Studies have shown that a proper night’s rest is important to keeping your highest quality singing voice, and that a lack of sleep can negatively affect speech in all of its forms. Sure, we’re all a bit groggy when we wake up in the morning, but proceeding into the day without enough sleep can be troublesome for the vocal professional. Here’s why, and here are some ways to get a good night sleep.
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“Sleep Deprivation Affects Speech”
According to a 1997 study conducted by Yvonne Harrison and James A. Horne of Loughborough University, Leicestershire, England, entitled “Sleep Deprivation Affects Speech,” those who experienced sleep deprivation had a tough time focusing on conversation topics and spoke more monotonously, not changing the inflection of the tone and pitch of their voice as they normal would. This, of course, is troublesome to the vocalist, who needs to concentrate on the words and notes, as well as hit the right pitches throughout the entirety of the song, whether they’re one of many or a soloist.
It’s intuitive to imagine that running on a treadmill when you’re tired makes you fatigue more quickly than if you were well rested. Well, the same is true for your voice. The less sleep you get, the more fatigue you’ll experience, which means you’ll lose your highest quality singing voice faster. Consider this: you have to get through seven songs. If you didn’t get enough sleep, you could be faltering by the fifth song, whereas with enough sleep, you could be ready for an encore.
Fatigue Can Lead to Damage
I mean, the title pretty much says it all, but yeah, the more fatigued you are, the more likely you could damage your voice. A damaged voice can mean you sing softer, your words aren’t annunciated as thoroughly, and your tone quality can be weakened.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
One of the best ways to ensure a good night’s rest is to train your body to get tired and become alert with its internal clock. Try and go to bed roughly around the same time, sleep for eight hours, and wake up around the same time. Stick to this routine and, as lovely as they are, try and avoid napping. Naps mess with our circadian rhythm.
Pay Attention to What You Put in Your Body
Okay, let’s not get dirty here, you know what we mean. Don’t go to bed hungry, but also don’t go to bed full, because lying in bed wanting to eat can keep you up, and eating a couple hours before bed can negatively affect sleep (and make you gain weight). Obviously, stimulants should be avoided, like caffeine and, well, nicotine, but if you’re a singer and you’re smoking tobacco, you better be doing some sort of Tom Waits thing. And while alcohol can make you sleepy, it can wake you back up again in the middle of the night, and make it a lot tougher to get up when your alarm goes off, trust me on that.
Exercise and Become Zen
Inserting exercise into your daily routine will greatly help when it’s time to go to bed. Whether it’s heavy weightlifting or basic aerobics, your body will be ready for a snoozefest come your scheduled time for head-to-pillow connection. Further, stresses and worries can keep anyone up at night. We know this is easier said than done, but relieving yourself of things that weigh heavy on the mind help you sleep better. Whether this means talking to someone or managing your stress better (which would also probably mean talking to someone), this can be the difference between a good night’s rest and singing fantastically versus a poor night’s rest and singing like it’s amateur hour down at Eddie’s over on 100th and Amsterdam.