The study also found that people who are verbally creative tend to go to bed and wake up later than others, although they sleep for more number of hours.
"visually creative people reported disturbed sleep leading to difficulties in daytime functioning," said Neta Ram-Vlasov from the University of Haifa in Israel.
"In the case of verbally creative people, we found that they sleep more hours and go to sleep and get up later," said Ram-Vlasov.
"The two types of creativity were associated with different sleep patterns. This strengthens the hypothesis that the processing and expression of visual creativity involves different psychobiological mechanisms to those found in verbal creativity," Ram-Vlasov added.
Creativity is defined by four characteristics: fluency - the ability to produce a wide range of ideas; flexibility - the ability to switch easily between different thought patterns in order to produce this wide range of ideas; originality - the unique quality of the idea relative to the ideas in the environment; and elaboration - the ability to develop each idea separately.
The researchers sought to understand how two types of creativity - visual and verbal - influence objective aspects of sleep such as duration and timing (indexes such as the time of falling asleep and waking up) and subjective aspects - sleep quality.
Thirty undergraduate students participated in the study, half of whom were majoring only in art and half of whom were majoring only in the social sciences.
During the study, participants underwent overnight electrophysiological sleep recordings, wore a wrist activity monitor (a device that measures sleep objectively), and completed a sleep monitoring diary and a questionnaire on sleep habits in order to measure the pattern and quality of sleep. They also undertook visual and verbal creativity tests.
The findings show that among all the participants, the higher the level of visual creativity, the lower the quality of their sleep.
This was manifested in such aspects as sleep disturbances and daytime dysfunction. The researchers also found that the higher the participants' level of verbal creativity, the more hours they slept and the later they went to sleep and woke up.
A comparison between the sleep patterns of art students and non-art students found that art students sleep more, but this in no way guarantees quality sleep: art students evaluated their sleep as of lower quality and reported more sleep disturbances and daytime dysfunction than the non-art students.
The researchers add that possible explanations can be offered for the connections found between the two types of creativity and sleep patterns.