Maria Popova explores the correlation between sleep habits and literary success in an infographic.
In a post on Brainpickings, Popova wrote about her fascination with daily routines and the sleeping habits of successful writers – referencing studies and scientific research on how sleep affects creativity, moods, and brain development. She then wondered if there was a correlation between sleep habits and literary productivity.
Popova enlisted the help of information designer Giorgia Lupi and her team at information design agency Accurat to explore how to visualize the correlation. Popova handed them her own notes and research on the specific wake-up times of famous writers. They ended up with 37 writers, who became the base data set for the study. Popova also enlisted the help of Wendy MacNaughton to create illustrated portraits of the authors.
The resulting infographic presents the authors and their wake-up times, as well as the number of their published works represented as different-colored “auras” and major awards received, color-coded by genres. The authors are featured in order of wake-up times, from earliest to latest.
The infographic shows that, with the exception of a few outliers, early risers seem to win more awards and late risers seem to produce more works. However, Popova emphasizes in her post that there are several caveats to the study, mostly pertaining to what constitutes as “literary success.” She notes that there are several factors that contribute to a writer’s productivity and sleep is only one of them, but it is interesting to see how the sleep habits of famous authors relate to their productivity as writers.
Check out the infographic below.