Written by Chelsea Hoggan
Working towards being a successful comedian often means sleep falls very low on the priority list.
From late night open mics to overnight drives from one gig to another- sleep can always wait. But is putting sleep on the bottom of your to-do list hindering your progress as a comedian?
Lack of sleep isn’t just a trend within the joke telling community- studies show that American adults report getting an average of 6.7 hours a night — less than the minimum recommendation of seven to nine hours. I would venture to guess most comics are getting even less than that. (apa.org)
The lifestyle of a working comic isn’t easy on the body, however, there are small changes that you can make to improve your quality of life and getting more sleep is one of them. Getting more consistent sleep won’t just improve your life- it could amp up your comedy game as well.
Below are just a few ways better sleep patterns can enhance your life and performance.
Improve Your Memory:
According to Dr. Rapoport, “If you are trying to learn something whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice. But, something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better.” During sleep you can strengthen memories or practice skills, such as the skills of how to edit a podcast that you’ve learned while you are awake, or memorizing a brand new bit you’re working through a process called consolidation. (nature.com)
Improve Your Physical Performance:
Okay, so not all comedians are athletes, however performing for an hour on stage requires stamina and endurance. A Stanford University study found that college football players who slept an average of 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks were able to improve their average sprint time, experienced less fatigue throughout the day and generally had more stamina.
Manage Your Weight:
Sleep and metabolism are closely connected. When you are sleep deprived it impacts hormones that control appetite and satiety. Many comedians are trying to get healthy and stay in shape- sleeping is a great way to kickstart your goals!
Reduce Your Stress:
Adults who sleep less than eight hours a night report higher stress levels than those who sleep at least eight hours a night. (apa.org) Stress is an inherent part of life, especially in show business- but with the right lifestyle and adequate sleep it can be well managed.
Studies have shown that people who get six or fewer hours of sleep per night have higher inflammation levels than those who get more than six. Inflammation has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging. If you plan on playing the long game in comedy-get some rest!
So now that you know why you should be getting consistent sleep to up your game as a comic, here are a few easy ways how to make sleep happen:
- Prime your bedroom for sleeping! Make sure it is cool, dark, and quiet.
- Finish those funny tweets and controversial facebook posts an hour before bed time. Use that time without your phone for reading, breathing exercises, or some gentle yoga to wind down.
- Move! Increasing physical activity during the day promotes a more restful sleep.
- Create a routine and stick to it when possible. Going to bed at the same time every night regulates your body’s internal clock!
Striving to be a professional comedian takes an insane work ethic and intense drive. I get it!