Good sleep is essential for dancers. Sleeping includes different aspects and helps your body from different perspectives.
Recharging and healing
Some areas of your brain are more active while you’re asleep than when you are awake. Many different interactions to keep us healthy occur when we sleep.
Everything we learn during the day gets restored and rebuilt while we sleep. If you are sleep deprived, you will have an extremely difficult time recalling choreography or a new pattern or technique.
Sleep also helps us to solve problems. This is where the saying “Sleep on it” comes from. Neuroscience research shows that sleep helps us to come up with creative solutions of our problems.
Sleeping 5 hours or less every night means you have a 50% likelihood of being obese. When you don’t sleep, certain chemicals in your body get shifted. Ghrelin is the hormone that makes us feel hungry. When you have lack of sleep, ghrelin level increases, and it tells your brain that you are hungry, that it needs sugar.
#1: Sleep Hygiene
Try to make a habit of going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day. To wake up in the right good phase of sleep you can try Sleep Cycle App. It tracks your sleep pattern and wakes you up during light sleep so it feels like waking up naturally rested without an alarm clock.
#2: Physical Activities
Exercises during daytime will help you to fall asleep easier. But no exercises right before sleep (3 hours before).
Melatonin (that helps to regulate your sleep-wake cycle) is controlled by light exposure. So:
- catch more sunlight in the morning (breakfast or walk with coffee outside);
- provide more natural light during daytime at home and workspace;
- say no to late TV, computer, reading with backlit devices;
- make sure your room is dark when it’s bedtime.
#4: Stimulants and Food
- reduce caffeine and nicotine;
- avoid big meals at night (at least 2 hours before);
- alcohol interferes sleep cycle;
- avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening.
Wind down and clear your head:
- deep breathing;
- progressive muscle relaxation (tense all muscles and then relax);
- visualize peaceful, restful place.
#6: Useful Bedtime Rituals
- reading a real book by a soft light;
- warm bath;
- soft music;
- easy stretches;
#7: Improve Your Environment
- keep the noise down;
- keep your room cold;
- make sure your bed is comfortable;
- no TV, work, computer in bed.
#8: If You Wake Briefly at Night
- deep breathing;
- postpone worrying;
- if you can’t fall asleep more than 15 minutes do some easy activity (read a book).
#9: Jet Lag. If You Are Traveling Overseas
- rest before traveling;
- avoid alcohol, coffee, cola, energy drinks;
- drink more water;
- don’t use pills for sleeping;
- when arrive eat 3 meals a day in line with the new time zone;
- use lavender oil as a sleep enhancer;
- when traveling to east, go to sleep earlier, west – stay up late.
By the way, it’s much easier to adjust when traveling west side rather than east side.
#10: During Dance Convention
- before competitions and night social dancing sleep well (8 hours);
- the full meal before a sleepless night;
- use sleep mask, earplugs.
I wish all of you have good sleep, stay healthy and happy!