Do you like to stay up late into the wee hours of the morning or go to sleep early and rise in the wee hours of the morning? Are you a night owl or an early bird? Sleep and waking modes are ruled by our Circadian rhythm, a term Wikipedia describes as "a roughly-24-hour cycle in the biochemical, physiological or behavioral processes of living entities, including plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria (see bacterial circadian rhythms)."
(Who knew cyanobacteria took cat naps?)
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I know more than a few other writers who are night owls like myself, but sometimes I wonder if this is simply due to many of us having day-jobs and families, so that late at night is the only opportunity we have to write. However, as a reader, I definitely enjoy reading more at night. Sometimes this does cause me to stay up late with a particularly good story, but overall I find reading relaxing and a beneficial transition to sleep. Maybe that's why some studies have shown that extended periods of reading have a similar effect on the brain as meditation does. In fact, if I've stayed up late writing, I often find myself reading a little bit before going to sleep. The activity seems to "cleans out my brain" and allow my brain to relax after the heavy lifting of writing.
On the flip side, I know plenty of people who prefer to rise early and get their writing time in before the day starts and muddles up their brain with day-to-day minutiae. Whether your preference is for early or late, I think both times feel like they're separate from the rest of the world and so insulated from our daily distractions.
What about you? When do you prefer to read or write? Late at night with the day behind you or waking up fresh in the morning?
Lisa Paitz Spindler's debut Science Fiction Romance will be released by Carina Press in Spring 2011. To keep up-to-date on news about this space opera novella (with pirates!) head on over to her Facebook Fan Page.
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