Plagued by insomnia, best-selling crime writer Chris Carter turns to diet and exercise to manage his health

chris carter, crime writer, celebrities with insomnia, arthritis digest, iona waltonChris Carter is a prolific crime fiction writer, who has sold millions of books around the world. The focus of his compelling series is LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit detective, Robert Hunter, who uses his criminal psychology background to solve brutal murders.

His novels are translated into a staggering 25 languages so it’s no surprise that Chris has scooped up awards and accolades from some far flung regions. Despite his dizzy heights of success, Chris enjoys the freedom of living like the rest of us, thanks to the fact that writers tend to be relatively unsaddled with celebrity status.

“It’s an ideal situation,” he says. “I love what I do, and while I may occasionally be recognised, it doesn’t happen often enough to have any negative impact.”

Today, life in the leafy suburbs of Muswell Hill, London, revolves around Chris’s strict writing routine. If nailing deadlines is anything to go by, the routine is a winner, as Chris has had 12 books published since he started writing in 2008.

But it turns out there is more to the self-disciplined regime than churning out best sellers. Lack of sleep – insomnia – is a major player in Chris’s life.


“On weekday evenings I go to bed early, as I know I have two hours of fighting with my head before I sleep. Throughout the night, I have nightmares so wake every 40 minutes or so. Although my alarm is set for 5am, I never need to hit snooze as I have always been awake for at least an hour.

“When I’m awake in the dark hours, I stay in bed, resting my body despite my mind not getting the benefits of sleep. Instead of being bitter about insomnia, I try to manage it as I would any other health condition, through diet, exercise, and positivity.”


Chris begins his day at 5am, with a run in the park.

“I try to start every day with something positive and constructive,” he says. “Then if the day ends up bad, at least I’ve scored first. At that time, I have the whole park to myself… and it’s beautiful. I go home, shower, eat, and start writing at around nine o’clock each morning.

“I have a strict regime, calculating how many words I need to write a day in order to make my deadline, factoring in some additional days for research. If I finish my book before the deadline, it won’t be published any sooner as book releases are planned months in advance.

“When I write I don’t think about the whole story. I start each new book with an idea or event. I know what would happen next in real life because of my background as a criminal psychologist, so I simply write from that start position. It’s like putting a puzzle together and only seeing the final picture once every piece is in place.

“By 6pm, I’m shattered due to my bad nights, so I have an early dinner and go to bed.

“Weekends, however, are for me and I’ll only work on Saturdays and Sundays if I fall behind. My release is dancing so I go clubbing. Even if I leave the nightclub at 7am, I still won’t sleep!”


Aged 57 years old, Chris is as strict with his diet as he is with his writing regime.

“Decades of attention to my diet and exercise levels mean I rarely need to go to the GP,” he explains. “I avoid fried foods and eat a lot of salad, vegetables, fruit, chicken, tuna and cod. I even make my own protein shakes out of avocado and milk. The only supplement I take is vitamin D.”


In 2019, six months before lockdown, Chris tragically lost his partner.

“The support my friends were able to give me was curtailed because of the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chris says. “I do not have any family, so suddenly I felt extremely alone, on a physical and psychological level. It was a difficult time for me.”

The pandemic changed lives on a longer-term level for many of us. Some groups and activities were slow to restart, and people’s lives fundamentally shifted.

genesis, chris carter, crime writer, best seller, arthritis digest“Being alone has become normal now. I am used to my life, and the loneliness of my profession. Nobody gets pushed into being an artist, musician or a writer, so the people who choose this life love what they do. I know how lucky I am to make a living out of writing and appreciate every moment of it.”

Genesis, published by Simon & Schuster, is available in hardback for £16.99 from all major bookshops. For more information about Chris Carter visit  

Feature first published November 2022 PS Did you know that Arthritis Digest Magazine is labelled the best UK Arthritis blog from thousands of blogs on the web ranked by traffic, social media followers, domain authority & freshness? *