Every morning, after hitting snooze on my multiple alarms I begrudgingly crawl out of bed wishing I could have even just 10 more minutes of sleep. Why must we constantly have this love-hate relationship? At night I tell myself 2 more hours of work *cough* Netflix will be fine and then I hate myself when 7am rolls around.
We’ve all been there and we’ve all seen the countless published studies that preach about the necessity of sleep and how we should be altering our lifestyles to attain more rest every night. In theory this sounds great, but realistically the majority of us aren’t getting our full 8 hours.
Often times, we justify staying up late or working an extra shift with the promise of catching up on a long nap the following day, but as new research finds—this irregular sleep pattern also referred to as “binge-sleeping” can be extremely detrimental to our creative processes.
A recent study published by the Journal of Interior Design asserts that “binge-sleeping” can negatively effect your creativity.
A team of researchers from Baylor University’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory conducted a scientific study on 28 female undergraduates who were enrolled in an interior design program. The researchers gave the students fitness trackers, tested their pre and post-study cognitive abilities, and asked that they keep a consistent sleep diary.
The study’s results revealed that the women were overestimating the amount of sleep they got each night and they were sleeping for fewer than seven hours at least three nights a week. The National Sleep Foundation recommends at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
However, the most significant findings were drawn from the participants’ cognitive exams. Many of the students cycled between nights of short and long sleep duration or as the study calls it; binge-sleeping. So, how every college student tends to operate. The undergraduates who experienced this typical variation of sleep duration from night to night saw a significant dip in their cognitive scores or creativity. Fortunately, this variability did not have any detrimental effect on the students’ prospective memory—which is probably why so many of us survived finals with all-nighters.
In summary, even if you feel like you do your best creative thinking in the late hours of the night, it may be more beneficial to rest regularly rather than become a night owl and nap throughout the day. Though, tbh, we won’t be giving up napping anytime soon.