Quality sleep is essential for everyone. However, it is critical for athletes and performers, especially dancers.
Dancers need sleep for physical recovery and to achieve peak performance. Quality and consistent sleep is a vital element in overall conditioning and having it helps dancers meet the physical and mental demands of their art. Physical and mental performance can be negatively affected when a dancer doesn’t get enough sleep or the right sleep quality.
While dance can seem effortless and graceful, it is an athletic and very competitive activity that requires intense practice. Every day, dancers work hard to condition their bodies to perform the skills, which require stamina. Whether you take part in private lessons, go to long competitions, or attend group classes, getting proper sleep is necessary to restore the body and mind and set the stage for optimal performance.
How sleep affects dancers.
Sleep has a significant effect on performance, rest, and recovery. It also plays a part in the following:
- Memory and learning
- Motor function
- Injury risk
- Muscle recovery
The physical effects of lack of sleep.
Research shows that when athletes and dancers aren’t getting adequate sleep, coordination and balance suffer, leading to an increased potential for injury. In addition, your immune system is weakened, making it more likely that you get sick.
In a recent study, lack of sleep was shown to adversely affect reaction time and the ability to make quick decisions.
How lack of sleep affects dancers mentally.
As a dancer, inadequate sleep can affect your memory and, therefore, the ability to remember new choreography. In addition, the following things are affected:
- Your focus and the ability to pay attention.
- Your problem-solving skills, mental flexibility, and processing can all be diminished.
- Without proper sleep, you are more likely to exhibit mental errors while dancing.
- A lack of sleep can increase irritability and the risk for anxiety and depression.
The metabolic effects of sleep deprivation.
Sleep deficiency will affect your body on a cellular level and impact how your body burns calories. Several studies have shown that people who get less sleep now will put on more weight.
According to WebMD, when you are overtired, “your brain’s reward centers rev up, looking for something that feels good. So, while you might be able to squash comfort food cravings when you’re well-rested, your sleep-deprived brain may have trouble saying no to the second slice of cake.”
Tips for getting quality sleep.
It can be challenging to get adequate amounts of sleep as a busy dancer. Especially when working around a rigorous training and competition schedule. Some ways dancers can improve sleep quality include:
- Optimize your sleep environment – Your bedroom should be a peaceful sanctuary, especially after a long day of school and dance. Keep it uncluttered and ensure it’s dark and cool; studies show optimal sleep temperatures are between 62 and 68 degrees.
- Avoid caffeine before bed – Caffeine is a stimulant, and its purpose is to make the body feel alert. Consuming caffeine too close to bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid caffeine after 2 pm.
- Stick to a schedule – Maintaining a consistent agenda can be challenging for dancers who have competitive schedules. However, finding some consistency in sleep times can lead to a better night’s sleep.
- Create a relaxing nighttime routine – A soothing bedtime routine can help you relax and prepare your body and mind for sleep. Some things you can do include meditation-style breathing techniques, reading, journaling, or soaking in a warm bath.
- Limit electronics – Electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops emit blue light, interfering with our natural circadian rhythm. Avoiding screens before bed can help busy dancers fall asleep faster and rest deeper.
At Evolution Dance Complex, we know about the physical requirements involved in dancing. Our staff has extensive experience and accomplishments in various forms of dance styles and instruction techniques. In addition to improving our students’ dancing, we are dedicated to offering each student a solid technical foundation within a safe, nurturing learning environment.
We are proud to promote a positive learning atmosphere where dancers are encouraged to excel and challenged to reach their full potential. Keeping our dancers mentally and physically healthy is extremely important to us at EDC. For more dance tips and essential class information, be sure to follow our informative blog and on social media.