The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!
The subtle ways that sleep impacts your performance
(by Todd Bruce)
(Photo: Damir Spanic/Unsplash)
Not getting enough sleep at night? Do you think 4 hours is adequate? How about 5?
You’d be surprised at how much getting quality sleep impacts your overall ability to function as an actor. And you’d be surprised at how doing something as simple as getting enough rest at night can make you a better actor.
First, let’s dispel a few myths about sleep.
Myth #1: Surviving on a few hours of sleep makes you look tough
Never wear your ability to function on just a few hours of sleep as a badge of honor. Being sleep deprived does not make you tough.
Just as you wouldn’t brag about being dehydrated or malnourished, you shouldn’t brag about being able to get by with less sleep than your body demands.
Myth #2: You can function properly on just a few hours of sleep
“I can get by on 3 hours of sleep”
Yes, you got through your college years by grabbing just a few hours of sleep when you could. And, yes, you survived and graduated on time.
But were you at peak performance during those years? Don’t you want to be at peak performance when you go in for an audition or perform in front of the camera?
Myth #3: Coffee Can Replace Sleep
Caffeine is a stimulant that can boost your adrenaline, enhance your alertness and give you more energy. But whatever energy boost it gives is only temporary. It cannot truly replace a good night’s rest, since your body uses sleep, not caffeine, to restore itself.
Now that we know that sleep deprivation doesn’t make you tough, doesn’t allow you to perform at your best and cannot be replaced by drinking coffee or energy drinks, let’s talk about a few ways that proper sleep can help you as an actor.
#1: Good Sleep can help you remember your lines.
According to Healthline.com, “During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new thought connections and helps memory retention.”
Sleep plays an important role in your memory. Your ability to retain information is greatly enhanced by getting proper rest.
So, if you have a lot of lines to learn for your next audition, or you have several pages of text to remember for your next performance, do yourself a favor and get to bed on time!
#2: Good sleep affects your energy levels
(Photo: Bruce Mars/Unsplash)
Confidence, charisma, swagger, the “it-factor”, whatever you wish to call it… Your ability to get cast or to perform is closely correlated to the focus, energy and passion you bring.
According to WebMD, lack of sleep is an energy killer. It saps the life force that drives you and can make the difference between you being fully engaged and you giving a fatigued, half-hearted effort that could result in you not getting the role you might be up for.
#3: Good sleep leads to a positive outlook
As actors, we deal with rejection more than almost any other profession. We hear the word, “No”, far more often than we hear, “Yes”. We are rejected time and time again. Yet, somehow, we must stay upbeat and keep a positive outlook.
According to Healthline.com, “Sleep deprivation also negatively affects your mental abilities and emotional state. You may feel more impatient or prone to mood swings.”
One way to have a positive outlook is to get proper rest. Sleep plays a direct role in how you view and react to negative situations.
Let’s say, for example, you are put on avail for a great role but, ultimately, the job goes to another actor. A lack of sleep might drive you to a state of depression after finding out you didn’t get the job. And a lack of sleep might have you questioning your career choice. But proper rest can keep you emotionally balanced and help you to bounce back more quickly from disappointments like this.
Proper rest… It’s such a simple way to improve your ability to function as an actor. And all you gotta do is just go to sleep.
You Might Also Like:
How to Sell Yourself in 10-Seconds or Less