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You know that you can improve your energy by eating more healthfully. This is a topic of great importance for dancers so I’ve touched on it before and will definitely touch on it again.

For today, I want to get into the importance of sleep.

In the news over the last week there has been a lot of talk of the Center for Disease Control’s “new” finding (although I feel I’ve heard this hundreds of times so why they’re choosing to make it “new” news is beyond me) that most ppl are getting less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep.

As a dancer and athlete, the importance of sleep is even greater!

If you’re performing on less than 7 hours a night I hope I can persuade you to start prioritizing sleep and creating a beautiful nighttime routine.

The winding down process really can be quite enjoyable and the benefits are infinite.

Sometimes when you’re working or dancing all day it’s tempting to want to use evenings for perusing the internet, watching movies, etc.

There is absolutely a place for those things.

However, I would suggest you pick a bedtime that you can keep pretty consistently and create a night – time routine around it.

Here’s a big reason dancers need to prioritize sleep:

“Researchers speculate that deep sleep helps improve athletic performance because this is the time when growth hormone is released.

Growth hormone stimulates muscle growth and repair, bone building and fat burning, and helps athletes recover.

Studies show that sleep deprivation slows the release of growth hormone.

Sleep is also necessary for learning a new skill, so this phase of sleep may be critical for some athletes.”

So create a nighttime routine that serves a healthy nights sleep.

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  • Always create a comfortable environment with a cooler temperature and comfortable sleep clothes.
  • Be sure your mattress is a firmness level that supports you best.
  • Shut off the electronics about an hour before going to bed and DO NOT bring your phone into bed with you – I understand the temptation…my phone now lives in the living room at night on “silent” mode.
  • Take a warm pre – bedtime bath with epsom salts and lavender essential oil.
  • Massage the bottoms of your feet with essential oils of lavender or vetiver (or both).
  • Keep a gratitude journal where you record the things you’re grateful for each night.
  • Calm your body down with stretching and meditation.
  • Read a book or listen to soothing music, or do both together!

I’d love to hear about how much sleep you get each night and how you set yourself up for bedtime success! Post in the comments below and share!!

Bonus tip: I got a sunrise alarm clock for my birthday. It has transformed the way I wake up from the jolting beep, beep, BEEP to a peaceful light bath coupled with nature sounds.

Since how you wake up is a big part of your sleep experience, I had to mention this game – changing clock.

 

References:

  1. Mah. Extra Sleep Improves Athletes’ Performance. Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. June 14, 2007.
Sleep and energy
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Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Health Coach and founder of The Whole Dancer.

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