WonderfulWorldofWriting :)

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Carol – I thought you’d like the positive slant of the post! I think sleep and creativity have all sorts of connections including through dreams! xx


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