Sleep is oh-so-fundamental for a happy and sound life for each and every one of us. For the musician, getting a continuous stream of solid sleep can make or break your performance quality and your ability to come up with innovative creative ideas, so how can we maximize this?
So, let’s just say that we’ve all covered the usual tips and tricks when it comes to sleep, such as minimizing your caffeine intake too late in the day, making use of blackout curtains and keeping noise to a minimum around your house, but what about if this isn’t good enough? Today we’ll uncover the less than typical strategies for quieting your mind and getting some serious sleep night after night.
As musicians, most of us have a very over-active mind and when you find yourself tucked in bed, the farthest thought that’s racing through your head is one of serenity. This is where the act of meditation can really come in handy. If you are able to attempt to control your thoughts and squash rumination, you’ll be doing yourself a serious favor, not only at bedtime but throughout the rest of your life as well.
One aspect that we may all minimize may be actually harming your sleep efforts a lot more than you think - this is the quality of your bedding. Did you know that those who are prone to allergies and asthma should avoid sleeping with polyester bedding? We often forget that a third of our lives are spent asleep, ideally at least. This is why it’s very important to invest in sheets, blankets and pillows that conform to your comfort level tasks. Did you fall in love with that memory foam pillow from the Airbnb that you visited last summer? Invest the $50 dollars in a quality pillow and you may be amazed at just how few times you wake in the middle of the night or wake in the moring with neck pain. You'll be happy that you took that little financial leap.
Consider the air flow in your sleeping quarters and adjust it accordingly. Is it possible to have a window open for fresh air, without letting in too many pollutants or noise throughout the night? We all have different preferences and we must abide by what works for us. Do you find that it often gets chilly and you’re constantly waking up with a bit of a freeze upon you? Keep a blanket nearby that you can easily pull up around you without too much rustling in your sleep. Prepare for what usually happens. Consider keeping a bottle of water near your bed if you live in a more dry environment. Additionally, some people swear by essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus, creating a spa-like scent in your sleeping space. We suggest that you consult your doctor and don’t go overboard with too much of this.
Did you know that a warm shower or bath can really put you in the zzz’s zone if done about two hours before you’re set to hit the sheets? Spine Health reminds us that ”Our body functions in a way where initially a higher body temperature (especially in the arms and feet) allows the sleep cycle to kick in, and 2 hours into the sleep phase, the body’s core temperature drops. This process of temperature regulation is important to stay asleep—it is during this time that the body’s sleep hormone, melatonin, circulates in higher concentrations”. A calm bath can also help to relax your mind and squash all the noise that, as musicians, we surround ourselves with. It’s easy to not take into consideration all of the over-stimulation we put our bodies and minds through while living in this technology heavy world day to day.
Putting in the time to really work out these tiny kinks within your daily lifestyle habits will benefit you in more ways than you may realize. You’ll start to think clearer, feel healthier and have smoother relationships with those around you. Allowing your body to properly rest will benefit both your body and mind. If you make use of creative habits that will allow you to ease into sleep and stay asleep throughout the entire evening, you’ll find that your performance, your writing skills and your interpersonal habits become more and more sharpened, leading to an easier, healthier, happier life for you and everyone around you.