Art Wisdom – Should Artists Stay Up All Night? Yes And No.

For centuries, most artists have been known for staying up all night painting, drawing, and working on their artwork instead of sleeping or spending time with their families. This is to be expected because, creativity is essentially like a “muse” in a way and when an artist is inspired to create artwork they shouldn’t hesitate to create but they also have to keep in mind the importance of sleep and rest.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m very passionate about artwork and that passion also comes from spending many happy hours staying up into the “wee hours” of the morning creating work when I could have been sleeping.

Many of the years that I spent staying up late working on my art were spent from my late teens into my 30’s but as I grew older I realized that I was actually robbing myself of the rest and “regeneration” from sleep that I could have been getting by going to bed at normal times during my early years rather than staying up so late.

The Importance Of Sleep

From my late teens through my 30’s I didn’t think twice about staying up until 2:00 am or later during week nights or weekends especially if it meant that I could spend that time working on my artwork.

Staying up late to work on art has been great for me because I wake up knowing that I spent good constructive time painting or drawing but I also wake up tired and I spend the next day feeling slightly exhausted because I essentially “robbed” my body of it’s normal sleep patterns.

Some people will tell you that sleep isn’t that important, or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead“, but the reality is that sleep is a crucial part of our bodies program for repairing themselves.

Recently, I found out some interesting facts about sleep:

  • Not enough sleep, or poor sleep can actually lead to weight gain.
  • Poor sleep can lead to heart disease and even stroke.
  • Bad sleep can lead to problems with the immune system and a variety of other problems.
  • Sleep problems can lead to high cases of inflammation in the body and emotional issues. 
Pablo Picasso was well-known for his habit of staying up all night to work on his art. (Image credit – Encyclopedia Britannica)

Sleep Is An Artists Best Friend And Can Be An Artists Enemy

As an artist I don’t regret the hours spent over the years staying up late at night because I created many paintings and drawings during those late night art sessions doing something that I enjoyed but I still can’t deny that I should have been getting normal sleep during those years.

At the age of 42 I’ve learned that my body needs at least 6 hours of sleep per night so that I can function like a human being the next day or else I feel like a “zombie” and have to nuke myself with coffee to stay awake. 🙁

I’m doing better about getting more sleep at night while still creating artwork because I’ve made my art a priority in my life and I choose to work on it as much as possible during the nights when I’m hanging out with my beautiful wife and kids.

For younger artists, I would encourage them to make sleep a priority, especially if they are under the age of 30, especially men because their brains don’t actually stop developing until about the age of 30 so getting enough sleep each night does have a positive effect.

What are your thoughts about sleep? Feel free to leave me a comment below!



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