Are Creatives Night Owls?
Do you get the creative bug late at night? You probably are not alone. We find out why creatives are more prone to being a night owl.
Last night, I came up with a brilliant idea for a blog article. It was around 1 am, I was lying in bed and probably had, what I would call, a creatively slow day.
After I jotted it down, it rather annoyed me that I didn’t think of it earlier in the day as it was now eating into my sleeping time.
The following day, I had a discussion with colleague Harry about our sleeping patterns. He says that he is a night owl. He’s a graphic designer and is usually creating logos or print material – similarly creative to what I do, writing social posts and creating content. It got me thinking, what if there is a correlation to being creatives and your sleeping pattern?
The Sun Shall Not Tell Me When to Sleep
It’s common knowledge that people, in the past, before the wonder that is technology, our ancestors sleeping pattern used to follow the pattern of the sun. The sun rises in the morning, so did you and vice versa. This is known as our circadian rhythm (or body clocks), which is regulated by a nerve cell in our brain known as a suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN).
However, not all of our ancestors followed the sun pattern. Those who stayed up late to are likely to have been more intelligent than their early bird counterparts. This is primarily because those activities during the night would have been novel and lead to inquisitive minds. This inquisitive mind may have been passed down to later generations.
Creative Thinking and Inductive Reasoning of a Night-Owl
In a study by the London School of Economics and Political Science, they found that people that stay up later and wake up later tend to be more intelligent than their early-bird counterpart. While it is not conclusive, they did find that there was a correlation between intelligence and sleeping pattern as night-owls score higher on inductive reasoning (ability to combine different information to obtain a general conclusion).
Both inductive reasoning and creative thinking can go hand-in-hand. The ability to make generalisations and assume conclusions with acknowledging uncertainty can have an effect on the creatives and their industry – as thinking neutrally and being a generalist about design can help open it up to interpretation and allowing for more progressiveness.
The study also found that while night-owl may be more intelligent, the study also found that early-birds generally are more successful throughout their careers and score higher in school tests – though this may be attributed to the “early” start of the school.
The Tired Mind Makes the Creative Juices Flow Stronger
Forget what your mother told you when you were little – being alert and awake is truly overrated if you are in a creative role. Studies have shown that creative brains actually function more effectively as the sleep-deprivation allows for more distractions.
This may sound unproductive, but because a role of a creative is to come up with new ideas, concepts and connections, distractions can actually bring new ideas to your work. If you are a web designer, for instance, the procrastination can actually lead to web design discoveries – such as designing a new poster in a similar style to a website you have been procrastinating on.
While it may be generalising that all creatives are night-birds, there will be some who are early birds and gain their ideas during their peak time. However, from everyone in GLW, and among friends and the internet, the consensus is that creatives a generally a night time bunch.
If you are not then we envy you.