I’m a night owl. I do my best work at night, usually after 2am. Sure, I don’t have a day job that requires me to get up early (thank god) and coming from a family of ‘traditional’ people with 9-5 jobs, it’s easy to make comparisons.
On the other hand, my job is not traditional and psychology backs this up. I’m not going to explain the circadian rhythm (but you can read this article here) because I am most certainly not an expert, but I do know from experience that when tired or fatigued, the brain tends to function more towards creativity.
Essentially, all our inhibitors, those little demons that compare your stuff to others’ and say it’s inferior – they shut up and fall asleep, leaving your brain free to wonder the various realms of consciousness.
Ironically enough this is the same effect we get when tipsy – which is why the literary world is full of notorious drunks. On the other hand, should you wish to refrain from drinking, the source article says that you should wear yourself down.
Of course, the article does not state what activities to pursue but if the alleged promiscuity of Dorothy Parker and the legendary, suggestive musings of Edgar Allen Poe are anything to go by, I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.
And besides, if you’re as neurotic about all the little details as I am, you con e sure to kiss your sleep goodbye. According to this article, if you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing.
In my case I could actually create a kinaesthetic leg workout since I would be getting out maybe twenty times per night.
The lack of dopamine in your head can actually be a great blessing. Suddenly you don’t care about the fact that you’re 3 months behind schedule or that you have yet to write that book you urgently need to publish later this year.
Leave such thoughts for the day, where you can methodically shut them down, or maybe actually solve them – usually depending on your disposition, ability and general sloth.
And for those amongst you who insist on being larks, well there’s hope for you too. Napping is a great way to declutter your brain. Afternoons are the best time for this, ideally later than noon but not after 2pm.
Of course you can always start catching up on your drinking early. It’s always evening somewhere, and what are we if not a global nation, aspiring to become one singular population? And besides, Irish coffee exists just to meet your morning alcoholic demands, with the caffeinated boost to jumpstart you brain (and your colon) into action.
Recently I’ve also been experimenting with meditation and Tai Chi. Not that there is much to experiment with. It’s quite binary really – either you do it or you don’t. I found that by putting myself in a ‘trance’ where I am repeatedly doing the same movement, my brain just stops being a nuisance by doing things like worry.
Incidentally I came across a technique during my years at University that I later found was scientifically proven to be one of the best methods not only to boost creativity but brain function in general. Before an exam, or whilst studying, I would lower the temperature of the room (slightly) and be just a little hungry (again, emphasis on little).
Those two conditions are ideal to push the limits that your brain can reach. There are many scientific theories why, but like all pretentious writers I have ventured my own. I actually think it’s evolutionary. Think about it – about how being cold and hungry was the bane of our caveman ancestors and that nature, or God or whatever you happen to believe in, gave us a survival trigger to make us better and sharper when those conditions are met and thereby ensuring the survival of the species.
After all, someone had to evolve and pollute the planet, whilst gawking at pictures of Uma Thurman on the Red Carpet (bdw can we outgrow this juvenile fetish with appearances and sensationalism? I understand some industries and more than a few people have built their lives on shaming other but seriously? Leave people alone!)
And if you read one of my books, the Pandora Chronicles, that idea of the brain going into a hyper state (again, scientifically proven) is what sparked the idea for the Select and Nick’s abilities.
So there you have it people: definite proof that night owls can stimulate better creativity. Of course nothing is set in stone and most of this is really generic. Creativity, in my opinion, is not something that can be quantified, but rather it is a semi-chemical and semi-etheral experience that we all go through. Now be it through a series of physiognomical changes or perhaps through some sort of Jungian collective consciousness, that is for time, evolution and higher powers to decide.
What about you? Do you agree with this premise or do you think it’s utter hogwash?
Are you a night owl or do your creative juices flow during the day? Let me know in the comments below and make sure to subscribe for further posts.
PS. If you would like to check out the book I mentioned above – The Pandora Chronicles – click on this link right here.