Writing and Insomnia: Is there a connection?

You know how most, normal people just lay down in bed at night and go right to sleep? Well … not me. I would kill to have that ability! (Just kidding. Maybe.)

Just the other night, in fact, I didn’t fall asleep until past 4 AM. About three months ago, I had the worst bout of insomnia of my life, where I was only getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night for weeks. Some nights it was only 1 hour. Sometimes it was no sleep at all.

When I tell people I got no sleep, they often ask me “Why?” And uh … I wish I had an answer. I’m not even doing anything during that time when I could be sleeping. Usually I’m just lying there with my eyes closed, wondering why the heck I’m not asleep yet.

How is this writing-related, you may ask? Well, I’ve often wondered if insomnia and writing go hand-in-hand. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve used storytelling as a way to combat sleeplessness. All the nights I’ve spent lying awake worrying––whether it was about monsters in the closet or how I’m going to pay back my student loans––I’ve always started writing scenes in my head to distract myself from worrying about real-life problems (which are much scarier and more stressful to me).

It’s almost a “Which came first––the chicken or the egg?” scenario. Am I bad at sleeping because I’m always making up stories in my head? Or did I become a writer because I lie awake every night imagining things? Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

So, I’m curious: Are any of my fellow writers out there also insomniacs? If so, do you think the two are related? And if you aren’t an insomniac … please grant me your magic sleeping powers. Seriously.

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2 thoughts on “Writing and Insomnia: Is there a connection?

  1. When I’m writing, I definitely sleep worse. I can’t fall asleep because I have a scene running through my head or I’ll wake up in the middle of the night after sorting out a problem and need to jot it down. My best ideas also come in those moments between awake and asleep, I suspect because I get in my own way during the day. So yes, I think the writing personality causes it (for me).

    1. Yes, exactly! Pretty much as soon as I lie down, I start running scenes through my head. I also think a lot when I wake up in that morning––between the time when I open my eyes and when I actually have to get out of bed, haha. That’s probably my favorite time for coming up with ideas, actually. The only bad part is that eventually I have to get up. 😀

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