We鈥檝e stocked our cabinets with the best聽foods to eat for a better聽night鈥檚 sleep, invested in hair treatments聽to help us maximize our beauty sleep,聽and we鈥檝e even experimented with a聽sleep app to help us snooze easier. But sometimes our schedules just don鈥檛 line up with catching plenty of zzz鈥檚, whether it鈥檚 because we鈥檙e stuck with an聽extra work shift or we鈥檙e midway through a Netflix binge. Plus, we can always catch up on sleep later, right? New research says it鈥檚 not that simple.

According to a new study published in聽the聽Journal of Interior Design,聽irregular sleep schedules 鈥 think skimpy sleep for a few nights, followed by聽a marathon snooze session 鈥 can negatively affect a young person鈥檚 creativity. Researchers from Baylor University鈥檚聽Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory conducted a聽study on 28 undergraduate women who were enrolled in an interior design program. The researchers equipped them聽with fitness trackers, tested their cognitive abilities before and after the study, and also asked them to keep a sleep diary.聽They discovered that these women were not only overestimating how many hours of sleep they got each night, but they were sleeping for fewer than seven hours at least three nights a week. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per聽night.

But the most significant research came from the results of their cognitive tests. The researchers found that many of the students cycled between nights of short sleep duration and long sleep duration (or binge-sleeping). Study participants who experienced this 鈥渘ight-to-night variability鈥 in sleep saw their cognitive scores (AKA their creativity) drop. But there is a silver lining! According to the study, sleep variability did not affect the study participants鈥 prospective memory.

The results from this study could challenge the way we think about generating creative work. While you might be tempted to stay up all night for a flash of brilliance, this study proves that your聽time might聽be better spent聽dreaming. So, ladies, start catching up on sleep鈥 and maybe sneak in an聽afternoon nap聽or two.聽Hey, get those creative juices flowing!

How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Tweet us @BritandCo聽and let us know!

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