The Sleep Deprived Writer

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Someone once said that he couldn’t remember the last time he had four-hour night’s sleep. Looking at him, there was nothing wrong with his appearance and daily performance. He seemed healthy and strong and went about his normal daily business. I guess he’s one of those extraordinary people around.

Sleep is as substantial as food, sound sleep is synonymous with good health and every adult human being needs at least eight hours of sleep every day to maintain a healthy body.

Unfortunately, it’s a busy, stress-filled life, with so much to do, so much to accomplish, little time. It becomes even harder for a writer, who needs the quietness of the middle of the night and early hours for better imaginative or factual writing.

Middle of the night is very essential to a writer. Taking this away from him is impeding his writing activity.

What Do You Do?

Do you go to sleep while loads of work await? Will you ever be able to sleep well with those unfinished projects everywhere? How can a writer ever sleep when all he has is quiet hours of the night?

I Stayed Awake At Night To Write.

When I started writing my first two novellas in 2013 – that was six years ago, I was determined to finish both of them in three months and  I stayed awake into the early hours of the morning, writing slept between 2 to 3 am just and woke up by 5 am on workdays.

It wasn’t hard for me to do because I was very passionate – a hundred per cent, you know, when you’re starting a project you’re passionate about and you have this burning desire to make it happen, I didn’t feel like I was sleep-deprived and physically, I was fit past a fiddle but that was not for long.

Three months later, and with continuous wake keeping, I began to notice a lot of abnormalities in my system. I felt tired and dizzy. I found it difficult to concentrate and hard to remember things. My digestive system felt funny with grumblings I couldn’t understand.

I also found out that, my writing turned bad and I needed to depend more on external aid to extract thoughts and ideas.

My writing process began to retard as I continued to feel very tired.

Funny enough even at this stage, it didn’t occur to me that the whole chaos within me was because of lack of adequate sleep. 

It happened that my body got so tired that it refused to keep awake with me anymore. That’s when I began to sleep by 10 pm at most to wake up at 5 am.  Lo and behold, after a week of sound sleep, I felt this peacefulness within me and every symptom I had disappeared. I felt my whole body was delighted and thankful.

What Happens To Sleep Deprived Writer?

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A writer said that writing sleep deprived is like writing drunk. While writing, you think you’re at your best, and that you have come up with your best writing ever which actually read well to you, only to wake up in the morning to find out that everything you’ve written makes no sense at all.

Sleep deprivation can decay the mind and body and its damaging effect can lead to other mental and physical illnesses.

Understand that Sleep Impacts Mental And Physical Function Of The Body

Sleep impacts brain function in a big way. A healthy amount of sleep gives the brain, the ability to adapt to input. It means that with sleep deprivation, it becomes hard for the brain to process what is learned during the day and this interferes with thinking pattern and makes it hard to remember things.

The entire body system; the central nervous system, the immune system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, cardiovascular system and the endocrine system can all be affected by prolonged lack of sleep.

So, not just the brain and thinking pattern that get affected, but the entire body can be affected badly by prolonged lack of sleep.

Do this;

Write whenever you feel is best for you but please make sure you get adequate sleep at night, 7 to 9 hours will do.

It sounds unrealistic and easier-said-than- done right?

The truth is there is no better way to keep the body and mind sound than having a deep sleep at night as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I find the early morning writing more productive and there are writers who have discovered this time and think it’s the best time for them to write.

So, instead of staying awake at night most of the time to write, make use of early morning often and night hours a few times.

© Florence Ezekafor

Wise Words

The last two proberbs shouldn’t be taken literally.

Lions do eat grass sometimes to diet and to ease digestion.

Assuming lions don’t eat grass for any reason at all and they suddenly begins to eat it because they couldn’t find meat to eat, how humiliating that could be.

However, (still assuming lions don’t eat grass at all) instead of the lion to die out of hunger when there is no meat, it had better eat whatever that is available to sustain life. Same to human, to survive one can do the most humiliating thing.

The last proverb is literally true for some places in the world where problems are not solved until people begin to lose their lives to it. It doesn’t have to be so.

Chinua Achebe – One of My Favourite Authors

A Little About Him

Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic. Born in November 16, 1930 in Igbo land of Ogidi where he grew up. He Studied Literature in English at University College( now University of Ibadan). Read more. He died on 21, March 2013 at 82.

Chinua Achebe was one of the most important African Poet and Novelist also considered as one of the most original literary artist writing in English during his lifetime.

Chinua Achebe’s notable works

His first novel Things Fall Apart, widely read in Modern Literature was published in 1958 and became his greatest work, the novel that later got him global attention. His other notable works are;

  • No Longer at Ease -1960
  • Arrow of God – 1964
  • A Man of the People – 1966
  • Anthills of the Savanna – 1987

He wrote many other stories and essays including children stories, folk stories and more. You can find all his works here

Writing Style

I love Achebe’s works because of his writing style which relied on the Igbo oral heritage, incorporating straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, oratory and proverbs.

Notable lovable Texts From Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

This is the best part. His books are full of meaningful moral quotes and proverbs. I love reading them. They teach me a lot about life.

●A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather in the moonlit village ground, it is not because of the moon every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.

●People say that it is when you see water rising up your ankle, that’s when you’ll do something about it, not when it has risen up to your neck.

●A man of worth never gets up to unsay what he said yesterday.

When brothers fight to death, strangers inherit their father’s estate.

●Whatever music you play on your drum, there is someone who can dance to it.

●We shall all live. We pray for life, children, a good harvest and happiness. You will have what is good for you, and I will have what is good for me. Let the kite perch and let the egret perch too. If one says no to the other, let his wing break.

What do I remember Achebe for?

I remember him for his novels especially for “Things Fall Apart” and all those moral lessons in them and whenever I think about African Literature, I think about Chinua Achebe. That’s the impact his works have on me.

Have You Ever Been Scared Of Your Electronic Devices? I Actually Am

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Have you ever been afraid of your electronic devices? Especially the wireless ones? Phones, laptops and every other wireless device in your possession? What about your microwave, car radio, TV?

I actually am.

What is this about?

It’s all about radiation – electromagnetic emission from our electronic devices being a health hazard.

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I heard again for the tenth time about the damaging effect of the electromagnetic emission- radiation from wireless devices today and I feel like sharing this with you even though you already know.

It’s all over the net and the health professional – trusted ones, sing it like a song but how many of us really care about the effect of radiation from these devices and how many of us are taking the necessary precautions to stay safe?

I first heard this a couple of years ago and heard it again and again without much effort to do the right thing, not even when I got a firm push from my good friend to use hand- free when making or answer calls did I turn a new leaf. It wasn’t any big deal.

That was exactly my thought in those days- it’s no big deal. After all, if it were, all those other people all over the world exposed to those same devices could have been wiped out.

But it is now. It is a big deal.

Some say the radiation emmitted by these devices is minimal.

It could be but then, who knows everything?

It could be negligible but what about constant or prolonged exposure?

I also learned it might not kill “instanta” like instantly. It could damage the body cells- kills softly.

How do I protect myself? How do you protect yourself? How do we protect ourselves?

I asked the health professional this question as if I didn’t know the answer and he listed the necessary precautions all over.

Keep your phone away from your body while answering calls and make sure you’re using your headset or hands-free.

Image by Christian Wiediger –

I thought seriously about how to keep my phone away from my body while answering calls and thought about not putting phones in the shirt or pant pockets.

I also thought about this-

How many of us use headset or hands-free while answering calls? Majority of the people I know do not use head set or hand-free while making calls.

So majority of us don’t care about headsets just like we don’t care about seat belts except when we are in the police or road safety- officers’ zone.

I don’t know what to call that – eye service? What about our saftey? Are we not thinking about it?

Avoid wireless technology

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I heard the health professional say this and I asked how this is this even possible. That means I won’t be enjoying my Wi-fi based device because it emits stronger electromagnetic radiation. Its safer to connect those devices with cables.

Throw your microwave away

What? No.

Well, according to professionals, microwave, of all the devices emits stronger electromagnetic radiation and this is dangerous to health. So, its safer to get rid of them or stay far away from them when in use.

– Do not place your laptop on your laps while using it.

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I think everyone laptop user is sometimes guilty of this. The right place to keep the laptop when using it is on the table with your body away from it.

– When was the last time you walked barefoot in your surrounding?

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It’s hard to walk barefoot in the city due to lots of reasons but you can decide to take your bare foot to the fields of grasses or the beach – pure nature.

These things in nature can absorb radiation easily. So, make sure you walk barefoot when possible.

Keep your tender child away from your wireless devices. The effect is more on the kids – kids are more susceptible to radiation effects.



Other resources to get you to act now.