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“Sleep” - The secret to enhancing your performance!

Updated: Jan 21

a girl sleeping restfully in bed
Sleep and perfomrance

What happens in our sleep?

There are 4 stages in our sleep: falling asleep, light sleep, deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement). During deep sleep, growth hormone peaks which support muscle and bone repair. This is followed by REM stage, where your brain consolidates learning into memory and processes unresolved emotions.

What may impact performers’ sleep?

Internal factor

External factor

Unsociable work hours, e.g. night workers and morning reheareal

Social stress, e.g. multiples auditions and rejections

Traveling across time zone

Performance anxiety, e.g. busy mind and hard to "switch off"

Extra work converting others under short notice

​Aches and pain from training and injuries

Why Sleep well?

A lack of sleep is associated with a less healthy life, increased risk of obesity, and poor cardiovascular health (Matthew Walker, 2019). Performers who “sleep back what they lost” on days off and/or are chronically sleep-deprived may have a hidden impact on their performance and recovery.

Top tips to sleep well:


  • Know your body clock

  • Have a “set” sleep time


  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol before bed

  • Have your evening meal earlier

Night-time environment:

  • Comfortable room temperature

  • Dim lights and reduce screen time

  • Wear loose clothes

Mind & body rest:

  • Stretch before bed

  • Practise mindfulness and relaxation

A girl stretching her shoulders upwards in bed
Stretching in bed

Final thoughts

It is hard to study and create performers' specific sleep recommendations, but we do know sleeping well helps with performers' bodies and emotions. We may need to rethink our beliefs, sleep well and prioritise sleep because our health and career depend on it. Try the above tips, notice how you feel and spread the message to other fellow performers.


Matthew Walker, 2019. How To Improve Your Sleep | Matthew Walker. [image] Available at: <>

McCloughan, L., Hanrahan, S., Anderson, R. and Halson, S., 2016. Psychological recovery: Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), anxiety, and sleep in dancers.

Performance Enhancement & Health, 4(1-2), pp.12-17.[Accessed 6 December 2021].

2011. Sleeping beauty wakes a the Mccarter Theater.

[image] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 December 2021].

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