Five Simple Tips for a Restorative Night's Sleep
Dancers are some of the busiest people on the planet. If you’re not at school or work, you’re probably at dancing, so with all the other little things you have to get done, you don’t have much down time. Resting well and getting a full night’s sleep are hugely important in giving you the energy you require to make it through a busy day, but it can be hard to switch off at night when your body is still on an adrenaline high from class or rehearsal. We’ve got five simple tips to help you get the restorative sleep you need, so you can continue to dance to your fullest potential.
1. Stretch before bed
If you’ve had a long day of dancing, the last thing you might think of doing before you go to sleep is stretching. However, stretching has numerous benefits, including ensuring your body has the best chance of recovering overnight. Although your muscles have been warm all evening in class, you’ve then come home and probably sat still in the car or on the couch for a while. Those lovely supple muscles will quickly seize up, so engage in a gentle stretch session before bed to prevent any painful stiffness when you wake up. Stretching is also a great way to wind down your mind, and you can practice some deep breathing as you go to make sure you’re feeling calm.
2. Switch off electronics
It is now well documented that the blue light from electronic devices like your phone or iPad can interrupt your body’s circadian rhythm (your body clock) and interfere with your sleep cycle. If you scroll through Instagram for an hour in bed, (and let’s face it, we all do this sometimes) you’re actually waking your brain up when you should be getting drowsy. This can prevent you from falling asleep quickly when you are ready to drop off, and compromises the quality of the sleep you get. Try switching off all your electronics an hour before you go to bed, and instead read a book, take a bath, or do your stretches.
3. Drop some lavender oil on your pillow
Lavender is often used as an ingredient in beauty products designed for night time, like evening bubble bath formulas and overnight face masks. This is because lavender has a soothing effect on the body, lowering your heart rate and inducing a sense of calm. A bottle of lavender essential oil is a cost-effective way of creating this calming effect in your own home. Try putting a couple of drops of lavender oil on your pillowcase to help you drift off easily - it smells amazing too. An added bonus for dancers is that you can mix lavender oil with a base oil, such as coconut oil, and massage it into any painful areas of your body (like your knees or ankles), as it has anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Keep your room at the right temperature
Sleeping in a room that is too hot or too cold can have a big impact on the quality of your sleep and how much you wake up through the night. Scientific research suggests that a room temperature of between 16 to 18 degrees is optimum for most people. Young children and the elderly may require a slightly warmer room but anything too hot will trigger your body to keep waking up. If you live in a particularly hot or cold climate, make sure you have the appropriate blankets, and make use of heating or cooling wherever possible. Just be aware that sleeping with heating or air conditioning on can dry out your skin and reduce air quality so try to keep the room well ventilated.
5. Wear something loose and comfortable
Sleeping in loose, comfortable clothing helps your body temperature stay regulated. Anything tight, heavy or restrictive can not only make you feel uncomfortable when you lie down but can also prevent your body from reaching the core temperature it needs to get your best rest. Natural, breathable fabrics are the perfect choice. Don’t forget that loose and comfortable can be stylish too - take a look at our Stardust Collection, which includes natural modal as well as silky soft rayon for comfort, and fun slogans and prints for dance-filled dreams.
If you have any tips for a great night’s sleep, feel free to comment below and let us know. Happy dreaming!
Article by Emily Newton-Smith
Photographs by Elly Ford