Working Through Sleep Deprivation

Having an infant makes morning writing time hard.

Anna Burgess Yang
2 min readMar 1, 2018


Pop art illustration of a coffee cup on a blue table
Image created via Midjourney

I do not need to be convinced that morning is the most productive time of the day. I know this. Going all the way back to college, I have always been a “wake up early, go to bed early” person. I know I am most productive in the morning. As my older children evolved from needy toddlers into semi-self-sufficient grade schoolers, I could easily rise before the rest of the crowd and capture a few minutes alone.

This is when I did a lot of the hard writing about grief. I could reflect on a recent moment or collect my thoughts. Often I would cry, and thanked the universe for a quiet house where I could shed some weight in the form of tears. Sometimes I would edit, picking apart words and restructuring sentences — also grateful for the silence. And grateful for a cup of coffee with heavy cream.

Now I have a six-month-old baby. Waking early means losing precious sleep when I am already running ragged. That’s a pretty brutal choice. I love to write. And I love to sleep.

This morning, the baby woke at 5:30 a.m., which is an unusual time. Usually it is closer to 4:00 a.m., but she graced me with her presence at 2:00 a.m. and then again at 5:30. After a quick feeding I was awake. Nothing to be done about a clock that crept quickly toward the 6:45 a.m. wake-up time in our house.

So instead, I gathered my Surface and my coffee and made the most of the quiet. Was I exhausted? Absolutely. But I was able to do some writing that I had been mulling over for a few days. On these mornings, these battles between sleep and writing, I have to tell myself. Must. Keep. Pushing. Through. Writing may not win every day. But it should win some days.

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Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. •