On the ninth day of vocal health, my true love gave to me...sugar plums a-dancing
SLEEP! We all need it, though science hasn't really explained why. We do know that sleep is required for long term learning, and that a great deal of healing and rejuvenation happens while we sleep. We also know that a person may need a different amount of sleep compared to another person, but we can almost always say that we get less sleep than we need.
Before you continue reading below, take a look at my cute pup Dooey snoozing away on Christmas Day. This guy knows the benefit of a good nap!
Because we know the body benefits from good sleep, we also know that the voice will benefit. There are a few things to be aware of, though, that might affect your voice related to sleep.
1. If you have reflux, that can sometimes get worse while lying down. If you need to, adjust the angle of your bed to accommodate.
2. We get dehydrated while we sleep, so drinking water first thing in the morning can be really helpful.
3. Things like sleep apnea or other physical obstructions that contribute to snoring might have vocal effects, so check those out if you think it might be an issue for you.
4. Sleep patterns can change over a lifetime, so don't assume what you needed when you were 25 is the same as when you are 35, or 55, or 85. Listen to your body and follow its lead.
It's almost a badge of honor in the U.S. to try to function on as little sleep as possible. But what if you really took great care of yourself in this area and got as much sleep as you needed? Great self-care is also great voice care, so I'm challenging all of us, myself included, to spend a week getting really good sleep. I'm not going to lie, this is going to be hard for me, but what a great way to go into the new year with self-care on the front burner!
Lastly, if you find sleep is a problem for you, talk to a healthcare professional about it. Your sleep patterns might be trying to tell you something.